Scott Helman’s article calls the drug lab failures “one of the state’s biggest law enforcement scandals ever” (“The Cleanup Guy,” December 9). That characterization misleadingly lays blame for this failure at the feet of law enforcement, when the Hinton lab was operated and managed by the state’s Department of Public Health. Law enforcement had nothing to do with chemist Annie Dookhan’s gross misconduct or any failures of leadership and supervision at the Department of Public Health. Make no mistake, however: Law enforcement is bearing the brunt of the work cleaning this mess up. For that reason, we were also disappointed that the work of the district attorneys’ offices was given such short shrift. We understand that this was a story about our friend and colleague David Meier, and there is much to praise about David’s career and his efforts. But the overwhelming task of sifting through these cases and ensuring that justice is done has fallen disproportionately on the people who were already the lowest-paid and most overworked professionals in our criminal justice system: our state’s prosecutors. This has stretched our resources beyond the breaking point, and we still have not been provided an ounce of relief by either the governor or the Legislature.
President, Massachusetts District Attorneys Association and Cape & Islands district attorney
Daniel F. Conley
Vice president, MDAA and Suffolk County district attorney
Helman’s piece on David Meier, one of my former assistant district attorneys in Middlesex County, was excellent. It was an eloquent example of the nobility, purpose, and rewards of public service. The piece was also excellent on the nature and scope of the challenge facing the justice system and state leadership. It was the beginning of holding that leadership accountable, not only for what they failed to do and detect — a major story that state Inspector General Glenn Cunha may or may not uncover — but also for whether they will have the courage to proactively stand up and solve this problem comprehensively and efficiently. Who will be that hero, individually or collectively?
Former Middlesex County district attorney and Massachusetts attorney general
EYES ON THE SKIES
I enjoyed “8 Great Spots for Urban Birding’’ (December 9), but I’d like to point out that although the address for Mount Auburn Cemetery is in Cambridge, as stated in the article, at least 95 percent of the cemetery is in Watertown.
Marilynne Roach / President, Historical Society of Watertown
Thanks to Ted Levin’s article, my husband and I grabbed our binoculars on Sunday and headed to Millennium Park in West Roxbury to do some exploring. While bird sightings were few, we did watch a woodpecker hard at work in the distance. It was a spur of the moment outing to a new part of the city.
Nancy Chisholm / Milton
BEST FRIENDS 4 EVA
Ellen Goss Goldsberry’s essay “The Friend Who Hung On” (Connections, December 2) touched a raw nerve. Growing up in India, where every relationship lasted a few generations, I was accustomed to long-term friendships. But in the United States, though I make good friends while we are part of something, there is very little contact once someone moves on. Part of the reason may be that once a small rift happens due to an unkind word or action, we feel burdened. But if we accept that any relationship will include ups and downs, we can be more forgiving.
Meenal Pandya / Wellesley
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