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LETTERS

Pressing issues call for the attention of Mayor Wu, Governor Baker

Governor Charlie Baker and Boston Mayor Michelle Wu.Pat Greenhouse and David L. Ryan/Globe Staff

In effecting crucial changes, a mayor or a governor is no match for the laser focus of a union

Your Jan. 1 editorial, “New Year’s resolutions for the new mayor and the outgoing governor,” was spot-on. My takeaway was: For Boston Mayor Michelle Wu, it should be about the kids — they only have one shot to get a sound education enabling them to thrive. For Governor Charlie Baker, it’s the question of how we obtain and sustain an effective and accountable law enforcement system — justice and respect for all.

To my mind, there is a common thread impeding reform: strong unions, which clearly understand who they represent and what their mission is — that is, control of the outcome for their members. Conversely, the mayor of Boston and the governor of Massachusetts, and their respective administrations, don’t always have a crystal-clear view of who they represent or what their mission is. They serve various constituencies and oversee a host of government agencies, and that compromises their commitment to stay focused and well-resourced and their willingness to take the heat over whether they achieve successful outcomes for those they serve.

There’s no contest between the singular focus of unions and the muddled mission and diluted power of government. Thus, we have poor education for the kids and lack of accountability in the law enforcement system.

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Bill Hale

Danvers


Consequences of Boston housing crisis are profound

I commend the Globe’s editorial board for defining an ambitious agenda for Mayor Michelle Wu in 2022. As a recent retiree with 32 years in the Boston Public Schools, I appreciate the fact that 3 of the 10 agenda items focused on BPS.

I was disappointed, however, by the failure of the editorial to even mention the affordable housing crisis, let alone include a resolution focusing on this significant issue.

The consequences of this crisis are profound, including a growing homeless population that includes BPS students, a significant decline in the number of children in our city, the displacement of working- and middle-class people, and rising housing instability, with nearly half of rental households spending 30 percent or more of their incomes on housing.

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I hope that the Globe devotes ample attention to the consequences of this crisis, and to the policies that would best address it. This commitment of the Globe’s attention and resources would benefit the mayor of Boston as she grapples with this complex crisis.

Ellen M. McCrave

Brighton


Baker should promote racial justice and overhaul clemency process

As an attorney involved in a clemency initiative at Greater Boston Legal Services, I see the devastating impact that Governor Baker’s withholding of commutations and pardons has on Boston’s communities of color. Overhaul of the clemency process in Massachusetts is well overdue.

Baker should focus on promoting racial justice before he leaves office. During his two terms as governor, he has granted zero clemency petitions despite the fact, as you note in your editorial, that there have been two exceptional commutation petitions sitting on his desk, from Thomas Koonce and William Allen.

Clemency is an integral tool to promote rehabilitation and successful reentry of individuals who were incarcerated. Baker’s refusal to exercise his clemency power contributes to the structural racism that permeates all parts of the criminal adjudication process from arrest to arraignment to conviction.

The Massachusetts Bar Association released a report calling on Baker to act immediately on clemency petitions and to overhaul his overly narrow Executive Clemency Guidelines, which make it difficult to impossible to get clemency. This governor has an incredible opportunity to leave his mark as a racial justice advocate by reinvigorating clemency in Massachusetts.

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Lucie Gulino

Boston

The writer, a 2021 Equal Justice Works fellow sponsored by The Vertex Foundation, works with the CORI & Re-entry Project at Greater Boston Legal Services.