Letters to the Editor


Dear Editor:

Middlesex County is a fantastic place for cyclists. From the Minuteman Bikeway to the new bike lanes in Cambridge, thousands of residents get on their bicycles every single day. But, I contend we don’t spend enough time  talking about the safety of those biking to work, school, to the store, or just for fun — sharing the roads with cars and trucks.

There have been at least 33 cyclists killed in Massachusetts since 2015. In Cambridge, Somerville, and other Middlesex communities, tragedy has struck too many times. Yet, what I keep hearing on the campaign trail is that law enforcement and the Middlesex DA do not seem to be paying attention.

Boston Magazine reported about a collision of a truck with a bicyclist in Porter Square that left a physician, Bernard Lavins, dead. Though the Middlesex district attorney’s office said it would look into the 2016 collision, it took over a year and a half for the office to declare that the truck driver was not at fault. It is the responsibility of law enforcement to keep our communities safe, including clear and transparent procedures for the timely investigation of possible motor vehicle crimes. We need to be doing something to make roads safer for bicyclists and pedestrians.

As Middlesex district attorney, I will advocate for a cultural shift focused on making streets safer for bicyclists and pedestrians. It seems that many members of law enforcement and the general public carry an implicit bias: that people walking and biking who are involved in crashes are the cause of the incident, rather than the victim. We need to create a shift in culture and work to make sure that everyone is doing their part to keep others in their community safety. The district attorney is a critical voice for that change.

As district attorney, I will also develop a protocol for investigating crashes involving drivers and pedestrians or cyclists, and make sure that investigators are equipped to assess the incident as a whole. If the street is not safe as designed, I will use my position as district attorney to advocate for changes in infrastructure or signage. Recently, Cambridge implemented separated and buffered bike lanes and increased bike lane signage. This is important work. I will advocate for spreading these initiatives across Middlesex County.

Middlesex County needs a district attorney who will commit to taking concrete steps to keep bikers and pedestrians safe. I look forward to hearing from you about your experiences on the campaign trail and seeing you at the polls on Sept. 4! I invite you to get in touch with my campaign at 857-529-7081 or to visit www.donna4da.com to learn more about my vision for both safety and social justice.

Donna Patalano

Candidate for Middlesex District Attorney




Dear Editor:

*The rates of dangerous and distracted driving are on the rise, leading to increases in pedestrian and bicycle deaths nationwide.  The United States Department of Transportation reported that in 2016 there were 840 bicyclist deaths in the country – the highest number since 1991.

The 190th legislative session in the Massachusetts House of Representatives began with legislators raising their own pay and further concentrating power in an unaccountable leadership. It ended with a mad dash in which they failed to pass bills with broad support and allowed special interests to water down others.

Let’s take education for example. The Massachusetts Legislature has not updated the funding formula used to provide aid to local public school districts since 1993. Several years ago, the Legislature created a commission to figure out how much they should be spending. The Massachusetts Senate unanimously passed a bill to update the funding formula unfortunately. The House? Well, House Leadership wasn’t keen on listening to the recommendations of a commission they themselves created despite majority support within the body.

The housing market in cities like Everett has been heating up, putting long-time residents at risk of being priced out. Legislation before our State House could have updated our similarly outdated zoning laws to help address this, but after aggressive lobbying by real estate developers, they chose to do nothing.

In both of these cases, Representative Joe McGonagle didn’t even put up a fight. The problem is that, like many of his peers, Rep. McGonagle simply toes the lines of the House Leadership, whether right or wrong, rather than championing bold policy solutions to the urgent problems communities face. We see that year after year in our Legislative Scorecard, where, like the Speaker of the House, he has a middling C+. This complacency can be felt in stagnant wages, growing costs of health care and education, and budget cuts that bleed basic services dry.

Fortunately, voters in Everett have a choice to make next month in the primary on Tuesday, Sept. 4. Community activist and health care professional Gerly Adrien is running again because she sees that our Legislature still isn’t doing enough to make sure that working families can get ahead. She has an impressive public service background, including working on such issues on teen empowerment, affordable housing, and academic enrichment. As a young woman of color, she brings a perspective too often unheard in politics. And with a bold platform and a strong work ethic, she’s ready to demand more from our Legislature because the people of Everett, and cities and towns across the Commonwealth, deserve better from our elected leaders.

Jonathan Cohn

Co-Chair of the          Election and Endorsement        Committee of Progressive Massachusetts.

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