Community Meeting Scheduled for Marijuana Proposal at King Arthur’s Site

Community Meeting Scheduled for Marijuana Proposal at King Arthur’s Site

A proposal for a marijuana cultivation and retail establishment has been proposed for the former King Arthur’s strip club site on Beacham Street adjacent to the New England Produce Center.

GreenStar Herbals has scheduled a community outreach meeting for Sept. 20 at 6 p.m. in City Hall. The proposal would be for 200 Beacham St., and the meeting would be for questions and a presentation.

The community outreach meeting is the first step in the long process to get a license for selling and/or growing marijuana in Chelsea. By state regulations, Chelsea would likely have to award at least four licenses throughout the City in the designated zoning areas. So far, three community outreach meetings from three separate companies have taken place.

Attorney Jay Paul Satin, of Revere, will be representing GreenStar.

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Back to School: Beware of the JUUL

Back to School: Beware of the JUUL

If last year’s fidget spinners were all fun and games, this year, the national attraction is rather different: JUUL, an e-cigarette device that has become so synonymous with vaping and accepted by the masses, that the term “juul-ing” has been coined.

Unlike the past forms of bulky e-cigarettes, JUUL proposes a completely different design: a small, USB-like device that comes in a variety of colors, skins and flavors. Its convenience has won over the e-cigarette industry, now claiming about 70-percent of the market share, according to a study by the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids.

Juul Labs says that the device is designed to help adult smokers transition out of their cigarette addiction, but if you think that JUUL devices won’t reach the hands of the youth, that’s a grave mistake.

An estimated 11.7-percent of high school students and 3.3-percent of middle school students were e-cigarette users in 2017, according to the National Youth Tobacco Survey.

That’s more than 2.1 million youth.

The stats are seemingly increasing over time. According to a 2018 study by the Truth Initiative, nearly one-fifth of youth, ranging from 12- to 17-year-old, reported that they had seen the use of JUUL in their schools.

There are several concerns: For one, while JUUL pods contain nicotine. The greater issue, perhaps, is the lack of awareness on the issue. A study from Truth Initivative found that 63-percent of 15-to-24-year-old JUUL users did not know that JUUL always contains nicotine.

Nicotine, according to the Surgeon General’s report, “poses dangers to youth, pregnant women, and fetuses. The use of products containing nicotine in any form among youth, including in e-cigarettes, is unsafe.”

JUUL has been a particular subject within Massachusetts, where the State Attorney General Maura Healey launched investigations into Juul Labs for failing to prevent minors form purchasing its products.

“We welcome the opportunity to work with the Massachusetts Attorney General because, we too, are committed to preventing underage use of JUUL,” said Juul spokesman Matt David in a past statement. “… Furthermore, we have never marketed to anyone underage.”

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Five vie Suffolk County District Attorney

Five vie Suffolk County District Attorney

With Suffolk County District Attorney (DA) Dan Conley announcing earlier this year that he will not seek re-election after leading the office for more than 15 years, a crowded field has emerged to replace him.

Five candidates—Evandro Carvalho, Linda Champion, Greg Henning, Shannon McAuliffe, and Rachael Rollins—are facing-off for the Democratic nomination on Sept. 4. Greg Henning, who is viewed as right leaning, appears to be the favorite with the remaining candidates splitting the progressive vote. The Record recently contacted the five candidates to ask them their pitch for Chelsea voters.

Greg Henning

“I’m running for DA because I have a vision for a safe and vibrant Suffolk County for everyone. Your next DA needs to be ready on day one to stem the tide of gun violence, combat the opioid epidemic, and build trust between law enforcement and the community. As an assistant district attorney for 10 years, I worked to deliver justice to victims of shootings and other violent crimes. As a teacher and mentor, I worked with young people to steer them away from crime in the first place. I hope to continue serving this community as your next DA.”

Shannon McAuliffe

“I have always chosen the hard fight because it was the right fight. First, I never prosecuted one way like the other candidates and now claim, ‘Sorry, I’ll try being fairer now.’ Second, as a 12-year Suffolk County public defender and long-time Suffolk County resident, I have more experience in these very criminal courts than any opponent. Third, I led two sites at Roca, an innovative organization literally proven to reduce recidivism amongst Suffolk County’s court-involved young adults. Finally, I am the only candidate with a proven track record of fighting against injustice and doing different to get different results.”

Rachael Rollins

“The primary responsibility of the DA is to keep our communities safe. I will do that – but I will do it differently. My Administration will give voice to victims and survivors of crime.  We will work to solve the 1000+ unsolved homicides in Boston. We will seek to end wealth and race-based disparities by tackling the cash bail system. I understand that mental illness and substance abuse require treatment, not incarceration. I will work hand-in-hand with our diverse communities.  With 20+ years of legal and leadership experience, I can implement real progressive criminal justice reform. Get involved at rollins4da.com.”

Evandro Carvalho

“I’m running because it’s time for a DA from our community. It’s time for a DA with the leadership and training to transform the office and keep our communities safe. It’s time to elect a DA with a proven record of fighting for the people.

I’m a former Assistant District Attorney and current State Representative from Dorchester, where I live with my wife and daughter. I went to Madison Park High School. I led the fight for criminal justice reform on Beacon Hill and as the DA for Suffolk County, I’ll make the office more accountable, equitable, and transparent.”

Linda Champion

“This race is not about politics, it’s about the community. As someone who has lived in poverty, been homeless, experienced the trauma of domestic violence and substance abuse and endured gender and racial discrimination, I feel I can lead the district attorney’s office through the difficult challenges that are ahead of us. I will lead the DA’s office away from a scorecard mentality and toward reducing recidivism through community collaboration, with the overall goal of crime prevention.”

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Four Members of City Council Endorse Rollins for District Attorney

Four Members of City Council Endorse Rollins for District Attorney

This week, Rachael Rollins received the endorsement of four Chelsea City Councillors, including Councilor Leo Robinson (At-Large), Councilor Roy Avellaneda (At-Large), Councilor Joe Perlatonda (District 3), Councilor Giovanni A. Recupero (District 6) and the Ward 4 – Chelsea Democratic Committee in her candidacy for District Attorney of Suffolk County.

This endorsement adds to a large list of civic leaders who have endorsed Rollins including, Boston City Council President Andrea Campbell, Boston City Councilor Kim Janey, State Senator William Brownsberger, among others.

Councilor Robinson said: “In order to make change, you have to be at the table. Rachael is the one we want at the table for us. She’s a fighter and is the voice that Chelsea needs in the Suffolk County District Attorney’s Office. Join me in voting for Rachael Rollins on September 4.”

Councilor Avellaneda said: “As someone who has dedicated my adult life to civic engagement, I know we have a partner in Rachael Rollins. Having previously worked together with Rachael at MassDOT, I have witnessed firsthand her ability to administer a public agency. Her proposals for a common-sense, progressive policy to address issues of public safety and the opioid epidemic in Suffolk County is what we need. She is absolutely the right choice for Suffolk County DA.”

Councilor Perlatonda said: “I’m proud to join my colleagues on the Council and the over 60 individuals and organizations that have endorsed Rachael Rollins.  There isn’t a more experienced leader in this important race.”

Councilor Recupero said: “All of our communities are safer when we have trust in our District Attorney. Rachael Rollins is someone you can trust. In order to understand the people, you need to be with the people and Rachael is with the people. I’m proud to endorse her and will be casting my vote for her on September 4 in the Primary Election for Suffolk County District Attorney.”

Rollins stated: “I am so proud to have the support of each councilor. Chelsea is lucky to have these wonderful public servants. I know the hard-working and dedicated people of Chelsea want a fighter and someone who will advocate to keep their community safe. If elected, I will hold true to this promise and will fight every day for the people of Chelsea and Suffolk County. Thank you again to the councilors as well as the Ward 4 Democratic Committee. I am grateful and inspired by your support.”

Election Day is Tuesday, September 4. To learn more about Rollins or to get involved, please visit: www.rollins4da.com.

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Chelsea and Winthrop Town Councilors Join Coalition of Support for Suffolk County DA Candidate Shannon McAuliffe

Chelsea and Winthrop Town Councilors Join Coalition of Support for Suffolk County DA Candidate Shannon McAuliffe

Three Winthrop Town Councilors, including Councilor at-Large Michael Lucerto, Councilor Heather Engman, and Councilor Nick Loconte as well as Chelsea City Counselor Enio Lopez announced their endorsement of Shannon McAuliffe for Suffolk County District Attorney. They join a wide range of leaders in Suffolk County that have endorsed McAuliffe, including Sheriff Steve Tompkins and ten local unions. These unions include the New England Regional Council of Carpenters, Iron Workers Local 7, UNITE HERE Local 26, Building Wreckers Local 1421, Operating Engineers Local 4, Painters District Council 35, Plasterers and Cement Masons Local 534, Sheet Metal Workers Local 17, SEIU Local 888, and NAGE/SEIU Local 5000.

Winthrop Councilor at-Large, Michael Lucerto stated, “I am proudly endorsing Shannon McAuliffe for Suffolk County DA.  Suffolk County needs Shannon’s vision for a data-driven, results oriented, common sense approach to justice reform.  Shannon possesses the rare combination of experience and leadership, while also running for office for the right reason: to lead positive change in our communities.”

Echoing the sentiments of his counterparts in Winthrop, Chelsea City Councilor Enio Lopez says,  “Shannon is the partner the Chelsea community needs in the Suffolk County District Attorney’s office. She possesses a smart and strategic vision for our criminal justice system, and I am proud to support her.”

Commenting on the recent endorsements McAuliffe says, “ I am honored to be supported by leaders I respect so deeply. Working in partnership with every community in Suffolk County, from Dorchester to West Roxbury to Chelsea, Revere, and Winthrop is crucial to ensuring that our justice system is equitable and fair. Having the support of community leaders demonstrates that my vision of a smart and strategic DA’s office, where addiction is not treated as a crime, and where your background does not dictate your fate in court, resonates across Suffolk County. It is time to change the way we look at our justice system, and I am excited to have these partners in that work.”

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Marijuana Store, Education Facility Looks at Possible Parkway Plaza Location

Marijuana Store, Education Facility Looks at Possible Parkway Plaza Location

The Western Front company is proposing to locate a medical marijuana dispensary and a marijuana industry training program at the Parkway Plaza off of Webster Street.

A public meeting to hear and discuss the proposal will be held at City Hall tonight, Aug. 9, at 6 p.m.

Attorney Tim Flaherty said that Western Front is led by Marvin E. Gilmore Jr., a World War II veteran who has spent most of his life helping low-income people get into profitable industries so that they could move into the middle class.

Flaherty said the state Cannabis Control Commission (CCC) has already certified Western Front as an Economic Empowerment proposal, which makes it unique compared to traditional proposals. It also puts it somewhat on the fast-track in the state process. Chelsea is designated as a community where Economic Empowerment proposals are allowed due to what is termed an inequitable enforcement of drug laws regarding marijuana in the past.

Flaherty said to be certified, a proposal has to meet three of six criteria, and Western Front met all six.

“This is a very appropriate site we think for this use and complies with zoning in Chelsea,” said Flaherty. “What we will do with the space is we will operate a dispensary on one side and we will operate the other side as a workforce training space. Our business model is to have Chelsea residents and have people previously impacted by the War on Drugs benefitting from this proposal. There are certain types of offenses that disqualify people from being hired by Western Front, but a conviction for possession of marijuana would not prohibit them.”

The proposal at the moment is for a medical marijuana dispensary to operate, but Flaherty said they would like to become a recreational facility if they can get the financing and approvals. For now, though, they will be apply for medical.

The workforce training center will exist to educate Chelsea residents about how to get involved and qualified to work in the burgeoning marijuana industry.

The proposal, Flaherty stressed, is unique in that it is meant to benefit people in Chelsea that have been disproportionately harmed by the War on Drugs in the past.

He said they haven’t signed a Host Community Agreement with the City yet, but he said a standard condition is a 3 percent impact fee. Another 3 percent fee would be imposed as a local sales tax option. Other mitigation could come if the proposal is approved.

Flaherty said they will have 24/7 video and audio surveillance, with steel doors and a security guard on site.

After the community meeting, if there is not major opposition, the proposal would move to a full application with the state. If approved there, the application would come back to the Chelsea Planning Board for a Special Permit.

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Linda Champion Announces for Suffolk County DA

Linda Champion Announces for Suffolk County DA

Linda Champion has announced her intention to run for the position of Suffolk County District Attorney. The following is her statement:

“We are prosecuting people but we are not prosecuting the conditions that exist in our society that cause a person to act out: poverty, substance abuse, trauma and ptsd. In order to prevent crime we need to focus on jobs, education, and housing, these tools have been my core focus over the past 15 years. I will roll up my sleeves and get the work done.” – Linda Champion

Linda Champion is a seasoned litigator, former Suffolk County prosecutor, and community builder who is seeking to be the first Korean-African American woman ever elected to office in Massachusetts.

The daughter of an African-American war veteran and a Korean immigrant mother who met while he was fighting in Vietnam, Linda was raised in Louisiana and Texas before moving to Lowell in the late 1980s. Her father suffered from the effects of the war and she and her sister were raised by their mother. The family struggled with discrimination, poverty and homelessness as her mother worked two jobs to provide for her daughters. Linda graduated from Lowell Middlesex Academy, and she moved to Boston alone, when she was 18 and homeless.

She is a graduate of Newbury College, Suffolk University and Suffolk Law School. She served for two years as an assistant district attorney under Suffolk County District Attorney Dan Conley, prosecuting criminal cases in juvenile court, Dorchester and Roxbury District Courts. She was promoted to Superior Court prosecutor in 2013 and worked in the Elder and Disabled Victims Unit. She is currently on leave of absence from the Massachusetts Department of Industrial Accidents where she has served since 2013 as an assistant general counsel representing the Workers Compensation Trust Fund.

Prior to her public service, she worked as a private attorney, specializing in consumer protection, real estate law, community development and helping first-time homebuyers overcome financial and discriminatory barriers to housing. She’s also partnered with the City of Boston to teach home ownership programs and been a board member for a subsidiary of the affordable housing nonprofit organization Urban Edge.

Linda has also volunteered for several charitable organizations, including fundraising for Thompson Island, The Dimock Center and served five years on the board of Newbury College and Chung Changing Lives, a nonprofit co-founded by Cecelia Chung that provided free music, athletic and academic programs to adolescents. Linda lives in Hyde Park with her family.

Summary Policy

Positions

Salary increases. Increase salaries of Assistant District Attorney to a livable living wage. Currently the average hourly salary for entry level prosecutors is about $22.00 per hour. Most of the entry-level prosecutors and victim witness advocates have wages that are totally inadequate. The starting salary for Assistant District Attorneys range from $42,000 – $50,000. Many of these public servants due to the cost of living and student loans are forced to work two-jobs which impacts their ability to focus on the job at hand. We must increase the starting salaries to a minimum of $65,000 – $75,000.

Diversity. As an assistant district attorney I learned that most of my colleagues had little to no personal experiences with communities of color outside their employment. Because they lacked real world experiences with people of different race, ethnic and cultural backgrounds often their perceptions of an individual’s actions were biased. In order to build relationships within the communities we serve and to ensure that justice is equal we have to transform the Office of the District Attorney to reflect the community we serve and affirm the value of our communities of color. This starts with addressing our own race bias through engagement and training to understand the types of violence facing black, brown and indigenous Americans.

Crime Prevention. In order to maintain safe neighborhoods we have to work with the residents in the community. The residents have to feel safe and protected so they can report crime. To create a safe environment we have to a establish a victim and witness protection program that goes beyond giving a person a ride to court and a list of resources to contact. We need a program that includes mental health services to housing relocation and assistance. For residents to feel safe to come forward with information I have to continue to work as a community builder to solidify relationships between the community, undocumented residents and law enforcement professional. One overarching goal is to work with homicide detectives to expand the cold team and to work through cold cases to bring the survivors of homicide closure. This is to identify and segregate those dangerous persons who pose a threat to our safety and the well-being of others. Aside from allocating sufficient resources to witness protection, this policy requires working with law enforcement to increase resources available to detectives and to grow number of detectives assigned to the homicide cold case squad.

Upcoming Events

Saturday, July 21, 2018

12  – 4 p.m.

184 Dudley St., Boston, MA, 02119

Cookout with the Candidates, meet the candidates running for County, Statewide, and Federal office.

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Chelsea Prosecutor Honored at Annual Award Ceremony

Chelsea Prosecutor Honored at Annual Award Ceremony

A member of the prosecution team that handles cases in Chelsea and Revere was honored with a prestigious award named after a former school teacher, Suffolk prosecutor, and Boston City Council member, Suffolk County District Attorney Daniel F. Conley said.

Assistant District Attorney Priscilla Guerrero received the Brian J. Honan Award for Excellence in the Courtroom and Commitment to the Communities We Serve at a ceremony held last month at Suffolk University. The award is presented annually to a lawyer who pursues a criminal justice mission that balances outstanding legal work with community advocacy above and beyond the call of duty. Honan, who died suddenly in 2002, worked alongside Conley as an assistant district attorney in the 1990s before taking a seat representing Allston/Brighton on the Boston City Council.

“Priscilla is a mentor to high school and college students and a resource for her colleagues,” Conley said. “But perhaps most important of all, she shows a high-functioning moral and ethical compass that makes us all very proud.”

Guerrero started in the DA’s office as an intern before being hired in 2011 as a member of the Community Relations staff, where she helped organize Conley’s annual Soccer and Basketball for Peace tournaments, recruited volunteers for the Bowdoin/Geneva neighborhood clean-up project, and received special recognition from the Boston City Council for her efforts. She co-founded the weekly Reading Day event at the Joseph Lee K-8 School in Dorchester, which brings prosecutors, police officers, and other criminal justice officials into the classroom to read to young children – a program that got a widely-circulated mention on Twitter from the children’s author Cynthia Levinson earlier this year.

When Guerrero made up her mind to attend Suffolk Law School, she did it while working full-time and still managed to graduate a semester early.  Taking a new role in the office as a paralegal, she helped brief and moot a series of cases heading to the Massachusetts Appeals Court, and as an Assistant DA she argued them – including a serious domestic violence stabbing conviction that was ultimately affirmed by the court.

Though currently assigned as a line prosecutor in Chelsea District Court, Guerrero continues her role as an active ambassador for the DA’s office at the annual Martin Luther King Day Breakfast, Taste of Chelsea, and Basketball and Soccer events. In 2016, when she was named one of El Mundo Boston’s Latino 30 Under 30, she used her platform to promote the prosecutor’s job as an important and satisfying one that benefits the entire community. And on the day she received the Honan award, she organized a pot-luck breakfast celebration at the Lee School for the school year’s final Reading Day program.

“Priscilla has spent seven years building bridges with the people our office serves,” Conley said. “She’s focused especially on the kids and teens who count on us for safe neighborhoods. She’s a leader in and out of the courtroom and I’m very proud of everything she’s accomplished as a prosecutor and community advocate.”

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Foley Installed as President Of the Rotary Club of Chelsea

Foley Installed as President Of the Rotary Club of Chelsea

Maureen Foley was installed as the 91st president of the Rotary Club of Chelsea at the organization’s Installation of Officers Receptions June 21 at the Homewood Suites Event Center.

Rotary Club President David Mindlin (right) and President-Elect Maureen Foley congratulate Paul Harris Fellow honoree Ledia Koco after she received the prestigious award.

Foley was on her home turf. She is the director of community relations for Colwen Hotel Management which operates three hotels in Chelsea, with a fourth, brand new hotel on the Chelsea-Revere line set to open soon.

Foley has become the face of the busy and beautiful hotels since their openings. She is visible at community events and has been a goodwill ambassador for Colwen with her numerous philanthropic and community-spirited endeavors.

And now she’s ready to lead one of the city’s most prominent service organizations that has been here for close to a century. She succeeds outgoing president, Attorney David C. Mindlin.

“When I came to Chelsea and Saritin [Rizzuto] invited me to my first meeting, I had no idea what Rotary was,” said Foley. “I came to make business connections because my company was building a hotel here, but it didn’t take very long before it wasn’t about the business connections any more, it was about a feeling – that I was part of something special and I wanted to stay.”

Foley, who is the eighth woman to serve as Rotary Club of Chelsea president, called it “a great honor” to be the new leader of the club. She noted that Rotary International approved a new vision statement last years.

“It says, together we see a world where people unite and take action to create lasting change – across the globe, in our communities, and in ourselves,” Foley told the gathering.

“Preparing for tonight and the year ahead,” Foley continued, “I thought about that statement and this year’s ‘Be the Inspiration.’

“Inspiration comes from the Latin word, meaning to breathe into; to put life into. I realize before inspiring passion, energy, enthusiasm, or excitement into our club, all of us must work to create change within ourselves, to first inspire ourselves to bring new attitudes, ideas, and passions to Rotary.”

Concluding her remarks, she said, “I am sure the Chelsea Rotary Club can be the inspiration for each other, for our community, and for all those who will follow us in the next 91 years.”

As proud as Maureen Foley was to take office as Rotary president, you could sense the equal feeling of joy and proudness in her daughter, Marika, son, Peter, and 5-year-old granddaughter, Aria, who sat together at a table closest to the podium.

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MS-13 Member Admits Guilt in Murder of 16-Year-Old Boy

MS-13 Member Admits Guilt in Murder of 16-Year-Old Boy

An MS-13 member pleaded guilty recently in federal court in Boston to racketeering conspiracy involving the murder of a 16-year-old boy in East Boston.

The victim was identified as Christofer Perez de la Cruz.

Jairo Perez, a/k/a “Seco,” 27, a Salvadoran national, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to conduct enterprise affairs through a pattern of racketeering activity, more commonly referred to as RICO or racketeering conspiracy. Perez admitted that his racketeering activity involved the Jan. 10, 2016, murder of a 16-year-old boy in East Boston.

Under the terms of the proposed plea agreement, Perez will be sentenced to 35 years in prison.  At today’s hearing, the Court accepted the defendant’s guilty plea but deferred acceptance of the plea agreement until the sentencing hearing.  Perez will be subject to deportation proceedings upon completion of his sentence.  U.S. District Court Judge F. Dennis Saylor IV scheduled sentencing for Sept. 11, 2018.

The investigation revealed that Perez was a member of MS-13’s Trece Loco Salvatrucha (TLS) clique. Evidence showed that on Jan. 10, 2016, Perez and other MS-13 members murdered a 16-year-old boy whom they believed to be a member of the rival 18th Street gang. The victim was stabbed and shot multiple times.  A few days after the murder, Perez was caught on tape admitting to stabbing the victim multiple times, and he was arrested soon thereafter. Perez was also recorded burying the knives used to murder the victim in a park on Deer Island in Winthrop.

After a multi-year investigation, Perez was one of dozens of alleged leaders, members, and associates of MS-13 named in a superseding indictment unsealed in January 2016 that targeted MS-13’s criminal activities in Massachusetts. Perez is the 48th defendant to be convicted as part of that ongoing prosecution by the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Massachusetts.  To date, all eight defendants who have gone to trial have been convicted, and 40 other defendants have pleaded guilty.

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