A heated discussion between the candidates for Suffolk County District Attorney took place in a packed room at Suffolk University Law School on Thursday, May 3.
The event was moderated by Meghan Irons, the social justice reporter at The Boston Globe, and was hosted by Boston Wards 3, 4, and 5 Democratic committees, Suffolk Law School, Boston NAACP, MassVOTE, and the Mass. Dems Latino Caucus.
Candidates Evandro Carvalho, Massachusetts state representative from Dorchester, Attorney Linda Champion, Greg Henning assistant district attorney, Shannon McAuliffe director at Roca, an organization that disrupts the cycle of poverty, and Rachel Rollins, Chief Legal Counsel to the Massachusetts Port Authority, were ready to answer questions during the forum.
“About 77 percent of DA races go un-contested across the U.S.,” said Rahsaan Hall, Director of the Racial Justice Program and “What a Difference a DA Makes” campaign for the ACLU of MA, to a crowded room. “There is a lack of opportunities for communities to engage but, this is what democracy looks like.”
Hall said that many folks don’t even know what goes on in a DA’s Office and most don’t even know that it is an elected position.
“We are working to make sure the country and residents of Suffolk County are engaged and active,” said Hall.
Candidates were allowed 90 seconds to answer questions and 30 seconds for rebuttal. Questions ranged from are you too much of an insider or outsider to change things, to how to stop cycle of repeat offenders to how will the candidates make the office more diverse?
Champion said she has three areas she will focus on as District Attorney beside safety: education, housing and jobs.
“When you have all of these things you can have an environment that everyone can feel safe,” she said. “I’m in this race to focus on what is the problem and that’s the lives of our residents.”
Henning said his goal as DA would to make sure that everyone is protected, and to re-connect the community with law enforcement.
“I will not only ensure community policing to keep the streets safe but to help people to not to engage and re-engage with the justice system.”
Rollins said that to make a real difference more people of color and women need to work in the justice system.
“To get fairness, equity and justice you need more diversity in the people that serves those decisions,” said Rollins.
McAuliffe distanced herself from the pack by focusing on her current work at Roca, a non-profit that takes young adults who have a high chance of repeat offense and steers them in a different path by providing job training and other opportunities.
“I’m the only one here that hasn’t worked for a job opening,” said McAuliffe who took on the current DA during the last election. “Reform needs a reformer, and that’s who I am.”
Carvalho said that in order to seek justice you need to look at who is making the decisions. He pointed out that the people making the decisions are largely white and those going in and out of the DA’s office are largely people of color.
“I live in Dorchester and my constituents deal with it every day,” he said. “They are trapped without help every day, and that has to change. As DA I will be sure to change things.”
Current DA Dan Conley announced earlier this year that he will not be seeking re-election. Conley has held the office since February 2002.
This will be the second open candidate forum of the year. The primary for the Suffolk Country District Attorney race will be on Tuesday, Sept. 4. The general election will be Tuesday, Nov. 6.
Chelsea is one of 35 Champion Cities selected this week as finalists in the 2018 U.S. Mayors Challenge, a nationwide competition that encourages city leaders to uncover bold, inventive ideas that confront the toughest problems cities face. These 35 urban innovations rose to the top of a competitive pool of more than 320 applications. The Champion Cities will now begin a 6-month testing phase where they will conduct public prototypes of their ideas with grant funding of up to $100,000 per city, a new addition to the Competition this year. The Mayors Challenge returns to the U.S. as one of the first investment in the American Cities Initiative, an effort to help U.S. cities generate innovation and advance policy.
Chelsea now advances to the six-month “Test, Learn, and Adapt” phase of the competition. Cities will refine their ideas during this process with up to $100,000, as well as personalized support from innovation experts, to test and begin building support for their urban innovations and submit a new application in August 2018. In October, four cities will receive $1 million awards and one will receive a grand prize of $5 million to bring their ideas to life.
“We received hundreds of bold and creative ideas from cities around the country in response to the 2018 Mayors Challenge, and these 35 really stood out for their potential to improve people’s lives. The next six months are a great opportunity for the cities to test their ideas and make them even more innovative and effective,” said Michael R. Bloomberg, founder of Bloomberg Philanthropies and three-term Mayor of New York City.
The 35 Champion Cities performed the best against four key criteria – vision, potential for impact, implementation plan, and potential to spread to other cities. A prestigious selection committee Co-Chaired by Former Ambassador Caroline Kennedy and Former Xerox Chairman & CEO Ursula Burns and comprising distinguished policy experts, artists, academics, business executives and social innovation leaders assessed the applications.
Chelsea proposes to scale up its “Hub” crime prevention strategy. The “Hub” is a team of community and government agencies that meet weekly, identify individuals or families facing high levels of risk for crime, and immediately connect them to the services they need. Over the next six months, the Hub leaders will work with the Bloomberg team to formalize, sustain and grow the pilot, as well as build data capacity to learn, adapt, and direct limited resources towards crime prevention. Like the Canadian Hub model, on which the Chelsea Hub model is based, Chelsea expects that the Hub will readily transfer to other communities in Massachusetts and the U.S. The broader aim is for government, community and social services agencies to move from working in silos toward a collaborative effort to more effectively improve community well-being and safety.
“We’re very excited about being a finalist in the Bloomberg Challenge. We hope this opportunity will allow us to continue our work to alleviate the root causes of violence, poverty and homelessness in Chelsea, and connect residents to the help they need,” said Tom Ambrosino, Chelsea City Manager.
The 2018 Mayors Challenge builds on the success of previous Bloomberg-sponsored Challenges in the U.S. (2013), Europe (2014), and Latin America and the Caribbean (2016). For more information, visit HYPERLINK “http://www.mayorschallenge.bloomberg.org” mayorschallenge.bloomberg.org and @BloombergCities on Twitter and Instagram.
The newest Chelsea park – the John Ruiz Park on Washington Avenue – is preparing to open in another few weeks, but already a flat statue of the Quiet Man has been placed in the park. The rendering of the former heavyweight champion from Chelsea features him as he looked during his champion days. In addition, the park will feature play equipment, places to sit and a water feature. City Manager Jay Ash said it is just another effort to provide more open space in the City. It is the crown jewel of the overall Washington Avenue redevelopment project that has been ongoing for the last two years.