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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Capuano and Pressley Debate in 7th Congressional as the Democratic Primary Approaches in Sept

Capuano and Pressley Debate in 7th Congressional as the Democratic Primary Approaches in Sept

With the Democratic primary coming up on Sept. 4, Congressman Mike Capuano and Boston City Councilor Ayanna Pressley discussed the issues of transportation and housing, among others, in the Massachusetts’ 7th Congressional District Debate held at UMass Boston on Tuesday, August 7.

From the start, the two sides agreed on their stance against the current administration, although the stance wasn’t simply to be anti-Trump. Capuano pointed to several issues, including healthcare and women’s rights.

“With Donald Trump in the White House, we are in the fight of our lives,” he said. “He’s threatening everything that we care about.”

Challenger Pressley stressed that she wasn’t dismissing the efforts of the incumbent Capuano, who is serving his 10th term in Congress, and his experience, but she emphasized the district’s need for activist leadership.

“What this district deserves, and what these times require, is activist leadership, someone who can be a movement and a coalition builder because, ultimately, a vote on the floor of Congress will not defeat the hate coming out of that White House,” Pressley said. “Only a movement can, and we have to build it.”

Capuano said his run has been a combination of both votes and advocacy. “Votes are important, and, by the way, with Democrats in the majority, we brought healthcare to 20 million people,” Capuano said. “Votes are part of what we do, but advocacy behind those votes and part of those votes is just as important on a regular basis, and my record shows we do both.”

Capuano, who cited how the district has seen its public transportation grow during his tenure, said his experience matters.

“In the final analysis, the votes on the floor of the house are going to be, for the most part, the same,” he said. “The effectiveness of what’s behind that vote will be different.”

Fighting for a majority minority district, Pressley also noted her frustration against the charges of identity politics being lobbied against her. The first woman of color elected to the City Council, Pressley recognized the importance of race and gender but said it can’t be recognized for the wrong reasons.

“[Representation] doesn’t matter so we have progressive cred[ibility] about how inclusive and representative we are,” Pressley said. “It matters because it informs the issues that are spotlighted and emphasized, and it leads to more innovative and enduring solutions.”

The debate was hosted by WBUR, the Boston Globe and UMass Boston’s McCormack Graduate School of Policy and Global Studies. It was moderated by WBUR’s Meghna Chakrabarti and the Boston Globe’s Adrian Walker.

The Democratic primary will be held on Sept. 4, while the general election is on Nov. 6. However, the race between Capuano and Pressley will be decided in the Sept. 4 primary.

The 7th district encompasses parts of Boston, Cambridge and Milton, and all of Everett, Chelsea, Randolph and Somerville.

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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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Chelsea Schools Get Raw Deal in ‘Pothole’ Account This Year

Chelsea Schools Get Raw Deal in ‘Pothole’ Account This Year

The Chelsea Public Schools have had a life-line in the State Budget the last few years as finances have gotten more difficult.

That life-line is known as the ‘Hold Harmless’ provision, or more popularly the ‘Pothole’ account. This year, that account is little to no help for Chelsea as the district saw their funding slashed in half.

Last year, Chelsea got an additional $1.214 million from the Pothole account funding – a fund that seeks to help districts who are not getting a proper count of their low-income students due to changes three years ago in the way they are counted.

However, this year Chelsea will only get $296,000, nearly $1 million less than last year.

“The whole idea of the account is to hold us harmless for the change in the way they calculate the funding, which has taken dollars away from us,” said Supt. Mary Bourque. “Come to find out, it was slashed this year at a rate of about 56 percent, so we are not held harmless because that would mean you are at 100 percent. By their own admission, we aren’t held harmless at 100 percent.”

State Sen. Sal DiDomenico said he was disappointed in the funding allotted to Chelsea for the Pothole account, and the ability not to be able to fix the funding for the long-term. That was something he had proposed in the education funding bill.

“I’m disappointed that was also not addressed within this session,” he said. “It would have been addressed with (the education) bill and it’s another reason I’m disappointed with how all of this happened.”

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Chelsea Officials Endorse Pressley Ayanna Pressley

Chelsea Officials Endorse Pressley Ayanna Pressley

Six Chelsea city officials endorsed Boston City Councillor Ayanna Pressley’s candidacy for U.S. Congress at a campaign event last Thursday night at the Mystic Brewery.

City Councillors Damali Vidot, Jamir Rodriguez, and Enio Lopez and School Committee members Lucia Henriquez, Kelly Garcia, and Julio Hernandez each praised Pressley in separate speeches stating their endorsement.

Vidot, who has been a force in Chelsea politics since being elected as a councillor-at-large in her first run for citywide office, said she embraced Pressley’s candidacy from the beginning.

“From the moment I found out Ayanna was running, I was on board,” said Vidot. “The reason I’m supporting her is because I follow politics very closely and I have seen the work she’s done on the Boston City Council advocating for families and for girls. The way she has been able to lead, so authentically and gracefully and not allow anything to interfere with the work she has been able to get accomplished, it’s just magical for me.”

Vidot said people in Chelsea are enthusiastic about Pressley and welcome her positive energy. “The people are loving her. They love her message. She’s real. There’s a whole different energy. We have such a diverse group of people that are supporting her.”

The endorsement event followed a second campaign reception earlier that drew a large crowd at Tu Casa Restaurant on Broadway. Saritin Rizzuto organized the gathering and was pleased with the sizable turnout of supporters.

“My friend, your advocate, and our candidate for the Seventh District congressional seat ,” said Rizzuto in an enthusiastic introduction of Pressley.

Pressley thanked her many supporters at Tu Casa.

“As I look out at all of you, I’m overwhelmed – and my heart is so full,” said Pressley. “Chelsea from the very beginning – you have been so very good to me.”

Pressley is challenging incumbent Michael Capuano in the Sept. 4 Democratic primary in the Seventh Congressional District.

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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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Oath of Office

Oath of Office

The Honorable Stacey Fortes, Robert A. Brennan, and Paul C. Dawley applaud the Honorable Matthew J. Machera after the Oath Of Office was administered. Machera was sworn in on Weds., June 27, as the new First Justice of the Chelsea District Court. Machera had been the acting First Justice, and it became official on June 27 at a ceremony that packed Courtroom 1 at Chelsea Court.

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CBC Hosts Candidates Forum for District Attorney, U.S. Congress

CBC Hosts Candidates Forum for District Attorney, U.S. Congress

The Chelsea Black Community (CBC), under the leadership of President Joan Cromwell, hosted a Candidates Forum on June 27 at the Chelsea Senior Center.

Four of the five candidates for the Suffolk County District Attorney’s position in the Sept. 4 Democratic Primary– Linda Champion, Rachael Rollins, Shannon McAuliffe, and Evandro Carvalho – participated in the forum. Cromwell announced that DA candidate Greg Henning was invited to the forum, but was unable to attend due to another commitment.

Boston City Councilor-at-Large Ayanna Pressley, candidate for U.S. Congress, took part in the CBC’s Congressional Candidates Forum. Congressman Michael Capuano was unable to attend because Congress was in session in Washington, D.C.

The four DA candidates presented their qualifications for the position and stated how they would run the DA’s office if they were elected. There were some spirited remarks by the candidates while discussing issues such as immigration, sanctuary cities, criminal justice reform, the homeless, diversion programs, the opioid crisis, and the safety of residents in Suffolk County.

Rollins delivered the most eye-opening comments of the forum when she spoke about the lack of diversity in positions of leadership at ROCA, the Chelsea-based agency led by CEO Molly Baldwin. Rollins’ comments came after McAuliffe, a former director at Roca, had rebutted Rollins’ earlier statement that she [Rollins] had management experience at Massport, MassDOT, and the MBTA, which, Rollins noted, are much larger organizations than ROCA.

McAuliffe said, “We heard a little bit about Roca leading 17 people and I want to be really clear about this: The staff of Roca is 17 people, but it is an agency with over 200 young men who are the highest risk in the county, and helping to give them what they need to actually turn away from crime. I will let everybody leave their own opinions to themselves about the MBTA and Massport and what we’ve actually seen about those companies, but what I can say about Roca is that it is effective, it’s data-driven, it’s innovative, and it’s about leading radical change.”

Rollins responded vigorously to McAuliffe, saying, “I was fortunate enough after Shannon left Roca, to be offered the job of director of Roca, and what was disappointing to me is that I would have been the first person of color in the 30-year history of Roca to ever have that position. Roca has inserted itself into communities of color and its management is historically not people of color. And I am very, very tired, very candidly, of communities of color being led by people that don’t look like us, and we are not asked to sit at the table. So I am very proud of my history of hiring people of color, and women, at the MBTA, Massport, and MassDOT, and I hope ROCA works really hard to make sure that they get some more diversity in their leadership.”

Pressley, who received the most enthusiastic ovation of the night upon her introduction, said, “I am running for Seventh Congressional District because this is the most diverse district, and yet it is the most unequal. And if you need any evidence of that, you get on the No. 111 bus and just try to get to work on time, or you can get on the No. 1 bus in Harvard Square in Cambridge and ride it all the way to Dudley Square in Roxbury. And what you will see visually is a stark contrast of life experiences, median household income, and life expectancy drop by decades.

“My opponent has been a reliable vote – given these times, that is no longer good enough,” Pressley continued. “This district deserves and these times demand activist leadership, leaders that will vote the right way, that will lead, that will legislate, that will be bold – and I want to underscore the intention in legislating: to uplift families, to advance communities, and to reduce harm.”

Councillor-at-Large Leo Robinson, who represented Capuano at the forum, delivered a speech highlighting Capuano’s many accomplishments in office as Chelsea’s congressman.

Sharon Caulfield, associate dean of Bunker Hill Community College, did a masterful job as the moderator of the forum. Caulfield, whose husband, Michael, and daughter, Emily, looked on proudly in the audience, kept the program moving smoothly, was professional and courteous in her manner, and was impartial in her actions.

Joan Cromwell thanked Chelsea Community Cable Television and its executive director, Duke Bradley, for televising the forum and the Chelsea Record for its publicizing and coverage of the forum.

Cromwell said in concluding her remarks, “This [forum] was good.”

And all who participated in and attended the forum,  agreed.

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