Letters to the Editor

October 26, 2018
By

Stand Up For Equality: Vote Yes on 3

To the Editor:

Two years ago, Massachusetts joined 17 states and Washington, D.C., by enacting protections for transgender individuals in public accommodations that serve the general public. As I sat in the House of Representatives gallery on the day the vote was taken, I could not help to be overjoyed by the ongoing effort to make Massachusetts an inclusive and welcoming state.

On the November 6 ballot, Massachusetts’s voters make a simple decision: to uphold commonsense public accommodations protection for these individuals by voting YES or get back equal rights by voting NO.

I urge people to vote YES on question 3. Without those legal protections, transgender people would face a multitude of discriminatory challenge on a daily basis. The sky has not fallen since the 2016 vote and we are better as a society for it.

For the past two years transgender people have enjoyed the same rights and protections as everyone else in the Commonwealth, that was not the case before hand. To lose these rights now would be a terrible reversal in efforts to give all people equal protections under the law.

Attorney Olivia Anne Walsh

 

The decision is blatantly discriminatory

To the Editor:

On September 24, 2018 the Chelsea City Council voted, 7-3, with one councilor absent, to give a 10% discount on water and sewer bills for owner-occupied single, two-family, or three-family homes, and to owner-occupied condominiums with an individual water meters; the new rates are to be implemented by July 1, 2019.  In practical terms, this order excludes condominiums.  It also means that EVERYONE ELSE IN CHELSEA – as many as 1,861 condominiums (even those that are owner-occupied) – ALL renters, ALL business owners, ALL places of worship, ALL charities—will be EXCLUDED from this discount.

Chelsea water and sewer rates are increasing significantly, and the Council’s vote means that those renters, businesses, and 1,861 condos are going to subsidize a discount for 625 single-family households (owner-occupied) and 1,149 two- and three-family households (owner-occupied with tenants in other units).

This decision is blatantly discriminatory as it creates separate classes of homeownership in Chelsea, and privileges residents who have the financial capital to buy and own single or multi-family homes – all at the expense of, among others, condo owners who are also stakeholders in the community, and deserve the same consideration as other homeowners.

This policy hurts renters, whose exempt landlords will pass on the water and sewer rate increases by increasing their rent or cutting back on other services.  This policy hurts charities, places of worship, and medical facilities, which are all exempt from this discount.  This policy hurts business owners, who will pass on these costs to their local customers.  Simply put, this is a poorly conceived and exclusionary policy that was rushed to a vote without any meaningful discussion or community input, and that benefits the few at the expense of the many.

We, the undersigned Chelsea residents, are opposed to this rebate, and respectfully ask the Chelsea City Council to reverse its vote before the rebate goes into effect and send the matter to a sub-committee on conference.  There needs to be meaningful, deliberative inquiry and debate on the subject, and substantive community input.

Todd Taylor, Nichols Street

April Swartz, Beacon Street

Pepper Fee, Beacon Street

Rosemary Taylor, Lafayette Avenue

Charles Taylor, Lafayette Avenue

Lisia Morales, Library Street

Linda Duck, Boatswains Way

Christina Fernandez, Library Street

Carolyn P. Boumila-Vega, Blossom Street

Randi White, Broadway

Brayton Ducharme, Broadway

Eric Peters, Broadway

Sharlene McLean, Broadway

Allison Cuneo, Washington Avenue

Richard Todd Fowler, Washington Avenue

Robert Saenz, Shurtleff Street

Ricardo Saenz, Shurtleff Street

Myriam Saenz, Shurtleff Street