Suspect principles

Letters to the Boston editor, November 20, 2009
By BOSTON PHOENIX LETTERS  |  November 18, 2009

I was disappointed that the Phoenix chose to describe Attorney General Martha Coakley’s stand against the health-care bill recently passed by the House of Representatives as “principled.” Coakley takes “principled” stands when they benefit her politically. And her more dubious stands are ignored by the adoring press.

How many voters, for example, know that she recently signed Massachusetts onto an amicus brief that advocates total immunity for prosecutors? That case, now before the Supreme Court, concerns two Iowa African-Americans who were framed by prosecutors for a murder they did not commit. These two men spent 25 years of their lives in prison. Because of Coakley, Massachusetts now supports the position that there is no freestanding constitutional right not to be framed.

Most, unfortunately, have forgotten Coakley’s own checkered history as a prosecutor in the Middlesex District Attorney’s office. She was an avid witch hunter while the day-care sex-abuse hysteria still raged. She came to prominence prosecuting Ray and Shirley Souza, two grandparents who were charged with bizarre sex crimes that came to light through alleged and controversial repressed childhood memories. She also successfully lobbied against commuting Fells Acres Day Care worker Gerald Amirault’s sentence.

Many halfway intelligent people have come to believe that no crimes were committed in these instances, and that unreliable evidence was used. Unfortunately, few voters remember that Coakley had anything to do with these cases.

Coakley is not “principled.” She is ruthlessly ambitious. It would be tragic should she be elected to succeed Ted Kennedy.

Robert B. Chatelle

Pack rats
Your rodent piece was frightening and entertaining. But I wish you had mentioned that Boston could take a huge step to combat rats just by changing how we collect our trash. Instead of throwing it out on the sidewalks — sometimes not even in a bag, and often overnight — we should be putting it in closed barrels. I don’t know of any other city that collects trash as we do. You write with humor and good information. Thanks for the piece.

Pierre Bonin

Evaluating art
Regarding “Power to the People”: what does Francisco De la Barra intend to do with the proceeds of these paintings? Will any of the money go toward the assistance of his homeless subjects? Is he truly an empathetic visionary attempting to “empower” the less fortunate, or just another talentless hack abusing a gimmick to mask a lack of technical skill? I suspect the latter.

Nina Ramos

EDITOR’S NOTE: De la Barra says he is giving 20 percent of his proceeds to the Somerville Homeless Coalition and 20 percent to the shelter at Cambridge’s University Lutheran Church, where the paintings are on display. Each of his subjects will also receive a framed copy of their portrait.

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  Topics: Letters , Edward M. Kennedy, U.S. House of Representatives, U.S. Congress,  More more >
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