Editorial round-up: DA race, Collins for Senate and that Yawkey Way-Jersey Street delay

A few stray thoughts while waiting for the impeachment hearings to start…

• The field of candidates for Suffolk County DA is pretty damn impressive. Several former prosecutors are in the mix, including a Dorchester lawmaker — Evandro Carvalho— who has been in the trenches making real-time reforms to criminal justice laws in the state; another Dorchester resident, Greg Henning, who has solid experience in leading a major section of the DA’s office; Rachael Rollins a former Massport legal counsel and president of the Black Lawyer’s Association; Linda Champion, another former prosecutor with deep connections to the city’s Cape Verdean and Korean communities; and Shannon McAullife, another veteran attorney who has been working on innovative ways to divert people from the court system.

It’s a dynamic, diverse, and talented field, as showcased in a recent forum at English High School that was sponsored in part by Boston’s NAACP chapter and by Reporter news editor Jenn Smith’s profiles of the candidates in our news pages.

As many observers have noted, this might be the most important political race of the season in Boston. It’s worth our attention and the field seems to be rising to the challenge.

• Over her 14 years as a candidate for state offices, this newspaper never endorsed former State Sen. Linda Dorcena Forry in this space for one simple reason: She’s my wife. An endorsement would have been awkward and wildly inappropriate, and we went to great pains to avoid such conflicts.

She is no longer in elected life so I can now say without reservation that had there been no family ties, she would have certainly been our choice. And she did our neighborhoods proud.

Her successor will be chosen on May 1. Rep. Nick Collins, a Democrat, faces two unenrolled candidates, Althea Garrison and Donald Osgood, Sr. I’ll be voting for Nick Collins as I did on April 3. He has demonstrated that he is a reliable ally on issues that matter to our communities— from transforming the Fairmount Line to a rapid transit corridor and investing in improvements to Morrissey Boulevard to pushing UMass officials to make the Dorchester campus a priority.

He is a diligent and forthright public servant and he’ll be an asset to Dorchester and Mattapan in the state Senate. He has earned our support.

• A decision on the Yawkey Way matter was delayed another two weeks last Thursday after the Red Sox, who initiated the petition to change the name back to Jersey Street, asked for the deferral. The Sox have made it clear that they fully intend to push ahead with their request— joined by the other two abutters on the street, which was re-named in 1977. If that’s the case, the city’s Public Improvement Commission really has no cause to do anything other than approve the team’s request.

I know this because in addition to writing a column in support of the Red Sox position in this space, I also submitted written testimony to the commission last month. In reply to my testimony, I received a note acknowledging its receipt from the commission’s secretary, Todd Liming, who added this note about the commission’s process:

“Please note that the PIC plays no role in choosing a name for a roadway, nor does it offer an opinion as to the merit of such a roadway name. The PIC's role is strictly to confirm the petition by the abutters of the subject roadway by verifying that (i) the appropriate procedure was followed, and (ii) the requested new roadway name conforms with the city's public safety, wayfinding, and other applicable requirements.

“In such cases, a unanimous decision by the qualified abutters of the subject roadway must be reached in order for the PIC to confirm the petition.”

It should be noted that over the course of more than a month of deliberation— and two passionate public hearings— there has never been any doubt that all of the Yawkey Way property owners are in agreement that the name should revert to Jersey Street. Not a single piece of testimony— to my knowledge— has suggested that there are any issues related to “public safety, wayfinding,” etc.

The public debate has pivoted on whether Yawkey the man — and thus, the name— is problematic. In fact, by the commission’s own admission— all such testimony is moot. The only parties with standing in the matter— the property owners on the impacted street— have spoken in solidarity, and if the city of Boston plays by its own rules, the street name will be changed on April 26, the date of the next opportunity for the BPIC to meet and vote.

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