Please accept this letter as a thank you to the citizens of Winthrop who placed their faith and confidence in me in the Nov. 7 town election with over 2,000 votes.
Although the November election results did not work out for us, believe my efforts to be of service and represent you will not stop. There will be one or two vacancies on the School Committee in the upcoming weeks. I have asked the present School Committee and Town Council for their support by appointment to fill one of the vacancies.
I desire to bring my 22 years of public school experience, relevant education, Town of Winthrop committee experience and business acumen to the School Committee for our students. As a citizen, a family man, parent and neighbor, thank you for your vote in November and your continued support.
John L. Lyons
Holiday Festivities Illuminate Potential of a New French Square
The 26th Annual Holiday Tree Lighting held in the Center last Friday was a wonderful celebration and kickoff to the holiday season. Thank you to Betsy Shane and Ann Ward from the Chamber for organizing this great family event! Like the I Love Winthrop Festival and Halloween Haunt, the tree lighting was a special opportunity to gather with friends, connect with our community, and enjoy roaming free from activity to activity and business to business in the Center. It was also an opportunity to visualize how much better events like these could be and will be with a redesigned French Square, as recently proposed by landscape architects at CBA. While the Center is a mostly lovely place to walk around and enjoy when all the streets are closed, it became especially apparent during the tree lighting event that the green space in the middle is simply in the way. Surrounded by iron bars and occupied mostly with trees and landscaping, it acts are more of a barrier to than a magnet for social activity. We saw that also when the street was closed in front of the old Samuel’s and kids gathered to paint pumpkins- there were literally two gatherings that formed but could not combine due to the isolated nature of the park from the streets and sidewalks.
As I circled the periphery of the iron bars that line the park with my daughter on Friday, I imagined how wonderful it would be to have the main stage set up in the heart of the square, rather than at the far corner, and to have tables and activities lined up together rather than scattered about and isolated from each other. Fortunately, the designs that have been put forward by the landscaper seek to do just that- and ultimately to make the Center a walkable* destination where people of all ages can come to shop, play, host/attend events, and enjoy their community. Winthrop Center has a special charm and sense of place that no strip mall will ever have- and that’s something our local businesses can be proud of. Let’s not make the same mistake that so many historic downtowns made in the 80s by prioritizing parking over people in order to compete with malls and ending up a place-less drive through.
If you haven’t had a chance to check out the designs that have been put forward, you can do so on the Town Web site under “Projects, Plans and Presentations”. The Town Council will likely be voting on a design before the end of the year. With all of the infrastructure work that is about to take place, a beautiful landscape design plan will be icing on the cake!!
* A walkable destination is also accessed by car and includes parking, hopefully well managed and conveniently connected by safe, pleasant sidewalks and paths
Julia Wallerce, LEED Green Associate~
Chair, Winthrop Transportation Advisory Committee
Vice Board Chair, LivableStreets Alliance: Rethinking Urban Transportation
Tweeting all things transportation and Winthrop @juliawallerce.
ONE WINTHROP INITIATIVE
A breath of fresh air came to Winthrop on Sunday, Nov. 19 as the community joined together for the Interfaith Service at St. John’s Episcopal Church. An annual event, this year marked a turning point in my life. Every day I open the Boston Globe and read about another community that experienced some form of hate crime. Reading, Salem, Melrose, Cambridge, Marblehead Swampscott, Georgetown, and Winthrop. Yes, Winthrop. Recently swastikas were scratched into the playground equipment and playground at the Cummings School.
This followed an incident last year where a high school student wrote anti-Jewish messaging in the Winthrop High School and a local family had their car vandalized; viewed as a hate crime by the family. Temple Tifereth Israel has experienced repeated acts of hate directed at the Temple. Colleges and universities are not exempt from this behavior at an increasingly alarming rate. Boston College, Salem State, Brandeis, Northeastern University, UMA Amherst, Curry College are just a few of the schools that have seen an increase in hate acts, hate speech and discrimination.
All of this is on the increase and it’s time that we stand up and say – Hate Has No Home Here. The One Winthrop Initiative is working to combat hate in all its forms in our seaside community. Developed shortly after the November 2016 election we are speaking out on a number of fronts. One year from our initial action, we will convene a Community Forum on Thursday, Dec. 7 at the Winthrop Senior Center, 25 Harvard Street, Winthrop. We seek to expand our base of support and commitment to shared values: inclusion, acceptance, compassion, unity and peace.
The One Winthrop Initiative seeks to counteract these incidents and set the stage for a culture in Winthrop that is welcoming to all and proud of our diversity. We advocate for racial justice, women’s rights, civil liberties and civil rights for immigrants, minorities, LGBTQ communities, religious freedom, refugee support, economic equality and voting rights.
All are welcome to join One Winthrop, learn more about our Initiative, share your ideas to promote One Winthrop and show your support for our community. We welcome you to the One Winthrop Community Forum on Dec. 7. For additional information please contact us at [email protected] or on facebook at OneWinthrop.
One Winthrop Initiative, Winthrop, MA
Racist Transcript Editorial
Your Editorial on Nov. 9 “The Person You Have to Fear Is The Guy Next Door With A Gun” is atrocious in its blatant racism and in its conclusion. Your article states that the public should fear being shot by all white men. Your conclusion is to ban guns. You are wrong on both points, and you have no basis for your racist attack.
To start, would the Transcript make similar racist attacks against women, blacks, Muslims, Hispanics, etc. ….? The Transcript and the author of this article would be afraid to engage in such sorry, racist remarks against any other group.
First, gun ownership by law abiding citizens is a Constitutional Right; i.e. the Second Amendment.
Second, gun violence is most commonly associated with urban gang violence. Murder accounts for only 1.3-percent, of all violent crime, and guns were used in only 1-percent of these violent crimes. (FBI statistic) Banning guns would not prevent even this relatively small percentage of crime. Perpetrators would simply find other means to commit these crimes; knives, vehicles, arson, explosives, etc.
This article also claims banning guns as Australia did would prevent such murders. This is also a misguided conclusion, because comparing the U.S. with Australia is inappropriate. Australia is a vast country /continent with a population of only 23 million and countless other differences socially, economically, demographically, and culturally.
You also state that, since Australia banned guns there have been no mass shootings, Yet there have been 12 mass killings in Australia since they enacted their gun ban; four mass killings using guns, four mass killings by arson, two mass killings via stabbings, one mass killing using a blunt instrument, and one mass killing by vehicle. In fact, in 2007 the Harvard Journal of Law and Public Policy concluded that banning guns would be ineffective, because it does not affect underlining economic, social and cultural factors.
Another obvious example disproving your claim is Chicago. Chicago has the strictest gun laws in the nation. Yet, Chicago has the highest murder rate in the nation. The Chicago murder rate is 500 percent higher than the national average, and this is increasing by 14 percent over 2016. It is also estimated that Chicago will account for 43 percent of the total increase in gun murders. (NYU School of Law’s Brennan Center for Justice) For the record, the bulk of the gun murders in Chicago are not perpetuated by “unhappy white males.”
More data disproving your contention is the occurrence of mass killings in gun free zones. Stanford University dataset of mass shootings cited 153 incidents since 2002. 54 percent of those shootings targeted random people. 64 percent of these shootings were perpetrated in gun free zones. Only 17 percent of mass shootings occurred in areas where guns were allowed, and 29 percent of these crimes were thwarted by legal gun owners. The accurate conclusion here is you are less likely to be a victim of a mass shooting in a legal carry area than in an area where guns are “prohibited.”
The shooting at the Texas church which you also referenced was horrific. Yet the murderer was not just some bored, unhappy white guy. The murderer was a convicted violent criminal. He had been dishonorably discharged from the military. He also had been committed to a mental health facility. By law the murderer should never have been permitted access to firearms. It was the government that made a huge mistake by not reporting this individual’s criminal history to the appropriate data bases which allowed this monster access and freedom to commit this act.
It warrants mention that the perpetrator of the Texas church murders was shot, pursued and ultimately neutralized by a lawful gun owning white private citizen. This lawful gun owner, who is also a NRA member, saved many lives in his selfless effort to protect the public.
As a related matter, we have reached a sorry milestone of 100 successful or thwarted terrorist attacks in the U.S. since Sept. 11, 2001. Most of these atrocities were committed by a certain “religious extremist middle eastern type.” Several of these atrocities actually occurred or originated within 5 miles of Winthrop, East Boston and Revere, and they killed and mutilated hundreds and thousands. Contrary to your suggestions we don’t feel any relief or any more secure that these perpetrators did not look like our “unhappy white neighbor.” Does the Transcript consider the Chechen extremists Muslim terrorists that blew up the Boston marathon our typical white male neighbors?
Perhaps in your next article you will recommend abridging the First Amendment which protects free speech and freedom of the press?
The Transcript owes a public apology to all of their readers for publishing this sordid article. I am waiting.