Letters to the Editor

Please Wear a Mask

Dear Editor:

As a person on the frontlines who sees the deaths from COVID 19, masks are imperative and they WORK to prevent spread.  They work.  Evidence-based medicine proves it. But, I suspect a No-Masker is suspect of this truth.  After all, they listen to a president who doesn’t listen to science, believes that truth is a relative thing, and ignores the competent medical advisory community.  His “gut instinct” is wrong and his misguided stance is killing people, and you No-Maskers are at the greatest risk.  

To the No-maskers.  This is not a hoax.  

Have an ounce of humanity and in the very least care about your neighbor’s health.  If I can wear a mask 9-12 hours on my shift for the good of myself and for the humans surrounding me, then you should be able to tolerate wearing one for a few minutes while in a store.  After all, you likely tolerated a mask as a child when you walked around happily for hours during Halloween.  

Trust me, the argument that there is a true medical condition that makes a mask contraindicated or truly unable to be worn is weak.  For example, I see dying COVID patients wearing them when they are in true respiratory distress.  Certainly, there may be exceptions where one may truly be unable to be worn reliably.   However, I am sick of seeing video after video of some ranting idiot refusing to wear a mask…yelling…often throwing a tantrum as if it is a welcomed freedom to place others at risk.  Yes you have a right to not protect yourself by not wearing a mask, but it is unAmerican not to try to protect and preserve your fellow American’s health around you.  

Believe me, Mr. and Mrs. No-Masker… the flimsy facemask covering your face for a few minutes in the store is NOTHING when compared to the alternatives that await you if you continue your misguided ways.  Trust me, you will breath easier through this mask than the alternative which is a hard cold piece of plastic with a ventilator attached that will stay in place for likely weeks or longer.  Do you really want this method to be your last method of breathing in this Pandemic??  Save yourself from this TRULY uncomfortable miserable experience, but more importantly save your fellow neighbor and human being from that experience.  

How broken are we as a society where we are having this ridiculous argument?  Over a simple mask…it’s literally like a bandaid for the face.  

I hear my Grampa’s voice in my head right now after one time I skinned my knee.  I was being a brat and whining about the fact that I skinned my knee and that I needed a bandaid.  He applied the bandaid, gave it a little tap with his hand, and firmly said, “now walk it off.”   Which I did…

No-Maskers.  Walk it off.  

Show an ounce of humility and humanity. Wear a mask.  Respect your neighbor. Preserve our beautiful community of Winthrop.  Please.

Michael C. Murphy, MD

Ask Bills to Be Brought to House Floor

Dear Editor;

As a Mother Out Front member, there are two bills we need the very most for Speaker DeLeo to bring to the floor for a vote as urgently needed, both to address our climate crisis and for the sake of losing a lot of money.  First – H. 3983: An Act to Create a 2050 Roadmap to a Clean and Thriving Commonwealth, by Rep. Joan Meschino.  The bill is a comprehensive plan that provides a very critical update to the 1990 GWSA bill (Global Warming Solutions Act) by lowering the emissions target to net zero by 2050 and setting intermediate targets of 50% by 2030 and 75% by 2040.  Also Carbon Pricing will be included; authorized by the Governor through fee and rebate. 

Reporting for effectiveness of reducing GHG emissions (greenhouse gases) will be robust and more frequent than previously as it quantitatively assesses the effectiveness of regulations and programs along the way.  And there is a requirement that the Governor take into account the impact on environmental justice and low income communities.

The second bill I’ll speak of is H4440, Fossil Fuel divestment.  Fossil fuel investments made the Rockefeller family rich, but according to a May 9, 2020 Washington Post article, five years ago, members of the Rockefeller family divested from those fossil fuel stocks.  The $1.1 billion Rockefeller Brothers Fund, now largely free of oil and gas, has outperformed funds with fossil fuels. Massachusetts retirement funds should be allowed to make similar wise divestments.  We urge Speaker DeLeo to schedule a vote on H4440, which will give them that option.

While wealthy investors continue to shed fossil fuel stocks, public retirees in Massachusetts remain invested in these stocks. In 2017, when the Somerville Retirement Board made the right decision to get out of fossil fuels, the Public Employee Retirement Administration Commission (PERAC) determined that the fund could not divest without legislation and Somerville had to reinvest in fossil fuels. If Somerville had remained divested, they would have earned 5% more on their portfolio! PERAC, the regulatory body in MA that oversees 104 city and county pensions, currently prohibits fossil fuel divestment, meaning Somerville had to stay in underperforming funds.   

It is time for Massachusetts pension funds to divest from fossil fuels. Massachusetts needs this, not only because transitioning away from fossil fuels is critical to assure a healthy planet, but because divestment is in the financial interest of public service retirees.   

We ask Speaker DeLeo to bring a vote on bills H 3983 the 2050 House Bill and H4440, the fossil fuel divestment bill.  We urgently need legislation to set us on course for bold policy changes we MUST have RIGHT NOW to set our environment on course for a healthy, livable future and to free pension fund managers to divest from fossil fuels, in the best interest of municipal employees and the environment.

Carol Walker

On Opening the Library

Dear Editor,

As a concerned group of Winthrop residents, we publicly call on Town Manager Austin Faison to release a structured, benchmarked, and dated plan for officially reopening the town library for pickup and hold services and other library functions. Secondly, we call on him to rehire the library’s furloughed staff to do this work. While there are myriad issues at play, five facts remain:

1.     Town residents were informed that the library could not reopen due to safety concerns. However, every library in the surrounding area has reopened for curbside services. The contention that plexiglass is required for reopening (as the Town Manager told the Library Trustees) is quite simply not true.

2.     The library director and assistant director (the only members of the staff who have been retained) are, in fact, serving a select group of patrons for such services. Exchanges with the library have happened via the comments section on Facebook. However, there is no obvious statement on the library’s website, or on their Facebook page, to indicate that these services exist. For these services to be available to only a limited number of residents who are “in the know” promotes a culture of divisiveness and inequity.

3.     Obviously two people cannot serve the entire town’s library requests, which is why the staff needs to be hired back.

4.     The furloughed staff have devised a benchmarked, dated plan explaining how they could offer safe and equitable pick up and hold services to patrons and return to working inside the building in teams in socially distanced areas.

5.     There is ample work the staff can do in and for the library even if the building itself remains closed to the public. These tasks include: receiving and stocking inventory; updating materials and databases; archiving historical materials for the attached Winthrop public museum; and planning and executing virtual events and services such story times for children, lectures, and discussion groups, as many other town libraries are already doing.

We urge our Town Manager to adopt the library staff’s proposed plan, rehire the staff, and make this announcement by August 1, 2020. If no action is taken, we will be contacting greater Boston media outlets to shine light on this reprehensible situation.

Elaine Abrams

Katherine Belle

Alan Billing

Diana Beaudoin

Melanie Connolly

Alyson Casey Dewar

Mikayla Dalton

Stephen Dalton, Jr.

Jonathan Gilzean

Kristin Gilzean

Julia Howington

Elizabeth Pufall Jones

Manal Khan

Suzanne Leonard

Nicki Bonanno-Lopes

Lisa Schad

Elizabeth Telmosse

Nichole Vatcher

Julia Wallerce

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