Editorial: Cullinane a clear choice for voters in 12th Suffolk

Voters who live in the 12th Suffolk district have a clear choice as they head to the polls next month to elect a state representative. Incumbent Rep. Dan Cullinane, who faces two challengers in the Sept. 8 Democratic primary election, makes a strong case for his continued leadership on behalf of the people of Dorchester and Mattapan.

We encourage our readers to take the time to read the answers that each of the 12th Suffolk candidates gave to a questionnaire that we prepared and published last week. In his response, Rep. Cullinane offers an in-depth accounting of his work over the last two-and-a-half years to engage the community, secure state funds for projects, and to speak on behalf of his constituents. His record to date is impressive and his understanding of what it takes to be an effective, inclusive leader for our neighborhoods will only get more robust with another term.

Cullinane has distinguished himself in several respects. He has led the charge among our local delegation to impress upon the MBTA the importance of keeping the Mattapan High-Speed Trolley— a vital transit link and one with great historic significance in this part of Boston— on the track and in good condition.

Cullinane also played a key role in persuading the MBTA to re-issue a request for proposals to re-develop the Mattapan Square MBTA parking lot, a key collection of parcels that the transit authority has planned to sell to a charter school. That would have been a mistake, and when Cullinane learned of it, he and other elected leaders took swift action to convince the T that it should start a new process to attract a developer who might do what the community wants and needs at that location: a mixed-use development to bring affordable housing and a sit-down restaurant to Mattapan Square.

Cullinane and his aides are fixtures at community meetings and help to bring state government to people where they live and work. He is accessible, responsive and — when voting on matters at the State House— progressive in a manner that reflects the values of his constituents.

Rep. Cullinane deserves to be re-elected. The Reporter urges voters in the 12th Suffolk district to make it a point to get out and support him on Sept. 8.

Moving ahead with BPD body cameras

Police Commissioner William Evans and Mayor Martin Walsh this week vowed to proceed with a pilot program to test police-worn body cameras in Boston, despite the fact that no Boston officers have volunteered for the program. Instead, Evans said, 100 police — just about five percent of the force—will be ordered at random to try out the system beginning next month.

During an interview on WGBH radio on Tuesday, Evans said he expects a court challenge on his decision from the Boston Police Patrolman’s Association, which has said that the program should be exclusively voluntary.

“Unless a court stops it, right now that’s the way we’re going,” Evans told WGBH, adding that he believes that recent police-worn body camera recordings of incidents elsewhere in the country have helped police.

Evans and Mayor Walsh have expressed skepticism in the past about the necessity of body camera deployment in Boston. Indeed, in our view, there is reason to view such a wholesale use with some reservation. It is not yet fully known how body cameras might impact policing tactics in the field.

But that is why a limited pilot program is a logical step. We hope the Walsh administration will proceed with this try-out and make an informed decision based on data-driven analysis on whether it is worthy of further use citywide.

-Bill Forry


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