Candidates need a level playing field

I’m a three-term selectman in Falmouth and a recent independent candidate for the Third Barnstable District seat in the House of Representatives, held by Democrat Matt Patrick. Your editorial and article on “Ending the One-Party State” (CW, Winter ’09) were dead on. The problem is that change needs to come from a Legislature that is currently unaccountable to the people.

I ran as an independent based partially on the fact that 54 percent of the voters in my district are unenrolled, to use the term given to anyone who does not subscribe to any of the four officially recognized parties in Massachusetts. You have given me a glimmer of hope that there can be some progress in changing the status quo. My sense is that a moderate Republican party, largely consisting of unenrolled voters, is the best hope.

On the other hand, I watched the news today, and [outgoing Speaker Sal DiMasi’s] farewell speech — without a hint of remorse or apology, applauded by his fellow legislators — was scary. The subtitle in your article, “A ‘Fool’s Errand’ to Challenge an Incumbent,” also struck me, as I was repeatedly asked if I was crazy to run against any Democrat. I was proud that I got 38 percent of the vote, ran a clean campaign without rancor, and, at the very least, was on the field with my uniform on. People need not be scared to run. They just need a level playing field. The Minnesota model and the reform actions there are things that need to be addressed. Thanks for the great articles and reaffirmation of what I knew to be true.

Carey M. Murphy

It’s time to finally enjoy the Greenway

Spring on the Greenway is here! Thousands will come to enjoy the sunshine, flower beds, and dancing fountains; to eat lunch on the grass; and to people-watch.

The region has waited years for this. Certainly, the Greenway’s progress has not always been smooth. (See “Plush Park,” CW, Fall ’08.) Designs were hotly debated, funding was uncertain, and questions persisted about who would inherit the responsibility to manage, maintain, and program the new public space. But the momentum is shifting. Now the Greenway is a vibrant contributor to Boston’s city life and the questions are behind us.

The Rose Kennedy Greenway Conservancy, the nonprofit created to steward the Greenway, has pledged to make it “open, green, excellent, and welcoming to all.” The notion of nonprofits managing public land began in the 1980s, with neighborhoods, business groups, and park advocates banding together to save parks that were decaying from government neglect.

The Greenway was created with a vision that was developed collaboratively well before the Conservancy was created. It’s a vision that views the Greenway as an urban retreat with parks, plazas, fountains, and public events and programs that draw people closer together and build community. The Conservancy has embraced this vision, and with the signing of a lease with the Massachusetts Turnpike Authority, we began officially to care for the parks on February 23.

None of this progress would have been possible without the shared dedication among the state, the city, the neighborhoods, and the business community — a clear sign of commitment to the Greenway as an important asset for the neighborhoods, the city, and the Commonwealth. In this economic climate, of course, there are questions about the adequacy of funding for this sophisticated park. But a blend of private and public support is assured.

Taken together, this all means one thing: This is the time to start expecting the best instead of the worst. The largest public works project in history has produced a glorious series of parks envisioned as a gift to those who endured the construction for so many years. This summer, it’s going to get even better, and now is the time to let ourselves enjoy it.

Take a look at our website ( for information on the Greenway, its events, and the Conservancy’s activities. Come to one of our public meetings. Even better, come on down to the Greenway. Take a walk, sit on a bench, and take a deep breath. Enjoy.

Nancy Brennan
Executive director
Rose Kennedy Greenway Conservancy

Coakley shows fairness on nuclear energy

As Attorney General Martha Coakley said in her letter (Correspondence, CW, Winter ’09) her office does work hard at consumer protection, to protect “the little guy” from scammers and unscrupulous businesses, and is quite effective at it. We should be grateful for such dedicated and competent public servants.

It is unfortunate that so many attorneys general feel that their responsibility to the public includes intervention in the licensing of nuclear power plants, without having the technical competence to make a useful contribution. Most AG interventions appear to have been based on consultation with anti-nuclear activists or organizations, not with objective and qualified experts. The Nuclear Regulatory Commission is quite thorough and competent, and the time and resources available to ensure safety should not be diverted from expert testimony. Just waving the flag of consumer protection is counter-productive, unless intervention testimony is the result of objective and technically competent preparation.

In view of the quantitative limitations of renewables and of conservation, of the environmental damage from fossil fuels, of ever-increasing electrification, and of the growing realization that the world’s energy demand is ever more rapidly outpacing discovery and exploitation of

fossil fuels, a renaissance of nuclear energy is not only essential, but is increasingly recognized as essential.

So, to protect the little guy who relies on the jobs, services, and the necessities of life so dependent on assured supply of electricity, efforts to assure safety should be constructive rather than adversarial. Fortunately, Martha Coakley, our current AG, is open-minded as well as competent. We should expect reasonable and public-spirited objectivity on the issues of nuclear energy — objectivity that some of her predecessors greatly lacked.

R. Murray Campbell