"Political Justice" means that Randolph gets represented fairly in the state government. The lack of fair representation is the source of Randolph's economic injustice and environmental injustice.
We have not had a resident of Randolph seated in the State House for decades -- that isn't right!
And that lack of representation at the state level means we don't get our fair share of state resources in everything from road repair to MBTA access to school funding, and so many other issues.
The solution is a Town Council that believes in "open government": more participation in the political process; more access to government information and government processes; and more of a voice at the state and federal level for our town.
The First Amendment to the United States Constitution includes the right of the people "to petition the government for a redress of grievances" -- but how exactly do people do that for Randolph municipal government?
Well, there's a petition process laid out in Randolph's Town Charter, section 3.6 and 3.7, and Jesse Gordon was the first citizen of Randolph to exercise the right to a "Charter Petition." That means that Jesse established a new voice for the people of Randolph -- a means to be fully heard by our elected officials -- here's how it works:
Randolph is split into three state House districts, and none of our state representatives in the Massachusetts House are from Randolph. That’s not coincidence – re-districting to get political power for Randolph requires political will and political effectiveness – both of which are lacking in Randolph’s political representatives.
Every House district in Massachusetts contains about 42,000 people. Randolph had 32,000 people in the 2010 census, and Randolph’s population is growing so we warrant a state House district just for Randolph in 2020. A representative from Randolph would represent the people of Randolph – unlike our current “representatives.”
Right now, our representatives focus on the people of Milton and Braintree and Quincy – where those representatives live. Take a look at the town of residence of all of the recent State Senators and State Representatives for Randolph:
Randolph has not had a resident in the Massachusetts House for decades. That’s one of the reasons that Randolph doesn’t get our fair share – of environmental resources, of educational resources, and of economic resources. Our representatives are obligated to represent Randolph even if they are from Milton or Braintree or Quincy. But unless we push them to do so, they won’t push for a fair share for Randolph.
When the time comes for redistricting after the 2020 census, I will fight for a Randolph district that will have a Randolph representative, for the first time in decades. That will be a tough fight, and we need to start laying the groundwork now, to win in 2020.
Vote for Jesse Gordon for Randolph Town Council to demand our fair share in Randolph.
Did you know that several towns in Massachusetts have debated allowing non-citizen immigrants to vote in municipal elections? That would mean that Green Card holders could vote for Randolph Town Council and Randolph School Committee.
Randolph is home to about 9,000 immigrants – that’s 29% of our population. They pay taxes in Randolph; they are residents of Randolph; their kids go to school in Randolph – but they don’t get to vote in Randolph for how their taxes or spent, or for how their town is run, or for how their kids are educated. How come?
I'm not talking about illegal immigrants, and I'm not talking about voting for the presidency or even for state legislators -- only about Green-Card holders who are on the path to citizenship, and who are committed to their residency enough to get a Green Card.
Randolph is the most diverse town in Massachusetts. We should be proud of our diversity, and of our legal immigrant population. Maybe it's time that we discuss getting legal Green Card holders more political representation.
Randolph has the 5th highest immigrant population in Massachusetts, after Chelsea, Everett, Lawrence, and Malden. We should team up with those four towns (plus the three towns that have already asked the state legislature about this issue) to get the state legislature to debate Green-Card-holder voting in municipal elections. As Town Councilor, I would contact my town councilor counterparts from those other seven towns, to jointly seek that the state legislature discuss this issue.
Further details in newspaper article: Randolph residents discuss immigration with Capuano, Feb. 23, 2018
How come the BAT #12 bus only has one stop in Randolph, even though it runs for 5 miles through town? How come the MBTA #240 bus is always standing-room only at rush hour? How come there's no bus to the Randolph Theater, or a bus from Randolph to D.W. Field Park, or to Houghton Pond? Are those places intended only for people with cars?
Jesse has banged his head against the wall of the MBTA and the BAT for years. He has written to the agencies about all of the topics above; attended MBTA "public hearings" in Boston and elsewhere where he spoke on the issues above; and eventually he concluded that the MBTA and BAT simply don't listen. Specifically, the MBTA and BAT have no mechanisms in place to take feedback from riders. Jesse even addressed THAT issue, at an MBTA public hearing in Mattapan in 2015, suggesting an "MBTA Ombudsman" who would represent the riders, and summarize their suggestions and complaints for agency decision-makers. That suggestion, like every other suggestion, was politely dimissed and ignored.
Why don't the MBTA and BAT listen to the people they serve? As usual, it's a political failure – our representatives just don't represent us when it comes to mass transit. And as usual, it has to do with wealth – wealthier communities and wealthier people focus on automobile-related issues, and so our political representatives do, too. Hence the state and federal governments spend billions of dollars building free roads, but scream every time we ask for a better subsidy for mass transit.
Jesse's vision for mass transit is extremely simple: it should be extremely cheap, and extremely convenient. And Jesse couples that vision with a task list:
Street PavingRandolph is a town of cul-de-sacs -- many small residential streets, with a few through-streets. Randolph paves the through-streets very well -- but residents of the cul-de-sacs complain that they are ignored. My solution is to make the street paving list available on the town website, so residents can look up when they might expect their street to be paved.
There IS a street-paving list -- it's a big, thick book, listing every street in Randolph, with a priority level for how urgently repairs are needed, and then an estimate of much those repairs would cost. The town paves the streets in priority order until the allocated funds run out, based on how much the Town Council allocates each year. Let's put that list online -- and let people sort by street name; by area; by priority; or by cost.
That doesn't solve the problem, but it makes the process open to public inspection. Another part of the solution would be to dedicate more funds annually to repaving -- which I also support -- infrastructure is a good investment!
This video is a mini-tour of the Randolph roads, from the theater to North Main Street, to address: When will my road get repaved? That question is surprisingly hard to answer for Randolph residents. Jesse Gordon would like to change that, so that the answer can be found online. And Jesse would like to change the rules so that smaller streets get repaved more than once every 30 years, and that sidewalks get repaved too, and more -- to make Randolph more "pedestrian friendly", more bicycle-friendly, more T-friendly, and more wheelchair-friendly.
Further details in newspaper article: Gordon looks to improve streets, Nov. 4, 2017
MarijuanaWhen "we, the people" pass a ballot initiative, our elected representatives should feel obligated to enact it. Ballot initiative aren't just suggestions -- they're binding law. The 2016 Massachusetts ballot initiative on marijuana passed with 53.6% of the people in favor, including a majority in Randolph. Therefore it's legal -- and elected representatives should treat it like any other law. The Massachusetts state legislature has a long history of treating binding ballot initiatives as mere "suggestions" -- for example, the 1998 Clean Elections law, which was passed by "we, the people" and then ignored and de-funded by the state legislature in 2003! I would call that "arrogance" -- that legislators think they know better than the people they serve. The marijuana law is the same -- it passed; so legislators should shut up and live by it, like we live by other laws that we sometimes disagree with.
On medical marijuana in Randolph specifically: Medical marijuana is a safe and proven treatment for numerous conditions from glaucoma to cancer weight-loss. The people who use medical marijuana are suffering from physical ailments, and deserve our sympathy and our support. Treating them like junkies -- relegating them to bad locations and so on -- treats them with scorn instead of sympathy. I support medical marijuana facilities in Randolph. I agree with the Town Council discussion on Monday October 16 that the Mazzeo Drive business district is a better location than the Pacella Park location, due to traffic. But the existing zoning authorization at Pacella Park should be honored, with the suggestion that Mazzeo Drive would be preferable.
On returning state marijuana funds: Some of my competitor candidates have suggested that Randolph should return state money that comes from marijuana sales. That's just as arrogant as the state legislature ignoring ballot initiatives! It's also naive, since there's no mechanism to separate out those particular funds. And finally, it's the sort of moralistic tone that goes with alcohol Prohibition and anti-gambling attitudes. Should we return state money from liquor taxes and the lottery too? No! if you disagree with alcohol sales or lottery sales, you go make a ballot initiative and good luck getting a majority to agree with you -- in the meantime, we'll take the money!
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