Call to restore homeowner protections

The state legislature and senate have just passed a foreclosure bill that now awaits Governor Patrick’s signature. BUT a dangerous section has been inserted, and the bill has almost none of the protections that member organizations of MAAPL -- including the Green-Rainbow Party -- have been fighting for. (MAAPL is the Massachusetts Alliance Against Predatory Lending.) Even so, there are simple ways for the Governor to make this bad bill better. While some provisions may look promising on paper, the deadlines and timeframes attached would give banks and mortgage companies a way to easily slip out of compliance. These deadlines and timeframes must be changed. Here are Governor Patrick’s phone numbers: 617-725-4005 or 888-870-7770 (in state). And if you have time, also ask your state senator and representative to urge the Governor to make these important changes*: 1)  Remove the section that lets banks foreclose simply by stating (without proof) that they have the actual note and that harms the right of homeowners to sue even when they can prove the bank is wrong. 2)  Change the deadline from the end of 2013 to the end of 2012 for a task-force report on the advisability of letting homeowners continue to stay and rent their homes after foreclosure, thereby contributing to community and economic stability. 3)  Establish a realistic timeframe for the loans covered in the legislation by the  “commercially reasonable” cost-of-foreclosure test which requires a loan modification process in certain cases. This process MUST NOT penalize the homeowner when the bank refuses to accept the application as complete within a mere 30 days and simply lets the clock run out. Not only does this bill drop provisions that a majority of other states require to protect homeowners, it can do serious damage to the economic well-being of families, neighborhoods, and the Commonwealth if the above changes are not made. Call now! And encourage others to do the same.  *To find out who your Representative and Senator are and their phone numbers; go to  <>

Strike Down 'Three Strikes' Bill

Here is a statement issued by the Greater Boston Chapter of the Green-Rainbow Party against the "Three Strikes" bill currently sitting on Gov. Patrick's desk.  After reading this please feel free to contact the Governor and tell him to veto this bill. Continue reading

Abogados GRP/Green Lawyers?

Should Green lawyers in Massachusetts help build the GRP by forming their own group within the party? If you would like to know more, check out my latest post on Mass Greens.   Continue reading

Legalize, Tax and Regulate Marijuana

Legalize, tax, and regulate marijuana, for all of the following reasons: ethics, public health, fiscal responsibility, civil rights, jobs, public safety, environmental sustainability, common sense, and public accountability.  It’s an ethical issue. Criminalizing the behavior of numerous otherwise law-abiding citizens for the possession of a relatively innocuous organic substance continues to ruin lives, even under the Commonwealth’s current law decriminalizing the possession of one ounce and under. It’s a public health issue. The benefits of marijuana as a medical therapy for numerous conditions has been established conclusively. And, as we’ve seen, legalizing “medical marijuana” results in de facto legalization. It’s a matter of fiscal responsibility. The ongoing investigation and prosecution of summary, misdemeanor, and felony level marijuana-related offenses continue to cost taxpayers more than they’re worth. At the same time, taxing the sale of marijuana will provide a dramatic boost in much-needed state revenues (NB: “Total U.S. marijuana production is 14,349 metric tons annually, with a retail value of $113 billion. In diverting this amount from the legal economy, prohibition costs at least $31.1 billion in lost tax revenues annually). It’s a civil rights issue. Across the Commonwealth, people of color continue to suffer wildly disproportionate rates of harassment, arrests, prosecution, and incarceration on marijuana-related offenses.  It’s a jobs issue. Legalizing marijuana will bring existing jobs around production and distribution into a legal and regulated framework, and will in addition create a raft of new jobs, especially when it comes to hemp, the use of which extends from food to fuel to health products to textiles and beyond. It’s a public safety issue. So long as marijuana continues to remain illegal, the black market will foster violent activity on the part of organized crime, from Mexico to Main Street. It’s an environmental issue. Current growing practices—directly due the plant’s legal status—are wreaking environmental harm. There’s also a genuine opportunity to bring a new industry into the state that will be required to operate—from the start—under regulations guaranteeing sustainable growing methods.It’s a matter of common sense. Prohibition has been an utter failure. According to the International Centre for Science in Drug Policy, “Marijuana has remained almost `universally available’ to American youth during the last 30 years of prohibition.” Meanwhile, “cannabis use among U.S. grade 12 students rose from 27% in 1990 to 32% in 2008, while use among 19 to 28-year-olds increased from 26% in 1990 to 29% in 2008.” It’s what the public wants. A bill with four co-sponsors is currently on the docket. The Chair of the state Senate Judiciary Committee is on the record as supporting legalization. The SIEU, the head of the American Federation of teachers, Congressmen Jim Webb and Barney Frank, and numerous high-ranking law enforcement officials have called for looking into the possibility of legalization. Additionally, it’s no longer a political third-rail: recent surveys show that a majority of Americans support legalization. And in Massachusetts, during the 2010 election, referenda questions around legalizing medical marijuana and marijuana in general appeared in on 18 ballots (nine each); all 18 passed. Therefore, The State Committee of the Green-Rainbow Party endorses the legalization of marijuana in both the Commonwealth of Massachusetts and at the federal level. Official Statement of the Party follows: Continue reading