Councilor Edwards Takes Extreme Exception to Globe Editorial Against Charter Amendment

With no warning and what she says are serious legal misunderstandings, Councilor Lydia Edwards has fired off a pointed letter to the Boston Globe calling for a retraction or correction to their editorial against her Budget Charter Amendment last Friday.

The Globe editorial came out on Friday and was unsigned, though presumably written and cleared by the Globe Editorial Board. The editorial came out against the Charter Amendment, which is in its second iteration and passed the City Council and was signed by Acting Mayor Kim Janey in May. It is now being looked at by Attorney General Maura Healy and, if cleared, would go to the ballot for the voters to consider. The Amendment would give the Council more power to adjust the City Budget, and would also bring in public participatory budgeting.

Edwards said she took offense to the term “legally dubious” in the editorial and the assertion that the Amendment was concocted in a somewhat illegal or back-door fashion. She said she has been working on it for more than a year, and there have been plenty of public meetings and lengthy discourse on the Amendment for the Globe to now call the unique process “legally dubious.”

She was also offended that the Globe didn’t call or contact her before printing the editorial, and even using her picture next to it.

“The recent editorial fell well below your reputational standards,” she wrote in a rare letter to the Globe. “It is misleading, inaccurate about the law, and incomplete in its description of the charter amendment. Moreover, to add insult to inaccuracy, the editorial referred to me, used my picture, and discussed my efforts to change the charter, yet not one of the editors/authors thought it would be prudent to call me, or anyone else it seems, to provide counter-narrative and legal reasoning. Yes, you did quote me from six months ago when I was discussing a prior version of the amendment. Still, your actions demonstrate a lack of journalistic integrity. 

“The Globe tried to hold me and my colleagues accountable, calling it a power grab, without talking to any of us,” she continued. “You were sounding the alarm and in a misguided and ill-informed condescending attempt to create a panic or influence the Attorney General. In actuality, you came out against a movement that stretches back to Chuck Turner, Mel King, and includes conversations from people of all backgrounds, progressive activists, fiscal stewards, constitutional attorneys, and the Boston City Council.”

She said as a Councilor, and as an attorney, she was offended by the assertion that her use of a unique process under the City Charter was an “end around.”

“If you find the legal requirements to be insufficient you should state so,” she wrote. “But do not claim that I or the Council were taking a ‘shortcut’ or an ‘end run around.’ We followed the law.  As an attorney, your comments were particularly offensive. I worked extremely hard and am attaching several legal documents that demonstrate a laborious back and forth between me and Corporation Counsel. I realize you will be seeing many of these documents for the first time. But I can assure you they were available upon request at any time if you honestly cared to do your research.”

So far, the Globe has published a Letter to the Editor from Amendment advocate David Sullivan, which Edwards called on the Globe to do in her letter as well. However, to date, she said there has been no offer of retraction or correction to what she says are factual inaccuracies.

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