Does anyone even care that the governor appointed the judge who overturned Boston’s moratorium?
Earlier this month, I started off a morning write with the goal of explaining the reluctance of news outlets to connect Mass Gov. Charlie Baker to the housing court judge who recently overturned Boston’s eviction moratorium. Judge Irene Bagdoian, who the Boston Globe first reported ruled the “city overstepped its authority to block enforcement of evictions during the COVID crisis,” is a Baker appointee, plain and simple. I felt that it was worth noting how Bagdoian got her job, since the governor has actively resisted efforts to enact a statewide moratorium. As Dan Atkinson reported for the Boston Institute for Nonprofit Journalism in August:
When Gov. Charlie Baker let Massachusetts’ eviction moratorium expire last October , he said he had a plan to keep residents from being thrown out of their homes. His Eviction Diversion Initiative would spend nearly $200 million on relief for tenants and landlords and fund legal assistance during eviction proceedings, as opposed to maintaining a ban that simply kept the courts from processing eviction filings. While the moratorium’s expiration date was known, housing advocates were taken by surprise by Baker’s plan. They saw it as returning tenants to the eviction pipeline where they could maybe get aid, instead of continuing to keep that pipeline closed, and they wondered why local advocacy groups had not been a part of planning the state’s eviction policy.
Just as I was working on my screed about Baker and Bagdoian, though, the governor announced that he and Lt. Gov. Karyn Polito will not seek reelection. So I’m not sure if this stuff matters anymore, since Baker will be gone soon while his bench bots continue to wreak havoc statewide. Hell, it didn’t even seem like many people cared when we reported that Mass paid nearly $3 million for COVID-related services forecasting that up to 260,000 Mass families could face eviction, only for Baker to use the internal reports to rationalize his own plan. So why would there be outrage this time?
To be clear: I’m not alleging that Bagdoian and Baker talked this out. There’s no way of knowing if they communicated through official channels anyway, since the governor’s office is exempt from the state records law, but what’s more important is that the likes of Bagdoian don’t need to be told what to do. People are struggling, and it’s the mission of powerful people to make the lives of everyday Americans increasingly miserable so their cronies, from landlords to consultants, can turn a profit. It’s essentially their job.
Meanwhile, it’s your job to replace Baker and Polito and the other evill fucks on Beacon Hill with more compassionate electeds, and to troll the skin off any outlet that pretends their tenure was anything but vicious. Thanks to them, countless families will be in the cold this winter. The last thing they deserve is a warm cuddly exit.
CHRIS FARAONE, EDITOR-IN-CHIEF
A Queens, NY native who came to New England in 2004 to earn his MA in journalism at Boston University, Chris Faraone is the editor and co-publisher of DigBoston and a co-founder of the Boston Institute for Nonprofit Journalism. He has published several books including 99 Nights with the 99 Percent, and has written liner notes for hip-hop gods including Cypress Hill, Pete Rock, Nas, and various members of the Wu-Tang Clan.