We got Troubles in River City: Catholic city councilor accuses councilor born in Northern Ireland of being out to destroy Catholics in Boston
Dorchester Councilor Frank Baker today declared full on religious war against Councilor Liz Breadon (Allston/Brighton), who is in charge of drawing up a city-council district map.
Baker, who insists that any new map honor the Catholic parish lines in his home neighborhood, spewed some 1970s rhetoric on Breadon, a native of Northern Ireland, saying a priest buddy of his told him this morning that "all the clergy" are outraged at the new map that Breadon's redistricting committee came up with:
They're all talking about this process right here, they're viewing this exercise as an all-out assault on Catholic life in Boston and it's not lost on them that the person leading the charge on this is a Protestant from Fermanagh.
Council President Ed Flynn then called a recess to try to dampen tempers, which had been flaring for much of the afternoon as councilors approached a potential vote on changing the maps for the city's nine council districts, based on the 2020 federal census.
Baker's outburst came after the council voted 9-4 to reject a proposal by Councilor Erin Murphy, also of Dorchester, but an at-large councilor, to delay any vote. Only the four Irish-Catholic members of the council - Murphy, Baker, Flynn and Flaherty - voted for the delay.
It also came after a Suffolk Superior Court judge rejected a request from a South Boston man for an injunction to keep the council from voting on the map today.
@universalhub Thought UHub readers would appreciate this; just totally normal, sane stuff getting said by City Councillors about redistricting pic.twitter.com/HUJ4B6KlL8
— Pete Cannon (@coffeewithcats) November 2, 2022
After a recess, Council President Ed Flynn said Baker had violated council rules and offered him a chance to apologize, which, in a manner of speaking, he did.
That was unlike me. I apologize [to Breadon and the council]. . A good Catholic boy like myself shouldn't do that or be like that. ...I shouldn't use language like that.
But he just couldn't leave it alone and continued that "Catholic neighborhoods" in his district are "under attack."
"This is an insult, it is an absolute disgrace," Breadon responded.
Breadon started by acknowledging, yes, she was born Protestant in Northern Ireland. But, she continued, she was disgusted by the horrible discrimination Catholics faced in every facet of their lives, even before the Troubles started, when she was 10. And, she said, she was a lesbian in a culture that hated that.
"I came to Boston, this city on a hill," she said. "I married a nice Irish Catholic girl called Mary McCarthy. A grand woman she is, too. "
And when Flynn knocked Councilor Arroyo off as head of the redistricting committee, she said, she stepped up because she saw Black people in Boston facing the same sort of discrimination she saw against Catholics back in Northern Ireland.
"I've committed my adult life to try to fix the wrongs in the world," she said. "It is an insult to me to have a colleague on this City Council insinuate that I am discriminating against Catholics."
Councilors, she said, have work to do and have to pass a redistricting plan that is fair and equitable. "I am just trying to do my job."
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Good ol’ Republican Frank
Good ol’ Republican Frank Baker.
Please tell me Adam, you're
Please tell me Adam, you're neither shocked nor surprised.
This is the city council that
This is the city council that 25% of registered voters thought we deserve.
Head clown in the clown car
It looks like 16-1, where I live, is moving to D3. And this crackpot hater of everything and everybody will be my councilor.
I don't believe his story about the priest. He's lying.
In this clown car called the City Council, he is the chief Bozo.
All out assault
First two people living in the same parish have different city councilors, next it's...
Oh Lord, hear our ...
And There It Is
Frank Baker's bigotry - Wrong. (It is - Calm down Frank, you have at least two terms left).
Bigotry against the way most of his district speaks, and their religious affiliation by your use of a part of the Catholic Mass - per UHubbers - Perfectly acceptable to nearly all here.
Always the victim
Just pointing out hypocrisy.
See the difference?
When your religion has cultural hegemony...
...you don't get to complain when people make cultural references to it.
You - "I'm Not Prejudiced"
Did I use a big word and confuse you?
Kinda sounds like whataboutism John
Also as a fellow Catholic, I'm not seeing the issue here.
Perhaps you read that part of your bible where Jesus refused to be vested with civil authority (John 6)
And that part of the constitution where churches don't get to make laws - and the IRS code where they are not supposed to be involved in politics if they want their tax exemptions.
This is a dead, dead horse
that John has been kicking for a while.
Frank Baykah... fixed it for you
And btw, that phrase ain't an exclusive saying to Catholic mass, Protestants say it too ...
Now learn yourself about some non Catholic religious traditions and open your mind to something outside of an 02125 parish.
Let the Lord get some sleep
Oh Lord, hear my prayer. My prayer is that you don't hear anyone else's prayers. Just relax and do what you want. G'night.
Can you explain *WHY* it is bigotry? I'm just not seeing it. Because an allusion was made?
Like most middle aged, angry white guys, he's just mad that the world might run in a more representative way and he's filled with rage, like his hero Baker.
Aren't parish boundaries just as arbitrary as district lines?
and also, subject to change from time to time (though perhaps not every ten years)?
Parish boundaries are pretty strong.
The book "Urban Exodus" talks a lot about the strength of parish lines in Dorchester. It's an interesting read.
But they are relevant only to the Catholic Church
They have no relevance to civil districting, nor should they in a secular Commonwealth.
How many people identify with their parish now anyway? Three families on my block all live in the same parish but attend different churches for reasons like "my kid goes to St. Rafes", "I was raised going to St. Agnes and go with my mom" and "I like St. Francis better".
Checking out Urban Exodus, thanks - the NYT archives appear to have the first chapter available: https://archive.nytimes.com/www.nytimes.com/books/first/g/gamm-exodus.ht...
You are out of your depth
Ron asked about parish boundaries. I gave a response. That you got your bigoted little knickers in a knot about that is on you.
This response is unbecoming of you
Waquoit is John Lite. This is not new.
What about that response was bigoted?
Swirly is right - parish boundaries may be strong, but they are arbitrary, and they have little to nothing to do with how district lines should be drawn.
Observing that something that only has meaning in the Catholic church, and is irrelevant to civil government, is...only relevant to the Catholic church, means that one has one's "bigoted little knickers in a knot"?
If you could only hear yourself.
Secular Governance isn't Bigotry
You want special rights to enforce your religious views on the populace using the law, not equal rights to worship freely. You want to return to the religious control of a city that shuffed it off a while ago.
I believe the First Amendment says that you don't get to do that. That doesn't make me bigoted or anti-Catholic - that makes me PRO DEMOCRACY.
Supporting structural equity and reminding you that we have a secular government isn't bigotry, hon. Go listen to what the good counselor had to say about that sort of histrionic name calling nonsense.
And Ron didn't ask about secular government
Nor did I reference it in my response.
But feel free to talk about something you detest. I'll remember that when we are discussing epidemiology on this website, since obviously the views of an expert in the field is as valid as one who hasn't studied anything about the topic at all.
Are you then an expert...
...in parish boundaries or canon law or some other bit of Catholic lore?
Canon law? No
But I have an understanding of the parochial structure of episcopal churches. Parishes have borders. They are only changed when parishes are created or suppressed. I cited a book specifically about Dorchester parishes that explains the whole concept. Perhaps you could stand to read it, learn some things, broaden your horizon.
Still not explaining the leap
I still don't get why one expects parish borders have anything to do with voting district borders.
Do I really need to keep referring people to Ron's question? He asked about parish boundaries. I answered his question.
If he asked if there is a link between parish boundaries and political boundaries, the answer is that there isn't a link. Heck, if I really wanted to, I could track down parish boundaries from the 1950s (thanks to the book "Urban Exodus," which has such maps) and compare them to state rep boundaries to show that the two have never been linked. My parish is in parts of 3 different wards, which shows that in the 1940s no one was considering such things.
I've seen parishes be abolished and merged in Somerville
maybe Dorchester is different? For an example of an abolished parish, go up to Temple Street on Winter Hill, where St. Polycarp's was. The building is still there, but now it's an evangelical Haitian congregation.
From the Pilot, June 7, 2019: Three Somerville parishes to merge July 1
It's a different process
Typically, I've seen mergers, where the two parishes' borders are merged. Conversely, when the Catholic Church was in its ascendancy, parishes were created by either slicing off a part of one parish or perhaps slicing off bits of several parishes. In between creation and mergers, the borders stay stable.
Honestly, the borders are not as religiously followed nowadays. That said, if you remember the 2004 era church closings, yes, those borders still mean a lot to some people.
Though I once was told that
Though I once was told that my Mom, who grew up in "Bug's Village" in Brighton and was Italian that they pulled shenanigans to go to Saint Columbkille's church that they should have gone to Presentation.
The Derry Girls
Are backing Frank Baker against the latest chapter of protestant politicians trying to screw the Irish Catholics.
"Proportional Representation" = "screwing"
Secular determination of district boundaries according to the laws of the city and commonwealth = "screwing".
Got it. Not being special = screwed. Sure.
This is ridiculous
In what way does one’s city council district affect one’s religious life? Among the small numbers of folks who still attend Mass every Sunday, there are plenty of people who don’t attend their territorial parish anyway. To say that a city council map is an attack on Catholics is grasping at straws at best.
I’ll also add that I have known Councilor Breadon personally for some time, and there’s nothing anti-Catholic about the woman. Suggesting something like that shows how warped Councilor Baker’s world view is. I have friends in Northern Ireland in both the Catholic and the Protestant communities and have spent a lot of time in Derry. As a society the people of Northern Ireland chose to work toward peace in a very public and official way over two decades ago now. Frank should wake up and join them.
I guess if your intention is to preach politics from the pulpit, in order to affect political outcomes, then I guess it's rele...oh. Oh, that would be a violation of their tax-exempt status and something the IRS ought to know about, right?
Though it is about time to
Though it is about time to bring NI back to Ireland. Catholics are in the majority of NI now.
"That was unlike me"
That's a lie, Frank. That was very like you. It was you.
"That was unlike me"
"Usually I only imply that someone else's opinion is worthless based on where they're from, rather than just say it directly."
"That was unlike me"
"Usually I only imply that someone else's opinion is worthless because of where they're from, rather than just say it directly."
I would like to add two important points to this discussion.
Someone let me know
if this is off-topic, but:
isn't it true that nobody locally could do more to hurt that Catholics than the Catholics have ALREADY done to themselves?
Cuz, ya know, the film Spotlight, etc, 600 abuse cases, widespread unwillingness to act promptly to facilitate justice, and GENERATIONS of harm passed down the line.
What does Frank Baker think about that?
Also, you probably guessed it, I don't really want to know/care if anyone thinks this is off-topic.
Frank Baker is a fraud
Frank Baker is a fraud looking out only for himself. 10 years ago he had no trouble carving out a small piece of the South End to stick into his district. You know, because the little slice of the SE has so much in common with the people of Neponset, or the church parishes the good people of the SE may belong, or how the kids of the SE go to the same schools as lower Dorchester folks. Go ahead, Frank! Don’t ever give up being the hypocritical fraud you really are, pretending you care about neighborhoods. Next you’ll be claiming your district can’t be broken up because the people share the same sewer.
Having spent time working in
Having spent time working in Dorchester I can say that the locals of all stripes tend to revert to talking about parishes as neighborhoods. Evident in the names of community groups and other institutions. I saw this with Catholics, non-Catholics, atheists, new age religious folks. There are also many Catholics who are not Irish that he could have enlisted for support if this was more than just trying to maintain a strong Irish Catholic seat. Many Vietnamese people are Catholic as are many black people. If he really wanted to make a non explosive argument he could have reached out to those other Catholics and had them send in support and then make the argument that these lines denote traditional neighborhood lines and have transcended religion.
Instead he chose to bring the Troubles back from the grave and throw it out there. I just looked her up and she moved here in 1995. Unless there is a strong Northern Irish/British Protestant association I am not aware of , how exactly would she maintain such strong lingering "hate" for so long only to wage war on the Catholics of Boston in 2022.
Is she the "Fermanaghnian" Candidate? Sent here to destroy Catholic Boston , just waiting for her orders from the Church of England???
What does Baker mean when he says Catholic neighborhoods. Does he mean East Boston? Is Frank saying that neighborhoods filled with Hatian, Dominican. Salvadoran, Bajan, and Cape Verdean folks aren’t “Catholic” enough? Because that would be preposterous.
Probably his own district,
Probably his own district, and yes, preposterous.
People change, sometimes for the worse
I knew Frank as a neighbor years before he ran for City Council. At that time I would have voted for him. Now I could not.
This playing of a religion card greatly disappoints me.
Frank, unless Liz is
Frank, unless Liz is redrawing districts to have parishes surrounded by Orange Order marching routes next July, cram it!
I can't seem to find the map that was approved. I was sure that I would be able to find it here. Did I miss it somewhere?
Copy of the Oct. 31 redistricting committee report - has a map on the very last page (note: there might be a couple of precinct changes on what was approved today). It's a 13.3M PDF, if you're on a mobile connection.
all religion OUT
The comments by Baker are nonsense. Also, get rid of the invocations at the beginning of the meetings. Separation!
The histrionics were bad, but
I shouldn't even write but, as the real issue was just kept under the surface.
This is a gerrymander, pure and simple. The majority on the council decided to screw over Baker by taking residents who actually like him and moving them over to another district, in order to dilute the voting power of that block. Their race and religion are irrelevant, though the comparison to how the nationalist votes were split to aid the unionist ascendancy in Northern Ireland is an interesting one.
So, if you like this new map, you'd probably also love all those gerrymandered congressional seats down south. Hey, North Carolina made it harder for Democrats to get more members elected, but they also helped African American Democrats retain their seats. Same difference, really.
That's an interesting argument, but
If it's not one Frank Baker is capable of making, it sounds like he probably shouldn't be a city councilor.
a constant theme with your style of debate
You went off on SwrrlyGirl elsewhere for what you thought was oversimplifying the issue, yet here you are explaining to the rest of us how simple it is.
How would you have done it any different, then?
The reality is that boundaries had to move in ways consistent with secular laws, census data, and rules of district continuity.
How would you have done any different? Bear in mind that Boston is a majority minority city now.
Oh, I have ideas
First, I don't think that the whole "District 4 has too many minorities" claim is valid. If a map was created wherein more black people were put into the district, that would be very problematic. And given that Boston had no problem electing a black woman to represent East Boston, the North End, and Charlestown, I'm fairly sure that racially balancing districts should not be the highest priority. That said, if Worrell wanted more white folks, he could have just as easily have expanded to the west into Roslindale. This would have caused shifting wherein D5 gets precincts from D6, D6 gets precincts from D7, and D7 gets precincts from D4.
District 3 need more people, and District 4 needs less. That's the basic problem. The easiest thing to do would be to send some D4 precincts to D3, but Flynn doesn't want Southie split up. I mean, he could probably lose the Seaport, since they are a different constituency than Southie proper, but that's no adjacent to D3. D3 could expand on it's southern end, snaking up River Street, but even I see how that would be diluting the Mattapan vote. D3 could expand on it's northern end, as has ended up happening, but without losing the southern end of the district, the shift would not have been so dramatic.
As I note, this is basically a way to screw Baker, which many people here would like, but it's less than democratic, as I am assuming that those people in Adams Village and Neponset were not consulted about the changes. Besides, they tried this with Flynn a decade ago and he's still around. I think that those who drafted the plan with Sullivan should hope that no one was recording their meetings and that no one decides to subpoena their work and non-work e-mails and texts to see how the deliberations about this really went.
As for parish boundaries, interestingly, I agree with you. They mean nothing as far political boundaries go, but they mean a lot to those who care about them, which has nothing to do with politics.
What decade is Frank Baker
What decade is Frank Baker living in? Boston, especially Catholic Boston has changed quiet a bit since the 1970s.
Why should we care what the kiddy diddlers think about the districting maps?
You know what outrages me? That his priest buddy is a part of "all the clergy" that knowingly hid child molesters among their ranks and moved them around whenever they got caught.
Let's compare outrages.
Two things I love about this post.
1. Breadon's "sick of your shit" face in the photo.
2. The people putting their faces in their hands as Baker speaks.
Quite the photo
That's how she looked when kids from St. Columbkille's rang her doorbell on Halloween.