I am writing to explain why I cannot vote for Craig Kelley. I’ve known Craig Kelley for almost ten years, have enjoyed talking to him at the park as our kids play, and have admired his environmental activism. But Kelley has made a real point in recent months of using his public broadcast emails and press releases to try to manipulate fears about a series of shootings on and around Rindge Avenue.
In the most recent email, which discusses the shooting of a teenager near Jefferson Park, Kelley wants us all to know that this is “scary stuff, and for many of us it is happening too often right outside our doorsteps.” He reminds us that “bullets can go through…windows or walls” as if the young man shot doesn’t count at all. Never does Kelley express concern for the victim of the shooting or his family (are they not his constituents too?), nor does he address how he intends to serve those young Cambridge residents most likely to face street violence.
Instead he worries only about secondhand reports of how such shootings might potentially affect his core constituents—the folks who may move or lose tenants because of “safety concerns.” Actual young people are actually getting shot, and Craig Kelley wants us to join the “people” he has talked with who “are becoming increasingly frustrated about what seems to them to be a deteriorating safety situation, no matter what the statistics might indicate.” Craig Kelley’s signs say we should vote for him “because neighborhoods count.” I worry, though, that what he really means is “because our side of Rindge Avenue counts.”