Black Perspectives; The Black Agenda for the 1990s with Rep. Gloria Fox
Good evening welcome to black perspectives the half hour feature focusing on black issues information and lifestyles in the communities of Boston and the south shore. I'm your host Philip Hart in tonight's edition of black perspectives it's a pleasure introduced to my listening audience to our esteemed guest Representative Gloria Fox chairperson of the Massachusetts Black Legislative Caucus a member of the Committee on banks and banking in the federal financial assistance Committee. Our topic of discussion is a black agenda for the 1990s striving toward economic progress. Gloria thank you for joining me on black perspectives. Lori wanted to kind of bring us up to date here with some of the activities that the Black Caucus has been gauged and his legislative year. Well I wish I could say that there have been activities that many people don't already know about but the fact of the matter is that it's an ongoing struggle and it deepens when we have an economic here such as this year and what will probably be for the next two years we're going to see and
face a lot of major cutbacks in state and local government. There was a lot of. Miss information that was fed to the public about the state of the economy and we're going to have to live with that for the next two years and it's going to have a horrifying effect on the communities of color and many poorer communities throughout the state and that's what we're being faced with now. So the all of the programs and all of the efforts that we have been striving to broaden or expand has now been at a standstill and it's a struggle to make sure that not only those programs survive until we are faced with a better economic sort of climate. But at the same time trying to squeeze out whatever resources we feel is that was necessary in the greater black communities I represent Roxbury. Parts of Dorchester and parts of the south end and for me my my mandate is clear to make sure that I
bring is as much of the revenue and resources to the district that I represent. Of course that's a bit of a struggle because one hundred fifty nine other people in the House of Representatives feel the same way about their districts and that's that's the ongoing battle that we we're faced with every day. There are six African-Americans that are in the House of Representatives and for the most part we represent communities of color with the exception of our good grace from the Burlington Bedford area. Right. And for us it is clear that we need to continue to struggle against the drugs and crime and guns that are flowing into our community and we have to join with our counterparts nationally and folks that are politically active internationally as well and begin to work on how we stop the trafficking of drugs and ammunition into our communities. So do you see that as the number one issue that needs to be addressed. Well the number one issue was always it's always to me and I have
been working on issues of employment and training. Right. You know with money and with education then there is some changes that we can see in our community so my major focus has been on employment and training. Our employment and training programs that have has been set aside with say a million dollar you know money tag is in jeopardy here on the Senate side and that particular million dollar package will go for training programs and at least three cities Springfield Cambridge and Boston Roxbury in particular. So I would urge people African-Americans and other people that are listening to begin the lobby to senators you know it seems as though there is going to be even more of a cut in the state budget than what was sent over to the Senate side from the house. I join with about thirty four or five other state
representatives and supported what is called a survival amendment would put bat which put back some resources in the state budget that had been cut by ways and means that's in jeopardy over on the Senate side. The Senate will and there's no doubt about it. They sent back a deficiency budget that. It was cut from say three hundred and thirty eight million dollars just to pay bills up to July 1 to 71 million and we'll be voting on that this week so if that's any indication of what they're going to do to the overall budget then I would suggest that people politicize themselves and begin the lobby of the Senate if they haven't already. Both the Senate president and George have area recently come out and seem to have supported. Some new taxes. Do you see that likely. Well I'll be supportive of a reasonable tax package there's no doubt
about it I've supported taxes in the past. You're going to have to have taxes if we're going to see our way clear and out of this dilemma. And that's just to pay the back bills. People should know and be aware that that doesn't mean that there'll be any expansion in services. That doesn't mean that this still might not being be cuts in the programs but we are in such a such a state of. Sort of economic misery at this point. There's no way in the world that will be able to get out of bed by putting together a meager tax back package. It's going to have to be a serious tax package that will match the deficit and give us a little bit of a cushion to boot. No people should know that if they're if their program directors and there are people that work in certain areas there and they might be thinking that they're going to be receiving expansion money and growth money that that is not true.
So it really is I'm a part of the not happen this year level funding at best. Yes it will bring them up to what they had what they requested and what can members of our audience do if they are. If they are interested in trying to not only find out more information but also trying to have some sort of impact upon either a tax package or a budget that is more reflective of reality in terms of what our needs are. What can members of our audience do. Well I think that they need to talk to all of these state reps and all of their senators. They need to talk to all of the state reps and all of the senators. Some of us have been. Voting correctly and when I say voting correctly I mean that we we have a history of being supportive not only of human service but for community development. And you know programs that are going to provide the kind of growth instability in all of
our districts. There are some of us that will not be voting or will be trying to convince other members not to vote on any kind of tax package. I've already come out publicly and said that I would support any of the Senate taxes for instance the taxes on on alcohol and the taxes on cigarettes I haven't had any kind of complaints from my district about paying a few cents more for cigarettes or for alcohol. So that's going to be probably an easy one for many of us to support gasoline it gets kind of tough you know kind it out because we're going to have a federal increase on gasoline prices. And if we then in turn statewide also put a tax on gasoline then we'll really be experiencing to increase that right at the same time. Right. However I do know that if we don't you can't have it both ways. And if where we're pushed to support those three then I will I will definitely have to do that.
Will it have an impact on the communities of color. It definitely will. You know I believe that not only is it going to be a burden on us in terms of having to have the kind of transportation to work and all of that but I believe our families need to be moving around and out of the city from time to time and you know meeting with one another as a group. And I think that that's something that's very necessary to our our health and well-being mentally. Yeah. So yes that's going to have an impact on the communities of color and definitely in my district. So that's going to be a bit of a struggle for me right to vote on it but I probably will. Right now you can but again it is going to be the toughest one. Yes because that begins to hit the people that really need to be hit and that's the people that have a lot of investments and a lot of property and all of that. I will vote naturally for anything that you know begins to you know give us the kind of tax dollars that say that the cigarettes and the and the alcohol and the gasoline that's just.
Tuppence compared to the amount of money that we really need. You know so we're going to have to look at a package that begins to not just nickel and dime us right and nickel and dime the poor but it actually we haven't had a tax reform package and maybe this will push the House and the Senate to doing just that or at least looking at that and starting with what we can what we can get past this. The House right now is not in an atmosphere of. Texas right now you've taken on the additional duties of being the chair of the Legislative Black Caucus What does that entail on your behalf more than what you were doing as a state rep. Well it means that naturally I'm the spokesman or spokes person for the entire caucus it means that I am lead in terms of speaking out on issues for the caucus I mean we vote on on issues but if people or the press comes to one
person and it would probably be the Legislative Black Caucus chairperson right. So that's that's basically what I do also we focus on on our legislative priorities and as I said they've been economic development through employment and through training programs and to a business you know as well. And then the crisis around the guns the crime the drugs and youth gangs that's another whole topic and you know how I see it has not been the way it's being portrayed. You know in the in the press yeah. So I've been very very vocal about you know the press concentrating on the young people in our community and exploding it and blowing it all out of proportion and I'm not saying that we don't have a problem because we do. But the fact of the matter is that the problem is the result of a lot of other things. Right. And there are obviously a lot of good things going on. There's no doubt about it we never talk about the youngsters that are going to school doing
very well in school that are going on our southern black college tour that sponsored by the a packed room at the Roxbury Pak every year and the students that are left in schools all over the country that Excel and come back to Roxbury and do very well as well. We never talk about that and we should know a few weeks ago. The Black Caucus was involved with a one day session at Roxbury Community College can you tell us a little bit about that. You know we had a full day seminar and it basically focused on many of the issues that I just talked about economic development. We specifically talked about the possible 18 and the MWI rate controversy that's going on right now and hopefully that will turn out positively I think that we need to encourage people that live in the Roxbury area to make sure that they continue to pressure the governor and the mear to continue with their commitment to Roxbury and specifically
Postle 18 as being the site for the administrative quarters for the M-W R.A.. We also had discussions around health care the growing cost of health care in communities of color and throughout the state. There was a workshop on child care what happens to all of the women that have to go back to work. And the fact that the budgets are being cut in the child care delivery system where those youngsters going to be nurtured are they going to be in a safe and learning environment. So we talked about that and we can we began to look at business and and industry to begin the finance our child care delivery system. And one way is piece of legislation that I've been supportive of and have been co-sponsor of and that's the childcare linkage program with the child care link its bill. It basically suggests that if you're doing development in Boston you also have to make provisions for childcare. It's as simple as that
in a room that kind of concept I think I'm going to be pushing more and more because we it looks like we're not going to have the kind of state revenue to do everything we want to do. Right will never have it again. Yeah. As I see it one of the things that happened two years ago when we had when we had a surplus of five hundred nine million dollars that would have been the time to do something some creative things that we should that that should have been done. Well number one when you have a surplus that big then that would make you think that something wasn't paid in the first place if you have a a large balance at the end of a week at home. You would know that something hasn't been paid and use that comes up and slaps you in the face. That's what we're experiencing right now. Yeah there were bills that were not paid during those years. Supposedly that we had a surplus and had we been number one paying up some of those bills and not just leaving it in a pile somewhere so it would look good for you know the administration and an
individual that was planning on running for you know for the presidency. That probably wouldn't be in such a bind that we're in now or however it was that surplus real. Some people felt as though the deficit wasn't real. You know believe me it is and it's probably far more than what we are hearing about at the moment. Now back to the because some Roxbury Community College had a pretty good turnout for that too. Yeah they were not. Three hundred fifty people that were coming and going for the morning in the afternoon sessions. It was an excellent turnout. Plus there were students that were involved in the full day seminar as well. OK well we're going to pause briefly for this public service announcement you're listening to black perspectives here on WM BFM ninety one point nine. Please stay tuned to resume our discussion focusing on the issue of the black agenda for the 1990s striving towards economic progress with my guest Representative Gloria Fox chair of the Massachusetts
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In fact when it comes to supporting your favorite station. Now is not to soon. You're. You're. Back from a brief intermission here on WNBA FM ninety one point nine You're listening to black perspectives and I'm your host fell apart on tonight's edition of black respecters We're discussing the issue of the black agenda for the 1900s striving towards economic progress with Representative Gloria Fox. Now Gloria before we took a break we're talking about the parcel 18 M-W Ari I like to kind of leave that for a minute and. Come to an issue that of course is very much of a concern with people in our community that is Roxbury Community College. From your vantage point where is Roxbury Community College headed in terms of its its viability. Search for a pretty new president. Those kind of issues. Well I'm hoping that it's it's going to be
a better position than it is currently. As soon as there is a decision made on the president I know now every Friday morning there are interview that are conducted by the board of trustees. A community advisory group and several other people and those interviews have been going on for I believe the last three weeks and there are a few more folks that still have to be interviewed and then hopefully by June we ought to have a decision made on who the new president is going to be going to be by September then you know it with a lot of support from the community and hopefully as much resources as we can gather from from the state. And believe me through Billy the chancellor's office and some of the state administration we've been able to at least have some people thinking sensitively over rocks for a community college course everyone knows the Roxbury Community College history we weren't meant to have that
school politically there were people that didn't want to see us with that school and they didn't want to see it located in Roxbury and they didn't want it to ever go through. And then they tried to push us to having it merged with Bunker Hill Community College. So there's always going to be smut. There's always going to be misunderstanding that's going to be circulating in the newspaper for making it look bad anyway and some instances making it harder for us to stabilize ourselves. Yes there are administrative problems within our CC that stuff that we have to work on this family business and we have to handle that. And when I say we I mean I mean the academic community in Roxbury in the black community and any other supporters from outside. We have to begin to handle that and work through that. And I think with the new president at the helm and it's got to be a political person it's got to be a political person in that she knows how to deal with African-American politics here in Boston as well as the downtown Beacon Hill politic
that was what was remiss in the previous president unfortunately right now how what steps are being taken to resolve some of the financial problems that we've been reading about. Well we do have a few budgetary items that hopefully will not be killed on the Senate side. That will be helpful. In terms of the administrative financial kind of of problems that RCC is going through. We are looking to other ways national ways in which to raise some money. Aside from the state dollars to make up for some of the shortfall. Yeah as we see it shortfall has been represented in the lack of faculty for instance right. We're going to need to have competent competent and. Competent faculty members and we're going to have to have more
African-American. Faculty members that are drawn here and drawn here with a decent salary as well as the will to you know to teach in you know in our community school right now. Let's turn to another issue that has been. In the Spotlight Boston State Hospital cites as many members of our listening audience know there's been a citizen advisory group in place for several years now under Dr. Nathan Allen. And. Lately we've seen a kind of a second plan emerge. We're. Situation now from your standpoint. Well surely I mean six has a man did the original Boston State Bill. And there has been a major between one of the other members of the House of Representatives named namely Angelo SCOTT Sure it's been and all of the newspapers that he has tried to scuttle it scuttle the Boston State Bill and all of our progress
and has had some help in doing that I mean one man usually can't you know hold on to something for as as many years as this has been held up. It is a struggle for us to get some of our very controversial pieces of legislation through the house as it is. So why is it so controversial from your standpoint because it means money and it means money in the black community. Symbolism Yes. You know it's it's I wish I could make it sound like it's a great mystique or whatever but it's a simple as that. That it's going to be a very very long economic development package for people that look like us. And when that begins to happen it's the same with him. You are right. You know when we began to pull ourselves together economically then there are people that are going to try to stop us. So what if we're back to Boston stayed from it and now with it with the second proposal surfacing How does it feel this legislation.
It's not really a second proposal the only different proposal that has been brought to the table and when I said brought to the table. I'm saying that because both Shirley and Angelo Scott and a few other folks will probably have to and it's being talked about now sit in a room together with an arbitrator. Right. And begin the work out. How it's really going to look. And that has not been done as yet. Hopefully it'll be not finalized but hopefully there will be a date for that to happen. Do you know of the bill to pass. You do see the bill passing this year. I'm not sure. Do you think this recent. Issue will help or hinder the bill passing. Was it hard to say Oh I think it ought to help because politically people are looking at the people that are trying to hold it up. Yeah and in a new light. Yeah you know they have not looked upon as the great warrior for mental health and you know the only reason why we're holding this up is because we
want more mental health beds or meant more mental health space. Now now the you know it's seen as for what it what it should be seen. Now let's turn to the parcel 18 issue both you and I have been involved in this Southwest corridor parcel 18 and other issues around the subways corridor for a number of years. How do you see that evolving do you. See parcel 18 actually being something that we can break ground on in the next year and really be a strong viable economic linchpin for the Roxbury Community like Roxbury Community College. You know I only say that when when you know I'm there with the earth training and all of that other than to you see it. That's right. That's right. On Monday we'll be debating the the issue of relocating or locating on Postle 18 again. Yeah. There was another amendment.
Yeah. That is coming before us. There will be probably a couple of new things. The longer the decision takes then the longer than then the then more pieces of or pieces of legislation come before us. There are so many people that would rather it be anywhere else I think than Roxbury. Yeah. So that's the I you know I'm just doing this one day at a time and preparing myself for all of the nonsense and trying to beat it down as we go. No independent of him. You know just decides not I will say you know what I'm saying we better be. We better be organized and we better we better do the lobby and then I spoke of her earlier relative to Gary and folks better back up their legislators that are trying to fight that legislative piece of it. Yeah and at the same time you know they should be organizing people to talk to them and talk to the governor and you know
it was a business people that have you know a vested interest in others. Now Stephen Coyle said where the MTO Yari decides to locate a parcel of 18 or not that it's a very viable site and that if they don't decide to locate there they've missed the boat. How would you evaluate that statement. Well we're going to make sure that they that they don't miss the boat. That's that's how you know I would interpret it it sounds to me like the mayor and some of the other people would like to back off because it's been such a controversial kind of issue just because they. It's quiet as it's kept as quiet as it is when the man in the governor did those you know public letters and all that. That did a lot to help in the confusion around where it should go. Now Laura we've got a couple minutes left to. To our audience if they're interested and reaching you on some of these issues what's the best way I can I don't you glad to talk to anyone in the listening audience. I'm at the State House and I can be reached at 7 2 2.
2 0 0 9 0. If I'm not there my legislative aides name is Danielle. I'm usually between the Chamber was somewhere in the building and my office and I will get back to you. And as we have about a minute or so left in the closing remarks you'd like to leave our audience with. Well only that you'll see a lot of activity and I don't mean a negative activity positive activity on the streets and Roxbury and we're hoping that you know people that are interested in doing some work with young people begin to organize themselves even if it's just a block or you know their apartment building or whatever that the the issue around. Use gangs and we're not talking about a hundred youth gangs we're only talking about maybe 20. And they were this was a time in Roxbury that there were gangs. So we shouldn't be you know so turned off that we're not going to work with our young people because the media has spread this this myth about all of our young people being mad dog killers. We're talking about a thousand kids.
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- State Rep. Gloria Fox, chair of the Legislative Black Caucus, discusses "Striving Toward Economic Progress," the black agenda for the 1990s. Fox notes the difficulties that lie ahead due to federal and state budget cutting, which will put some social service and employment programs in jeopardy, and discusses potential new tax packages to offset the cuts. She also discusses her role as Legislative Black Caucus chair, relocating the Mass. Water Resources Authority (MWRA) to Parcel 18 in Roxbury, and the future of Roxbury Community College, including the ongoing presidential search and funding issues; and Boston City Hospital.
- Black Perspectives is a public affairs talk show featuring in depth conversations about issues of interest to the African American community.
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Copyright Holder: WUMB-FM
Guest: Fox, Gloria
Host: Hart, Philip
Producer: Pierre Louis, Gary
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- Chicago: “Black Perspectives; The Black Agenda for the 1990s with Rep. Gloria Fox,” 1989-05-31, WUMB, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (WGBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC, accessed September 20, 2020, http://americanarchive.org/catalog/cpb-aacip-345-90rr56km.
- MLA: “Black Perspectives; The Black Agenda for the 1990s with Rep. Gloria Fox.” 1989-05-31. WUMB, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (WGBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Web. September 20, 2020. <http://americanarchive.org/catalog/cpb-aacip-345-90rr56km>.
- APA: Black Perspectives; The Black Agenda for the 1990s with Rep. Gloria Fox. Boston, MA: WUMB, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (WGBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Retrieved from http://americanarchive.org/catalog/cpb-aacip-345-90rr56km