Letter from the Executive Director for March 2024: It’s a Secret

February 2024 will forever be the month I learned the Commonwealth of Massachusetts has been corrupted at the highest level. But here we are stuck in it. So in this letter I detail our ongoing work to fix it. Plus, we started new projects and held some events, which ought to have improved some lives despite the state's best effort to stop us.

The big event took place after-hours on Feb. 15. At 6 p.m., 0 minutes and 21 seconds, Supreme Judicial Court servers fired off an email denying our application for further appellate review of our longstanding lawsuit. Thus ended my chance for a good night's sleep, along with two years of litigation intended to shine a light on rental assistance. The state denied 70,000 applications for pandemic rental assistance. It lost 50,000 more to supervision. Those renters, their families and their landlords were all harmed (evicted, bankrupted or worse). And the state offers no explanation. Yet after two and half years, dozens of pages of legal briefs, four affidavits, two hearings, three courts and at least five judges – possibly as many as 10 – our whole effort just to see the public record was denied with five inexplicable words: "failure to state a claim."

The loss shook me. I had imagined the SJC were incorruptible, the height of public service. Surely they would read and apply the law? But no. As if to show us just how political the SJC can be, Governor Healey recently nominated an ex-lover to the court. Even if that nominee were the best (which is not likely), that's just not what a public servant should do or how a public body should be comprised. But that is what the governor has done. It is how our SJC was comprised. While our case was being denied, the SJC was agreeing to hear a matter concerning a brothel. The moral is clear: if you want to get heard before the SJC, someone in power has to want it.

Besides the state wielding power, the media also wields power. And this is the other reason the loss shook me. I tried and failed to get our case into the news before the SJC denied us. But no one dared support us publicly. We have it on good authority that no one felt free to do so. The nature of power is being able to take food off someone's table. That is the kind of power Massachusetts government wields over both renter advocacy nonprofits and media organizations. If either were to side with us and concede openly that possibly the administration had room for improvement, then they could be harmed by funding denials or lack of access. We are therefore on our own. We always were. I just hadn't realized how true it was.

I hold out hope that this matter is not yet done. Just because the courts didn't willingly show us the data doesn't mean we are out of options. Meanwhile, for those of us living and working here, MassLandlords remains a needed force for good. Moreso all the time.

To that end, we gave an engaging Springfield crash course, a 60-attendee Mass Save event, and a highly-rated Waltham review of ADU laws. We also started projects to upgrade our notices to quit and our event visibility in search engines. We aren't going anywhere.

Thank you for supporting our mission to create better rental housing. We've got your back only because you've got ours. Please join as a member, encourage others to join, become a property rights supporter or increase your level of support. We aim to hire both a full-time educator and policy advocate.


Douglas Quattrochi

Executive Director

MassLandlords, Inc.





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