Hello Boston residents! There is a municipal election next Tuesday, November 7th. Please commit yourself to voting on Tuesday and encourage your family, friends, and colleagues to vote as well. You can find your polling location online at http://www.sec.state.ma.us/WhereDoIVoteMA/bal/MyElectionInfo.aspx. You will be voting for Mayor of Boston and City Council.
Learn more about the candidates and their issues:
- Mayoral Questionnaire on Housing, Development, Displacement, and Gentrification
- Massachusetts Vision Zero Coalition survey
- ACLU: Where do Boston’s Mayoral and City Council candidates stand on policing issues?
- Weekly Dig: 27 Candidates for Boston City Council Talk About Boston Public Schools
I’d like to encourage you to vote for Tito Jackson for Mayor of Boston. Tito is a lifelong resident of Boston’s Grove Hall neighborhood and since 2011 he has served on the City Council as the representative of District 7 (all of Roxbury, parts of the South End, Dorchester, and Fenway neighborhoods). I’ve come to know him in recent years primarily through being active with Boston Public School parents and students to defend against three consecutive years of severe budget cuts from the Walsh administration and the threats of corporate education reform organizations, and advance a just and equitable model of public education. As Chair of the Boston City Council’s Committee on Education, Tito frequently meets and works with parents and students of Boston Public Schools. He recognizes the good work that BPS teachers and students are already doing, at a time when it is fashionable to attack public education as failing. He understands that schools will get better only if every school and every student receive equitable resources and we address problems due to poverty, inequality, and physical and mental health.
As you might imagine, education is one of the key issues on Tito’s platform. But he is also very concerned with housing. If you’ve tried to rent or buy a home in Boston in the past couple of decades you know it’s an extremely competitive housing market where an increasing demand for a static supply of housing stock has forced rents and mortgages through the roof. Members of Boston’s working and middle classes are finding it increasingly difficult to afford to live in the city. And when new housing is built, developers inevitably target it to high-end buyers. Tito is committed to making housing economically viable for all by increasing the number of truly affordable housing units.
Of course it’s easy to make promise that look great on a webpage, but there’s something about Tito that sets him apart from other candidates: he is truly a representative of the people who listens to them and works to resolve their problems. A couple of years ago, Boston was selected as a candidate to host the 2024 Summer Olympic Games. I had mixed feelings on the issue myself. On the one hand I enjoy the Olympics and it would be a treat to have it in our great city, but on the other hand I know that the cost of the Olympics can be economically devastating to the host city. Although the supporters of the bid promised that no public funding would be used for the Olympics, many citizens were concerned about the lack of transparency around the contents of the actual bid documents. Tito was initially supportive of Boston 2024 but listened to the growing concern of his constituents and filed a subpoena forcing the Boston 2024 organizers to release the full, unredacted bid. As feared, the bid put Boston on the hook for hundreds of millions of dollars in public money, and that was before any inevitable cost overruns. This is just one instance of Tito listening to his constituents, acting on their concerns, and working toward greater transparency and equity in Boston government.
Ok, so you may be saying to yourself, why change horses midstream? Isn’t Marty Walsh nationally recognized as a progressive leader? Doesn’t Walsh have box full of prominent endorsements? How is Tito any different?
If that’s the case, here are five reasons why you should not vote for Marty Walsh:
- Walsh has repeatedly put Boston on the hook for the costs of big monied interests coming to Boston, from the Olympics to Indycar, and General Electric to Amazon. While bringing these megaevents and corporations to Boston may not be bad in themselves,Walsh’s complete lack of transparency in all of these negotiations is bad for the city, especially when Walsh doesn’t even read the fine print of what he’s committing the city to.
- Walsh’s vision for Boston is one based on prioritizing single-occupancy motor vehicles, an autopian view that we have at least 70 years of evidence won’t work. Walsh has openly stated that he’s a “car guy” and declared that pedestrians and bicyclists are responsible for their own deaths, “You have to understand, cars are going to hit you.” He recently minimized problems with the MBTA that features daily delays and overcrowding on crumbling infrastructure, showing how out of touch he is with the average Boston commuter. Walsh’s pro-car stance and indifference to public transit, bikes, and pedestrians doesn’t even take into the account the effects of climate change on a coastal city like Boston if we keep pumping pollutants into the air.
- In one of the most heartbreaking incidents in Walsh’s term, he closed the city’s largest homeless shelter on Long Island in October 2014, just months before one of the most severe winters in recent memory. Walsh was given the option of ferry service to Long Island to replace the unsafe bridge, but instead the homeless (many of them suffering from addiction) were distributed through the city. Not coincidentally, the homeless encampment at Massachusetts Avenue and Melnea Cass Boulevard (a.k.a. Methadone Mile) has swelled in recent years. The Walsh administration only attempts to address this is to put up a tent across the street to hide the homeless and addicted from view. Meanwhile, a farm on Long Island once used by homeless Bostonians to raise food for themselves was given over by the city to a for-profit fast food chain.
- Mayor Walsh has slashed the budget for Boston Public Schools every year since he came into office forcing schools to cut teachers, nurses, librarians, and important programs to make up the gaps. The most recent budget cut support for students with autism by 21%. Walsh is a major supporter, an effort to funnel public education money to privately run schools that have none of the accountability of public schools and frequently work to break teachers unions, ignoring the expertise of teachers and principals to follow untested education innovations proposed by corporate backers. Walsh has introduced the Boston Compact, a dark-money funded effort to force all students enrolling in BPS to have to accept assignment at any school, whether a public school or private charter. BPS students twice staged walkouts in protest of the Walsh administration’s education policy, but Walsh insulted these students and refused to meet with them to discuss their concerns.
- For the predominately white, college-educated, professional class the Walsh years are boom times in Boston. But Boston also has growing levels of inequality that place it among the worst cities for equality in the nation. A recent report card on the Walsh administration from the NAACP gives the Walsh administration a D for equity, access, and opportunity. In 2015, Walsh fired a City Hall employee who participated in a Black Lives Matter protest on her own time, yet did not fire a racist Boston police officer who posted a video stating the “Black people have met their match” and continues to let this officer to patrol in communities of color. Rising rents and housing costs are forcing mass displacement of Boston’s working class and middle class communities, particularly the Black and Latin communities of the city.
The Walsh administration has failed again and again on these issues that are important to me: economic growth, transportation, public safety, homelessness and addiction, education, and rising inequality. I guarantee you that Tito Jackson has solutions to try to address all of these problems, but most importantly he will listen to the people of Boston – all of the people of Boston – when he does so. We need to move past the king mayor who haughtily dismisses the citizens of Boston while working with monied interests from outside the city, and elect the mayor of the people. I believe Tito Jackson will best represent the people of Boston.