Over the years, Boston’s New Economy has bypassed much of the City. While affluent newcomers move into established neighborhoods, and gentrify others, too often have the interests of long-term and poor, underserved and working class residents been ignored. I am focused on a number of issues that will make Boston better, more vibrant, accessible and affordable to all who live here.
Residents of Roxbury, South End, Jamaica Plain and Back Bay need and deserve a bigger piece of the "Boston economic pie." More and more of our young people are not able to obtain jobs that pay a living wage and allow them to establish residences of their own, forcing them to live with their parents for years after their high school or college graduations.
As the City of Boston prospers downtown, with new skyscrapers and buildings with million-dollar condominiums being constructed, it seems, in every available acre of real estate, the communities in which Black and Latino citizens live, are being left out of the "economic boom."
We need more financial investment in the 11th District, better educational opportunities and more entrepreneurial and job-training programs. Tourism is the largest economic engine in the State of Massachusetts, thanks to our city's prominent position in the founding of this nation and the historical sites that tourists from around the U.S. and around the world come here - non-stop - to see.
We are not only the "Schoolhouse of America" but also the "Schoolhouse of the World," with all of the higher education students who invade this city every September to attend our high-quality colleges and universities. Yet, our per capital, annual incomes trail far behind those of most other sections of Boston. We cannot continue this way and have hope that our children and granchildren will avoid being cast aside in the increasingly competitive economic world of the future.
We must change the status quo - and we must start NOW, MY PROPOSED SOLUTIONS
- We must advocate for a more adequate public school budget. The education funds distributed in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts and in the City of Boston represent OUR tax dollars, too.
- We need to educate ourselves about educational policy changes, such as "Common Core," a federally-mandated program, that has resulted in Massachusetts 4th and 8th graders plunging from the highest scores in the nation in, mathematics and English, to a much lower position, nationally, today.
- We cannot accept the notion that the best future we can offer our children is a low-paying job in a "service industry," while the children of others enjoy the full benefits of this most prosperous nation on Earth.
- We must encourage our residents to circulate their hard-earned dollars within our community numerous times, before George Washington, Andrew Jackson and Ben Franklin leave the neighborhood - as is the practice in many more economically healthy communities. That is how local businesses grow strong and are then able to hire local residents.
- As a State Legislator, I will be vigilant in fighting for our District's rightful and fair share of the dollars that are allocated for state services in Massachusetts's annual multi-billion-dollar budget.
- I will also work closely with the City of Boston's Mayor and with the Boston City Council to ensure that our neighborhoods are not neglected in regard to necessary city services and city budget allocations.
- This Spring, we witnessed hundreds of our young people leave their classrooms and leave their schools to raise their voices for a fair and adequate school budget. The children should not have to be the ones making the case for fair and equitable treatment by City Hall, the State House or the Boston Publc Schools Department, if we, the adults, their parents, were doing a better job on their behalves.
Elderly Bostonians and those on fixed incomes are taxed out of their homes by an unaccountable assessing process through the city of Boston. Because of the high costs of property ownership, even responsible landlords are forced to charge rents beyond the ability of many working people to pay. The elderly, now on a fixed income, live under the threat of being taxed out of their homes, losing all that they worked and struggled for during their lifetime. We should see our elderly as an asset and not a liability.
Here is my comprehensive plan to address the needs of the elderly:
- Re-organize the city home assessment system so that the elderly in working-class neighborhoods are not taxed out of their homes I want to change that. I call for additional abatement for the elderly.
- Affordable housing for the elderly. There is no reason our elderly should be homeless. As Boston Councilor , I will immediately support the creation of 1,000 housing units across the city for the elderly
- End poverty among the elderly. I will work with state and federal government to ensure that no senior in Boston is poor
- Encourage closer relationships between families and grandparents.
- Connect young people with the elderly for learning and greater appreciation between generations.
"Engraved at the top of the wall of the Boston Public Library, at Copley, on the Boylston Street side, are the words: "The Commonwealth Requires the Education of the People as the Safeguard of Order and Liberty." The Boston City Council voted, 9-4, to increase the Boston Public Schools' budget by only 50% of what the increases were during the previous two years. When did we become a city, a people, that were not willing to invest in the fut ures of our children?
Many of our public schools still do not work. So, there is an uneven playing field. Poorly maintained buildings, untrained teachers and in-school violence remain impediments to creating a first-class public school system that works for every child in every neighborhood. Too many of our schools do not properly educate our children; as a result, many of our students have low self-esteem, teachers are under pressure and parents feel helpless. As State Representative of the 11th Suffolk District , I will urge the following:
- Quality schools in all communities. No exception. When we teach biology and math, the child should be at the center of this process and not testing goals
- Teachers throughout our public school system should reflect the diversity of the city
- Black, Latino and Asian history and civics in schools should become major aspects of the teaching curriculum
- Education for the future should be focused Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (S.T.E.M.)
To further strengthen our schools, I also propose the following:
- Increased parental involvement in the public schools
- School committee reform
- Increased teacher’s pay
- State of the art schools, first class facilities
- Work with families to ensure reduced violence in the schools
City and State Services
Much should be done to improve basic city services, because many residents of the city feel they are not getting the services they deserve. Many are frustrated with City Hall and the State House because it takes too long to respond and are loyal only to developers and campaign supporters.
By working with the people of Boston’s neighborhoods, I will strive to return accountable and responsive government to Boston.
As State Representative of the 11th Suffolk District , I will work to significantly improve city and state services that include:
- Snow removal in a timely manner
- Cleans streets. Densely populated parts of the city deserve extra efforts around street cleaning
- Prompt garbage removal---properly dispose of trash, more services across the city (Dorchester, Roxbury, Jamaica Plain and Roslindale some of the largest neighborhoods in the city)
- Timely street repair, especially potholes in the spring and bridges
- Property taxes (affordability)---special abatements, regulations that ensure that the working-class and the elderly don’t get priced-out their homes
The City of Boston is "A Tale of Two Cities" when it comes to the issue of Public Safety. We are experiencing an epidemic of homicides in our city, with young people being the most frequent victims. The Boston Police Department has become more of an after-the-fact "clean-up crew" in our neighborhoods, in regard to deadly crimes, rather than a pro-active organization seeking to prevent crimes from happening by utilizing the "best practices" of community policing, including officers from the community; who love the community; speak the language of the community; look like the community and walk the streets of the community instead of cruising the streets in vehicles. Officers who trust the community and the community trust.
Like other residents of the City of Boston, we pay our taxes and we deserve the full services and protection of the Boston Police Department that are afforded to the residents of Boston's other neighborhoods. In The Year 2016, it should not be the case that it is imminently safer to walk down Newbury Street in The Back Bay at 10 p.m. than it is to walk down Blue Hill Avenue in Grove Hall at 10 p.m. We should never accept living in a situation in which a young high school student can be gunned down, mere steps from his school, as was the case recently at the Jeremiah Burke High School. My Proposed Solutions As a former Boston Police Officer, I have particular insights concerning possible solutions to the civic crisis that the residents of Roxbury, Dorchester, Jamaica Plain and Roslindale are facing now - and have been facing for years:
- Get our police officers out of their cruisers and onto the streets if the community, where they can come to know the people they are sworn to protect.
- Enforce the laws, already on the books, when an individual is found to be carrying a firearm illegally.
- Promote and support "Neighborhood Watch Groups." Our residents are more than willing to devote a portion of their time to increase the level of safety in their neighborhoods, thereby helping to protect their precious children and themselves.
- Hold our elected officials accountable "to do their jobs!" - at the municipal, state and federal levels.
- Conduct the most massive "Voter Registration Campaign" that the City of Boston has ever seen, with the aid of organizations like the NAACP - an d other groups. We know how government works. Government bureaucrats listen to citizens more intently - and take action more quickly and consistently - when you organize, register to vote, express your opinions forcefully - and let them know that you have the power to vote them IN or OUT of elected office - and that you are not afraid to use that power.
- Commit to improve the quality of life for my family, neighbors, and youth on my street.
- Commit to being part of a unit of men, women, boys and girls on my street to rid our street of violence, drugs, any blight and all illicit activities.
- Commit to speak to any child or person on any street whenever I see them if it is just to say a kind word, or even a correction doing it out of and with love.
- Commit to report all dangerous or potentia l dangerous situations to the proper sources and follow through to insure justice and due process is carried out.
- Commit to be a surrogate father, mother, brother or sister to those on my street who need it.
- Commit to meet at least once per month in my, or my neighbors home to discuss issues concerns and improvements on our street.
- Commit to identify and work with neighborhood clergy, law enforcement, and organizations for resources for my family and neighbors on my street.
- Commit to teach the importance of civic engagement for my street and help my neighbors get involved.
- Accepting Your Responsibility to Make Our Community Safe and Decent.