Change Address

VOTE411 Voter Guide

Boston Mayor

This year, there are four candidates for Mayor of Boston. This calls for a citywide Preliminary Municipal Election on Tuesday, September 26, 2017 to narrow the field to two candidates. The general election will be held on Tuesday, November 7, 2017 and will elect the next mayor to a four-year term.
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    Tito Jackson City Councilor, District 7

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    Marty Walsh Present Mayor

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Biographical Information

What issues do you consider to be of greatest concern to the City of Boston and what proposals/plans do you have to deal with them?

If the state legislature does not update the Ch. 70 foundation formula for funding of local school districts, how would your administration address the increasing gap in funding for local districts like Boston with a large proportion of students who have special needs?

What policy initiatives would your administration pursue to address the increasing scarcity of affordable housing for moderate-income residents, particularly for seniors who fall within that category?

Services to seniors vary among Boston’s neighborhoods; What would your administration do to ensure equity in services in all neighborhoods?

According to a 2016 study issued by the City of Boston and recently reported in the Boston Globe, it is expected that Boston and other New England communities will experience a significant increase in sea levels. What specific actions would your administration pursue to address the expected rise in Boston’s sea level?

Campaign Phone (617) 297-8212
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1.Quality Schools for every neighborhood. One of the main reasons people move out of Boston is that they feel they can’t count on our school system. There is a scarcity of quality schools. As Mayor, I will: Fully fund our public schools, because I know that our greatest treasure lies in the promise the next generation of young people offers. Bring back an elected School Committee because residents have the right to determine the future of the Boston Public Schools. Restore budget cuts to special education students who have autism, social-emotional impairments, and trauma services. Create forward thinking Vocational Technical Education at Madison Park, Boston’s only vocational technical high school: An additional 25,000 employees will be needed in care services in Massachusetts, including substance abuse treatment, before 2024. I will bring strong business partners, regulation of apprenticeship programs, and align certificate programs with companies in the community.

2.Housing that is affordable for all Bostonians. Everyone who lives here should be sharing in the economic success of Boston. As Mayor, I will: Disband the Boston Planning & Development Agency (BPDA) and create a human-centered planning department; this new planning department will be publicly accountable and separate the planning and development functions, decreasing the power of developers and increasing the power of citizens. Restore the former strength of Neighborhood Councils in order to maintain the integrity of neighborhoods. Every neighborhood will have a structured Council to give input for development and public works projects. Increase affordable units available for families.

3.Health and Public Safety. There has been a 28% surge in non-fatal shootings this year in Boston. In Dorchester alone, there has been a 77% increase in shootings compared to last year. We know that opioid use in Massachusetts has surpassed the national average and experienced a sharp rise in the last two years. This is unacceptable. As Mayor, I will: Advocate for single payer healthcare. Use nationwide best practices such as the Richmond, CA and College-Bound Dorchester models to engage the young people committing the gun violence in Boston. Establish a night shift for detectives. Diversify the police force so the police department better reflects the communities it serves by expanding the cadet program and aggressively seeking to hire veterans of color. Restore programs cut at Grove Hall Community Center and at other BCYF sites. Fully fund our public schools and youth summer and year-round jobs programs. Work on a state and local level to reopen the Long Island Shelter using boats for client transportation. The city currently spends $11 million a year to keep buildings on Long Island open. Create a central online service to provide real-time data on available addiction and resources.
As Mayor, I will: Partner with the other municipalities of the Commonwealth to make sure the governor and state legislature in fact live up to their constitutional obligations to fund the approximately $1B the Foundation Budget Review Commission identified as the amount our local school districts are owed. I will assess the entire budget of the City of Boston to make sure programs and line items are best used for the education of children. This will include for example accepting that the Boston Police Department’s overtime budget is unsustainable and a sign it is under-resourced and over-stretching its existing officer numbers. By hiring more officers, we will be able to significantly cut down the police overtime budget, allowing us to better resource our schools as well. I will conduct an audit of the schools to determine where resources can best be allocated. I will consider more specialist Special Education schools inside BPS so that we can reduce the number of students placed in out of district placement, therefore not only somewhat reducing the far higher costs of such out of district placement, but also allowing our families more access and time with their students. Pursue at the state level legislation once again funding non-regional transportation funding so that the BPS’ obligation to provide transportation for charter, parochial, and private students is more equitably funded. Aggressively pursue fully funding charter school reimbursements, Circuit Breaker funding, and McKinney-Vento homeless student transportation reimbursement.
As Mayor, I will: Abolish the Boston Planning and Development Department in order to prioritize housing that is affordable in every neighborhood. Fund the Housing First Program that will finance 400 housing vouchers for our increasing homeless families. Increase the city’s current affordable housing requirement of new building projects from 13% to 20% ensuring an increase to affordable units for every new project. Create and strengthen Neighborhood Councils so the City is better able to partner with the community to assess their community’s housing needs and better align their needs to the types of housing developers are able to offer.

As Mayor, I will: Immediately and regularly audit all city agencies to ensure city resources are prioritized for funding of services for our most vulnerable residents. We will increase funding for and fully implement Vision Zero citywide to ensure seniors remain active in their communities. Small innovations like shortened distances between bus stops, benches, trees for shade, increased crossing times, and properly paved streets can make a huge difference to ensure our seniors remain active in their communities. Introduce a program to ensure sidewalk snow removal services are provided to our qualifying seniors.
We know a coastal defense system will need to be part of a broad, long term plan to defend against sea level rise. As Mayor, I will: Take immediate action by on the ground management of development projects. Elevate building projects in flood zones. Reduce impervious surfaces in flood zones. Ground cover, permeable pavers and vegetation that allows movement of water will be prioritized. Introduce green infrastructure policy to reduce temperatures in neighborhoods currently identified as heat islands.

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Campaign Phone (617) 765-2277
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Over the last four years, I’ve focused on building a roadmap to the future so that all Bostonians—no matter where they come from or which neighborhood they live in—can share in Boston’s success. I felt that Boston needed a plan created by Bostonians, for Bostonians; and that this had to be a truly comprehensive plan, addressing not just development, but all of the major trends affecting our city: population growth, housing demand, inequality, climate change, innovation, and more. We launched Imagine Boston 2030: our first citywide plan in more than 50 years.It reflected the views of 15,000 Bostonians. It’s our blueprint for inclusive growth, and it’s Boston’s roadmap to a thriving future. This included, but was not limited to: preserving what residents love about their neighborhoods while enhancing public spaces, neighborhood services, transportation connection, growing good jobs, amenities, and mixed-income housing in commercial cores like Downtown, Chinatown, Fenway, the Longwood Medical Area, and the South Boston Waterfront, as well as in neighborhoods including Charlestown, Allston, and the South End.

In other areas, we’ve seen a lot of progress. We’ve made a record investment in our schools, so that kids have the tools they need to succeed. We’ve made the school day longer, expanded early education, and put $1 billion dollars toward building and modernizing our schools. Today, we have the highest high school graduation rate in history. When our students graduate, more kids will have the chance to go to college because we’ve made community college free for Boston high school graduates. We’ve built affordable housing at a record pace so that everyone who wants to live in Boston can still get ahead. We opened the first ever Office of Economic Development, to attract more big companies to Boston, to create new and better paying jobs, and to support and grow our small businesses all over this city.

As a result, we’ve created 60,000 new jobs, with more on the way. We have the first city-wide plan in over 50 years—Imagine Boston 2030—to ensure that we grow in a way that ensures economic mobility and a better quality of life for everyone throughout the City—whether you live in Roxbury, Mattapan, Beacon Hill, or Back Bay.This is the Boston I believe in, and the Boston we’re fighting for; one that takes care of its own and fights for everyone. Boston needs to be a city for everyone. That’s what we’re working on every day. We have more to do—but we’ve come a long way in a short amount of time—and I am never going to stop fighting for Bostonians.
The past four years have seen great improvements in the Boston Public Schools. In that time, we have made numerous research-driven targeted investments and reforms to close the achievement gap, which include: extending the school day by adding 120 hours of learning time for over 23,000 students in kindergarten through 8th grade; serving 725 more students in high quality, full-day pre-kindergarten seats at BPS and in community-based organizations; launching “Excellence for All” in 13 schools to provide access to rigorous and enriching academic experiences to hundreds of additional 4th grade students; an early-hiring program to provide school leaders with flexibility to put an effective teacher in every classroom; and offering tuition-free community college to eligible students.

We are already seeing results.The number of BPS schools receiving the state’s top designation increased to 21. Graduation rates have reached an all-time high of 70.7%. Teachers hired through the early hiring initiative are twice as likely to receive “exemplary” ratings than those hired in later months. Additionally, Boston’s four-year cohort dropout rate fell from 18.5% in 2014 to 15.4% in 2015 (the most recent year for which data is available).

By many measures, Boston is the most successful large urban school district in the country, and we are proud of the progress made. But there still remains a lot of work to be done, and our current funding formulas are not adequate to meet the challenges we face. While the Chapter 70 school funding formula provides an average of 46% of school district foundation budgets statewide, it provides just 27% for Boston. Between 2008 and 2017, at a time when the state provided an influx of $900 million statewide, aid to Boston has not increased at all.

Despite this stagnation in state aid, our commitment to high-quality public education in Boston has not wavered. That is why my office, in collaboration with BPS, has been working on a multi-pronged effort at creating a sustainable, world-class public school system.

First, we established a Boston Public Schools Long-Term Financial Planning Advisory Committee, tasked with creating a plan for BPS solvency. The Committee released its Long-Term Financial Plan last winter, which ten big ideas to unlock resources for the district. To date, many of the plan’s recommendations have already started, including streamlining the district’s central office, maximizing efficiencies in transportation, and negotiating a responsible contract with the Boston Teachers Union.

We are also continuing to invest in school facilities. The BuildBPS Educational and Facilities Master Plan will guide the investment of $1 billion in capital funds for construction and renovation projects in BPS over at least the next ten years. This plan will also build on the City’s new relationship with the Massachusetts School Building Authority to return more funding to Boston and ensure that the City and the Authority work together.

I have also been working closely with the state to achieve a state of funding that works for Boston. In January, I delivered a package of bills to the legislature that would reform the state funding formulas. This comprehensive finance reform legislation would increase annual available funding for Boston by about $35 million for increased investment in education in its first year of implementation. The package of bills would fix the broken charter school finance model, more fully fund the cost of the Commonwealth’s highest need students, and redirect existing tax revenue produced in Boston back to its residents. In addition, my Chapter 70 Education Aid proposal would fundamentally change our stagnant state education aid and provide an additional $150 million per year to Boston students within several years.

I am committed to finding long-term solutions to provide BPS with a sustainable, fiscally-responsible foundation to provide quality education to all of our students. I will continue to work with BPS to continue the great progress we have made and that Boston’s students have what they need to succeed.
I entered City Hall in the middle of a housing crisis. Our population was growing, and we did not have the housing inventory to support it. The population was putting pressure on our existing housing stock, causing prices to rise. We developed a plan to create 53,000 units by 2030. Today, we have permitted 21,000 units with over 8,900 available to middle and low-income families. That is already having an impact. To create additional affordable housing, we have had to increase our funding. To do this, we have increased our budget line item for affordable housing, and we are extracting more from private developers through our Inclusionary Development Policy. Since taking office - I have made over $100 million available for the creation of affordable housing. Most recently, while working with the Yes for a Better Boston Coalition, we passed the Community Preservation Act in Boston. This will provide an estimated $20 Million a year - much of which will be used for affordable housing.

Building affordable housing is a top priority for my administration and we are working around the clock to make sure anyone who wants to live in Boston can do so. In a city that gets 70% of its revenue from property tax, growth is critical. We are working hard to make sure that growth reaches everyone.

Since 2014, I’ve created nearly 300 new units of low-income senior housing. In addition, I’ve developed a new $1.75 million line item in the City’s budget to offset federal cuts and produce more homes. Finally, through home renovation and foreclosure prevention, I’ve helped more than 500 seniors retain their homes. We’re on track to meet our housing goal of 5,000 senior units of housing by 2030.

Today the city is building affordable housing geared toward a wide range of incomes. Everything from housing dedicated to formerly homeless individuals making $20k or less, to housing for the middle class. The majority of the income-restricted affordable housing that we are building is accessible to households making $50k per year.

I'm also very proud that one out every five housing units in Boston is income restricted, and my Administration is working to continue this leadership so that people of all incomes and backgrounds can live in our city.

In order to preserve and protect Boston’s much needed public housing for the future, the Boston Housing Authority is developing a site-by-site preservation strategy and entering into public/private partnerships for some of its largest developments to preserve well over 3,000 public housing units for the long term. BHA will utilize Choice Neighborhoods, Rental Assistance Demonstration, Energy Performance Contracting, public/private partnerships and other approaches that will help preserve the portfolio for future generations of low-income residents. BHA developed this strategy in response to an unprecedented and ongoing lack of funding and support at the federal level for housing authorities across the nation. This reduced funding is expected to continue and the funding shortfalls threaten to severely impact the public housing program as it currently exists. In response to this public crisis, the BHA, working with public housing resident organizations, will continue to develop new and creative strategies to preserve our housing resource for Boston’s most vulnerable families.
’m committed to making Boston the best city for older adults, and this has been a priority of mine from the very beginning of our administration. Boston joined the World Health Organization’s global network of age-friendly cities. Older adults are the ones who built Boston, and Boston wouldn’t be the successful city it is today without them. Older adults are important to our future, and they represent the fastest-growing sector of Boston’s population. As our city continues to grow and advance, we have a responsibility to make sure we can accommodate this growth and meet their needs. That’s why I’m taking on all the issues that matter most to our older adults: from housing to mobility to healthcare and more.

Recently, we released our Age-Friendly Boston Action Plan, the City's first-ever, the City's blueprint to make Boston the best city and place to live for older adults within three years. The Mayor’s Commission on Elderly Affairs worked with partners AARP of Massachusetts, UMass Boston, and the Tufts Health Plan Foundation to create a roadmap for the City’s future in supporting older adults. The 75 action items in the plan were developed through 25 listening sessions. This report reflects the voices of 4,000 older adults from every corner of Boston, reflecting different languages, viewpoints, ages, and cultures.

Since 2014, I’ve created nearly 300 new units of low-income senior housing. In addition, I’ve developed a new $1.75 million line item in the City’s budget to offset federal cuts and produce more homes. Finally, through home renovation and foreclosure prevention, I’ve helped more than 500 seniors retain their homes. We’re on track to meet our housing goal of 5,000 senior units of housing by 2030. Through Boston’s Home Center, we’re helping seniors replace their failing or inefficient heating systems to lower their risk of heating emergencies, lower their energy bills, and help them use their budgets on other necessities like medications and food.

I joined the Alzheimer's Workplace Alliance. Boston is the first major capital city to join the Alzheimer’s Workplace Alliance. All front-facing city staff and emergency personnel are being trained to recognize signs and behaviors of Alzheimer’s Disease.

And, we’ve secured a 30% water discount for eligible seniors, in addition to Comcast Cable senior discounts.
As a coastal city, Boston must be a climate champion. Climate change presents a unique threat to the health, safety, and jobs of today’s Bostonians and tomorrow’s. And in a city of science and progress like ours, climate action is not only a responsibility but also an opportunity--to create good, green jobs; to save money through energy efficiency; and to develop the technologies and solutions of the future. I’ve made climate action a top priority. In the process, Boston has become a national and global leader. Each year since 2014, Boston has been ranked the #1 city in the country for energy efficiency by the American Council on an Energy Efficient Economy.

Boston’s Climate Action Plan is a roadmap for saving energy and money across all sectors, with the ultimate goal of cutting carbon emissions 80% by 2050. The Climate Ready Boston report shows how rising sea levels and storms are likely to affect Boston, and guides how to prepare our neighborhoods and infrastructure for this impact.

Our responsibility is to turn these proposals into action. Climate change is not a narrow issue, but one that affects the social and economic vitality of our city. Climate action will not only keep us safer in the face of higher tides, more intense storms, and more extreme heat. It will also create jobs, improve public spaces and public health, and make our energy supply more efficient and resilient. These improvements will provide long-term economic benefits, strengthen our infrastructure, and make our neighborhoods safer. By preparing for the inevitable effects of climate change as part of the Imagine Boston 2030 citywide plan, we’re investing in our future. Climate change knows no borders -- we will work with neighboring municipalities to address the regional impacts we face together. Today, we can take steps to make our city healthier and more thriving now and establish a foundation that enables the next generation to build on the work that we are starting. I look forward to working with you. logo


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