Monday, May 14, 2007

Interview With Council Candidate Paul Creighton

Paul Creighton is no stranger to Allston-Brighton politics: he had a strong showing with more than 30% of the vote against then-incumbent Councilor Jerry McDermott in the 2005 race. He works as the Director of the Allston-Brighton Area Planning Action Council.

Creighton wants to be City Councilor because "being an elected public official is an honorable position to have. I think I can be helpful to the neighborhood."

And he paints a picture of a neighborhood that could use a lot of help:
"The community and neighborhood infrastructure has disintegrated, and there are very few institutions left that would make for a strong community life. The number of people starting families has shrunk tremendously... The schools are less and less meaningful in people's lives. The expansion of the larger institutions (particularly BC and Harvard) are almost a death blow to what I view as a neighborhood life... The degree of change has only accelerated over the last few years."
His list of major issues confronting the Allston-Brighton neighborhood is broad: increasing property taxes; a tight city budget; unaffordable housing; little confidence in the school system; and traffic. He blames many of the problems on the ever-expanding institutions, and the "willy-nilly" way that all the change is occurring. "It's going to be one big dormitory, one big academic institution," he says. "It will be very hard for anybody else to lead a different kind of life that doesn't march to the academic beat."

Looking forward, Creighton maintains that "unless you do something to try to change the culture of city services, it's all going to get worse."

A long-time community activist who started his career in the war on poverty, Creighton still believes "that community action and organization [are] a way to contend with these powerful forces. You begin by organizing people to fight the fight."

Finally, he sees the role of the City Councilor as someone who "has to be out front, not sort of sitting on the sidelines waiting for how the wind blows. The district City Councilors are supposed to be leading... You have to be someone who is prepared to fight City Hall."

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