Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Mark Ciommo Answers Questions on Blue Mass Group

A while back, Tim Schofield put forward himself as a candidate for A-B District City Councilor on the liberal website, Blue Mass Group. The discussion degenerated into a clash among surrogates -- not the candidate himself -- about who is the most liberal candidate in the race. Unfortunately, in the silliness the BMGers missed the chance to pose real questions and issues directly to the candidate.

More recently, Mark Ciommo has ventured into the same waters. He was immediately presented with a series of questions on the issues, and gave answers which are worth excerpting here:
  • reforming the Boston Redevelopment Authority, specifically separating the permitting and planning sections

    Yes, I support reforming the BRA.

    Most major American cities have a separate planning department. I think Boston should as well. With so many institutions planning large expansions in Allston-Brighton, we would especially benefit from a separate planning department that could take into consideration the long term interests of our neighborhood.

  • affordable housing, rent control and tenant's rights

    I want to promote affordable housing but I don?t support rent control or collective bargaining. Studies by progressive economists Paul Krugman, have shown that rent control is not an effective means of providing affordable housing.

    Instead I will work to:

    - Improve the ?Inclusionary Zoning? law.
    - Adopt a housing voucher finance system.
    - Increase ISD enforcement.
    - Work to promote public and private partnerships to increase home ownership and affordable rental properties for working families.
    - Press colleges and universities to house all of their students.

  • Governor Patrick's proposal to build a commuter rail station on or near the lot currently owned by Harvard where the CSX rail yard is located

    Again, additional transportation will make Allston-Brighton more appealing to young professionals and families.

    I support proposals that would provide commuter rail access to Allston-Brighton.

  • restaurants and other businesses looking for licenses to be open 24 hours

    I do not see any significant community benefit to allowing businesses to remain open 24 hours.

    However, I would want to review these on a case by case basis.

  • rebuilding relations between the student and non-student elements of our community

    I am not sure if I would use the word ?rebuild? but I do understand the sentiment that you are conveying. I think there is a disconnect between the students and the residents of our community. I have worked with young people for over two decades as a teacher, outreach worker, and coach. I have helped bring youth into the community before. Getting college students involved in the community will certainly help strengthen this relationship.

    Also, I believe that if colleges and universities house all of their students, the relationship would be improved greatly.

  • I hope more of the candidates step forward onto this site... unless, of course, they are more comfortable talking at the Red Mass Group.

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