Wednesday, October 24, 2007

John Connolly Responds to the Brighton Centered Questionnaire

John Connolly responded to the Brighton Centered questionnaire for the candidates for Boston City Councilor-At-Large.
  1. QUESTION: If you could reverse one decision made by the City Council in the last five years, what would it be and why?

    RESPONSE: As a former teacher of at-risk youth, I know the importance of providing job opportunities to young people and proactively engaging them in their communities. I support increased funding for the Summer Jobs Program and for violence prevention and intervention programs. I would have worked to include such funding in the 2007 Operating Budget and one of my top priorities will be to restore such funding in future budgets.

  2. QUESTION: What specific changes do you think should be made to Article 80 of the zoning code?

    RESPONSE: Article 80, which governs most development projects in the city including Institutional Master Plans, does not provide sufficient time for communities to comment on proposals submitted by developers and institutions. Presently, the maximum time for a community to respond to even the most complex of proposals is 75 days. As we saw with the recent Harvard Science Complex, communities need more time to review and comment on such proposals and to receive adequate responses to their concerns. I believe that the timelines under Article 80 should be extended.

  3. QUESTION: Vancouver, British Columbia, requires 25% of their new housing stock built downtown to be “family-friendly.” What is your vision of the specific design elements that would make housing “family-friendly,” and should Boston adopt a similar requirement?

    RESPONSE: I am running for City Council because I am committed to making Boston a family-friendly city again, which means adequate and affordable housing, quality public schools, and safe streets. I was born and raised in Boston and my wife Meg and I are going to raise our family here, so I know the importance of these factors in attracting and sustaining families. Among the ways that we can make housing more family-friendly is by persuading developers to build more three and four bedroom units, by encouraging developers to incorporate child-care centers into their new buildings, and encouraging the expansion of public spaces throughout the city.

  4. QUESTION: Some people have proposed that the BPS return to “neighborhood” or “community” schools. Do you support such a proposal? How would such a move impact the achievement gap?  

    RESPONSE: As a former teacher of at-risk youth, I know the importance of parental involvement in a child’s education. One way to support greater parental involvement is by sending our children to school in the communities in which they live. Neighborhood schools build greater cohesion within a community as students and parents share experiences and collaborate with other families from their neighborhood. Neighborhood schools also reduce burdensome and costly commutes and make more resources available to ensure that all of our schools are of the highest quality, which is ultimately the best way for us to reduce the achievement gap.

  5. QUESTION: Should Boston College be required to house all of their undergraduate students in on-campus dormitories? If so, where should the dormitories be located? On their 'Brighton Campus' (land recently purchased from the Archdiocese of Boston), on their 'Main Campus,' or both?  

    RESPONSE: Boston College should provide on-campus housing on its main campus for all of its undergraduate students. Undergraduate students should not be housed on the former Archdiocese property. Moving students on-campus will make more housing available in the community for families and will reduce the artificially high rental market, which is inflated by the presence of students who are willing to pay exorbitant rents and to crowd into unsuitable space.

  6. QUESTION: Have you ever used the Mayor's 24-Hour Constituent Service hotline, either the phone number or the online version? Is it an effective tool for delivering constituent services? What, if anything, would you change about it?  

    RESPONSE: The Mayor’s 24-Hour Constituent Hotline is a valuable tool for delivering constituent services. I also support the development and implementation of a 311 system whereby residents call one number (311) to acquire information, inquire about services, report problems, and track the status of issues. 311 operators are highly trained and knowledgeable about every aspect of city services and act as a one-stop resource. I also support the development and implementation of a "stat tracking" system to track the nature of the calls received and the responsiveness of the city. Keeping track of this information will help the city anticipate future needs and provide better services.

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