Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Martin Hogan Responds to the Brighton Centered Questionnaire

Martin Hogan 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: I have been a strong supporter of many of the initiatives of the council however in the recent few years I have been struggling with quite a few. I feel that wasting precious time and resources on the discussion of “Cup Condoms” or the banning of plastic bags has been of little or no use to the city and the resident as a whole. Specifically, I have been a strong and vigilant supporter of immigration reform. In 2006 the Boston City Council passed a resolution banning Boston police Officers from arresting ILLEGAL Immigrants as a crime against the city and the state as a whole. I feel that we need to make sure that all residents of the city are here legally and aide by the laws that were set up to protect all residents of our city, state, and country. A crime is a crime and we are not setting the right example for our children, our future.

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

    RESPONSE: I feel that making changes relevant to Article 80 of the zoning code is narrowing our scope too small. The problem with our city and the way the ZBA and the BRA affect us is in the fact that our city council, which are there to represent the residents and neighborhoods of the city, has no binding power over either entity or the way in which they choose to redevelop/destroy our lands. I feel that the only way to combat this is for the council to, with new direction and resolve, work together and with the state legislature to eliminate the current authority and restructure a new one under city control.

  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 feel that we need to help keep the families that have strived and worked hard throughout the generations and embrace new and forming families that may move into our neighborhoods. However, I want to make sure that it is affordable for all residents and in doing so making sure that all have the right and ability to choose which neighborhood out of our many diverse areas in which they would like to call home. I do not feel that setting aside specific “family friendly” lands will help us accomplish this. I feel that this will only lead to more economic segregation and will drive a wedge between our residents. I believe we need to advocate more for affordable housing both for low and median level residents and strive to make sure our neighborhoods are safe and well kept so that the flight of the Boston resident does not continue.

  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: I have always believed that the power of the government for the City of Boston belongs in the hands of its residents. That includes voting for your best representative at city hall and it includes schooling. While I strongly believe in neighborhood schools, I believe it is up to each parent to decide where to send their child for the best possible education. As parents, you deserve to choose to keep your child close to home or if a school has better opportunities such as vocational training or special education, across the city, you can choose that option.  We do not need to bus children all over the city on nearly empty buses wasting precious time, money and resources.  We should not be worrying about rich schools versus poor schools. We need every school to be well funded and held to the highest standards for safety and quality education. We need more parental involvement, attention and resources for each child to close the achievement gap and give them the opportunities to succeed.

  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: I feel that we need to have each college and university in Boston, like Boston College, re-evaluate their capacity for housing students on campus and what their percentage is that live off campus. We need to advocate to control how much the institution can expand and specifically where. We need to preserve the neighborhoods and public lands and resources we have and make sure that the safety of all, residents and students is provided. One of the ways we can help to make sure that families are not forced out is by defining where and how much these institutions may expand. Also I will work every day to get these institutions and other tax exempt entities in Boston pay their fair share of the burden.

  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: Yes, I have used the Mayor’s Hotline, and I can say that I feel the system is not benefiting the residents of the city. I would propose as your at large city councilor that we try to fix this system in two ways. First, I want to create local city halls in each neighborhood of the city, where our residents can access the needed city services anytime during the week and on Saturdays when many have free time from work. Secondly, I will personally, as your city councilor, have open office hours throughout the city, in each neighborhood where you will actually be able to access the council. I am running to bridge the gap between our neighborhoods and our city hall for each and every resident of our city.

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