Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Reversing a City Council Decision: Councilor-At-Large Candidates Respond to Questionnaire

Many of the candidates for the Boston City Councilor-At-Large seat responded to the Brighton Centered questionnaire. Here you can see all of their responses to one of those questions.

QUESTION: If you could reverse one decision made by the City Council in the last five years, what would it be and why?

COUNCILOR FELIX ARROYO: This past summer’s vote on the FY08 City budget. The approved budget did not include the requested $8 million for youth opportunity programming (summer jobs, year-round jobs, after-school programs and youth/street workers). In a $2 billion budget, I find it extremely disappointing that we could not work together to better prioritize funding to include this minimal request from a coalition of youth and youth workers. Voting on the budget annually is our biggest decision of the year and, if three other Councilors had joined the four of us in voting against the budget, we could have negotiated for this youth programming and to better meet other top priorities. We must work more diligently to pass City budgets that meet current priorities to the limit of current revenue.

JOHN CONNOLLY: 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.

COUNCILOR MICHAEL FLAHERTY: In 2004, the City Council decided to extend the expiration date for urban renewal areas in Boston for the Boston Redevelopment Authority (BRA). Looking back, it was probably a real opportunity for the Council to dilute some of the power of the BRA and create a separate, independent planning agency. I regret that the Council did not seize that chance to finally bring some balance back to the City’s planning and redevelopment initiatives.

MATTHEW GEARY: Specifically, I would like to have seen approval for the democratic home rule petition, voting rights to all permanent residents, and collective bargaining for tenants. Additionally, the budgets that have been passed have been a glaring example of how misplaced the priorities of the city are. Funding for necessary services has been slashed, working people have continued to have seen their quality of life deteriorate as costs of living have skyrocketed. I would not approve and actively campaign against any budget cuts to social services, education, housing assistance and jobs programs which must be fully funded.

MARTIN HOGAN: 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.

COUNCILOR SAM YOON: Although I was not on the Council at the time of this vote, I am certainly aware of the impacts of the decision by the City Council to approve extensions for the Urban Renewal plans and thus giving up oversight from the City Council. This vote decreased the accountability that the Boston Redevelopment Authority had to the City Council around development decisions in much of the city. This is certainly the City Council decision I would most like to reverse in the last 5 years.

Candidate David Wyatt and Councilor Stephen Murphy did not respond to the questionnaire.

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