Monday, January 26, 2009

Where Does Flaherty Stand on the Issues?

Boston City Councilor-At-Large Michael Flaherty announced on Sunday his candidacy for Mayor of Boston. His announcement seems to have rushed to the (kitchen) table after Adam Gaffin, curator of UniversalHub, noticed a test version of Flaherty's video on YouTube. As such, his "Flaherty for Mayor" website isn't yet up, and won't be for a week or so.

Want to know where Councilor Flaherty stands on some of the issues before the city?

When he last ran for Councilor-At-Large in 2007, I assembled the following background on him via questionnaires, candidate forums, websites, and the like. It's a good start, although I acknowledge that these are his positions as of 15 months ago -- some of which might have changed in the interim.

City Planning Department: Should the city create a planning department in order to return to the model tossed aside when the Boston Redevelopment Authority was created and took over the city planning role? Flaherty's position: Yes. (Note that most large cities have a planning department.)

Casino Gambling in the City of Boston:
Should Boston have a casino, particularly at the Suffolk Downs site in East Boston? Flaherty's position: Undecided, but noted that the idea holds "much promise." (Note that approving a casino is a state issue, but that a Mayor could easily help green-light a project or put up roadblocks at every step of the way.)

Neighborhood Schools: Should Boston return to the neighborhood school model, where children attend the nearest school, rather than the current system that allows parents choice among schools within their zone? Flaherty's position: Maybe, but it would be "
it is unrealistic and socially reckless to go to 100% neighborhood schools overnight."

Delivering Constituent Services: Is the "Mayor's 24-Hour Constituent Service Hotline" an effective tool, or does it need changing? Flaherty's position: has called for adopting the "CitiStat" to track constituent service requests better. (Note: there have been some improvements to the hotline in the past 15 months, but I assume Flaherty continues to want more improvement in this service.)

BC Dorms on the Former St. John's Seminary Grounds:
Should Boston College be allowed to build undergraduate dormitories on their "Brighton Campus", i.e., the property purchased from the Archdiocese of Boston? Flaherty's position: non-committal, but generally supports the city's universities constructing dormitories to house more of their students. (Note: he is a "double eagle", graduating from both Boston College High School and Boston College.)

Brighton Centered Questionnaire (October 2007)
Allston Brighton Community Blog Questionnaire (October 2007)
Asian Pacific American Agenda Coalition Questionnaire
GLBT Issues
Adrian Walker column on candidate forum
Candidate Forum audio (October 10, 2007)
Allston-Brighton TAB candidate profile

Note: I will be trying to assemble information on other candidates again this year. Kevin McCrea has also already announced he will be running for Mayor this year. Mayor Thomas Menino has not yet announced whether he will seek re-election.

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