And on a gritty level, Flaherty is committed to more jobs for city residents on city-funded projects.
Flaherty’s weak spot is municipal unions, which represent the biggest road blocks to cost savings and policy innovation. His endorsement by the firefighters is particularly troublesome. Still, Menino’s relationship with the firefighters’ union is so frayed after years of battle that Flaherty just might have a better shot of making progress. (Or, if elected, he’ll find that he was also used.)
Boston, like all big cities, faces great challenges over the next couple of years. The Phoenix believes that new challenges require fresh faces and new blood. That is why we endorse Flaherty and applaud his decision to include Yoon in his administration.
For district city council
Only four of the Boston’s nine district councilors face challengers this year, with Bill Linehan, Maureen Feeney, Charles Yancey, Rob Consalvo, and John Tobin running unopposed.
We recommend a vote for one of the four challengers: Carlos “Tony” Henriquez, who is running for the second time against Chuck Turner in District 7.
Turner, while occasionally an effective advocate for his constituents, has compromised the City Council’s ability to work toward real solutions to citywide problems. And that was before his federal indictment on corruption-related charges.
Even if Turner is correct that the FBI and US Attorney’s Office have indicted him erroneously, there are serious questions about Turner’s behavior that he has been unwilling to answer. His continuing presence on the Council — where he has been barred from holding a chairmanship — is hurting the city and his constituents.
Fortunately, there is a promising alternative in Henriquez, the son of Sandra Henriquez, assistant secretary of the US Department of Housing and Urban Development and the former administrator and CEO of the Boston Housing Authority. Though Henriquez is young and has much to learn, he is smart, passionate, and driven. He may become one of the city’s emerging minority leaders.
In District 8, Michael Ross has been a hard-working and effective city councilor. Ross’s crackdown on student overcrowding has its critics, but the initiative is helping to improve neighborhoods, while his proposals for revitalizing Boston Common and helping at-risk youth are banner programs. He has been particularly effective as the current City Council president, cutting the Council’s budget and instituting new, more open and accountable rules in the aftermath of Turner’s arrest and indictment. Ross deserves re-election.
Also deserving is first-term District 9 incumbent Mark Ciommo, who has a solid understanding of issues facing Allston-Brighton — particularly campus expansion — and took on the difficult role, for a freshman councilor, of mastering the city’s complex budget. As chair of the Ways and Means Committee, he managed to hold serious, informative budget sessions in the middle of a fiscal crisis and a mayoral-election year.
District 1 councilor incumbent Sal LaMattina, a former Menino staffer, takes care of constituent services in his district, but has not made a name for himself on other citywide issues. Challenger Chris Kulikoski has not proven that he has a fine grasp of municipal issues, so this paper urges LaMattina’s re-election.