For Boston City Council

By EDITORIAL  |  October 26, 2011

Veteran councilor STEPHEN MURPHY currently serves as the council's president, and has made wise use of that position. He left in place the bold committee changes and assignments made by previous council president Michael Ross. He has kept the body's focus on practical matters for bettering the city, while giving individual members leeway to pursue and develop their ideas and agendas.

Murphy is particularly astute on fiscal issues, with an impressive history of finding ways to save money for the city. We will need his skills to traverse the next two years, with state and federal funds continuing to dry up, and city services already cut to the bone.

In addition, Murphy's relationships throughout city and state government have proven invaluable in turning council proposals into real results. Murphy, however, has regularly had his eye on other political opportunities. In the coming months ahead, he needs to keep his focus clearly on the city of Boston.

AYANNA PRESSLEY, the council's only African-American woman, was elected two years ago after serving as an aide to former congressman Joseph P. Kennedy II and US Senator John Kerry.

Pressley has made her name advocating for families and the arts. Upon her election, Pressley had the imagination to form a new council committee on women and healthy communities.

Pressley sees neighborhood vibrancy as being inextricably interwoven with healthy, functioning families. And since single mothers lead so many Boston households, those women need policies and programs designed to help them keep their families together and flourishing.

Pressley's most remarkable achievement was her success in advocating for more up-to-date sex-education policies in Boston Public Schools. Teenage pregnancy erodes family stability and can lead to a host of other social ills. Pressley's quiet and common-sense advocacy helped Boston accomplish what many skeptics had previously thought was impossible.

Many district councilors are running unopposed.

Dorchester's District 3 race is without a doubt the most hotly contested election Boston has seen in some time.

The Phoenix endorses FRANK BAKER, a tough-minded Savin Hill activist whose blue-collar background gives him insight into what neighborhood residents should be able to expect from their city government, and empathy for their everyday struggles.

In District 2, which encompasses the South End, South Boston, and Chinatown, the Phoenix endorses SUZANNE LEE, a retired Boston public school principal and veteran of many community-betterment campaigns. Lee's unpretentious can-do attitude is a breath of political fresh air, and her knowledge of a host of important citywide issues ranging from education to neighborhood development rivals that of any long-time office holder. If elected, Lee would be a new face that knows the score.

In a recent special election, TITO JACKSON won the seat once held by Chuck Turner, representing District 7, which comprises most of Roxbury and parts of Jamaica Plain and the South End.

Jackson, who combines a broad understanding of the city at large with a granular appreciation of the needs of his district, joined the council with impressive energy. He deserves to be elected for a full two-year term.

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