Bostonians are a diverse, talented, and resourceful people and we deserve the best! We’ve spent plenty of time talking about and studying the issues, now it’s time to act. We need practical, creative solutions that are tailored to the strengths we have and the challenges we face. It is the people who are already here that will help define who we become as a city.
How will these solutions our residents need be funded? As far as we know, no Boston Mayoral Candidate has released a detailed budget illustrating how we fund the policy solutions outlined below… until now of course. Please take a look at the Executive Summary of The Tito Jackson People’s Budget for Boston that funds our present needs and also funds the policy solutions put forward here.
We Are Democratic
We Are Educated
We Are Housed
We Are Safe
We Are Sustainable
We Are Enterprising
We Are Creative
The Tito Jackson People’s Budget for Boston
Mayoral power in Boston is too strong. We must implement much-needed reforms to the Charter of the City of Boston to bring the voice of the people back to City Hall.
Disband the Boston Planning and Development Agency (BPDA) and move oversight of the planning department into the City. The BPDA employs talented, hard-working people; however, the structure of the agency has no public rules governing transparency, and is used as a means to maintain Mayoral control. A disproportionate amount of power remains with the Mayor and development community, who lock out residents from the planning processes in their neighborhoods.
Bring Back an Elected School Committee. We are the only municipality in Massachusetts to have a Mayoral appointed School Committee. An elected school committee gives voice to residents, increases civic participation, and fosters innovation. Bostonians should be able to decide the future of BPS.
Increase the Power of City Councillors. Councillors must have the power to effectively advocate for the constituents that elect them. Councillors should have to state their position on development projects in their district, and have zoning veto power. We will set aside money for participatory budgeting for each district so residents can inform, through direct forums or electronic polls, where taxpayer money is spent and where the priorities of the community lie. This grassroots approach to budget allocation promotes local solutions to local problems — from funds for city parks to investments in afterschool programming to upgrades in bike infrastructure.
Implement a plan for regularly auditing city agencies. Taxpayers deserve to know how their money is being spent. Regular external audits of departments shared widely will increase accountability and decrease wasteful spending.
Create an Ethics Commission. A transparent Commission will uphold not only conflict of interest and abuse of power policies but implement guidelines regarding culture, values, and ethics for public servants.
Education is what lifts each of us up. A strong public school system is the foundation for building healthy neighborhoods with active citizens, contributing workers, and justice-seeking Bostonians. Our city can’t succeed if Boston Public Schools isn’t succeeding for every student. Every young Bostonian deserves an outstanding education, no matter his or her lottery number or neighborhood.
Fully fund the Boston Public Schools. We will ensure that basic services (currently not available in every BPS school) are funded and considered essential. This includes making high-quality arts education, a K-12 computer science curriculum, school nurses, guidance counselors, and wraparound services available in each school.
Create an Office of Educational Services (OES). OES will be a transparent service-based entity to support BPS, Parochial, and Charter school families with operational issues, waitlist management, and transportation and building safety issues. OES, a branch of the Mayor’s office and independent of BPS, will be supported by BPS311, an easy-to-use mechanism to facilitate confidential reporting of unsafe conditions in our schools.
Schools as community hubs. Looking at schools as hubs for our communities, we will reimagine their role, widening the opportunities for all residents to use school facilities after school for job and vocational training, language instruction, community building, and for social and personal services. Using community schools and community centers, parents/guardians will be able to register for BPS in every neighborhood, making signing up for school convenient for all families.
Offer incentives for National Board Certified Teachers to teach at turnaround schools. Our highest-qualified teachers are needed to jump-start schools that need the most help.
End Pre-K and Kindergarten suspensions and expulsions. Expulsions leave young children without access to the valuable interventions and supports they need.
Give every High School student a free MBTA pass. If you can’t afford to get to school, you won’t be able to learn. The city must administer the MBTA pass program to ensure proper implementation, and passes should be easy for students to obtain.
Each of our 23 distinct neighborhoods are close-knit communities, comprised of long-term families and newcomers. Offering housing opportunities for people of all economic levels is imperative to promoting strong, healthy, and resilient neighborhoods. City Hall must prioritize housing that working- and middle-class individuals and families can afford–not just luxury condos.
Create a people-centered planning department. We will focus on smart urban planning and the creation of neighborhood-specific housing strategies. We currently build project by project with no concept of neighborhood integrity or vision for the city as a whole. We will prioritize building affordable units for families and work across departments to plan low- and middle-income family units near under-enrolled schools to improve family engagement and, in turn, school quality. Our planning will prioritize vibrant community spaces that bring our diverse residents together for our City’s common good.
Create a Flexible Housing Voucher Subsidy Program based on Washington DC’s successful Local Rent Supplement Program. This program can be used to deepen affordability in new developments and prevent residents who are low income from being displaced from their communities. This program will also provide permanent housing for community members experiencing homelessness and ensure formerly homeless residents who have attained housing with temporary rapid rehousing assistance achieve long-term housing security.
Increase the affordable housing percentage in new builds from 13% to 25%. This increase will give more of our residents access to housing they can afford. All new developments on City-owned land will be designated for ⅓ low-income, ⅓ moderate-income, and ⅓ market-rate units.
Introduce a Co-op Housing plan. This option will empower renters to organize and form co-ops in buildings that would otherwise be flipped into high-priced condos. This is a common-sense path to increased home ownership.
Support “One Host, One Home” legislation. This legislation will prohibit short-term rentals except in the case of homeowner-occupied units.
Work with Community Members Experiencing Homelessness to Meet Their Immediate and Long-Term Needs. Housing is a human right! We will use Housing First strategies to ensure that community members’ period of homelessness is brief. We will develop and implement: 1. a needs assessment of community members experiencing homelessness and subsequent implementation plan, 2. updated shelter policies that meet guests needs, and ensure safety, 3. a shelter grievance process that is transparent, and unbiased, 4. a plan to meaningfully engage community members experiencing homelessness in conversation around their and others’ concerns related to their neighborhood of the South End and Newmarket Square Area.
Bring a modular housing factory to Boston. Neighborhood-specific modular homes offer an environmentally friendly and low-cost alternative to conventional building materials, and will increase the number of units available to disabled and elderly residents. A modular housing factory would also offer year-round construction opportunities.
Restore the former strength of Neighborhood Councils. Neighborhood Councils, coupled will a people-centered planning department, will facilitate residents’ ability to directly advocate for real change in their communities.
Develop and implement Neighborhood Stabilization Plans. Through transparent, community-engaged planning processes, we will create goals for affordable housing and actionable plans for community jobs. These efforts will be subject to real community oversight.
We must work with both the police and the community to foster safer neighborhoods. We will increase communication between police and residents while bolstering support for families that have been traumatized by violence. No one – whatever their race, ethnicity, immigration status, religion, gender identity, or sexual orientation–should fear participating in public life. Boston will protect those who are trying to make a better life for themselves and their families.
Based on data-driven, evidence-based practices develop a comprehensive plan to address youth violence in our communities. We will identify the small number of youth committing violence in our communities and engage them using neighborhood change agents to assist in creating life and personal goals. We will implement best practices such as the “Richmond model” (Richmond, CA) to achieve long-term success.
Increase the number of Boston Police (BPD) officers without increasing the number of policing hours. Currently, BPD relies too heavily on police overtime. We will use the overtime budget to hire more officers – especially officers that reflect the diversity of Boston. We will actively work to recruit more officers of color and women of all races.
Redeploy Safe Street Teams especially in high crime hot spot areas. The Safe Street Teams will focus on neighborhood collaboration and social issues, implementing a true community policing model.
Implement the Police Body Camera Program. Research indicates camera use can reduce use of force and civilian complaints.
Create an Independent Civilian Review Board for BPD. A diverse, independent community board will provide increased transparency and accountability without interfering with the police’s ability to do their important work.
Increase the number of substance use disorder treatment beds and implement a Law Enforcement Assisted Diversion Program (LEAP) to address the current opioid and overdose crisis. We will work with the Commonwealth of Massachusetts along with partner providers to reopen the Long Island Campus. We will also establish a central online service to remove gaps in care and barriers to access by providing real-time data on available treatment and recovery resources as well as harm reduction services such as syringe exchange locations, safe sharps disposal locations, and places to access naloxone.
Require needle pick-up training for janitors and school employees. It is a sad reality that needles have found their way into our school grounds and play areas. We will implement a sharps disposal training program for custodians and school employees to ensure that everyone responsible for maintaining these areas is properly trained to safely dispose of stray needles. Additionally, we will increase the number of public and semi-public sharps disposal kiosks to reduce the number of publicly discarded needles.
Create an Immigrant Legal Defense Fund and implement Sanctuary Schools protections. Building on legislation I introduced early this year, I would create an immigrant defense fund to keep families together and provide legal assistance, and implement protections guaranteeing Sanctuary Schools status for the Boston Public Schools. In addition, a newly established Ombudsperson at City Hall would provide advocacy for our immigrant residents, ensuring there are translation services at every hospital and community health center and investigating allegations of discrimination at city hospitals and health centers.
My father, Herb, founded one of the first recycling companies in Massachusetts. He recognized the importance of recycling in lieu of landfills and helped make Boston a cleaner place for me to grow up. It’s our duty to our future generations to take care of Boston’s environment. As both a port city and an incubator of cutting-edge science, Boston should be leading the way in fighting the impact of climate change.
Implement Plastic Bag Ban. Plastic bags litter our streets, trees, and waterways, do not degrade, and are made from non-renewable sources. As Mayor, I would sign this important initiative.
Implement Community Choice Energy. Increasing our purchasing of renewable energy is a vital first step toward reducing our carbon footprint. As Mayor, I would sign this important initiative.
Create an Energy Infrastructure Plan. As we move away from reliance on fossil fuels, we must prepare the grid to hold more energy.
Increase the Capital Budget for Vision Zero. We will fast-track the creation of separated bike lanes in order to provide safe and comfortable means of biking for Boston residents, commuters, and tourists.
Create a Strategic Transportation Plan. A comprehensive plan supported by a new Transit Planning position at City Hall will integrate smart, environmentally sound transit planning with our city’s people-centered development.
Pursue Bus Rapid Transit with bus signal priority and dedicated bus lanes in order to get more cars off the road and reduce traffic during rush hour.
Encourage Walking at All Ages. We will increase pedestrian crossing times, re-engineer crosswalk placement, install benches at regular intervals, and work with BPS to prioritize safe routes to schools.
Small businesses are the lifeline to any successful city. We know that 65% of new jobs are created by small businesses. We won’t achieve our employment goals without supporting local business owners. The City of Boston should be proactive to ensure small businesses thrive and are an integral part of our community.
Increase the Minimum Wage to at Least $15/hour. No one can survive on poverty wages.
Create an Anchor Institution Procurement Office. This office will support local colleges, universities, and hospitals to increase hiring of Boston residents, women and people of color, and the procurement of Boston based small, especially minority- and female-owned, businesses.
Require Stricter Adherence to the Boston Residents Jobs Policy. Compliance with this Policy will increase access to construction jobs for women and people of color.
Implement forward-thinking Vocational Technical Education. We will create a skills partnership to put curriculum and training in lockstep with workforce needs, including in our thriving technology sector. This would include targeted core training and access to internships and apprenticeships. Evening certificate classes would be available for adult learners.
Create 5,000 Youth Summer and 1,000 Year-Round Jobs. We know working youth have improved social skills, are able to practice conflict resolution, and can better regulate the behavioral skills that lead to success as adults.
Offer specialized training for small contractors. We will increase access to construction projects for the small businesses that help our city to prosper.
Support “pop-up” shops for Entrepreneurs at the earliest stages. There are many vacant storefronts in Boston. Pop-ups will support small business entrepreneurs that don’t yet have the means for long-term leases, and strengthen our communities.
We must support the City’s incredible artists, musicians, and creatives locally while promoting Boston as an international destination for the arts and culture. Currently we invest significantly less than other comparable cities in the arts. Municipal government must fund, collaborate with, and lift up our many talented artists and cultural institutions, especially small- and mid-sized organizations.
Pledge to double arts spending. Pursue dedicated funding stream for immediate increase of investment in the arts.
Remove creative infrastructure obstacles. Restaurants should not have to pay for a live music permit and also a separate permit for dancing. We will extend open hours of bars and nightclubs, and advocate to the Commonwealth to reinstate late night MBTA service.
Invest in arts education for youth of all ages. Boston has made great strides in K-8 arts education. Now is the time to expand opportunities for all youth, including high school students, both in school and during out-of-school time.
Development art and culture strategy plan. Our people centered planning department will engage and work with developers so conference rooms and lobby spaces are made available to artists after work hours for rehearsal, and local artists are featured in new developments. Our neighborhood stabilization plans will seek to include artist housing and studio space across the city.
Create Partnerships through our new Procurement Office. Universities and institutions will be paired with artists and/or creative non-profits for collaboration.