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.