A liberal Boston community organization is throwing its support behind mayoral candidate John F. Barros, lauding his track record on permanently affordable housing, youth job creation, and revitalizing blighted land.
Right to the City Vote, the electoral arm of the nonprofit Right to the City, spent months trying to determine which of the 12 candidates’ visions for Boston best aligned with the issues important to the organization.
The group’s 2013 platform is based on five “rights:” The right to remain in a stable community; the right to economic justice and good jobs; the right to democratic participation; the right to the public good; and the right to a healthy environment.
“John Barros aligned best with what we care about as a multiracial and multi-neighborhood group of individuals, and we come from different parts of the city,” said Mariama White-Hammond, part of Right to the City Vote’s steering committee. “We are black. We are Latino. We are progressive whites. But we also mostly represent folks who have lived in the city and are concerned about ways that we are being pushed out of the city.”
Barros, who has a 24-year history with the Dudley Street Neighborhood Initiative, most recently as executive director, can walk the streets there and point to homes that used to be vacant lots and greenways that once were illegal dumping grounds.
During his tenure, the nonprofit took steps that resulted in 225 new housing units and a community greenhouse. Three neighborhood playgrounds were renovated. Two community centers opened, as did two new schools, including the Dudley Street Neighborhood Charter School.
The endorsement process of Right to the City Vote began in the summer. Questionnaires were sent to each of the dozen candidates, with 10 returned. Hopefuls were interviewed, a forum was held, and a vote was taken.
On Thursday, the group officially endorsed Barros, who said he was “proud to stand with them.”
“The endorsement of Right to the City Vote validates what my run for mayor is all about, bringing people together to build a better Boston,” he said in a statement.
— AKILAH JOHNSON
Consalvo announces his ideas for school security
Mayoral candidate Rob Consalvo announced plans Friday to expand security at the city schools, calling for more cameras and a security system that would allow teachers to lock their classrooms and protect students from intruders.
“Every morning when I send my own kids off to school, I pray that they’ll be safe, but we shouldn’t have to leave it to chance,” said Consalvo, a district city councilor in Hyde Park with three young children, two of whom are in the school system. “These are simple and effective ideas we can start implementing right now that can help prevent violence in our public schools.”
He unveiled his plan this morning outside the Conley School in Roslindale.
Consalvo said that if he were elected he would require security key cards for all 127 schools in the city’s public school system.
Only 53 currently require staff to use a key card to enter, Consalvo said.
He also said only 35 of the schools have security cameras.
Consalvo said he also wants schools to install doors in classrooms that would allow a teacher to push a button at her desk and automatically lock the door if an intruder broke into the building.
A spokesman for Boston Public Schools said the department has already invested $1.4 million to upgrade security, including installing doors that would automatically lock with a push of a button from someone in the main office.
Police would also be able to lock the doors remotely, said the spokesman, Lee McGuire.
— MARIA CRAMER
Walsh releases plan to assess city’s health needs
Mayoral candidate Martin J. Walsh has released his public health plan, which calls for gauging the needs of residents by conducting a citywide door-knocking campaign.
Walsh’s campaign called the “grassroots” approach the “centerpiece of his public health policy proposal.
“We will approach public health the way we approach campaigning: by engaging with neighbors door-to-door,” Walsh, a state representative, said in a statement. “Using this established method, ‘Grassroots Public Health’ will identify populations in Boston that are facing barriers and will work to connect them to direct services.”
Other components of the plan would include: promoting physical health education; offering assistance for individuals moving from shelters and jail; and establishing an Office of Recovery Services, according to a press release from his campaign.
Walsh said his administration would continue to collaborate with hospitals, universities, nonprofits, the public schools, and the Police Department “to identify issues where they exist, and deliver services where they are needed.”
— MATT ROCHELEAU
Consalvo releases video with campaign theme song
The only mayoral candidate with an official campaign theme song is now the only candidate with an official music video.
City Councilor Rob Consalvo has released an online music video for “Starts with a Spark,” the hip-hop song by Dorchester-based artist Maestro Z.O.O.M. that the candidate has made the theme song of his campaign.
The video features footage of the candidate walking in a recent parade and of supports waving signs bearing his “All In” campaign slogan.
Here is a sample of some of the song’s lyrics:
Vote Consalvo for mayor, he’s a man about the action
Elected five times cause the people saw the vision,
Mayor Menino’s stepping down, so Rob made the decision,
To step up to the plate, and make the transition,
From his City Council seat, to the city’s lead position
Strong on education, and also was the author
Of the Bill for John’s Law, and made the push for ShotSpotter
A vote for Consalvo’s like a passing of the torch
So let’s bring it to fruition on Sept. 24th.
— WESLEY LOWERY