What does Tito Jackson say Boston would look like if he were mayor?

Barry Chin/Globe Staff

“It’s not about me or Mayor Walsh,’’ Tito Jackson (shown above last week) said in his first in a series of town halls on his vision for the city. “It’s about deconstructing the power of the mayor. I’m running to change the structures that have created inequities in Boston.”

By Globe Staff 

A Tito Jackson mayoral administration would have more police officers patrolling city streets, a City Council with increased powers, and a School Committee elected by the people, Jackson said Wednesday.

In his most comprehensive address on his platform to date, Jackson said his campaign is based on ensuring transparency and democracy in a city where power is concentrated in the mayor’s office.


“It’s not about me or Mayor Walsh,’’ he said in his first in a series of town halls on his vision for the city. “It’s about deconstructing the power of the mayor. I’m running to change the structures that have created inequities in Boston.”

Jackson, who is trailing in public opinion polls by more than 30 points, is facing off against Mayor Martin J. Walsh. The election is Nov. 7.

Using a giant screen to highlight his main points, Jackson, a 42-year-old Grove Hall resident, laid out his ideas on education, public safety, housing, and transportation during the town hall Wednesday evening at Old South Church in Copley Square.

He did not detail the total cost for his ideas. When someone in the audience asked whether he had a budget, the councilor promised that he will release one soon.

Jackson had promised months ago to release his budget in September.


The councilor returned to themes he has been highlighting at community forums throughout the city this year and during his debate with Walsh last week.

Those include disbanding the Boston Planning and Development Agency, which Jackson said has a disproportionate amount of power and locks residents out of the planning process in their neighborhoods. He said it would replace it with an agency that is more people-focused.

His elected school committee would “give voice to residents,” and an empowered City Council would have the authority to “effectively advocate for the constituents’’ who elect them, Jackson said.

To curb the millions the city spends on police overtime pay every year, Jackson said he would hire more officers without increasing policing hours.

“Currently, [the Police Department] relies too heavily on police overtime,’’ he said. “We will use the overtime budget to hire more officers,’’ including more women and people of color.

His safety plan also includes engaging the most violent youth offenders through education and other incentives, redeploying “safe street teams’’ in high-crime areas, fully implementing the police body camera program, and creating an independent civilian board — to investigate complaints against officers — that has “teeth.”


Jackson said he would work with the state to reopen the Long Island Shelter, which was closed two years ago after a dilapidated bridge — the only land access to the site — was deemed unsafe to cross. Some homeless people were left with no place to go.

Jackson said he would create an immigration legal defense fund, a concept he first proposed in February.

The mayor has since adopted the idea, announcing last month that he would start such a fund and launching an effort to enhance legal services for immigrants.

Jackson said he would increase the percentage of new affordable housing to 25 percent from 13 percent, create “flexible housing vouchers” to help prevent people from being priced out of their communities, and introduce a plan to empower renters to form co-ops in housing that would otherwise be flipped into high-priced condos.

Jackson is also advocating for neighborhood stabilization plans that would allow residents to determine their own goals for affordable housing and community jobs.

A Jackson administration would implement a council-inspired plastic-bag ban, fast-track the creation of separated bike lanes, and increase the capital budget for the city’s Vision Zero initiative, which aims to increase biker, pedestrian, and driver safety.

Jackson also highlighted his education agenda. If elected, he said he would have a nurse, librarian, and arts programs in every school.

“I know this sounds very basic, but it is not,’’ Jackson told the audience.

He promised to a “forward-thinking” approach to vocational technical education in the city that would create “create a skills partnership” that includes internships, apprenticeships, and evening certificate classes for adult learners.

Meghan E Irons can be reached at
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