City Council District Five has two distinct communities: Middle class, mostly white neighborhoods of Hyde Park and Roslindale that have traditionally played outsize roles in city politics, and equally large but more isolated minority neighborhoods, including parts of Mattapan. The district includes many first- and second-generation Haitians and Hispanic immigrants. The next District Five councilor not only will have to fill the well-worn shoes of the departing Rob Consalvo, but will also have to continue Consalvo’s work in uniting the district along common interests. Both candidates are up to the task, but community organizer Jean-Claude Sanon, who has spent 37 years registering voters in underserved communities, while building and promoting local businesses, is particularly well-qualified to advocate for all of the district’s constituents. The Globe is pleased to offer him its endorsement.
Sanon is more than just an activist. His reaction to the illegal strike by school bus drivers — a call for firm discipline of the leaders, but also a nuanced acknowledgment of simmering grievances among the mostly Haitian-American drivers — shows he could be a voice for understanding and moderation on the council. Likewise, his plan to combine city grants with financial education to expand small businesses is a creative, market-based way of creating opportunity and fighting inequality.
None of this is to say former Boston Youth Fund director and Department of Public Works employee Timothy McCarthy would be unqualified for the role. For the last 20 years he has been a dedicated public servant. He knows the ins and outs of City Hall. He, too, talks about boosting small businesses across the city. But his perspective seems more centered on the Hyde Park side of the district. Sanon seems better-positioned to work on problems across all of District Five.