On the Issues

A 2009 story in the Jamaica Plain Gazette might have summed it up best: "The creative economy (movies, video games and artists of all kinds, whether they be painters, graphic artists, musicians, craftspeople, writers, performing artists or architects) is a huge part of our city. The creative economy is a vital part of the culture that makes our city so great to live in. Flaherty understands this, and will work to ensure that these industries grow as he outlined in his plan to grow Boston’s Creative Economy."

Boston is not such a large city that youth at risk cannot be better identified for comprehensive early intervention by parents, teachers and other school officials, police, public health officials, probation officers, youth workers, clergy, and others, at the very first signs of risk. There needs to be a renewed emphasis on breaking the cycle where youth at risk become youthful offenders, then repeat offenders, then adult felons.

Boston ranks low among the hundred largest American cities in its percentage of households with children. Growing families often leave the city for the suburbs, citing crime concerns, schools, and lack of affordable family-sized housing. Part of the problem is that residential development has catered to smaller-sized households, with the city only adding only a small number of single-family homes over the past decades, as opposed to thousands of new condominium units.

Michael recognizes that the green sector represents a major opportunity to help propel Boston forward economically and to provide job opportunities for our citizens, especially those who have historically faced barriers to good jobs, such as underskilled workers, those who didn't finish school, ESL residents, at-risk youth, and individuals who were formerly incarcerated.

 

Michael will work cooperatively with our next mayor, the school committee, and his colleagues on the city council to implement a performance review system for all city departments. With respect to the school department, this will mean that more of our tax dollars will be spent in the classroom, where they are needed.

In a 2009 article published in Bay Windows, Michael's close friend David J. Breen --a longtime political activist who has served on the Board of Directors of Fenway Community Health Center, DotOut, and the Massachusetts Gay & Lesbian Political Caucus -- wrote that Michael's record on gay issues is outstanding.

As a city councilor, Michael introduced legislation to ban all armor-piercing ammunition, and then advocated strongly for officials to expand on a citywide basis the successful Chinatown Crime Watch program, embracing a community approach to public safety. Responding to an alarming spate of violent incidents in city nightclubs, Michael filed a successful home rule petition that now requires bar owners to conduct background checks on bouncers.

From the beginning of his career as an elected official, Michael has prioritized addressing the public health crisis in Boston caused by drug and alcohol abuse, particularly among teens. “We unfortunately still have in this city an epidemic of substance abuse,” he said, “particularly among our young people. Alcohol and illegal drug use are decimating children and whole families. From East Boston to Hyde Park, from South Boston to Brighton, no neighborhood has been spared.

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