For me, it is:
Both Yoon and Arroyo are worthy on many levels. I know that Arroyo is infamous for his spotty Council attendance. However, as the two Team Unity at-large members, they both work for Black, Asian-American, immigrant and poor residents. They act as a conscience for the Council on social issues. They also have done fine work, particularly on their committees.
Connolly's and CopsI've been concerned about Connolly, particularly in light of his position on tenants. On the surface, the questions he has answered suggest that his concern for keeping housing affordable in the city seemed to be for home owners, not renters.
So, when the Boston cop a few doors away hosted a meet-and-greet for John, I made sure to go. There was another cop there, as well as another Connolly, John's father, former Massachusetts Secretary of State Michael.
The short of it is that John's statements and answers were solid enough that I'll add him on my ballot.
On the sticky issue of tenant's rights, I'm not 100% with him on the issues — I think rent stabilization or control should be on the discussion table and he does not. Yet, he has alternatives that work to the right aims. When I asked about his opposition to enabling tenant collective bargaining with large landlords, he explained that he sees that as "a disguised form of rent control." On the other hand, he said developers here are not living up their obligations and promises of mixed-use and affordable housing units. They want to build luxury housing only.
He said the standard answer of claiming the free market (har, I snort) would take care of housing prices. As a Councilor, he would work to ensure regulations and oversight to force developers to do what they say. He would also favor real mixed use housing, instead of insulating rich-folks' homes from others'.
In response to various questions about budgets and taxes, he climbed on what appears to be a favorite horse. He said that in Boston, 53% of property is tax exempt, much of it owned by colleges and universities. He said that the in-lieu-of-taxes fees they pay are woefully inadequate. He sees renegotiating them to fair rates as an important way to increase city revenue, thus expanding services and possibly reducing property taxes.
Also, I had wondered how an Irish Catholic out of Roslindale and now West Roxbury got to be so egalitarian. He is well known for progressive positions on matters such as race and GLBT issues. He answered by first sweeping his arm toward his father and saying it "came from home. My parents raised me that way."
John is fairly charming as well, which never hurts when you deliver big messages. Two years ago when he ran for Council the first time, he barely lost the fourth seat. This time, he told the room that he didn't have to be first on their "dance cards", just one of four. He concluded with a chuckle, "If I'm not in your top four on the dance card, I want you to stay home."
Tags: massmarrier, Massachusetts, Boston, City Council, Sam Yoon, Felix Arroyo, John Connolly, Team Unity