Table of Contents
A Welcoming Message
We are at a critical juncture in Boston and District 5 (Hyde Park, Mattapan, Readville and Roslindale). Friends and neighbors are frustrated at the lack of action and accountability from elected officials. The community is seeing runaway development with a lack of community control, our security on the streets and in our homes has been shattered due to violence and unsustainable rent increases and the resources provided to our District do not seem equitable. There is much work to do.
I will be your independent voice for economic and social justice in Hyde Park, Mattapan, Readville and Roslindale.
I will focus my work broadly to accomplish these goals:
Strengthen neighborhoods through better communication and access to services and resources;
Build community through expanded organizing, economic development and intergenerational programs and service delivery;
Fight for every neighborhood in our district, every day;
Bring my housing expertise and experience to city council to fight for more resources for struggling tenants and homeowners;
Create living wage jobs and build wealth in our communities;
Develop innovative programs for the district that work for you and your family.
I Imagine District 5 as we would like to experience it:
Community control of the development process.
A public safety strategy created by those most impacted.
Neighborhoods with vibrant squares,
Living wage and union jobs.
Protected and enhanced green space.
Sustainable housing without displacement.
A Boston “Green Plan.”
Real transit equity.
A vibrant arts community that is nurtured and supported.
Support for our immigrant community.
An equity-based budgeting process with adequate resources available to enhance the district for all residents.
We can get there, through organizing, collaboration, new policy strategies, legislation, partnerships and leadership. This is my vision for our neighborhoods.
We live in a vibrant community, strengthened by multiculturalism and diversity. All our neighborhoods deserve to thrive. Seniors should feel secure and be able to afford to stay here and age with dignity in the communities they love.
Development can take place without displacement. Economic development and jobs can come to our neighborhoods. Gentrification must be rejected along with gas guzzling large housing developments. Net zero housing for all must be prioritized right now, we cannot wait for another study.
Our communities must be lifted up, not torn down.
A Community Agenda Built by Residents
I will govern based on shared values with the community. Working with residents and my partners in government, the clergy and law enforcement, we will strengthen District 5 by addressing the needs of the residents in each neighborhood of our unique corner of Boston.
I will fight on behalf of all residents, the business districts and our neighborhoods, to get the resources we need to thrive. I will join with neighborhood leaders to develop a plan built by the community to address public safety and reduce violence.
We will work together to maintain Urban Wilds and green spaces. I support wetland protections and will fight the climate crisis with all the tools possible to mitigate the natural disruption that is becoming more evident by the day. I will work with you, the residents of District 5, to address these critical issues together.
Because together we will win.
Here is what makes me different: As your city councilor, I pledge to convene working groups and sustain neighborhood conversations to tackle issues big and small. I will lead in partnership with the community, bringing together safety officials, city officials, parents and young people to solve our public safety issues and start tackling the root causes of crime in our neighborhoods.
When development comes to Hyde Park, Mattapan and Roslindale that threatens to displace people, I will convene neighbors, collaborate with you, and help to elevate your voice to push to make that development reflect the vision of our neighborhoods. I have done this work, I know how to do it, and I will govern in this way. You can look at my history of solving problems by building trust, bringing people together, and creating buy-in for the change that reflects what the community wants to see.
An Aggressive Agenda: The Next Two Years
There are short term and long term strategies we can pursue. Here’s a list of clear impacts I pledge to address in my first term as your District 5 City Councilor.
Housing & Development
I will lead an effort to rewrite Boston’s Article 80, which is the section of our local laws that govern how development happens in Boston. Right now, our neighborhoods do not have the voice at the table that they deserve. Notice provisions for meetings are not adequate, nor is the language of those notices. Too often development doesn’t reflect what our community wants. Environmental issues are not taken seriously enough and our most vulnerable residents are often displaced due to rising rents. I will lead the effort to both re-write this law, as well as support proposed laws and policies in city council and the legislature that protect tenants in evictions, work to stabilize rents and create more affordable housing. Additionally, I will fight for community planning that reflects the real needs and vision of our neighborhoods.
Our district should expect economic investment that makes our community more vibrant, while not displacing residents. First, I will make sure that our communities, especially Mattapan, have access to the liquor licenses needed to build sit-down restaurants and become economic anchors for our business districts. Necessary technical assistance must come with these development strategies. For too long Mattapan has gone without sit-down restaurants. Second, as your District 5 Councilor I will demand that we have equally distributed, well secured and run, marijuana shops that are locally owned, and that the community is benefitting from their existence. I will work with you to develop community benefits packages that can provide resources to the communities in which they reside. You can expect my leadership on economic development to be bold. Third, there is limited money and capital in our neighborhoods available in our retail districts. I will work to change that. I will create a Financial Opportunity Center in the District to bring access to capital and loan products for sole proprietors and entrepreneurs, job training and access to living wage and union jobs, year round financial coaching, credit building and free tax preparation. Working with key partners I will help build capacity, obtain funding and develop and implement strategies so our communities thrive. There is no excuse for the inequity that has been the norm with Boston’s city contracts – I will make sure there’s a significant change to how Boston does business by making sure women and minority owned businesses have real access to city contracts.
Protecting Our Environment
I will use an environmental lens to evaluate how Boston does business across the board.
When it comes to jobs for youth, I will make sure that we’re funding programs where our young people are in paid positions to be stewards of parks and green space such as Urban Wilds, developing skills through experiential learning to prepare them for the green jobs of the future. I will demand that if development projects are built they will be sustainable.
I will fight to protect our parks and green spaces – I will work with the city and state government to bring money into the District for climate mitigation initiatives like planting more trees – I will work with the city to make sure we’re making the investments we need in our environment.
I pledge to work with my colleagues in the Boston City Council to pass a meaningful wetlands ordinance and increase city funding for Urban Wilds. We also need to make sure that priority projects are funded and the CPA funds in the city are flowing equitably to each corner of our district. We need a year-round, fully-funded, district-wide green team working in our neighborhoods and providing a pipeline for young people to get involved in their communities.
Access to Basic City Services
City departments are not providing our neighborhoods the services our residents deserve. Trees are untrimmed, some parks are filled with trash and used needles, and some municipal parking lots are not adequately clean. 311 does not work for all of our residents, especially seniors. We need to double down and invest in making Boston’s city services, from trash pickup to filling potholes, a #1 priority for our city departments using an equity lens. Services need to be accessible to everyone and I will work to improve the delivery of these services. We need to invest in making sure the Parks and Recreation Department have the staffing levels they need. It is a matter of respect, and better services makes the city work better for each and every resident. Quaity of life also includes addressing the impact of extremely loud noise on our community, particularly for seniors – we have to work together to make sure the right ordinances are written, passed and enforced.
Focus on Public Safety
Here’s what makes me different on public safety – I will fight for a measurable, demonstrable decline in crime across District 5. I will continue to collaborate with city officials to build and sustain trust which we need to make a measurable decrease in violence. We need and I will fight for a vibrant street worker program that provides meaningful outreach, builds and holds relationships and strengthens trust.
Here is my pledge to you: I will lead in bringing community voices together, including conducting a needs assessment, to rebuild the trust that has led to violence and stymied efforts to increase public safety. Let us not reinvent the wheel, we know how to do this: community policing, better communication, more wrap around intergenerational programming and anti-poverty measures. And we will continue a robust conversation to create sustainable strategies and infrastructure so that when crime goes down we do not stop. We must stay vigilant and retain community voice in all this work if we can truly have a long term impact.
Quality Education for Kids
Parents need a seat at the table and every kid deserves and has a right to a quality education. A quality education means that BPS has a responsibility to prepare the kids who want to go to college, and the kids who want to learn a trade can learn a trade and succeed in their craft. I will demand that we evaluate the ongoing challenges at Madison Park and finally fully fund our vocational school to create the jewel our students deserve. I will convene parents, community leaders and youth to meet regularly with our new superintendent to make sure the needs of our kids in Hyde Park, Mattapan and Roslindale are being met by our public schools. And where our schools fall short, I will hold the City and Boston Public School system accountable. I will fight to make Build BPS more accountable and make sure any transfer or shutdown of schools is transparent and the School Committee is held accountable. I will also work as a bridge to make sure the transportation needs of our kids are met – we need to make sure kids can get to school on time and are ready to learn.
Right now, District 5 is not adequately served by our transportation options, and I will work immediately to increase those options in a thoughtful way. We need to make the Fairmount Line a rapid transit line that accepts Charlie Cards. I will dig in with my partners in government to work towards a long term fix to the MBTA, which we know has been neglected for far too long. I will work with state leaders to increase the frequency of the rides while also focusing on reliability. I will engage with all stakeholders to make sure our bus routes reflect the real needs of our residents, and with neighborhood groups who are active and focused on bike lanes, traffic calming, recreational paths and alternative transportation development.
Helping Our Seniors
I’ve been hearing from seniors who are afraid: they can’t afford to stay in their homes and can’t afford to live in our neighborhoods anymore. This is unacceptable. I will work across city and state government to make sure that our seniors are not getting squeezed out of the neighborhoods due to rent increases and they have access to property tax deductions that keep living at home affordable. This isn’t just what’s right – seniors deserve better. Seniors also face isolation as they age in place. I will work for more senior and intergenerational programming to address these challenge and help bring more accessible and affordable home improvement programs to the District.
More About Mimi: An Attorney, Advocate and Community Leader
Born in Mattapan, a 19-year resident and homeowner of Hyde Park, I have fought for over 20 years to make Boston a more equitable, safer and better place to live and work. As a founding member and President of the Southwest Boston Community Development Corporation, I helped lead the development of the Residence at Fairmount Station, a 100% affordable 27- unit project that opened January 2019.
In 2001, I started the Boston Tax Help Coalition – a model of public/private partnerships between the community, business and government. The Coalition now has 25 free tax sites across the city providing residents with skills to take control of their finances. Since its inception, the Boston Tax Help Coalition brought back over $200 million in refunds and credits to our local economy and protecting the elderly and low-income families from predatory financial practices.