Right to the City

This year’s municipal race in Boston brings an unprecedented number of candidates (61) for all elected offices and an opportunity to elect a new mayor for the first time in two decades.

Progressive Massachusetts has joined forces with an array of impressive community action groups that include:

Alternatives for Community and Environment
Boston Workers’ Alliance
Chinese Progressive Association
Chinese Progressive Political Action
City Life/Vida Urbana
Neighbors United for a Better East Boston
New England United for Justice
Project HIP-HOP
Boston Tenant Coalition
to call on all candidates to adopt our vision of a better, fairer city.
Our Vision

We envision a Boston where there is equal access to quality education, affordable housing, economic opportunities, accessible transportation, a healthy environment and public resources for all. We envision a Boston where we preserve the best aspects of the character of our neighborhoods. We envision a Boston where we celebrate the diverse backgrounds, languages, and cultures of our residents.

We envision a Boston where young people have the resources to thrive, where working class families are stable, where new immigrants feel welcomed, and where community needs come before profit. We envision a city that invests in the public good.

The Solutions

The Right to Remain in a Stable Community:  To help families and individuals remain in Boston’s working class neighborhoods, we will strengthen the rights of tenants and homeowner occupants, make community planning decisions participatory and transparent, preserve and develop  affordable housing, and increase the share of permanently affordable housing that is removed from the private real estate market.

  • City subsidies such as tax breaks or zoning relief must only support development projects which have a majority of neighborhood resident support, do not displace current residents, have an enforceable Community Benefit Agreement, and provide living wage jobs.
  • Public land must be used for permanently affordable housing, community development, or land lease fees used to support community land trusts. The City of Boston should work with non-profit and community partners to acquire and preserve properties for permanently affordable housing, particularly foreclosed and blighted properties, and use its powers to force banks to renegotiate underwater mortgages.
  • City penalties for absentee landlords who carry out no-fault evictions of residents who are paying their rent or mortgage.

The Right to Economic Justice and Good Jobs:   Good jobs make strong communities. To  exercise our right to wealth and good jobs in the City, we must address long-term unemployment and underemployment, substandard work, and structural inequities of the economic system by ensuring access to job opportunities, improved job standards, support for community small businesses and alternative economic enterprises.

  • Link City systems for licensing, purchasing, contract compliance and living wage enforcement to improve job access and standards for Boston residents to secure living wage jobs.
  • Amend the Boston Jobs Residency Program to require construction hiring at 51% residents, 51% people of color, 15% women, with equitable hiring goals and standards for permanent jobs
  • Prepare, train, and hire Boston youth for good jobs; city funding for 7,000 summer youth jobs and 1,000 year-round youth jobs.

The Right to Democratic Participation:  Our right to the city includes the right of every inhabitant to participate in decisions that shape our city—its budget, land, jobs, schools, services, and approach to public safety. It includes the right to information, to transparency, to popular participation, and to equal representation.

  • Expand multilingual and disabled access to City of Boston public meetings, hearings, city services, and the voting booth.
  • Create democratic and participatory structures for residents to have a voice in decisions that affect their lives. Reform the city charter to balance legislative and executive powers, and establish accountable boards such as an independent City Planning Commission and Police Review Board with subpoena power.

The Right to the Public Good: Our right to the city includes the right of every inhabitant to have equal access to public resources and services, quality education, public libraries, healthcare and other safety net programs in order to thrive regardless of background.

  • Establish and implement the equal right of every child in the city to a quality education.
  • Create safe neighborhoods through community policing programs that improve relationships and prevent racial profiling.
  • Increase the tax share of commercial vs. homeowner properties and require full cash payment of PILOT fees from major non-profit institutions into a Boston Communities Fund.

The Right to a Healthy Environment: Our right to the city includes the right of every resident to live, work, play and learn in an environment that supports our health, safety, quality of life. Communities that bear a bigger environmental burden should have meaningful opportunities to speak for ourselves and should be primary decision makers in issues affecting our lives, health, and neighborhoods.

  • Adopt a City of Boston diesel emission reduction ordinance and address building design and neighborhood planning to reduce outdoor air pollution in our neighborhoods.
Take Action

Participate in Mayoral Forum – August 6 – 5:30 -8:00 pm – Josiah Quincy Elementary School Auditorium, 885 Washington St, Boston, MA 02111

Sign Up to Petition Canvass

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