Tomorrow is election day in Boston and although it has received little attention from the media, the two races stand to bring real change to the 13-member body.
One of the reasons the council receives so little attention is that Boston has a strong mayoral form of government and the council has little real responsibility save approving the mayor’s budget. The other reason is that they have few real accomplishments that the media can cover.
Still, city councilors have the bully pulpit and they can rally their constituents to help bring about change. And real change is sorely needed in Boston. Twenty years ago real estate taxes covered 50% of the city’s budget. Now they cover 70%. Poverty levels are higher than in recent history and so are housing prices. Homelessness is also at a peak.
The city council has two women on, the most ever. But, if Andrea Campbell, who is running for 32-year incumbent Charles Yancey’s seat, and Annissa Essaibi George, who is running at-large, win, the council will have four women, assuming that Ayanna Pressley and Michelle Wu retain their seats.
This will be good. Reasearch shows that women and minorities do more constituent service — http://www.jstor.org/stable/448769?seq=1%20-%20page_scan_tab_contents. And, I have gotten to know Annissa well over the last year.
She is a 13-year East Boston high school teacher, a small-business owner (the Stitch House in Dorchester) and mother of four (an 11-year old and nine-year old triplets). She’ll bring intimate knowledge of critical policy areas, a can-do orientation to life and an abiding good nature, which is so important to legislative bodies.
She also understands the immigrant experience. Annissa’s mom was born in a displaced persons’ camp in Germany after the war. Her father was an observant Muslim who emigrated from Tunisia. They met in Paris standing outside Notre Dame.
If you live in Boston I hope you’ll vote for Annissa for city council-at-large and Andrea Campbell for District four.