In a recent WBUR interview, Mayor-elect Katjana Ballantine shows why I like her so much.
On affordable housing in Somerville, a dense and diverse city of immigrants, and the idea of lifting the state’s moratorium on rent control:
I think that we need to use every tool possible in Somerville to create more affordable housing that’s using financing tools, that’s using zoning tools, that’s using incentives to developers to build more affordable housing.
But you know, at the at the end of the day, when it comes to rent control, the state law doesn’t allow us that option. So we need to work with our state delegation to try to do something for that. If the state makes that change, then we have to make sure that renters, owners who care about keeping diversity in our community and preventing displacement are at the table to figure out what’s the best way to move forward.
On COVID recovery, small businesses and what local workers need:
On COVID recovery, we need to help small businesses. We need to help families to recover from this, and we need to help making sure that our education system, our schools, are able to to move forward. And I think they’re all interlocked.
I was supportive of the small business relief program that Somerville put together. I was supportive of funding $5 million to create a gap between what the federal government was doing with relief and what we could do. Moving forward, I would say it’s deferring and forgiving the cost of municipal utilities or licensing or permitting taxes.
It’s extending and enhancing the relief funds to include flexible and forgivable financing options and additional funds. It’s giving help to small businesses to apply for SBA loans.
We need to use our ability to market our community and remind people who are here to shop locally so that can stimulate the economy. And then, you know, it’s constantly talking with our small businesses. It’s asking them, what are they seeing? Are they seeing some recovery? What kind of technical assistance do they feel they need? And what kinds of support? We’re all in this together, and we should be working together to find the solution.
It’s a great interview and I invite you to read/view it.