2021 Boston Mayoral Race

George_Apley

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So what's the mayoral race going to look like now? Who will run against Wu?

 

jklo

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If Walsh does resign the office, that's a huge leg up for Campbell, since she'd become acting mayor under that scenario.
I saw somebody claim that if Walsh resigns before March there would actually have to be a special election at some point for the remainder of the term.
 

DZH22

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What do we expect from Andrea Campbell as it relates to development? Is she the type to say that anything over 12 stories, even right next to a major train station, is too tall? I feel like I just can't handle going back to the "dark years" of construction including most of the 1990's, and then 2004-2014. Most of my life Boston has had pro-NIMBY mayors and it has just been so painful from the standpoint of this being my favorite hobby!

Edit: This says Kim Janey would become acting mayor for now. https://universalhub.com/2021/report-biden-picks-walsh-labor-secretary-move
 

HenryAlan

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I saw somebody claim that if Walsh resigns before March there would actually have to be a special election at some point for the remainder of the term.
I haven't heard about that, but I did make a mistake about who would become Mayor in the post you quoted. Kim Janey succeeded Campbell as the Council President, she will become Mayor when Walsh formally resigns. I suspect that means she will also run at whatever point the election happens.
 

F-Line to Dudley

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If Janey is interested in the job on more than an acting basis, the Top 3 candidates as of now would all be women-of-color. 2 of 3 (Wu and Campbell) also being under the age of 40


That's...already on 1/7/21 a BIG change from 199 years of middle- or old-age white guys very occasionally passing around the Mayorality. Remember when it was considered revolutionary that Menino was the first non-Isrish/non-WASP Mayor? Yeah...century ago indeed.
 

kingofsheeba

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Wu comes off as a NIMBY. Campbell? Not so much. But I don't know enough about Janey.
 

theSil

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Wu seems better on transit than on housing in my opinion, but her campaign website at least pays lip service to the need for more housing construction:

Michelle will fight for resources to create truly affordable housing and end chronic homelessness, zoning reforms to prioritize fair housing and affordable homes for families, protections to stabilize tenants, and ways to expand permanent affordability, such as community land trusts

...

We can increase access to affordable housing by investing in and expanding social and cooperative housing, prioritize housing for low-income individuals and residents experiencing homelessness, and grow the supply of housing while focusing on housing stability
(Bolding mine). Overall, her focus seems to be on renter protections and capital-A Affordable housing, but she's always seemed to understand that increasing the overall housing supply is also necessary, without going full-blown YIMBY. Her BPDA reform/abolishment campaign is also central, and while I agree that the status quo of building everything by variance is ripe for cronyism, I'm not plugged in enough to know if her changes would result in net positive construction or not.

The only line alluding to building more on Andrea Campbell's housing page reads:

Smart and responsible development should allow our City to grow in a way that also benefits and protects current and long-time Boston residents
With the rest similarly focused on renter protections and capital-A Affordable housing. Don't know much about her history on City Council.
 

393b40

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Too early to know, but I expect the field will widen over the next few weeks.

I don’t really like any of the candidates as of right now, they all seem like the type to be easily swayed by social justice rhetoric against development.

Ill be interested in knowing who Walsh endorses.
 

F-Line to Dudley

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So how many prospective candidates have come out so far with campaign promises to abolish the BDPA? We'll know who the real status-quo'ers are when they make that stand. :unsure:
 

JumboBuc

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Skipping the special election makes sense to me. There's really no need to have special preliminary + general elections this summer for a seat that will then be up for election again (with another round of preliminary + general elections) this fall. Especially with a field of candidates that could reach into the double digits.
 

Massachoicetts

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Whoever can
a) Build the most housing units. I dont care for big towers. Make a ton of 8-10 story buildings all over Boston. Closer to the core 12-16 stories.
b) Fund the MBTA
c) Achieve further equity in Mattapan, Roxbury, Dorchester, Hyde Park, etc with recreation and amenities.
d) Redo the whole liquor law situation in Boston. Help lower the cost of Liquor licenses dramatically.
 

stefal

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Whoever can
a) Build the most housing units. I dont care for big towers. Make a ton of 8-10 story buildings all over Boston. Closer to the core 12-16 stories.
b) Fund the MBTA
c) Achieve further equity in Mattapan, Roxbury, Dorchester, Hyde Park, etc with recreation and amenities.
d) Redo the whole liquor law situation in Boston. Help lower the cost of Liquor licenses dramatically.
a) I agree, but with the likely top runners, especially with Wu getting large endorsements, I don't think we'll see housing in Boston added on the scale we've had under Marty. Most candidates note they understand the need for more housing, but have been rallying against many of the developments of late for their "neglection" of their effects on traffic, quality of life, etc. This is where I "disagree" with most of them, and I have concerns going forward on the affordability of our metro area under the top runners.

Traffic impacts, specifically, result from our mandated parking minimums. The city requires a development have x-amount of parking spaces, which provides incentive and convenience to the office workers or residents of the building to use their car over transit, biking, or even walking. Eliminate parking minimums and developers will happily oblige, as the construction cost per unit drastically decreases, and hopefully, the unit prices themselves will drop as well, leading to more affordable development with less traffic impacts. Developments impacting quality of life, etc. are always going to be a challenge. While it'd be nice to get truly well-designed and well-intentioned/socially aware developments, that's ultimately up to a developer with the goal of making x% return on a project, and with that, it's not a matter of "well, simply take (x-y)% to make a higher quality development, or leave it" since the banks and investors will simply pull out if the lower return and higher risk is presented to them, and they will be forced to leave it. It's an extremely tricky balance to achieve in developments where the community/social impact is a top priority. They should be running on platforms that promise to eliminate or at the very least decrease parking minimums, provide more coordination for affordable housing and more/easier access to grants, loans, permits, etc. to incentivize developers to build affordable housing, rather than the current language coming from their websites that seem like they would add complications and likely delays to the already long and risky real-estate/building process.

b) A mayor can only push for more MBTA funding, and the city can't really afford much of their municipal budget to be sent to an agency that requires hundreds of millions, billions even, to effectively get to where we want to be. MBTA funding, especially in the coming 1-3 years, is really on the state and state pushing the federal government for more funding. This is also dependent on how ridership returns after COVID.

c) I imagine you'll see that under the new mayor, but it'll likely still be a stretched out process with planning, studies, more planning, community meetings, grant applications, and finally design and construction work.

d) That'd be nice, for sure.
 

JumboBuc

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Whoever can
a) Build the most housing units. I dont care for big towers. Make a ton of 8-10 story buildings all over Boston. Closer to the core 12-16 stories.
b) Fund the MBTA
c) Achieve further equity in Mattapan, Roxbury, Dorchester, Hyde Park, etc with recreation and amenities.
d) Redo the whole liquor law situation in Boston. Help lower the cost of Liquor licenses dramatically.
I'm with you, but unfortunately on b) and d) the mayor's hands are largely tied by the State. At the end of the day the MBTA is a state agency, not a city agency, and state law severely restricts what any city or town can do with respect to liquor licenses.

On a), I suspect that we will end up with a YIMBY-leaning candidate once the field is full. Possibly John Barros?
 

F-Line to Dudley

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I'm with you, but unfortunately on b) and d) the mayor's hands are largely tied by the State. At the end of the day the MBTA is a state agency, not a city agency, and state law severely restricts what any city or town can do with respect to liquor licenses.

On a), I suspect that we will end up with a YIMBY-leaning candidate once the field is full. Possibly John Barros?
True...but Walsh > Menino at holding the state's feet to the fire with service commitments. The recent Legislative bill has specific earmarks to the stuff that made the Boston 2030 report, and which Walsh's office was consistently on-point in its support for since Day 1. That includes the B30 doc and this Admin being resolutely on-point about Red-Blue when Menino & flaks could at any given moment talk out of both sides of their mouths giving cover to the state's decision to bury it (i.e. they could maddeningly stan for it in one quote, throw shade at it not being so crucial in another). The current Admin. via B30 was also deftly ahead of the curve on anticipatory advocacies like Orange extension to Roslindale and/or beyond...where B30's independent accounting of the bona fides of the Roslindale poke as FH terminal relief anticipated the Rail Vision's findings that Needham Line rapid transit conversion may have to be a sooner rather than later thing simply for purposes of sane NEC traffic management. If push comes to shove with the Rail Vision on NEC traffic, B30's well-hewed talking points about Rozzie Terminal end up money in bank for expediting the project terraforming the whole OLX trade-in corridor to West Roxbury. So things like correctly reading the tea leaves with advance preparation end up mattering a lot. The current Admin.'s pre-anticipation of a wider bus lane network also matters with more immediate paint-on-pavement results, because after sketching out the need in considerable detail 2020/COVID suddenly served up the opportunity to make some very quick hay with an immediate implementation pivot (BTD streets being one of the things where City>>State in immediate implementation leverage, and lots of intermediate bureaucracy can be chopped out under in the right mix of expediting circumstances).

Menino by contrast could often talk a good game on the most pork-laden of projects he conveniently didn't have to do much heavy-lifting beyond talk for...like the Transitway. But he was an avowed enemy of street-running trolleys: hysterically fighting A/Oak Sq. restoration divide-and-conquer style as a Councillor and pouring dirt all over future center-of-road prospects with his handpicked Brighton Ave. streetscape plan, and being Trollmaster-in-Chief against Arborway restoration back when "Forest Hills by 1997" was still a door-ajar mandate with some traction. He did less-than-nothing for his home Readville neighborhood by throwing shade at Fairmount/Indigo Urban Rail service because he wanted the Readville storage yards closed/redevved personally way more badly than he wanted any service increases on the corridor. And his bully pulpit had lots to do with why Silver Line-Washington St. ended up such the underwhelming shit sandwich by being the loudest voice in the room against TT wires and more parking spot takings for greater bus lanes...the very features that would've given the service more true 'fixed'-route bona fides to stake its footprint. He let the BTD fiefdom's brainrot over neighborhood parking mob rule stir the drink over local transit policy. Oh God...so much bellyaching about how it was "impossible" to ticket double-parked delivery trucks on Centre for making the 39 less godawful-slow, and not a word about bus lanes anywhere the parking lobby made the mildest frowny-face. That stuff ended up mattering. Not just the stuff the dynastic Mayor railed against...but also the anti-consistency (see: Red-Blue) with which they so often ran hot-and-cold with some advocacies to their detriments via short attention spanning.

So while there isn't a funding mandate the Mayor heads up, that bully pulpit does exert considerable secondary level influence if/when the incumbent powers have a consistent set of data-backed talking point preferences they stick to. Which B30 has helped the Walsh Admin. greatly at the consistency + stick-to-itiveness part to condition the narrative with the State. It's subtle, but compared to Menino's much more mercurial shoot-from-the-hip 'vision thing' on transit it's hands-down better to have the methodical blueprint setting the talking points and doing the lobbying with the Legislature. Something Walsh deserves credit for understanding innately well since he came originally from the Legislature. There's very ample fodder for the next Mayor to take the (fairly modest, let's be honest) transit template that Walsh got behind and kick things up a notch. The upside of being consistent about it has already shown itself with the way the current admin. has had few surprise zigzags from prioritizing the stuff well- spelled-out in B30 as a guiding document. Our hopes for the next Mayor are simply an 'intensity' question...do they apply the same methodical consistency for self-steered results (e.g. transit lanes) and lobbying consistency to the Legislature, but think bigger/swing harder/get more creative on the signature projects and backing coalitions? Just a degree-of-difference question. I think the utility of keeping your stories straight(er), having better-anticipatory blueprints, and keeping methodically no-surprise advocacy channels open has already proven itself on the practical level after the Menino-Walsh transition. To the degree the Mayoral bully pulpit is limited by what it can muster in resources, it has at least found its proper lane in the mix of parties that do have to work together. And that already is a functional sea change from the iconoclast Menino days (and older-gen pols who simply didn't 'get' transit at basic enough level to stay out of their own ego's way).
 
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Blackbird

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Skipping the special election makes sense to me. There's really no need to have special preliminary + general elections this summer for a seat that will then be up for election again (with another round of preliminary + general elections) this fall. Especially with a field of candidates that could reach into the double digits.
Looks like it's official: Boston mayoral race: City Council votes to skip ‘wasteful and costly’ special election with Mayor Marty Walsh leaving for Biden administration - masslive.com
 

Bananarama

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For the best really. Save the time, money, and political capital for a race when more people are engaged.

On a related note, a new candidate announced today: https://www.universalhub.com/2021/dorchester-resident-running-mayor
"Depelteau, a New Hampshire native who has lived with his husband on Claybourne Street off Park Street in Dorchester for seven years, pointed to example of the problems caused by ongoing youth violence: As some parts of Dorchester and Roxbury gentrify, the gang members who live there are being forced to move onto unfamiliar turf - which could be leading to even more violence as they are forced to defend themselves from members of other gangs who already live there.​
He said a key part of the solution is to do something about housing prices, to stabilize neighborhoods so longtime residents are not forced to move out. He said he would look at a moratorium on new residential development to sort the issue out rather than letting gentrification worsen."​
"He pointed to Michelle Wu's emphasis on improving the T. "That's like downtown Boston issues," he said. "It's not really Boston issues."​

Yep. A housing moratorium will absolutely lower prices...
And good thing no one outside of downtown Boston rides the T...
 

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