The upcoming municipal election for Mayor and City Council will be one of the most important decisions that local voters will have to make in recent history.
It is hard to believe that, while there have been a total of 16 elected and acting Mayors of Boston since 1900, there have been only three Mayors in total for the last 45 years. The legacies of those three longstanding Mayors have totally transformed our City.
Starting with Kevin White’s election in 1967, who served for 16 years until not seeking office in 1983, to Ray Flynn who was first elected in 1983 and Thomas Menino who has been Mayor for the last 20 years, today’s City of Boston is their creation.
Today the future of Boston will be in new hands. It will also be in our hands.
It is safe to assume that no one will hold onto to the reins of power as long as Menino, unless the new Mayor truly performs well beyond expectations of the Boston constituents.
Today is the time for our neighborhood voters to become very active and end what many city officials see as apathy.
The last time that we had a large field of candidates for Mayor like the field that is shaping up now was in 1983.
In the past elections, municipal voter turnout has always been low for our neighborhood.
We are hoping that this year that trend will be reversed by local voters who traditionally come out in large numbers for state and federal elections.
There are a number of candidates including our own District Councilor Mike Ross running to succeed Mayor Thomas Menino. This candidate field presents a great choice of candidates and an opportunity for local voters to support with donations or campaign volunteering.
The reason to get involved in this election is simple.
Many of us own our homes and are raising our families in our neighborhood. We have made the proactive choice to call Boston our home.
The quality of life that we want for our families depends on city services.
Just last week, local activist Rob Whitney wrote an article about the new downtown school that has been approved after more than 10 years of trying by local parents to have a neighborhood school. There is certainly a renewed sense of optimism among parents about what services the City will provide as a result of this decision.
Policing is another key component to maintaining our neighborhood.
Again, a vigorous and politically active neighborhood would have these leaders take notice.
Cleanliness of our neighborhood depends on city services.
Future development in our very beautiful but congested neighborhood is again within the purview of the City of Boston.
The maintenance of open space like the Boston Common is also dependent on city services.
Water and sewer repairs are dependent on city services.
The list could just keep going on.
The two mayoralty nominees for the election will be determined by money and by campaign volunteers working in the political trenches.
This is our opportunity to get involved in large numbers.
Menino has demonstrated the power that a local political machine with a strong and loyal volunteer following has on an election outcome.
We urge our voters to become active not only in the Mayor’s race, but also in the City Council race as more than one third of that board will be changing as of January 2014.