North End/Waterfront residents took their turn last night on the Boston political scene in a special gathering to “Meet the City Council Candidates.” Both District 1 candidates, Sal LaMattina and Chris Kulikowski, attended along with six of the eight At-Large candidates. Next Tuesday, November 3rd is the General Election for Boston’s Mayor and City Council. At the City Council level, each voter will be able to select up to 4 At-Large City Council candidates from the 8 on the ballot and one District 1 City Council candidate. District 1 candidates, LaMattina and Kulikowski were each given 20 minutes to speak while the At-Large candidates received 10 minutes. The North End/Waterfront neighborhood is part of District 1 which also includes East Boston and Charlestown. The forum was organized by the North End/Waterfront Residents’ Association and open to the public.
District 1 Incumbent – Salvatore LaMattina
Sal LaMatinna started his speech with a story recalling when he first became a councilor for the district. An old time North End resident was concerned that he would ignore the North End in favor of the larger East Boston/Charlestown neighborhoods. He was proud when that same resident thanked him years later for his service. Despite being an East Boston resident, LaMattina considers the North End to be “his neighborhood.”
LaMattina wants the North End to be the cleanest neighborhood, especially since every Boston tourist walks through our streets. He emphasized his work with NEWRA’s Clean Streets Committee and considers neighborhood cleanliness to be one of his most important priorities. In answering a question, he expressed concern regarding the rat situation which he attributes to trash being on the streets everyday. He supports the Green Ticket Bill.
The Problem Properties Task Force is a program where LaMattina is actively engaged, bringing North End and Beacon Hill residents together with City officials to hold property owners accountable, including absentee landlords. His office has also started writing individual letters to properties that violate City ordinances.
Education is a priority for LaMattina who noted his daughter is a senior in Boston Public Schools. He recently worked with school officials to increase capacity at the Eliot School.
LaMattina is following the Parcel 9 proposals closely and working with the pushcart vendors to create a world-class outdoor market.
Regarding the recent controversy of late-night revelry highlighted in the Boston Globe article, LaMattina indicated his preference to keep such activity toward the Quincy Market area away from North End. He believes that businesses and residents need to work together on this issue to preserve quality of life in the neighborhood.
Summing up, LaMattina told the audience that the At-Large candidates would talk more about policy but as a District councilor he believes his job is help people in the neighborhoods. Sal LaMattina’s website is www.sallamattina.com.
District 1 Challenger – Christian Kulikowski
Kulikowski said that he made this run for City Council because he wanted to get certain issues into the spotlight. He highlighted the following list of issues:
#1 – Education – Kulikowksi wants neighborhood schooling ensuring kids that live here go to the Eliot School. The City spends $80 million on bus transportation and he would push for that money to be used on the schools instead.
#2 – Teachers – Chris is a former teacher and believes the City should work to better support the role of teaching in our public schools.
#3 – Public Safety – While the North End is doing better than in the past, Kulikowski would push for 24 hour police foot patrols to increase presence and deter crime.
#4 – Rats/Trash – He would work toward supervision of trash contractors during pick up routes to eliminate miscellaneous street trash. He also spoke of his recent work to get a dumpster for Eliot School so leftover milk and lunch doesn’t end up on the streets.
#5 – Senior Care – Kulikowski told a story that when grandmother broke her hip and eventually needed nursing care, officials wanted to send her to Revere. He would push for seniors to have the option to get nursing care in the North End.
#6 – Dog Waste – He favors a dog park or dog run in the North End.
#7 – Tolls – He wants to eliminate the tunnel tolls.
#8 – Restructure Boston City Council – Kulikowski believes the population has changed and the 13 councilors are leaving issues behind. He thinks District 1 should be split into multiple districts because it is too big for one councilor to cover.
As a long-time retail business owner, Kulikowski believes he has the strong work ethic to do the job. As a veteran, he emphasized his work on veteran affairs and membership in the St. Aggripina Society.
In answer to a question about cell towers in the North End, he said that while against the Charter Street proposal, he believes the trade-offs should be looked at on a case by case situation, especially given the inadequate coverage in the neighborhood.
Regarding the late-night partying issue raised in the recent Globe article, Kulikowski thought alcohol merchants should check IDs and limit the amount of alcohol sold in some cases. He thought the police do a good job, but 911 dispatch could be better.
Chris summed up by saying that the North End is his home and the best place to live. Chris Kulikowski’s website is www.abetterboston.com.
AT-LARGE CITY COUNCIL CANDIDATES
Six of the eight at-large city council candidates presented to the North End/Waterfront audience. The speakers were Tomas Gonzalez, Ayanna Pressley, Andrew Kenneally, Felix Arroyo, John Connolly and Tito Jackson. With 10 minutes each, the candidates reviewed their background, experience and broad policy views. There was one item of consensus: breaking up the BRA and establishing an urban planning agency separate from the needs of economic development.
Tomas Gonzalez – www.votetomas.com
Ayanna Pressley – www.ayannapressley.com
Andrew Kenneally – www.andrewkenneally.com
Felix Arroyo – www.felixarroyo.com
John Connolly – www.connollyforcouncil.com
I missed Tito Jackson‘s presentation, so I don’t have a picture, but you can find out more about him at titojacksonforboston.com. Stephen Murphy and Doug Bennett did not attend the forum.