In this last of a series of posts, we are highlighting specific resident questions from the recent District 1 City Council Candidates Forum hosted by the North End / Waterfront Neighborhood Council (NEWNC). The three candidates running to fill the seat being vacated by Sal LaMattina are Lydia Edwards, Margaret Farmer and Stephen Passacantilli. District 1 includes the North End, Charlestown and East Boston.
Question: Regarding this summer’s youth disturbances and the 68 arrests by Boston Police over feast weekends, would you do something differently and what actions would you support as City Councilor?
Stephen Passacantilli: I was at St. Agrippina’s Feast that night when it was shut down and did not feel safe that night. It was pretty alarming. The police did a great job with the arrests. We need to be better prepared before the feasts for next summer with a meeting of city and state officials and Boston Police. We also need to ensure the police details show up at the feasts.
Lydia Edwards: Agreeing with much of what Stephen said, I would also like to see more community police. Understanding the pressures, coming only in times of crisis can hurt the relationship. I look to the relationship at the soup kitchen in East Boston. The police have been there the whole time, literally serving food to these folks. This improved our trust of each other. I am happy we can support our officers and their ability to act, but I hope we can avoid 70 arrests next time. Having constant police presence throughout the feasts is also necessary.
Margaret Farmer: I think it is unfortunate because the feasts are supposed to be a safe time for everyone to get together. We do not have enough police officers and the staffing is at low levels due to retirements. They have to prioritize and that is why you had that response that night. We need to increase recruitment and have officers in the community. I have spoken to the police captain and would like to have the test offered two times a year and a higher staffing level would help solve a lot of issues.
Hear the complete answer of each of the candidates in the above video and see the entire candidates forum in this prior post.
The preliminary municipal election will be on September 26th, 2017. The top two candidates from that election will appear on the general municipal election ballot on November 7th, 2017. Polls are open 7am-8pm. Find more information at CityofBoston.gov/elections.
For more information on the District 1 City Council Race, follow our District 1 Tag.