June 12, 2006
Mayor Thomas M. Menino and the
Dear Honorable Mayor Thomas M. Menino and Esteemed Members of the
We write this letter to call on the Mayor and the City Council to provide for a sizeable increase in the Boston Police Department’s patrol force, as a significant tool in combating violence, particularly youth violence, in the City of
Maintaining the status quo in the level of police staff, or making negligible increases in staffing, means that the City will likely continue to experience the alarming increase in the level of violence already seen in 2006, on top of steep increases in 2005.
The City needs more police officers on the streets. Lt. Governor Kerry Healy recently stated on an NECN television interview that the only way to solve the problem of violence in
The laws of the City of
We find this situation inconsistent with the immediate needs of the City and we ask that the Mayor and the City Council make the necessary adjustments to the proposed City budget for FY07 to demonstrate a legitimate plan for complying with the law and ensuring the safety of the citizens of
We recognize that there is “no such thing as a free lunch” and that funding must be found to cover the cost of an increased police force, but, as Commissioner O’Toole has stated “You can’t put a price on safety”. We believe that if the City looks in the right places and prioritizes properly the funds can be found. For example:
- Increased use of the PILOT program should be undertaken. Councilor Murphy has suggested charging a student use fee that could raise more than $10 million annually.
- City real estate policy such as giving away property for free or for less than market value should be reviewed including the land to the Islamic Society of Boston, City Hall Plaza, Heyward Place, the Forsyth Institute, the sidewalks around Fenway Park, etc. These giveaways have resulted in the loss of millions of dollars.
- Attention should be paid to the proposed downtown 1000 foot skyscraper. Although the City currently owns the property, the Boston Redevelopment Authority (BRA) is advertising it, clearly indicating that the BRA plans to take the property by eminent domain. The City needs to insure that the taxpayers get proper value for their assets.
- Rent should be charged to the BRA for their use of the 9th floor of City Hall, and taxes levied on the $500M+ in holdings that they manage.
- Tax breaks for private development projects, such as the $14 million deal to
We are confident that by reviewing past practices and cutting off perks to special interests as the city goes forward, funding can be found to pay for the safety of the city’s residents.
We look forward to your addressing this issue in the current City Budget, and encourage an open dialogue on how we can achieve the goal of more police officers on the streets.
However, if the City does not provide a significant increase in the amount of police officers for fiscal year 2007 and beyond, we will ask the Attorney General to pursue enforcement of Chapter 11, Section 1.6, and failing that, we will seek judicial redress.
Kevin McCrea, South End
Dr. Clara Lora, South End
CC: Attorney General Thomas Reilly