DotOUT 2009 Candidate Questionnaire
1. What if any efforts did you make in defeating the proposed amendments to the Massachusetts Constitution that would have excluded gays and lesbians from the right to marry; and did you support the repeal of the 1913 law that discriminated against out-of-state gays and lesbians from marrying within Massachusetts and what if any efforts did you make in its repeal?
I contacted my elected officials and let them know I was in support of marriage rights.
2. Do you support legislation to outlaw discrimination in Massachusetts on the basis of “gender identity or expression” and what if any efforts have you made to ensure passage of this legislation?
Yes, I support legislation to outlaw discrimination in Massachusetts on the basis of “gender identity or expression.” I have participated in events and parades in my South End neighborhood in support of these civil rights.
3. Do you support a woman’s right to choose?
Yes, I support a woman’s right to choose.
4. On this issue of HIV/AIDS prevention, what are your views on needle exchange programs and sex education/condom distribution programs?
Because needle exchange programs are aimed at preventing the spread of fatal diseases, I am in favor. I am also in favor of universal health care, including mental health benefits and developing addiction prevention and rehabilitation programs.
I am also in favor of implementing sex education/condom distribution programs in Boston Public Schools. As a society we must accept the fact that a number of sexually active youth will always be with us. Therefore, it is essential to educate our youth about the risks associated with unprotected sex. I believe that such preventative measures can prevent many unwanted pregnancies and the spread of sexually transmitted infections among our youth.
5. Do you have any openly LGBT members of your office and/or campaign staff with decision-making and/or management level of responsibility?
Yes, a number of my volunteers/supporters are openly members of the LGBT community. I always employ the valuable advice that they offer to the campaign. Many of the suggestions that I accept from my LGBT volunteers/supporters range from a variety of topics, such as strategies to reach out to different neighborhoods and how to present my platform. I have also received a positive response from members of Boston’s LGBT community who have shown their support and interest in my campaign by asking to volunteer.
We were proud to kick off our campaign in Dorchester at the house of Kevin Barry and Barry Mullin a gay couple who have been together for 20 years. I have gay and lesbian family members. I have employed gay carpenters in my construction business, worked with and for lesbian business owners, and when I was 19 my first boss in Boston was gay. He is still a good friend. I’m proud to live in the South End, and am happy to fly the rainbow during Pride Week. In addition, I have refused to March in the St. Patrick’s Day parade because they exclude the LGBT community.
6. What organizations do you belong to and/or have you worked with that embrace diversity and draw together the very diverse communities within Dorchester, including, but not limited to, people of color, Caucasians, Latinos, Asians, the LGBT community, and people from varying socio-economic backgrounds?
The first group I belong to is my marriage to an Hispanic woman, Dr. Clara Lora, who was born in Colombia. The second group is my company Wabash Construction, which has employed people from around the ethnic, geographical, and sexually orientated world. In 2005, when I ran for City Council the Bay State Banner proclaimed that I had the most diverse staff of anyone running for office.
Finally, I have been a member of groups such as Big Brother/Big Sister, South End Youth Baseball, Habitat for Humanity, WBUR, etc. which encourage interaction between people of different races and ages.
7. Some Dorchester families with school-aged children have access to a wide range of educations options, including public, private, parochial, charter and METCO. Others exercise the option to move to another community to send their children to school. Please describe how you will encourage families with school-aged children to remain in Dorchester and ensure that the City of Boston supports and expands safe, affordable, high-quality educations options for all families including those with LGBT children and parents?
As Mayor, I would eliminate busing and invest the $80 million per year that we spend on it into improving and building more neighborhood schools. I would visit every Boston Public School every two years to listen to teacher, parent and students concerns and accounts regarding policies that have been effective and ineffective. Further, I would work to develop solutions to fix any ineffective policies. Last, unlike the Mayor, I would never reduce education funding in our City’s budget.
Education is my number one priority. I went to public schools growing up, and attribute much of my success to the caring teachers that I had. We are failing as a society when we so clearly are not giving our children an acceptable level of education. I have met with teachers and parents who have taught me much about how unacceptable our schools are. I will dedicate 20 percent of my time to making sure we have adequate resources, proper encouragement, and the support of City Hall to make sure every child is on the path to success. I am against raising the Charter School cap because that continues to leave other children behind, I’m for making all of the schools good.
My three opponents want to enact a buzzword to make the schools better, I’m looking forward to putting in the hard work to make them better.
8. What specific solutions do you propose to close current and future city budget deficits without harming access to health care, education, and public transportation?
The Mayor has been dishonest with Boston residents about the city’s budget. Currently, the city is not in a fiscal crisis. However, this fact is not the same for the state and federal governments, which deal with pubic transportation and health care related issues respectively. Although the Mayor has been suggesting that our city is in a terrible economic situation, he has recently deposited over $120 million into our savings account. In fact, we have more money in the bank now than we have ever had in our entire history. Meanwhile, the Mayor has been alarming our school system by threatening to close schools and lay off teachers. This behavior derives from the Mayor’s concern with getting a hotel and meal tax passed. In essence, these endeavors have shifted the Mayor’s attention from an even bigger issue: providing quality education for our city’s youth.
As Mayor, I would run the most open, honest and transparent government so that everyone will have access to the city’s budget information. I would make all of our spending and saving records public, available online and easy for everyone to request if need be.
What I will do is stop giving away land and tax breaks to rich connected insiders. A tax break given by Menino’s BRA has lost us $40 million in revenue just on a single building: One Beacon Street. He has given away $30 million at Hayward Place. How many teachers and buses could we have funded with just these two properties? This needs to stop, we need to fund our public and social services, and let the insiders know that the City Hall will be about what you know, not who you know.
9. What specific solutions do you propose to address crime in the city of Boston generally and in the Dorchester community specifically?
I believe that I can address our crime issue in two ways. First, I propose improving our schools by providing mentors and after-school programs for our youth. Second, I propose adding more police officers on the streets. I believe that education is the key to success. Many of our city’s youth resort to violence when their schools are not equipped with adequate funding and good teachers. Second, I believe that one of the ways we could increase the effectiveness of police officers on the streets is by eliminating police details. I believe that police details are not necessary on most construction sites. In fact, anybody can qualify to stand on sites with a simple four hour certification. By removing police officers from these sites and placing them on the streets, we can ensure that the tax dollars used to pay police officers’ salaries will be maximized towards stopping crime.
10. Please identify your three top priorities for the next four years that will be beneficial to the Dorchester community and the citizens of the City of Boston.
1) Education: To improve all 143 Boston Public Schools by implementing longer school days and smaller classrooms, supporting proper discipline, acknowledging accomplishment, hiring qualified teachers, designing effective after-school programs and supporting great neighborhood libraries. I would also spend one day per week in the schools to monitor what aspects of my policies are and are not effective, and to get input and feedback from the teachers, parents and students. Currently, the city spends over $80 million to bus students to schools across the city. By eliminating this costly and ineffective policy, I would ensure adequate funding to manage my education plan, and even to build a state of the art Green Science and Technology high school.
2) Public Safety: To combat our city’s unacceptable rate of crime against women, children, senior citizens, and among urban youth. First, I will hire more police officers to patrol in all of our neighborhoods. Second, I will fully enforce the Boston Jobs Policy to ensure that the city invests in its youth and hires ethnically diverse residents. There is an underlying correlation between not providing enough job opportunities for urban youth and an increase in crime in urban neighborhoods. This factor has to change.
3) Transparency and Fiscal Responsibility: First, to eliminate “zoning for sale” and tax break giveaways to rich developers for private projects. Second, to identify alternative streams of revenue that will reduce the residential property tax burden without adding to the overall tax burden, such as requiring adequate PILOT payments from Hospitals and Universities. Most importantly, to publish online all data, all expenses and income by the City of Boston and the BRA, all contracts, etc. so our citizens can be informed about the workings of their government. Finally, I want to strengthen ethics and transparency, so that we have the strongest laws in the country, to gain back the citizens trust in our government.