Local Elections Matter: City Governance Driven by Those Who Show Up

Share on Facebook
Share on Twitter
Share on

Joe Selvaggi talks with Suffolk County Assistant District Attorney and candidate for Boston City Council’s 8th District Montez Haywood about the city council’s role in local governance and the salient issues at stake in the July 25 special election.


Montez Haywood is a Suffolk County Assistant District Attorney running for the open District 8 seat of the Boston City Council. He was born in Flint, Michigan, and later moved to Tennessee when his father, a proud member of the United Auto Workers, was relocated for work.. He graduated from Middle Tennessee State University where he played football, before coming to New England to attend law school at the University of Massachusetts at Dartmouth. After working as an attorney in a South Shore private practice, he joined the Suffolk County District Attorney’s office in 2006. In his role as prosecutor, Attorney Haywood has spent the lion’s share of his career focusing on criminal violence in the City of Boston. In addition to his work for the District Attorney’s office, he has volunteered extensively, aiding those burdened by homelessness and food insecurity. He has served on the board of Project Right in Greater Growth Hall, and currently serves on the board of the Esplanade Association.

This is Hubwonk. I’m Joe Selvaggi. Welcome to Hubwonk, a podcast of Pioneer Institute, a think tank in Boston. Modern politics seems ever more focused on Washington D.C.’s pitched battles fought between national representatives of a deeply divided nation. But the policy choices that more directly affect our lives, such as the quality of our schools or the safety of our streets, are primarily decided at a local, nonpartisan level. In Boston, our region’s largest city, local laws are written past and amended by 13-member city council that, in conjunction with the mayor, serve all 675,000 residents in the nearly 400-year-old city.

While the competitive mayor’s race may warrant focused media interest and broad voter engagement, the campaigns of city councilors are often run and won by the few people who show up, often below the gaze of average voters’ attention. But when a special election for city councilor is called to fill a vacancy in the middle of summer, as it has been when Councilor Kenzie Bok was tapped for a role in the Healey administration, the election can occur almost without notice, leaving even the most earnest and qualified candidates desperate to communicate their vision to any residents willing to listen and vote.

Why should voters care about the composition of their local governing body? And what issues are at stake in a largely overlooked special election? My guest today is Suffolk County Assistant District Attorney and candidate for city council for the 8th District, Montez Haywood. Attorney Haywood first ran for the seat in 2019 and faces political organizer Sharon Durbin in the July 25 special election. Attorney Haywood will offer his insight into how the nonpartisan nature of the city council election offers voters the opportunity to examine useful local policy solutions free from the influence of political dogma or party allegiance. We will discuss many of the issues which all communities face, including education, crime, the cost of living, and the livability of our city. When I return, I’ll be joined by Assistant District Attorney and candidate for Boston City Councilor Montez Haywood.

Okay, we’re back. This is Hubwonk. I’m Joe Selvaggi and I’m now pleased to be joined by Suffolk County Assistant District Attorney and candidate for Boston City Council in the 8th District, Montez Haywood. Welcome to Hubwonk, Montez.

Montez Haywood: Thank you so much, Joe. I’m proud to be here.

Joe: Thank you. All right. Well, I’m happy to have you on the show. We don’t have too many political candidates on the program, but I thought this is a special case. It’s very, very local. And I really want to focus and dial in on what the Boston City Council does because I think it flies under the radar for even those of us like me, I’ll admit, who are engaged in politics but often not engaged enough at the local level. Now, you’re in the final week of campaigning, so I appreciate you taking some time to be with us on the show. The special election is being held on July 25, that’s a Tuesday when this releases. So, I want to say at the outset, this is a nonpartisan program. We don’t have any partisan affiliation and this race has no partisan affiliation. Neither candidate or this race has, you know, there’s no R’s, there’s no D’s, this is a nonpartisan race. So, let’s start with, at the beginning, at the very basic level. You’re running for Boston City Council. There’s 13 councilors. You’re representing the 8th District. Let’s start at the beginning. What does the Boston City Council do?

Montez: So, the Boston City Council is the legislative branch for the city of Boston. It is really important. It handles everything from home rule petitions. What is a home rule petition? Right now, we have the questions, do we have an elected school board? If you would like that, that what the city council would do is we would pass a by vote, a home rule petition that would then go up to the legislature so that legislature can agree or not to agree. The mayor has the ability to veto those sorts of things, but that is in our purview. In addition, we also hold hearings that control the budget, attempting to make sure like roads, sidewalks, a trash contract, all those things that handle for your day-to-day life are handled by your city councilor. It is important for your city councilor to be someone who knows your neighborhood and you should know your city councilor. That way, when you have an issue where 311 is insufficient, it is your city councilor who should be the individuals able to help you get those sorts of things done and handled.

Joe:  So, you are the government, you’re the sort of mini-legislature for our great city here in Boston. You’re a West End resident, I’m a Beacon Hill resident. We’re talking about the 8th district, so I’ve sort of tipped my hand. I know two neighborhoods that are in the 8th district, yours and mine. What other neighborhoods are in the 8th district for city council?

Montez: So, the neighborhood runs, the district runs basically down the river. It is the West End, now all the West End for 310 and 310A, Beacon Hill, Back Bay, Fenway, and Mission Hill — Fenway — it encapsulates the entire neighborhood.

Joe: Good, okay. So, I think we have nine districts, is that right? Am I counting right? So you’re one ninth of Boston, but for our listeners who aren’t keeping score at home, how many people are in that district? And you can also, if you have that number, how many voters are we looking at?

Montez: There are 38,000 and 38,500 registered voters that are on the current iteration of the district 8. There are approximately 77,000 residents in the district that the city has been able to identify.

Joe: Okay, and I said at the outset, this is a nonpartisan race. So that might sort of grind the gears of some of our listeners, like what’s politics if I don’t have a party affiliation to lock into? Do parties have anything to do? Are they forbidden or are they allowed? How does that work? Is it completely deliberately separate from any party affiliation?

Montez: Well, the structure of it is an attempt to make it, to take the parties out of it. However, you know, the parties do play a role in helping kind of organize those sorts of things. But that being said, at this level, the system is designed to be as nonpartisan as possible in an attempt to encourage diversity of thought. I think the party system in and of itself should do its best to step out of this level of politics, because politics in this moment are local. It should be “How do we help our neighbors and how do we do so in a way that serves everybody, the majority of us in the best way?” And they’re not necessarily having party issues on a national level in a local race makes sense. When for the most part, everyone agrees and is trying to do the right thing.

Joe: I like that idea. I mean, it’s not realistic to imagine we could do that at the federal level, but wouldn’t it be nice if all candidates ran on positions rather than party affiliation. I think it would engender a more honest, open debate. But alas, I don’t think that’s coming anytime soon. You mentioned that when you describe the role of the Boston City Council, that it makes home petition laws, sends them up for the legislature to approve. Give our listeners a sense of what would be a law or a rule that would have an effect on the lives of our listeners who live in Boston.

Montez: Well, the largest home petition rule right now, I believe, would be for a fully elected school committee that would remove some power from the mayor’s office and give direct control and responsibility to parents, teachers, neighbors, and the children of our district. That would legitimately give us the opportunity to advocate for ourselves, for the children in the neighborhood. That is something that the City Council could put forward that would remove power from the mayor but would empower the citizens of our district.

Joe: So, again, let’s just play that one out. That’s top of mind right now. How would that work? You have 13 counselors of nine district and four at large. We have an idea for elected school board members. You debate it and decide this is a good idea. What’s next? As you say, it’s taking some power from the mayor. So, I’m guessing she has the prerogative. Mayor Wu has a prerogative to veto such a good idea, or if you think it’s a good idea, let’s assume you have the authority to override it, then it’ll go to the legislature and they will, in a sense, grant you this prerogative. Or, you know, you share with me, how does this work?

Montez: Getting over the hurdle that is the mayor would be her listening to the voice of the people. Part of the reason why we need to get people to come out and to vote for your city councilor is that the more votes your city councilor has within the district speaks the nature and the power and the support. When the mayor sees that number of support, when the city council comes up, comes forward and puts forward the idea of electing a school board, is in that moment she understands that it is the will of the people to have a representation specifically to this issue. It is sad, but the city council has almost no control beyond budgetary things over the Boston Public Schools. The only way to give power to the people and empower our children, empower our parents, empower our neighborhoods is, in fact, to take some of that power from the mayor’s office and put it into a body that even I would not control. I’m advocating for pure democracy here, and that is ensuring — and I believe that is the best way to ensure a great education for our young people and a great experience for their families.

Joe: I think that seems to dovetail nicely with our pushing authority down to individual, if you will, people who have skin in the game, who have kids in the system and have them have a say in how it’s run as opposed to a more top-down, authoritarian, we know what’s best for you kind of approach. Let’s come back to that. Now, you’re going to be joining, if you’re successful, a group of 12 other counselors and you’ve run for this office once before. I have you on as a guest who has the potential to influence, perhaps strongly influence, how the council is run. In your view, again, you’re from the outside now. Is the council divided along ideological lines or are they — does each bring a perspective unique to his own district? How do you see the council breaking down as far as in these debates? You mentioned the city council, the school board, but along other debates. Is it, you know, each part of the city has a different interest or is some other divide that, you know, organizes the debate?

Montez: From the outside looking in, frankly, there have been points where the city council has seemed so broken down along ideological lines that aren’t always necessarily what I believe to be in the best interest of the people of Boston. There have been multiple moments and multiple reports, quite frankly, where some of the behavior is embarrassing. I would sit there and I would suggest some of the ideas and some of the time spent on the Boston City Council is turning more towards a personal attacks amongst each other more so than making sure that the work of the people is being done. As you sit back and you walk across the city and you talk to people across the city, whether you’re in Dorchester or you’re in the West End, for the most part, the people just want government to work. And right now, this iteration of the city council has been one embarrassment after the next and it’s been based on ad hominem, personal attacks, and it’s not okay.

Joe: So, along those lines, again, I talk about it’s a wonderful city. We live in a small part of it, but there’s nine or eight other districts. There was a lot of debate on redrawing the lines for how those districts vote. Now, you know, where those lines go. Now, you know, putting aside self-interest, I think city councilors want to defend their turf and they probably want to pick lines that favor their reelection. But take that aside. When we talk about redrawing lines that represent parts of the city, what’s your guiding light? What’s your north star? What do you imagine a district that, you know, is it, does it share a common character or there, you know, it should be a grid or how is it that you would intelligently draw district lines that serve to organize people with common interests? Is there any, you know — I don’t know if my question is making sense — but is there in your mind a way to organize the city council districts by interest so that we don’t divide people with a common view?

Montez: Right. So, I think my north star would be to make it — to do as few gerrymandering tactics as possible. I think you should take the city, divide it as much as you can via population density — you then try your best to keep neighbors together. We have a diverse city, we have a beautiful city, but the some of the redistricting parts — you took people who have been neighbors for their entire lives, and you split them into several districts. A part of district 8, Mission Hill, is represented by three different city councilors, all based, all broken up by streets. Part of the Back Bay now is now left the district and is now, you know, with City Councilor Fernandez. Many of these things need to be discussed when you start taking away somebody’s neighbor from them. And if you do so with sincerity and honesty of just saying we’re doing this purely on population density lines and we’re doing our level best to make sure we’re keeping neighborhoods intact as best as possible, I think that is my guiding light and how if I were on the council during the redistricting, I would have steered that conversation.

Joe: So, you see we’re primarily organized by neighborhood. As someone who lives here for 30 years, I share that view. You know, we often joke as Beacon Hill people that we’re vastly different than Back Bay and you know, it’s absurd but at some level there’s some truth there. It’s just, you know, there’s, we don’t share the same concerns. I don’t care if it’s when we pick up trash or, you know, whatever. But so, you see us more divided or organized around our neighborhood rather than, you know, wealth or race or class or all these other wonderful things that people have used to describe how they might divide our city.

Montez: Yes, I mean, as a resident of the West End, is there absolute wealth in the West End? The answer is yes. Is there absolute poverty in the West End? The answer is yes. That being said, the people in the West End who happen to be the most ardent and wanting the neighborhood to stay clean and safe want. What the wealthiest person want. Everyone wants clean, safe streets and safety to be able to walk to and from their building. That is the universal thing across the district. We can disagree how we get there, but that thought will translate across the district.

Joe: So, you mentioned the 8th district. What do you see as common? You say all along the river, I guess maybe you all either like sailing or running along the river, but what are the common issues besides sharing the border with the Charles that you see that’s common to this district, common concerns that all of us share?

Montez: Well, all right. Common concerns for the district. When you go up and down the district, the 8th district has poor road maintenance up and down the district. There’s poor sidewalk maintenance up and down the district. There is an absolute concern of basically unconnected, disconnected bike lanes up and down the district. There is, in addition, we have a whole bunch of people in need of services up and down the district that seem to be flowing back and forth from whether it’s mental illness or substance abuse. Those are all things that seem to be a problem or problems that are on the district that are common, whether you are in the West End, Beacon Hill, Back Bay, or Mission Hill.

Joe: Oh, they don’t seem too grave, but let’s dive in. I don’t want to use this as sort of, I’m not prioritizing this as the most pressing challenge facing the city, but let’s just take a simple issue. You mentioned bike lanes. For us on Beacon Hill, it’s a bit of a contentious issue, and then I think they want to put a bike lane down Charles Street. It’s already a pretty crowded street. There’s not much parking for the store owners there. I’ll stipulate that I’m a distance runner. I’m an avid cyclist, and I almost never touch my car. That said, the bike lanes that have been put in already in Back Bay, I count Boylston Street and Charles Street as being sort of almost deliberately designed to clog traffic up at the worst possible moments during the rush hour. I feel bad for all those people who do take their car and have to navigate the city. How do you resolve something like that? I know bike advocates are passionate about their belief in turning Boston into Amsterdam, but how do you negotiate between those people who want to see nothing but bikes on the street and those who accept that bikes and cars need to peacefully coexist?

Montez: Well, I think that’s the part that is the most troubling about the bike lanes. So, let’s start with Charles Street. If you look at Charles Street, what did you put a bike lane in or two bike lanes in depending on which version they’re talking about, because you have to go both directions — what they’re saying is, I’m going to take away the outdoor seating on Charles Street. It’s also going to bump out the traffic and basically turn Charles Street into a one-lane road. You have to remember Charles Street does not have a back alley. Every business on that road must also get its deliveries also on Charles Street. Then you talk about if there’s ever a fire or someone needs to be rescued. I mean, we have small fire trucks in this part of the city. The ladders will have issues actually trying to rescue people. It is just so un — the thought process is to who that is serving doesn’t make sense to me. I don’t understand the point or the design to take away something from the people basically from Charles Street. I don’t understand the reason behind it. It would make so much more sense if the idea is, to do something that’s just good for everybody, is to utilize David Mugar Way, and convert that rarely used sidewalk and that area into a bike lane that would connect the bike lane on the Esplanade by connecting the Arthur Fiedler Bridge and the Fannie Applegate. Connecting those continuously to each other would make so much more sense. You’re not taking something away from anybody and you’re actually giving bikers a pure route to go down the backside of the flat of the hill without interrupting traffic, without pedestrians. It’s worrisome. The pedestrian with a bike lane, one, bikers don’t always go the proper direction of the bike lane and it’s so concerning about pedestrian safety when it comes to putting a bike lane on Charles Street. There’s also proposals to put a bike lane right out in the area near 100 Beacon and between Arlington and Beacon. That’s coming right off of Storrow Drive. And again, without a contiguous bike lane to 100 Beacon entrance, you’re asking for people coming off of essentially one of the busiest roads in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts to now have conflict with a potential biker trying to get to a bike lane. It’s encouraging the wrong behavior. Same issue with trying to put a bike lane on Berkeley Street, putting a bike lane on Boylston Street. At some point, the bike lanes in the district and in the neighborhood need to make sense for the residents and they’re doing the same things also in Mission Hill and to the Fenway. It’s just a bike lane that purely seems with a one-sided goal and that is somebody who doesn’t live in the district rides a bike through the city and it does not matter how that affects those of us who live here.

Joe: I think, again, I don’t want to focus too much on this point, but you make a lot of sense and I’m sure you’ve come to this observation from talking with lots of locals. I think to an outsider, I think the debate seems to have evolved into bike versus car, but as you mentioned, all those busy intersections you described are full of people. It’s bike versus pedestrian. It’s probably a long time ago now, but we had actually a postman die when he was struck by a bike on Charles Street, but the people on the street that are most concerned about bikes was in down a bike lane, not the cars. The cars can defend themselves. It’s those of us who walk everywhere that are most concerned. One more thing on this, how would you develop your best practice? You’re sitting in a city hall worrying about this. How would you come to, if it was a different type of a problem, how do you arrive at your conclusions? What’s your methodology, do you think?

Montez: My methodology in this room — because there’s been a whole host of studies actually on this topic right now, and the most recent was done by NHTSA and there was a Dr. Forrester who actually advocated and argues that dedicated bike lanes are not safer than doing vector lanes — I think I would actually follow the science and I would advocate to, “Hey, we’re in a beautifully smart city. Let’s listen to the scientists and do what they say.” If we do what the scientists suggest, how we handle bike lanes, we wouldn’t actually not be talking about putting a bike lane on Charles Street. We would be doing a vector lane, which would essentially be kind of overdoing anyways in other parts of the city. We would change, we would do something very similar on Beacon Street. We would do this across the city and the goal being focusing on pedestrian safety, making sure bikers are safe, making sure that the people driving cars aren’t worried about hitting a biker. These are concepts I think we can do, and I would follow the science. The science is there, and the science actually goes contrary to what we’re doing and that’s putting bike lanes everywhere.

Joe: Well, let’s go to, let’s go from something, let’s say that that’s a fun topic perhaps to something a lot more serious. In my view, the most important issue facing Bostonians is the quality of education for our kids. I’ll just again stipulate that I live in Beacon Hill and I see the sort of circle of life here. People, friends, neighbors have kids, and they turn school age and I see three patterns. One is they try for a lottery. We have a couple of fairly good functioning schools here in Boston. They try for the lottery and if they win that lottery and get the school of their choice, they stay. If they don’t get that, there’s two more options. One is to send their kids to private school as does 75% of Beacon Hill sends their kids to private schools. But then of course the other choice is to move away to the suburbs, albeit kicking and screaming. Most of my neighbors would love to live here all the time but we lose them because they frankly can’t afford to send all their kids to private schools. To me, this is a, you know, the social justice issue of all social justice issues. How is it that Bostonians aren’t able to have quality schools the way the rest of the state or the country — you know, what can the city council do to make the basic right to raise your kids in a public school? I hope that’s not controversial, in a quality high-performing public school and stay in the city. What can the city council do on that level?

Montez: Well, I believe the first step is making short ensuring we have a fully elected school board to remove that power from the mayor’s office. Not because I believe any mayor doesn’t want to lose the power and they have too many competing interests to prioritize our children. We now have another issue on our district to where, quite frankly, the clubs of school on district we have are, they’re two schools. We have the high school and we have the schools out in Mission Hill — high school and elementary schools in Mission Hill. Those are the only two schools on district. Now we have schools in the North End and Charlestown and off district, but the answer then becomes how can you expect children to perform well when you’re putting them on a bus across the city for an extended period of time? The answer, in my humble opinion, is walking zones. These children need the ability to be able to walk out of their home, walk to school. That way, when their parents come home from work after dropping them off and picking them up, they have an opportunity to properly engage with their teachers and learn where and how they can help their child continue to learn and develop. But the current system we have right now has removed people’s ability on district 8 to be able to walk their kids to and from school and force us to be in a position to where we would not be able to ensure we make every parent-teacher conference meeting, but able to make every event whether the kid is excelling in underwater basket weaving or not. This is how I believe you ensure a child’s education — is making sure you give the child every opportunity and the parent every opportunity and the neighbors every opportunity to ensure that child’s success.

Joe: I love that story about the school being connected to a place, you know, pedagogy aside, if you can walk to school and your parents can walk to school, you’re bound to have skin in the game, a stake in it and help that school better perform. It’s ironic that we, I’m Beacon Hill and I’m sure also in West End, you drive nowhere except your kids to school and or to your kid’s parent-teacher conference, you know, we otherwise we touch our car once every two weeks and yet our school requires us to, as you say, drive off district and separate the child and the family from the space, their neighborhood, or the approximate neighborhood. So, I don’t want to dwell too much on that issue. You have other issues. I glided over the fact that you are currently an assistant district attorney here in Boston. You prosecute bad guys or, in some cases perhaps, choose not to prosecute bad guys, you have some discretion there. As an experienced prosecutor or a district attorney, what does that perspective bring to the city? I’m talking specifically about how we handle our crime. What would you do as a councilor there?

Montez: Well actually as a councilor it gives me direct access and to public safety issues knowing who to speak with and how our neighborhood is being affected. As a prosecutor, what I’ve seen is this repeated behavior of individuals in need of services and then they are being processed and we’re using our jail system or court system as the first opportunity for many of these people to get access to mental health and drug treatment and that is how these individuals are being processed. I think that is an absolute mistake and it’s also really expensive to continue to use our jails and our courts as people’s access to mental health and their access to drug treatment. I think as a city what I would be proposing is actually quite different. We would legitimately purchase a cruise ship, which is approximately $30 to $40 million. We have North Jetty Point that can always support an aircraft carrier. We then would turn North Jetty Point and the cruise ship we purchased into a floating hospital. So instead of having to process everybody through the courts and through the jails as an extremely expensive measure what we would do is we would take some of these individuals in need of services and we would wrap them in their services at North Jetty Point. That way after they receive their acute treatment instead of them going right back to the neighborhood or right back to the street again where they’re sleeping on the street where they’re going to decompensate again they have an access to a space to sleep, access to medical care, and the social workers we’ve already hired we’ve already identified them and we can continue to make sure these people get the care for it in a long, extended term. This is not a jail setting this is not something where they’re forced to be there. This is when it comes time for them to receive treatment they get it and then they have a place to go after treatment where they’re not being forced to go back out to the street until they have their next episode again. God forbid they hurt anyone.

Joe: That’s good. Again, you know, we’re not talking about bank robbers we’re talking about people who have met are mentally ill or are having problems, and we’re talking about diversions or social care rather than incarceration as the first measure just to be clear.

Montez: Yes sir. Yes sir.

Joe: All right, I want to talk about I don’t know if we’re going to agree entirely or but I just want to touch on this recently the city council talked about advancing the mayor’s — the euphemism they use is a rent stabilization plan — it sailed through I think was 12 to 2 and now it’s going to go to the state legislature to see if it will allow the home rule. What’s your view? I mean we’ll both accept that we know that Boston is a very expensive city to buy a home to rent a home no one’s arguing that we’d love rents to be within reach for all of our citizens. What in your mind is the best method, you know, and you can include rent control in there to ensure people can afford to live here?

Montez: I’m going to start with rent control I’ve already come out and I’ve said this previously: I believe rent control is a mistake. I don’t think it is sustainable, and I say this not because I’m not saying the city is not expensive, what I’m saying is there are a whole bunch of smaller landlords who this is in fact their business model. They’ve spent their careers acquiring properties and attempting to turn this into passive income for themselves to try to ensure that they have a proper business. By establishing a rent control, you end up in this moment where you’re going to punish these smaller landlords, and I frankly just don’t think that is necessarily fair. You have — and you’re going to also discourage these smaller landlords who have these legacy people that are already under the prevailing market rate. And so, taking something away from someone should not be the city’s first move. We should be trying to figure out and to encourage ways for people to afford the city. Now, I say that to say that now you have a whole bunch who work for the city where the city isn’t paying people enough money frankly to live in the city and only work one job. These are areas where we need to take a look at and see are there ways to increase wages there? Are there ways to get other small business owners and encourage them to pay people more that way they can afford the rent in the city? I think that is a better way to handle this versus taking something away from somebody and damaging somebody’s business model. I don’t see it as sustainable, and it does not seem fair to those business people who have spent time and their hard-earned money trying to make it a business to survive in our city.

Joe: No, that’s a fine answer. You agree with the finding of — we’ve had many economists on the show who have agreed with you that saying it’s really not just a fairness issue, but it doesn’t have the intended effect. I think the most my favorite quote about it is that rent control is the surest policy to destroy a city aside from bombing. So, in the long term we all benefit. I’ll just say, again I put my economist hat on and say if you gave everybody a raise that would have the effect of raising everybody’s rent not making it affordable but we’ll have a different podcast and have a healthy debate on perhaps solutions. We’re running out of time, and one important issue I think for our listeners is the recent budget kerfuffle, I guess is the right word. The council I guess was given recently the prerogative to not just up or down vote the mayor’s budget but rather make amendments and change that. But it seems that A) the council can’t agree on what changes they’d like and the few changes they made seem to violate I guess labor contract disputes and sort of become legally moot before they even go anywhere. How would you help the council assert their authority and prerogative to influence the mayor’s budget? What would you do in that department?

Montez: Well, I believe the answer needs to be needs to be a moment where you sit back and you begin to do a larger teardown of the budget and present it in a more unified voice. I believe the problem — I believe Frank Baker is one of the people who raised objections to that issue — how Councilor Fernandez had presented it, because it sounds from — if Baker is to be believed — Baker essentially said I thought I was voting on something different at the time in which he was there to vote. I’m not faulting anyone for that because I wasn’t in their room for their backroom discussions, but it is clear that by the time it was presented it was presented in a disjointed manner. I think me coming to the city council will ensure that these sorts of things don’t happen. Like, when you present that final budget, everyone needs to be on the same page. You can disagree but you need to be on the same page as at which you’re actually voting for. They’re bringing things to the city council to vote on and that know what that people quite frankly it sounds like people that were making the vote didn’t necessarily even know what they were voting on at the time that the bill was presented.

Joe: So, you’re more concerned about the process rather than the product right you want you want everybody to be on you know essentially voting on knowing what they’re voting on and having the space to have a healthy debate?

Montez: Well, I think that you have to know the process before you before you even get to the product. The product that the city council is putting out is poor because it sounds like at this moment they can’t even agree as to the process of how to get a good product. I mean it’s like you’re making a little bit of sausage right now but no one’s even agreeing to put you know no one’s agreeing on what spices to put into the sausage let alone what the mix of them should be versus the proper amount of meat.

Joe: Yeah, my favorite metaphor for legislation sausage make I love that. So, we’re running out of time and we have an election coming up you’ve got to be out there you know smiling and dialing and doing what you have to do to get you over the line. We’ll release on the same day as voting day so many of our listeners will have already voted, but I assert that a candidate’s main enemy is not his opposition but apathy voters who either are not interested — don’t see why they should vote or don’t think their vote makes a difference. For our listeners out there who are listening, have yet to vote, and you know are thinking whether should they should stay home or jump up and go to the polls and vote, what would you say? Why should voters take time out of their Tuesday to go vote for city councilor in the eighth district on Tuesday?

Montez: This is one of the most important things you can do as your civic duty it’s important not just to go and vote but to get your neighbors and go to vote and he said why is that when you walk down the street on Charles Street and you see that the cobblestone is missing cobblestones, when you walk out on trash day and you see that the trash isn’t picked up, when you see the pest problem on the Beacon Hill when you walk down back bay and you’re on Berkeley street and all of a sudden there’s a bike lane that no one wanted there — these are the reasons why it’s important for you to go to vote. The strength in showing the city what you want is how you exercise by voting. It’s one of the most important things you can do and it’s how you show you’re interested in what the city does and how you’re treated, and it’s how you get city services.

Joe: So, I thank you for your commitment you know you are doing a public service as assistant district attorney but also your willingness to be a member of the city council not an easy job so thank you very much for the aspiration and if you’re successful for your future commitment to this wonderful city we both live in called Boston thank you for joining me here on Hubwonk.

Montez: Thank you, sir. Thank you for having me, Joe.

Joe: This has been another episode of Hubwonk.  If you enjoyed today’s show there are several ways to support Hubwonk and Pioneer Institute it would be easier for you and better for us if you subscribe to Hubwonk on your iTunes podcatcher, and it would make it easier for others to find Hubwonk if you offer a five-star rating or a favorable review. We’re grateful if you share Hubwonk with friends. If you’d like to offer me suggestions about future episode topics, you’re welcome to email me at hubwonk at pioneerinstitute.org. Please join me next week for a new episode of Hubwonk.

Recent Episodes

Precision Law Enforcement: Can Gunfire Detection Technology Serve and Protect Everyone?

Joe Selvaggi talks with SoundThinking's Senior Vice President Tom Chittum about gunfire location technology promises and pitfalls when deployed by law enforcement in high-crime communities.

Examining Diversity’s Dividends: Can Studies Survive Contact with Peer Review

Joe Selvaggi talks with business data scientist Dr. Jeremiah Green about his peer review work examining consulting firm McKinsey’s studies on the measurable financial benefits of diversity in corporate executive leadership.

Promoting Policy Probity: Confessions of Hubwonk’s Humble Host at 200

Hubwonk's Joe Selvaggi marks episode 200 with a solo podcast that offers some backstory of his journey to becoming a host and offers some insights learned from more than 4 years of interviews.

Losing Local Labor: Retaining Workers Remains a Massachusetts Challenge

Joe Selvaggi talks with Pioneer Institute's Research Associate Aidan Enright about Pioneer's annual report on the Massachusetts labor force and discuss which trends could portend trouble for the state’s future.