While both mayoral candidates were scheduled to make an appearance there four weeks ahead of the Nov. 2 general election, only City Councilor Michelle Wu was on hand for the Charlestown Neighborhood Council’s Tuesday, Oct. 5, meeting at the Knights of Columbus Hall.
“Boston is a place that has made everything I cherish in my life possible,” said Wu, a Roslindale resident who has now served on the City Council for eight years, and in September 0f 2020, became the first candidate to announce her bid for mayor of Boston..
Councilor Wu experienced firsthand “how big the gaps can be” in receiving assistance, she said, when she was just a college student in her early 20s and her mother began experiencing mental illness. She then had to learn to navigate myriad city services when she became her mother’s caregiver and legal guardian while raising her two younger sisters, who were ages 10 and 16 at the time.
As mayor, Councilor Wu said she would continue to champion the same priorities she always has at City Hall, including fighting for more affordable housing, development that makes senses, and Boston Public Schools with enough seats for students.
During her tenure on the City Council, Wu has made a point of visiting every public high school citywide, including Charlestown High, which, she said, had been plagued by power outages during her stops there.
“Our school buildings are so old and crumbling ,it’s unacceptable,” she said.
Councilor Wu, the mother of two sons, said Boston needs a mother with children in its public school system to lead the city and said as mayor, she would create a “children’s cabinet” comprising a group of guidance councilors who would help students throughout their time in BPS.
On the top of the city’s exam schools, Councilor Wu said a “very quick conversation” over the last few years had led to the change in admissions policy, which “feels like the rug is being pulled from under us.”
Councilor Wu also pointed to the problematic Independent School Entrance Exam (ISEE) used by the city’s three exam schools, which, she said, private schools use and favor those who receive additional prep.
Additionally, Councilor Wu said the city also needs to look at how students admitted to exam schools under this new system have fared, as well as how neighborhoods have been affected by the change.
Another priority for Councilor Wu as mayor would be to create more affordable housing opportunities, she said, including finding creative ways that would allow seniors to stay in their neighborhoods and homes.
In response to questions about public safety and the future of the Boston Police Department, Councilor Wu said, “We need to put more money into public safety and public health and think of them holistically. We’re the oldest, first police force in country and we need to continue leading the way. To me, that means investing more in public health.”
Moreover, Boston needs to choose a new police commissioner who will lead the entire city, she said.
Regarding development in the city, Councilor Wu said the Boston Planning & Development Agency should be separated to tackle planning and development individually while better addressing climate change and other pressing issues now facing the city.
Councilor Annissa Essaibi George was also scheduled to appear at the CNC meeting, but couldn’t make it due to a scheduling conflict. A representative from her office was in attendance, however, who shared Councilor Essaibi George’s cell phone number with those in attendance and encouraged them to attend a Charlestown Meet and Greet with Annissa on Tuesday, Oct. 12, from 5:30 to 7 p.m. at the Knights of Columbus Hall.
CNC Chair Tom Cunha said the group would also forward Essaibi George a list of the same questions that Neighborhood Council members posed to Wu for her responses.
*Due to the Nov. 2 General Election, the next CNC meeting will take place on Thursday, Nov. 4, at 7 p.m. at Knights of Columbus Hall.
*For the upcoming CNC precinct elections, signatures are due Nov. 5, while the election is scheduled for Nov. 20.
*A committee led by Charlestown resident Don Haska to create a “Battlefield District for all Charlestown Heights,” under numerous Massachusetts Historic Preservation laws, will meet on Sunday, Oct. 24, at 2 p.m. at American Legion Hall.