Letters to the Editor

Monteiro Running for Council At-Large

Dear Editor,

My name is Carla B. Monteiro and I’m running for Boston City Council At-Large. My story is the story of so many Boston families, one of struggle and rising above it.

My parents emigrated from Cabo Verde in 1979. As the daughter of immigrants, my family, like so many others across Boston, struggled to navigate language barriers in our daily lives. At age 4, my father walked out on us and we were evicted. I was too young to fully understand what was happening, but, in so many ways, that day would form the rest of my journey.

As a 16-year-old, I dreamed of buying a house in Boston and moving my family in to protect all of us from housing insecurity. Eventually, I transformed my dream of owning a home into a reality and at 28 I purchased a triple-decker in Dorchester to provide a home for my family and create a stable foundation for my son, Mesiah.

As a social worker, I know families and our youth are struggling to navigate Boston’s social safety net just as I did.

As one of my many jobs, I am an emergency psychiatric social worker at Boston Children’s Hospital where I provide therapeutic support to our youth. Every weekend, we are flooded with young people who are experiencing symptoms of depression and anxiety and need help. When COVID-19, hit I collaborated with other community leaders, elected officials, and institutions to gather masks, hand sanitizer, and hot food then went door to door across the city delivering them to our elders and those most vulnerable. Many times the people who need support must struggle the most to find resources.

Even before the pandemic hit, the systems meant to meet our basic needs to survive were failing us. I’m running for City Council to use my experience to ensure every Bostonian has what they need to thrive. In this period of healing and recovery, our City Council needs a social worker, one who knows how to put services in place for the people. I know what it takes to help our families and children be successful.

I know that Boston’s families are struggling because I have lived that struggle and see the consequences of the gaps in our social services daily. But the reality is this: We can achieve a Boston where everyone’s basic needs are met if we’re bold enough to imagine it and passionate enough to fight for it. Join our neighborhood by neighborhood movement at CarlaForBoston.com

Carla B. Monteiro

Candidate, Council at-large

Kenzie Bok: I’m Running for Re-Election!

Dear Editor,

Two years ago, I walked into City Hall and put my name on the ballot for the first time. This week, I returned to the Elections Department and filed to run for re-election!

I have never loved doing anything as much as I love representing the people of Mission Hill, Fenway, Back Bay, Beacon Hill, and the West End. It would be my honor to continue representing District 8 on the Boston City Council, so let this be the first of many times this year that I ask for your vote this fall.

If you can help our campaign by pledging to sign my nomination papers, making a donation, or forwarding this email to a friend, I would be so grateful. I will be having a campaign kickoff on Zoom on Friday, April 30, 5:30 – 6:30 p.m.

I’m extremely proud of the work we’ve done together over the past 15 months. We’ve delivered thousands of boxes of food to our neighbors and prevented the MBTA from canceling the E line to Heath St, the Mission Link Bus, or the #55 in Fenway. We secured record affordable homeownership funds in the city budget, launched a city strategy to combat youth homelessness, and passed historic zoning legislation to help ensure fair housing access and housing affordability across all our neighborhoods. We’ve gotten the City to commit to reevaluate large institutional landholdings this year so that the PILOT program can work as intended.

We’ve also put Community Preservation Act dollars to work improving our parks and preserving our architectural treasures. We’ve shown our care for our community landscape at countless virtual public meetings, whether by blocking electronic billboards, saving the garden courtyard at the Prudential, or weighing in on updates to our much-loved playgrounds at Clarendon St and Sheehy Park. We have capital projects committed that will bring quality accessible pathways to the Fens, redesign the last block of the Commonwealth Mall at Kenmore Square, improve safety on Boylston and Blossom Streets, give us a new West End Library, and revitalize the Boston Common.

A draft budget came out this week with some more great wins I’m proud to have advocated for on behalf of our neighborhoods: funds to redesign Terrace St and make Mission Hill safer for pedestrians, money to finally renovate the maintenance building in the Public Garden, and another planner for the understaffed Landmarks Commission. The draft budget also permanently expands some of the departments I fought to grow last year as part of the emergency pandemic response, including food access, language access, and our youth jobs program. I am about to run 35+ hearings on the city budget and incoming federal funds in my role as Ways & Means Chair, so there’s lots of work ahead, but these are good places to start.

Fifteen months, however, is not nearly enough for all we’d like to accomplish. We need to launch a City Conservation Corps; we need to fundamentally improve our tools for historic preservation; we need to take advantage of a federal program that will let us build new public housing units. From supplementing sidewalk snow removal to brick sidewalk repair to revising the traffic signal policy, we still need to do so much more to make Boston a “Vision Zero” city that’s safe for our elders, parents with strollers, bicyclists, and gawking tourists alike.

We also have to make sure that our economy recovers in a way that actually puts independent local businesses in our vacant storefronts and gets Bostonians into well-paying jobs. We learned from the COVID-19 crisis that our hospitals, universities, and the City can coordinate to pursue shared urgent goals; we must revise the way we structure PILOT community benefits to enable that kind of coordinated strategic approach to Boston’s crisis of racial and economic inequity. We should launch a plan to add elementary schools in our area and use federal support to jumpstart major improvements to all our public high schools. And we can pursue the real need for community safety with a pilot of alternative 911 responders for mental health calls.

There’s a lot I could add to this list; I’m energized by the work that lies ahead, because it’s a blueprint to a better city. And I can’t wait to get back to seeing you all in person again as we tackle this list together!

Councilor Kenzie Bok

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