Op-Ed: Small businesses belong on the mayoral agenda

August 16, 2013
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By Betsy Cowan, Richard Rouse and Gerald Robbins/Special to the Gazette

Small businesses form the backbone of each unique neighborhood of Boston, investing in the City through taxes, local purchasing and local hiring. In addition, small businesses add vitality to the neighborhoods by attracting customers, beautifying their storefronts and improving the public safety and well-being of residents.

The My Main Street, My Boston Coalition, representing several Main Street organizations across the City of Boston, will host a mayoral candidates forum on Mon., Aug. 19 at 6:30 p.m. at the historic Strand Theatre at 543 Columbia Road in Dorchester. Given the key role that small businesses play in Boston’s neighborhoods, this forum, to be focused on issues impacting small businesses, will give Boston voters critical insight into the positions of each of the 12 candidates.

Questions, developed with input from small business owners across the City, will focus on the candidates’ opinions and proposals related to the permitting and licensing process for small businesses; generation of capital for local businesses; streetscape infrastructure in each neighborhood; development planning processes; efficiencies of City government; neighborhood public safety; and much more. A more detailed questionnaire has been sent to the candidates, and written responses will be posted on the My Main Street, My Boston Coalition website at mymainstreetmyboston.org.

All 12 candidates have confirmed their attendance and we are pleased to announce that Callie Crossley, a prominent local journalist and host of WGBH’s “Under the Radar,” will be moderating the panel.  Given her expertise and nature of the questions, the evening is sure to  provide attendees with a firm understanding of the candidates’ ideas to foster the health of small business and neighborhoods.

Given the importance of this race and the issues at stake, we strongly urge all residents of Roxbury, Jamaica Plain, Mission Hill and all of Boston to attend this Forum and to encourage others to do the same. Multilingual interpretation services will be provided. More information about the forum as well as answers to candidates’ questions can be found at mymainstreetmyboston.org.

Betsy Cowan is the executive director of Egleston Square Main Street. Richard Rouse is the executive director of Mission Hill Main Streets. Gerald Robbins is the executive director of Hyde Jackson Square Main Street.