Editorial: Congratulations to Walsh

November 8, 2013
By

We congratulate Marty Walsh on his hard-earned victory in the Boston mayoral race. We eagerly await his administration and its promise of a City government that is more transparent, more efficient, more inclusive and more focused on equity—and just as positive about the future.

We appreciated his extensive outreach in Jamaica Plain and the support he won from such respected locals as City Councilor Felix Arroyo and state Rep. Liz Malia.

We also remind residents that an election is just the first step. Next, they must keep the pressure on to get those changes.

Many in JP are ready for fewer bureaucratic nightmares: BPS parents, permit-seeking business owners, anyone dealing with the overly powerful Boston Redevelopment Authority.

And Walsh plainly was chosen to not so much reform the City as to reorient it from a narrow definition of “progress,” one that favors gentrification over opportunity, corporate deals over grassroots planning. JP needs that reorientation ASAP.

A striking thing about Walsh is how much he resembles the people today’s Boston is evicting or pricing out: a working-class, Boston-accented son of immigrants. Landlords kicked out scores of folks like that from JP apartments during the condo conversion craze a decade ago.

Walsh is no low-income tenant, but he has a personal understanding of such struggles. At the same time, Walsh is pro-development, as are his allies in the building trades.

The Walsh honeymoon may end over myriad issues: the failed old chestnuts in his affordable housing plan, his vague charter school stance, the murky union money that funded his campaign, the centralization of planning authority in his reformed BRA.

But the key point is that Walsh has pledged open debates, and to show up in person for more of them. And he demonstrated impressive coalition-building and listening skills in winning a broad-based mayoral victory.

“You can see how someone will govern based on how they campaign,” Arroyo told the Gazette earlier this year. If that is so, then JP and Boston will be in good hands with Mayor Walsh.