Editorial: Mayoral power

November 8, 2013
By

The first new mayor in a generation is a shake-up that offers a good chance for Bostonians to alter mayoral power as well—both to increase it and to spread its wealth. Some key ideas:

  • Mayoral term limits. This race clearly was good for the City and good for the candidates, who could take no one for granted and had to evolve. Boston should have a wide-open mayoral race every eight years, not every 20.
  • Form a charter commission. Most cities convene a commission to review their form of government every several years. Even New York City did it recently. Boston hasn’t done it in over a half-century. It’s beyond time, and more power for the City Council should be a major consideration.
  • “Home rule” reform. Misleadingly named, “home rule” means that the City of Boston can’t do many things, including create its own taxes or change the BRA, without state legislature approval. In most other states, “home rule” means the opposite, granting local freedom of action. The Boston mayor deserves more local power. As a current state rep., Marty Walsh could be the ideal home rule warrior.

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