Candidates for Council-at-Large Speak at Rosie's Place Forum

Beatrice Bell
Spare Change News

On October 6th, 2011 the ladies at Rosie’s Place met the candidates for city council.

Will Dorcena is running to be a Council-at-Large member and he hopes to work at Boston City Hall to help people in the different Boston communities. He wants his daughter to have a better life than he did when he was a kid.

A guest at the forum asked Will, “What is the job situation really like?” Will replied to her, “You see all these construction jobs all over the city and you look to see if anybody from the neighborhoods are working there and all you see is license plates from New Hampshire, Rhode Island, Maine, Connecticut and New Jersey. You don’t see anybody from Massachusetts. Why? Because they can’t get the job due to construction jobs being union jobs. If you’re not part of a union then you’re not going to get the job.”

After Will was Michael Flaherty. A guest asked Michael about jobs and Michael responded, “We have the Boston Residency Job Policy; it’s for construction projects. So for construction projects, there’s a requirement [that] you have to put to work so many people from the neighborhoods of Boston; so many women and so many people of color. Right now, it’s on the books but it never gets enforced. So you drive by a pretty big construction site, as I do regularly, and you see license plates from Rhode Island, New Hampshire, Vermont, Connecticut and Maine. I have nothing against those people, but those are jobs that should be going to people from Roxbury, Dorchester, South Boston, Charlestown and all the neighborhoods of Boston.”

On October 12th, the forum continued. I asked all the candidates the same question, so that I could gage whether or not I want to vote for any of them on November 8th when the City Council elections happen. I wanted to hear the candidates’ views on Occupy Boston. These are their responses.

While candidate Steven J. Murphy was speaking, I kept thinking that he was Michael Flaherty, because they sound so much alike on the issues. When I asked him, “What’s your viewpoint about what’s going on with Occupy Boston?” Steven replied, “I’m very sympathetic to the cause. My viewpoint is this; I’m the kind of person who grew up on the streets of Boston and nobody ever handed me anything. I’ve scraped for everything I got and I’ve lived paycheck to paycheck. I’ve seen big oil, Exxon Mobile and these other companies, really rape our economy and they got bailed out at one point. Big banks got bailed out and then they paid themselves bonuses with the public funds. It’s the little guy that always takes it on the chin all the time, whether it’s Wall Street playing games to manipulate the economy or the oil companies raising the price of gas to $4.00 a gallon. They almost put Chrysler and General Motors out of business because of doing that.

“I think there’s a lot to be said for a system that allows that; and not continuing in its present form. Because of that, I’m very sympathetic to the people who are down there on the Greenway, expressing their dismay at corporate greed and corruption at the highest levels of finance.”

Candidate Felix Arroyo was next and he mainly talked about LGBT issues, because that’s what people wanted to talk about, even though it started a mini war in Rosie’s Place. Because he spoke a lot about LGBT issues, I said, “I want to know two things; 1. What is your viewpoint on Occupy Boston and, 2. Why don’t we have any transgender specific shelters set in Boston to meet their needs?”

Felix’s response was, “I just don’t know the answer to [question] number two; I’m going to say hopefully she knows the answer to that rather than I do [he was referring to a transgender person in the back of the room]. My understanding is there are at least two shelters that are open to LGBT groups. I don’t know. I’ll have to look into it. I think there should be more than just two shelters. They should all be open to LGBT and I’m not sure why they are not. As for Occupy Boston, I am sympathetic 1000 percent to the idea that those of us in the working class have no opportunity to experience what the smaller percentage of the world has. That’s not the America I grew up in when I was in school and that’s not the America that I want to live in. I love my country but I want to live in a country that’s fairer.”

Last to appear after Felix was Sheneal Parker. She gave her normal speech about why she wants to be a city councilor and she talked about her family. What surprised us, though, was the level of Sheneal’s knowledge about things which she hadn’t spoken of the first time that we’d met her. When I asked her, “What do you think about what Occupy Boston is doing?” she responded with, “I’m in full support of what they are doing and what they are trying to do. I went down there yesterday (10/11/2011) to learn about them and for a few photo opportunities with some of the people. I think it’s a good cause that they are fighting for. I am behind them 100 percent. I think that it’s a good idea to fight against the greedy corporations and to tell them that we don’t like what you are doing and we’re going to call you on your greedy ways until you change your ways.

“It’s not right that 99 percent of everybody in the USA is poor or close to it and 1 percent of everybody else is rich and they are controlling everything. They control food, housing, gas, electricity, jobs, money, Social Security, the banks, the schools and the government, while the 99 percent of the population have none of the same opportunities. America was not built on the premise of the 1 percent being rich and the 99 percent being poor. Our forefathers fought for fairness and equality amongst all classes of people. Occupy Boston has a good idea in fighting to get what is rightfully ours. They’re not just fighting corporate greed and they’re not just fighting to end ruthless financial institutional tactics which lead to foreclosures on our homes. They are fighting to end homelessness, and they are fighting for fairness and equality amongst that 99 percent of the people who have nothing or close to nothing. They don’t have equal opportunities for education, jobs, food, housing, medical care or anything else which we all need. I fully support Occupy Boston and their efforts.”

Remember, people, November 8, 2011 is the day you vote for city council. So get out there and make your voice heard in your community. Vote for somebody that you like. You get four choices for Council-at-Large. Your voice is important.

BEATRICE BELL is a Spare Change New writer and vendor. She recently found housing.

Beatrice Bell is a vendor and a writer for Spare Change News.

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