Using the bully pulpit - Eileen McNamara, Globe Columnist
Calling the police to stifle political expression was an odd way for the Boston City Council to mark the upcoming holiday celebrating American democracy.
Accusing a neophyte city councilor of "grandstanding" for bringing young people into a political process they are usually criticized for shunning was a curious way to commemorate the 330th anniversary of American independence.... (read more)
Op-Ed submitted by Councilor Yoon
The City of Boston is at a crossroads with regard to problem of violent crime among our youth. The police department is undergoing a major shakeup. The patience of advocates, activists, and community leaders is wearing thin. Public confidence is being eroded with the news of each new shooting. And in the background, budget hearings continue at the City Council in an atmosphere of scarcity and tightfistedness... (read more)
A nickel for safety - Brian McGrory Globe Columnist
Maybe there's been a better outcome from a trip to a men's room at Fenway Park, but if that's true I don't know about it. So I'll stick with the facts.
A couple of weeks ago, close readers may recall, I came upon a recruiting poster for the Scottsdale Police Department in a Fenway bathroom. No one's ever said my time was valuable, so I called the number.... (read more)
Op-Ed written by Councilor Yoon - Boston Herald, May 24, 2007
Budget season is the time when the City of Boston puts its money where its mouth is. You can tell a lot about a city by looking at its funding decisions. Is it filling potholes? Building schools? Putting police officers on the street? Or is it leaving money on the table and squandering taxpayers' trust? With property taxes straining family budgets and violent crime a pressing concern, Boston's needs are clear. That's why we can't afford to waste any money, and why I am very concerned about a proposed project that could represent a potential loss of revenue for our city... (read more)
Transparency in City Government
Good government requires regular and open dialogue with residents and taxpayers. The ability of residents to meaningfully participate in decision making is the heart of our democracy, and to do so, residents must be able to see how their local government functions and be able to participate in the decision making that affects their lives.
These principals have been the hallmark of Sam’s life in public service. To that end, Sam has taken the most important function of the City Council – passing the City’s budget – directly to the people. First, he held a series of town hall meetings in neighborhoods around the city to inform residents about the city’s income and expenses and to solicit feedback from residents about their priorities. This year, Sam developed a series on online surveys to which thousands of residents responded to weigh in on their spending priorities for the city. Residents are now more informed about the city’s budget process and Sam was able to use the feedback to advocate for services and programming that reflect the people of Boston’s priorities.
Additionally, Sam continually looks for ways to improve delivery and accountability for basic city services. Proposing text message, e-mail and phone alerts to remind residents of street cleaning days, snow emergencies and other important city services, Sam has continued his quest to bring new technologies to city government. Such as 311, a service that gives residents direct access to city departments and Activities Based Budgeting to Boston, a budgeting technique that allows a city to account for every penny of the tax payer’s hard earned money.
Public Safety & Violence Prevention
Raising his family in the Fields Corner neighborhood of Dorchester, Sam is deeply concerned by the violence in our city and committed to comprehensive solutions. Sam has proposed legislation to stop the flow of illegal guns on our streets; secured additional funds to provide opportunities, jobs and programming for young people; and worked directly with police, community members and young people to ensure good communication and effective community policing.
Combating the challenge of urban violence takes leadership and resources. That is why Sam proposed a Nickel for Public Safety – for every $10 spent in the City of Boston, 5 cents would go to a special fund to support a comprehensive public safety response in the City of Boston. As much as $35.5 million annually would be raised to fund law enforcement, community based violence prevention programs, and prosecution.
Boston is an expensive city to live in and the demand for housing has outpaced affordable options. As Chair of the Housing Committee and with an extensive background in affordable housing development, Sam is leading the charge to ensure that people of every means can live and raise a family in Boston.
Throughout his term, Sam has brought housing advocates, renters, owners, academics and developers to the table to work together for creative solutions. From preserving housing for Boston’s lowest income residents, to working with the state legislature on mortgage foreclosure relief, and helping ease the burden of property taxes, Sam is working for decent, safe and affordable housing for all in Boston.
As the proud parent of a child in the Boston Public School system, Sam is deeply invested in the success of our schools for every one of Boston’s children. A school system that meets the needs of all our children is one in which middle class families, low income, immigrant, and families of every ethnic background are engaged and succeeding – that is Sam’s vision. Profoundly concerned about the achievement gap for students of color, Sam is working with his colleagues to address all the components needed to make change.
He has worked to ensure that teachers receive the support they need to do their critical work, that school buildings are in proper physical condition, and that schools are violence-free safe spaces for learning and enrichment. But most importantly, Sam has worked tirelessly to help parents become active partners in their child’s learning and schools. His work helped to secure additional Family and Community Outreach Coordinators, dedicated to engaging parents of all backgrounds in the schools and he is working with community partners to expand working parents’ access to their child’s school.
They say you can judge a society by how well it treats its most vulnerable – and Sam is working hard to ensure that Boston scores high on that scale!
One of Sam’s proudest achievements in his first term was to provide seniors with property tax relief. The proposal was immediately acted on by Mayor Menino who lowered the interest rate used in the City’s Tax Deferment Program. In addition to helping senior homeowners to stay in their homes, Sam has worked hard to ensure that seniors feel safe and secure in their homes by successfully saving the security guards at Boston Housing Authority senior buildings.
As a Korean-American, Sam was raised to honor elders by spending time with them and giving their needs and issues attention. In addition to taking action on policies, Sam has instituted his own senior program visiting senior buildings, lunch sites, and other adult programming to listen and learn.
From reducing our carbon footprint; restoring public trust in our recycling program; updating the municipal vehicle fleet; cleaning up the beaches of South Boston, East Boston, and Dorchester; or updating municipal buildings to be energy efficient, Sam is a vocal supporter of the environmental movement in City Hall. Sam has supported legislation to eliminate plastic bags in the City of Boston, to provide incentives for recycling to reduce idling by tour buses, taxis and news trucks. He has participated in metro planning processes which seek to promote urban planning that focuses on environmental sustainability.
Sam is working the City’s Transportation Department to install more bike racks at City Hall too.
Institutional expansion is a problem affecting every neighborhood in the City. From the universities in Allston/Brighton to MassPort in East Boston, Sam is working to make sure that each community has a voice that is heard.
Responsible development can be an incredible asset to a community. To do this though developers must work with neighborhood residents to find common ground. This fall Sam co-hosted a public forum in East Boston where residents could talk with Massport about the possibilities of a new runway at Logan Airport.
Sam is committed to keeping the city’s public space just that, public. Balancing private development with the creation of more usable open space is crucial. Because the majority of the funding for parks and libraries originates in the City’s yearly budget, Sam takes his fiscal responsibilities very seriously. Working closely with the district councilors, Sam fights to make sure that the money available is used appropriately and efficiently. Last year Sam helped secure funding for a $30,000 feasibility study to bring a library back to Chinatown. During this year’s budget process Sam worked hard and supported funding for renovations to the Jamaica Plain branch library.
(TOP OF PAGE)