“If we truly want better outcomes, we need to elect people who are committed to being accountable to a grassroots movement”
The Somerville municipal election on November 2 is a potentially transformational moment for our city. We have the first open mayoral race in 18 years and an opportunity to elect six new members to the city council. Without a doubt, all of the candidates are sincerely dedicated to the betterment of our city. And many have extensive experience in government or a history of involvement in community affairs.
And all call themselves (except longshot write-in candidate William “Billy” Tauro) “progressive.” Unfortunately in Somerville it’s not a very useful designation. We have already had a “progressive” mayor and a “progressive” majority on the city council. Yet, what’s rapidly emerging in Somerville is definitely not the community that most residents want. There is less diversity. Less affordable housing, less neighborhood stability. More traffic. More low wage, no benefit jobs. More luxury condos.
When I think about electing someone for Mayor or City Council, I’m looking for candidates like Matt McLaughlin, JT Scott, Ben Ewen-Campen and Jesse Clingan who have rejected contributions from real estate developers and consistently voted for more affordable housing and for good jobs. More importantly, all four of these councillors have been part of a movement in Somerville to take on the landlords, real estate developers, bankers, and corporate special interests who wield enormous power in Somerville.
We need to add elected officials — and especially a new mayor — who will work with them to do the same. Who will be part of a movement; who recognize that as elected officials they can’t do it alone.
Make no mistake, our city council has already made some important strides. Yet too often, we are settling for the same deal-cutting and one-sided compromises on urban development, jobs, and housing.
Think about what Federal Reality Investment Trust got away with in Assembly Square. Or, despite great efforts by Union United and the Union Sq. Neighborhood Council, what US2 is doing in Union Square. And the plans for Boynton Yards are more of the same! Meanwhile, the huge bonanza for speculators and investors all along the Green Line extension is continuing unabated. Skyrocketing rents are forcing a record number of longtime residents out.
If we truly want better outcomes, we need to elect people who are committed to being accountable to a grassroots movement that will take on Federal Reality, US2, the big landlords, our largest employers (Tufts, Partners), and greedy real estate speculators.
That is why I support the Our Revolution Somerville candidate slate! They are the candidates of a movement that seeks to address rising economic inequality and systemic racism caused by a rigged economy and a broken political system.
They are committed to building grassroots political power to challenge the city’s entrenched power elite.
Rand Wilson has been a union organizer for more than 40 years. He lives in Somerville, Mass.