CommonWealth Magazine

FOR MICHELLE WU, when it comes to making room amid his daring plans for the often more prosaic day-to-day life of city government, it’s time to make the donuts. When it is his first episode on GBH radio’s “Ask the Mayor”, Wu decided to bring them.

So, with an offer of Twin Donuts nearby, the newly elected Mayor of Boston arrived at the resort’s Brighton Studios for an hour of questions and friendly banter with hosts Jim Braude and Margery Eagan.

Wu said she hopes for a thorough, but swift, search in the New Year for a new police commissioner. She seems determined to continue her practice of going to town hall on the T, and she has parried questions about her predecessor, Marty Walsh, with a few laughs and an admission that she hasn’t seen any of the four and a. half-hour documentary on the city government during his reign.

This may have been Wu’s first appearance on the regular monthly show of the Braude and Eagan show, but she seemed completely at ease with the session after 14 months of campaigning in which she responded. to questions on all aspects of municipal government and more.

Wu, who served eight years on city council before his election earlier this month, seemed far more energetic than intimidated by his new role a week after taking the oath.

“I’m so humble, so excited, and some days I just can’t believe it – the job we have to do,” she said. “And all the issues we’ve been talking about for a decade now, then 14 months on the campaign trail, we have a chance to roll up our sleeves and do it.”

Wu said the process of hiring a permanent police commissioner would likely begin in earnest in the new year, with an appointed search committee that will first conduct listening sessions with the community before starting to identify. and interviewing potential candidates.

“I very much hope that public engagement leads this process,” she said. “What should we be looking for to begin with? What values, parameters, qualifications and skill sets should really guide research? Wu said he wanted to see a “full but rapid search” over a period of several months.

Wu had criticized the police department’s release of only limited information about former officer Patrick Rose, former head of the city’s largest police union, who remained in the police force for two decades after a internal affairs report concluded that he probably sexually assaulted a minor. She said she hopes to see more information about the case released once the city’s new Police Accountability and Transparency Office is fully operational.

But “it can’t be fair on a case-by-case basis when something is rising in media attention,” she said. There has to be “a cultural shift to be open to the public.”

She reportedly did not set a specific timeframe, but said her administration would “move shortly” to pursue her goal of re-establishing some form of rent control in Boston. Such a system would require state approval, and Governor Charlie Baker is decidedly cold about it.

Wu said the topic came up in a meeting she had last week with Baker and shared with her, as he did publicly, his negative reaction to what Wu called “the old style of rent control” that was banned by a statewide ballot. question in 1994. “It doesn’t have to look like it was in the past,” Wu said, adding that today’s approach is very different in places across the country that have put implement some version of rent regulation.

Braude joked that the donuts she brought could be considered a bribe and asked what she was looking for in return.

“Sweet and kind questions,” Wu said.

His hosts were usually obligated, but Braude insisted on his stance during the campaign for Boston to adopt New York City’s policy of requiring proof of vaccination to go to restaurants, concerts, or other places. public places, rather than leaving such a burden. on individual establishments.

“Are you going to do it, and if so, when are you going to do it?” Braude asked.

Wu danced around the question. “We are monitoring the data very closely,” Wu said, stressing that “the way to avoid a shutdown is for everyone to get vaccinated.”

When Braude again asked if a vaccination warrant for restaurants and other public places was coming, Wu said, “Nothing to announce today.”

Wu said she plans to continue using the Orange Line to City Hall, and she encouraged passengers who spot her on the T to share their thoughts or ask her questions.

While elected officials often seek the path of least resistance or friction when answering a question, Wu responded to one with a response that clearly indicated his intention not to continue as usual when he did. is about developmental issues. The question, from a listener identified only as “Boston blue collar,” said construction workers in Boston had stable income and support under Marty Walsh and asked if they “would have similar support from the from Mayor Michelle Wu ”.

“There is a lot of work that we need to do in Boston, and therefore absolutely,” said Wu, who suggested there would be a lot of construction going on and praised the contribution of construction workers to the economy. dynamic of the city. “I want us to make sure we’re building in a genuinely sustainable way,” she said. “The way our city headed, the surest way to slow down development and construction in some ways was to keep doing what we were doing, which is to turn around in it. which concerns the impacts of climate change. and not to really tie affordability and access to transportation to all the decisions we make.

While demonstrating the requisite degree of humility that politicians often share when asked about whether to occupy positions of power, Wu displayed well-deserved bravado when Eagan asked how the mayor 36-year-old reacted to those who might say, “You are just too young and too feminine to run this big city.

“I’m glad about it, because I’m sitting in the seat now,” Wu said wryly. She then spoke more seriously about the obstacles that befall Boston in different industries with women and others who have historically been marginalized by taking on leadership roles.

When asked if she had spoken to Walsh, Wu, who apparently did not invite the former mayor to be sworn in, said they were together last weekend preparing boxes in a Mattapan pantry.

“Did you ask him who he voted for?” asked Braude.

“I didn’t,” Wu said.

“We know who her mother voted for,” Braude said, referring to Mary Walsh’s public support for Wu’s opponent, Annissa Essaibi George.

When the conversation turned to the frustrations people can feel with business licenses and other day-to-day functions of city government, Braude asked Wu if she had seen “City Hall,” the long look at the government of the city of Boston under Walsh by famous documentary filmmaker Frederick Wiseman.

“I’m sorry to say I haven’t even watched for a minute yet,” Wu said. She added that she had had 10 years to experience municipal government bureaucracy closely. “And I heard we weren’t even there,” she added of her apparent absence from the four-and-a-half-hour movie.

Meet the author

Editor-in-chief, Commonwealth

On Michael jonas

Michael Jonas has worked in journalism in Massachusetts since the early 1980s. Prior to joining the CommonWealth team in early 2001, he was an editor for the magazine for two years. His cover story in the Fall 1999 issue of CommonWealth on Boston Youth Outreach Workers was shortlisted for a National Crime and Delinquency Council PASS (Prevention for a Safer Society) award.

Michael made his journalism debut at Dorchester Community News, a community newspaper serving Boston’s largest neighborhood, where he covered a range of urban issues. Since the late 1980s, he has been a regular contributor to the Boston Globe. For 15 years he wrote a weekly column on local politics for the City Weekly section of the Boston Sunday Globe.

Michael has also worked in broadcast journalism. In 1989 he was co-producer of “The AIDS Quarterly”, a national PBS series produced by WGBH-TV in Boston, and in the early 1990s he worked as a producer for “Our Times”, a weekly magazine on WHDH- TV (Ch. 7) in Boston.

Michael lives in Dorchester with his wife and their two daughters.

On Michael jonas

Michael Jonas has worked in Massachusetts journalism since the early 1980s. Prior to joining the CommonWealth team in early 2001, he was an editor for the magazine for two years. Her cover story in the Fall 1999 issue of CommonWealth on Boston Youth outreach workers was shortlisted for a National Crime and Delinquency Council PASS (Prevention for a Safer Society) award.

Michael made his journalism debut at Dorchester Community News, a community newspaper serving Boston’s largest neighborhood, where he covered a range of urban issues. Since the late 1980s, he has been a regular contributor to the Boston Globe. For 15 years he wrote a weekly column on local politics for the City Weekly section of the Boston Sunday Globe.

Michael has also worked in broadcast journalism. In 1989 he was co-producer of “The AIDS Quarterly”, a national PBS series produced by WGBH-TV in Boston, and in the early 1990s he worked as a producer for “Our Times”, a weekly magazine on WHDH- TV (Ch. 7) in Boston.

Michael lives in Dorchester with his wife and their two daughters.

Wu said she had planned a busy Thanksgiving, with “six or eight turkey events,” including stops at the Pine Street Inn and St. Francis House. She said she would also spend time with her in-laws and with her mother.

“Hopefully I can breathe a bit in between just to relax on the couch and watch a bit of Netflix,” she said. “Maybe I’ll watch ‘City Hall’. “

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