SOUNDS GOOD, BUT : MAYOR WALSH MEETS THE ROXBURY COMMUNITY

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^ square toed shoes, no less ; Mayor Walsh met citizens of Roxbury four-square last night.

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Last night Mayor Walsh held a “Monday with Marty” at Roxburty’s Timilty School. Maybe 200 residents attended, most of them already well connected or with an axe to grind. It must have looked impressive to the residents, as well, to see at least 30 City honchos in the room — including Police Commisioner William Evans and School Superintendent John McDonough — and to have Mayor Walsh call upon them to answer key audience questions. It’s part of the new, aggressive interface that Walsh has established as his personal governing style, one that fits his welcoming personality, not to mention his articulate command of most of the standard issues.

Questions were asked of him about the condition of Boston’s schools; about charter school legislation; about licensing; about business development and entrepreneurship; about public safety; about housing — housing and more housing.

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^ School Superintendent John McDonough answering a school question posed to Mayor Walsh

All of these questions Walsh knows well; they’re the bread and butter of his office as they were in last year’s mayoral campaign Forums. It wasn’t surprising to hear him give detailed responses to the questions, candid ones : if Walsh felt that something reaqursted — such as more middle class bhousing — he said so. He is a man comfortable of self and with his views : he spoke of wnating to renovate every Boston school building, a feature of his Mayoral campaign now writ large as the building trades guy gets set to do a lot of building.

No one had any doubty, i think, that candidate Walsh meant it when he voiced his opposition to the availability of guns in Boston neighborhoods. as mayor it continued. He announced that in just five months, this administration has taken 572 guns — his specific number — off the streets, via buyback (“for which i was criticized,” he noted) and the rest by police work. “that’s 572 guns that won’t claim a life,” Walsh said, with much passion.

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^ Eric Strother asked the mayor his plans for people re-entering after prison

Walsh returned often to his “five months into a new administration” theme. He’s right, of course. No one expects him to have changed the City in this short time. The good will is there. Community conversations like this one sustain it. Mayor Walsh will bring City government to the people. On the net and in person. It’s a good style for him to make a signature of.

Still, at some point the people are going to want something more substantiual than conbersation with city honchos. One wonders — i wonder — whrther or not the rising epectations aroused by Walsh’s Mondays will turn to disillusionment. The pressure Walsh is putting is all on him. It won’t be as easy to make institutional changes to the schools, licensing, public works, housing, and economic opportunity as it has been to do a gun buyback.

—- Mike Freedberg / Here and Sphere

Author: hereandsphere

Here and Sphere is an online journal of news, opinion, reviews, advice, & bits n' pieces of everything else - from HERE to SPHERE...... Co-founded by Michael Freedberg, a long-time Boston Phoenix journalist, and Heather Cornell, a South Coast Massachusetts columnist and editor.

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