Hey all you good citizens of South Boston! On Tuesday, November 8, a final election will take place for Boston City Council District 2. There are two people running for this seat. We thought we’d give you the lowdown on the candidates. Hopefully, you will have enough information to help with your election decision. The most important thing is that you get out there and vote. Be informed. Get involved.
I’ve worked in our local schools for 35 years, first as a teacher and later as a principal. I led a high-profile turnaround as principal of the Baldwin School in Brighton, improving one of Boston’s lowest-performing schools into a nationally recognized model for school reform. I went on to head the Josiah Quincy Elementary School (in Chinatown) for 10 years. During my tenure, the school was named one of the top schools in Massachusetts. I was also a finalist for Massachusetts Principal of the Year.
Beyond the school house doors, I have been a leader in our communities for decades, bringing people together and helping new residents, immigrants, young people, seniors, and working families have a voice in local government. I organized the Chinese Parents Association to help parents take a more active role in their children’s education, fought to help local unemployed garment workers get back to work, and collaborated with the Boston Foundation to address persistent poverty in Boston. I also am the founder and longtime chair of the Chinese Progressive Association, which has fought for worker’s rights in labor struggles, increases in minimum wage, and affordable housing for low and middle income families.
I am a first generation immigrant and arrived in Boston at age 11 where I grew up in Grove Hall. My parents worked in the garment and restaurant industries. After hard work in the Boston Public Schools I earned a scholarship to Brandeis University — becoming the first in my family to attend college. Later, I earned a Master’s Degree in Education from Harvard University.
Favorite restaurant/bar in Southie?
I really like Cranberry Cafe for lunch, they’ve got great coffee, sandwiches and salads. I’m also a big fan of brunch at Amrheins and am anxious to try Wolfie’s on L Street which opened recently — I love trying new restaurants.
Why should people vote for you?
I believe that right now, in our district and city we need proactive leadership rather reactive leadership.
I don’t think having our councilors sit in an office and wait for constituents to call with problems is the answer to improving our city, nor is it the way I have led in our communities and turned around schools as a principal in our school system. My custodians used to have a joke that if you want to hide from Ms. Lee, go sit in her office, because she’s never there. I’m always out and about, talking with people about the issues that concern them before they become a problem and getting everyone’s input on things before decisions are made. People want to be involved in the decisions that effect their block, their community, and their families – and our city government needs to do a better job of being transparent and involving everyone in the decision making process.
There is certainly much to be said for a councilor’s office fielding constituent calls and reacting to problems, but I believe that we can’t just wait for people to come to us. I don’t think that is being accessible in every way possible. I’ve spent decades increasing civic participation in my community and the essential way that you do that is by engaging people, and showing them that you value their input. Accessibility isn’t one-size-fits-all, you have to get information to people in the medium that they prefer, whether that means print media, social media, email, or by maintaining a presence in community meetings, our local schools, and in living rooms across the district.
That’s the type of leadership that I’ve provided in our school system and our communities for over 35 years, and that’s the type of City Councilor I will be. I hope you’ll go to the polls and vote for me on Tuesday September, 27th.
Bill Linehan is a life-long resident of South Boston elected to the Boston City Council in May of 2007. For the past twenty years, Bill has been working to improve the quality of life for Boston residents. Prior to his election, Linehan had served as the Director of Operations for the City of Boston’s Parks Dept. and most recently as the Special Assistant to the Chief Operating Officer of the City of Boston for the past six years. The oldest of eight children, Bill has been active in politics since his teenage years and graduated magna cum laude from the University of Massachusetts at Boston. He and his wife Judy have four children and five grandchildren.
For 4 years Bill Linehan has been standing up for District 2, during tough economic times. District 2 is doing better than most …here is why:
Economic Development- Jobs & Investment
- More jobs – Over 2000 new construction jobs in 2010/2011 alone
- New growth tax revenues $120 million
- $100 million in Public housing infrastructure in the past two years
- Fewest Foreclosures in the City of Boston
- More investment over $700 Million (2010/2011)
- Better Zoning – First Street Zoning Initiative
- More Affordable Housing #
- Public Safety – Fortified and Expanded
- 15 New police officers in District 2
- Crime is down 5%SE/12%SB/19%Chinatown/Downtown 2010 vs 2011
- Worked to build Community Policing partnerships
- Voted for Additional Police Classes
- Supports Legislation to limit hand guns
- City Services – Preserved and Improved
- Tynan Community Center
- Branch Libraries stay open
- Clap School remains open as an Innovation School
- Capital Investment $22 Million FY 2010/2015
- Public Park improvements – Ringgold, Childe Hasim, Union Park
- Expanded Street Cleaning
- Green Initiatives – Improving our Neighborhood
- Single stream recycling with new wheeled carts/Advocated for public space recycling
- Berkeley Street Community Gardens preserved with improvements
- Pushed for Energy Efficiencies in All Public building
- Josiah Quincy School living wall/vertical garden
Love all the restaurants and all the new ones yet to come
Shamrock with the guys, Franklin Southie with the gals
Favorite song to perform? (Bill plays the guitar and sings in a band called the Linehan Brothers)
Van Morrison’s Moondance
Why should people vote for you?
I’ve committed a significant part of my life to making Southie and Boston a better place. It continues to get better, and I want to continue to help. During the past 4 years as your City Councilor, this City Council district has done extraordinarily well. Property values remained solid, more jobs have been created than any other section of the City and the investment both public and private has been significant. 74,000 people live in District Two, when only 63,000 live here 10 years ago. We have made progress while retaining a culture of a friendly and open neighborhood and we will continue to do so. I strive to leverage my experience and relationships for the betterment of all. I think that is what an elected officials should do. I have and will stand up for what is fair and good. Participate in your community, vote on September 27th and please for me as your City Councilor.