Tuesday, April 28, 2009
Thursday, April 9, 2009
Wednesday, April 8, 2009
Tuesday, April 7, 2009
Monday, March 30, 2009
Just some quick additions to what Maya posted about the mayor's meeting:
-It was noted that at one point, after arguing about why we wouldn't take a stance on the wage freeze, the mayor said "You've lost me on this one," and rolled his eyes. More awesome behavior on his part.
-His opinion on the wage freeze was that it is the only immediate resolution to our problems. We discussed in the coalition, however, that this would only be one year taken care of.
-He signed our petition without reading it.
-We got support from Jennifer, his liaison with the Boston chapter of the legislation.
-keep in touch with Jennifer
-have individual meetings with the legislators (which are more effective), but then also have a meeting with as many as possible together in the same room.
These would include
- "How do you feel about these taxes, and would you vote to give Boston the opportunity to set its own taxes?
- some kind of contract?
- the legislators having leadership/mobilization (spread our ideas to their suburban legislator pals; many rural areas in the state don't have too many restaurants or people coming in, so these taxes wouldn't be a help OR a hindrance to them. Therefore, they need to be made aware of what a substantial difference this could mean for Boston.)
- we need to go public. For example, if it seems as though they are just saying what we want to hear and don't really plan on following through, we say "Great! We are so excited to tell our 10,000+ contacts that you support us fully!" (Hyde Square Task Force and Sociedad Latina alone probably make up 10,000)
-The coalition was invited to have another meeting with the mayor in 4 weeks. (Is anyone opposed to this idea? I think it would become more of a 'keeping him updated' sort of thing, rather than a proposal, considering how the last meeting went)
- Jennifer from the mayor's office wrote us and mentioned there is a hearing on the meals tax on April 7th. We have determined it won't be at least until a week later that they vote, but it's likely it will be MUCH later than even that. As a result, we decided we are going to hold off on planning the rally until the coalition agrees on the main message aim of the rally. We will NOT hold off on planning with the coalition, but it seems SAFE will have a bit more time than we thought to work on the details.
Anyway, that's it for now. I will let people know if there are any email updates sent out this week!
Saturday, March 28, 2009
I was invited by the Boston Student Advisory Council, one of our allies in the coalition, to go to this town hall meeting broadcast on TV at the Kennedy Library on Thursday. Since the State is so important in the process now, we had a lot of questions to ask him. The main ones were:
-You distributed $168 million from the stimulus package to suburban schools instead of needy areas like Boston. Why, and will you commit to helping Boston close its education deficit?
-We have a platform asking for local options taxes for Boston to close the education budget deficit. Do you support them, and if so, what will you do to help get them passed?
-What do you think about Boston gaining home rule? (the ability to make its own taxes, like most other major cities do)
We were only able to ask the first one during the discussion... Patrick said "people act like the government just wrote me a big check and I can spend it how I want, but there are a lot of restrictions." When asked about the formula used to distribute the money, he admitted it was flawed, but said there was other money coming to Boston through Title I. A retired superintendent of a small school district in Southern Mass was sitting near us, and said Title I can't be used to close deficits or hire teachers, though.
After the meeting, we pushed our way up to Patrick and asked him about Title I. He said it COULD be used to close the deficit, and Boston could get "up to 60 million." We're not sure if this is true, but it's probably not; the former superintendent we talked to was actually in the education system, and has no political points to gain by pushing one agenda. We need to do research on this!
We also asked Patrick about local option taxes, and he said he supported them, but glossed over what he'd do to support them. We got hustled off before we could ask about home rule, and his staff wouldn't let him sign our petition right then.
So, it was mixed... BUT we got the contact info of several people in the education department and the governor's staff, so we can set up a meeting with him personally to find out what we don't already know. We'll discuss more tomorrow!