Ben Weber on Why You Should Vote for Him for Boston City Council District 6

Print More

Jamaica Plain resident Ben Weber is one of the three candidates for the District 6 Boston City Council seat.

Ben Weber

The Preliminary Municipal Election is on Tuesday, September 12, and two candidates will advance to the general election on November 7.

Any registered Boston voter can vote at any early voting location. You don’t need an excuse or reason to vote early. Not sure if you’re registered? Find out your voter registration status. The deadline to register to vote is Saturday, September 2. You have until 5 pm to register to vote in-person, and until 11:59 pm to register to vote online. Please click here for the locations and schedule of early voting in Boston.

Please click here to read a Q&A with fellow District 6 candidate William King.

Weber, a workers rights attorney, answered questions from Jamaica Plain News about his candidacy.

Q: Why are you running to be the next District 6 Boston City Councilor?

Weber: I am running to be the next District 6 City Councilor because I believe our city government needs a more collaborative approach to our shared problems. I believe that we have an affordability crisis in housing and that we have to do more to protect tenants and expand homeownership opportunities; that Boston Public Schools schools can do a better job providing a world-class education to all its students; and that we need to invest and improve youth sports and facilities for our kids.

Q: District 6's current city councilor Kendra Lara is running to be re-elected. Could you do the job better than Councilor Lara?:

Weber: As an attorney, I have zealously advocated for the rights of large groups of people and I want everyone in the district to feel like they have a voice in City Hall.  Moreover, many of my cases go on for 10, even 15 years, but in the end, the two sides often come to an agreement where both sides are happy. I believe my strength as a City Councilor will be building bridges and bringing different people and groups together to find a common solution. I understand that there is no magic bullet for most of the problems we face as a city -- they require years of dedicated work, detail-oriented legislation, and active oversight. I am committed to providing all three of these. Additionally, for many of the changes Boston residents want we need state approval. We are not going to get things like rent stabilization and local control of development through if we can't speak with one voice as a city.

Q: If elected, what legislation would propose in your first 100 days in office?:

Weber: One piece of legislation that I would file is to institute compliance units that ensure workers are receiving their full wages on work sites across the city. These units are an effective tool to protect both workers and honest construction companies who are undercut by dishonest employers.

Q: What are the three biggest issues facing District 6? Please provide specific ways you will affect change on these issues.

Education: BPS is under threat of receivership which I believe would be disastrous for the schools. We need to set base levels of service in every school so that kids receive the services that they need. More than that though, I am excited to bring my approach as an attorney to get into the details of how money is being spent, where it is being spent, and how we can ensure every dollar is going to support the education of Boston's kids.

Housing: Housing costs in Boston only seem to become more unaffordable. Since my children were young and just entering BPS about half the families that we knew have left the system because of a combination of high housing costs and poor school performance. We must expand the City Housing Voucher program, which has the added benefit of being available to mixed immigration status families. I support rent stabilization, and to get state approval we need as a city to speak with one voice. I also support the recent IDP changes proposed by Mayor Wu to increase the required amount of affordable units and will be watching closely should the changes go through to see its effect on the total number of homes constructed. Zooming out, we must move toward clear, objective standards in zoning requirements and bring the BPDA under city government. If we have clear standards, it will make development more predictable and more affordable. By bringing the BPDA under city supervision, we will be able to track the money being spent on development and ensure we are not sinking too many resources into developments of things like lab and office space which do not serve to alleviate the housing crisis.

Youth Sports/Parks: Providing space for our children to play and grow is so critical to the City's future. FIFA is coming to Boston in 2026 for the World Cup, and when they came in 1994 they built world-class facilities in the Greater Boston area. I believe we should advocate having a practice field built in Boston for our community. The city needs to take a more active role in maintaining and improving the facilities our kids rely on, such as the floor hockey rink near Fallon Field and the White Stadium track and field.

Q: Do you support the Shattuck Campus redevelopment proposal? Why or why not?

Weber: I support the Shattuck redevelopment proposal because to address the issue of homelessness, we have to provide people with stability. When people have a safe, clean home it makes it easier for them to recover from substance abuse issues, attain and retain a job, and rebuild their lives independently. The Shattuck proposal is an important first step to making that more possible.

I have taken a walking tour of Franklin Park and I have seen the needles, vials, caps, and human waste that no one should have near their home, much less in their park. This problem must be addressed with active leadership from the district councilor to coordinate city services, increased funding from the state, and ensure there is a truly regional approach to the problem of homelessness and substance abuse with sustained investment. Too often supportive housing such as the Shattuck is thrust upon communities of color while wealthier, less-diverse areas outside of Boston bear none of the responsibility. We all must contribute, and I am looking forward to hearing more from the state on how they plan to assist the surrounding communities around Franklin Park and what their larger plans are for a regional plan to address homelessness.

Q: What would you like to see happen with the MBTA Arborway Bus Yard?

Weber: The state promised 8 acres of green space, and our community deserves 8 acres of green space. I understand the city needs a salt shed, but there are other options across Boston.