Mayor-elect Marty Walsh’s victory


first_imgBoston will soon have its first new mayor in 20 years. Longtime state legislator Martin J. Walsh defeated City Councilor John R. Connolly in Tuesday’s election, leveraging the support of labor groups and a significant cross-section of residents throughout the city. He will take office in January.Steven Poftak, the executive director of Harvard Kennedy School’s Rappaport Institute for Greater Boston, talks about Walsh’s victory and what this means for the city of Boston.QUESTION: Are you surprised by the results?POFTAK: These results are not surprising. The race was close and competitive throughout. During the last few weeks, it felt like the momentum was moving toward Walsh. His campaign seemed to be controlling the narrative and they seemed to be attracting large numbers of enthusiastic participants to their events. Plus, he had a significant advantage in spending on his behalf, close to $1 million more than Connolly with outside groups included. More critically, spending on behalf of Walsh was more efficient, spread across the weeks in between the preliminary and the final, not concentrated in the final two weeks.On Election Day, the Walsh ground troops were everywhere and it suggested that this was Walsh’s day.QUESTION: What unique qualities will Martin J. Walsh bring to City Hall?POFTAK: Walsh brings a very personal narrative to the office — son of immigrants, working-class roots, cancer survivor, recovered alcoholic, shooting survivor, union leader, state representative, and, now, mayor. Voters clearly connected with that narrative and found Walsh personally appealing.QUESTION: What are the biggest challenges facing the new mayor?POFTAK: Continuing the trajectory of education reform will be an important challenge for the mayor. There are persistent pockets of underperformance in the Boston Public Schools that need to be addressed. In addition, the district is facing a facilities planning problem, with under-capacity in the lower grades and overcapacity in the upper grades, as well as implementing a new school assignment system. Walsh will get to appoint a new superintendent to grapple with all these issues.Another challenge will be to nurture continued economic growth and innovation, while also promoting that growth across the neighborhoods. Walsh ran on a platform of equity, so I would expect to hear a lot about this.Lastly, Walsh’s policy proposals have a lot of detail and new programs but every mayor grapples with limited revenues, with little statutory power to change that. He will be challenged to find a balance between fiscal stability and developing new programs.QUESTION: How will Walsh govern?POFTAK: Walsh’s public-sector experience has been in the legislative branch, so it will be interesting to see how that transfers over to an executive position. One of his most striking traits is his ability to build bonds across different interest groups, particularly for a white, Irish guy from a historically conservative section of Dorchester. A key to Walsh’s victory was a string of key endorsements from other preliminary election candidates that gave him great credibility across many neighborhoods that were not his original constituency.Walsh also faces the challenge of taking over for a long-serving mayor who has been in charge while the vast majority of city workers were hired. It remains to be seen how aggressive Walsh will be in replacing appointees with his own people.QUESTION: How will Walsh differentiate himself from Mayor [Thomas M.] Menino?POFTAK: Many of Walsh’s major endorsers appear poised to take positions in the new administration where they would be high-profile public figures. This would contrast with the more centralized style of the current mayor.However, I think Walsh will continue to take an active, neighborhood/constituent service-focused mayoralty that has been a signature of Menino. This election did not represent a repudiation of any ideology, but rather a transition in leadership, so I would not expect Walsh to dramatically differentiate himself.last_img read more

COVID-19 relief fund to go towards student financial aid


first_imgFederal funds received by the University for coronavirus relief will be used to aid students whose families are struggling by the loss of a job or another hardship as a result of the pandemic, Notre Dame announced in a press release Wednesday.“Almost one-half (48 percent) of Notre Dame students receive financial assistance in the form of need-based scholarships that do not require repayment,” the press release said. “The median amount per student is $38,000, about three-quarters the cost of tuition to Notre Dame.”One-third of University’s endowment goes toward student financial aid and the savings generated by Notre Dame’s early retirement package also went to student financial aid.Tags: COVID-19, Endowment, financial aid, pandemiclast_img read more

Environmental Coordinating Unit to be converted into a full-fledge government department


first_img Share 135 Views   no discussions Share Tweet Dr. Kenneth Darroux. (file photo)The Ministry of Environment, Fisheries and Natural Resources are discussing plans to soon transform the Environmental Coordinating Unit (E.C.U) into a full-fledge governmental department.Minister for Environment, Fisheries and Natural Resources, Honorable Dr. Kenneth Darroux said that this move is just one of many to address some of the environmental issues affecting the country.The issue of climate change, global warming, air and sea pollution are critical areas that environmentalists around the globe are now battling to control.Dr Darroux says under the GEF Programme in Dominica, the government is hoping that many of the issues can be dealt with speedily under a government department rather than a private entity.“One of the things we are hoping to do under this project, in addition to the new laws, is harmonizing and modernizing these laws is to have the Environmental Coordinating Unit (ECU) converted into a full-fledge government department with government enforcing the laws. Of course, with this we will need new personnel; we will need new training, so even then as the minister I’ve attended a number of international meetings to look at ways to receive scholarships for training for our people in terms of environmental engineers”. The government is hoping that under a government portfolio, the Ministry responsible for environment will be able to collate the existing laws governing the issue of environmental preservation and conservation.“At the ministerial level one of the things we have done at Part two of the GEF Project is that we are currently in the process of harmonizing and also modernizing our environmental legislation. What we have noticed is that legislation dealing with environmental issues, they are scattered throughout various numbers ofgovernments and departments including fisheries, health and forestry among others”. Dr Darroux said that the government has already identified persons who will be contracted to revise the existing laws; some of which are outdated and need to be removed or amended.“So what we have done in the first part of this project has been completed meaning that we’ve compiled all the environmental laws. Currently we found over 100 of them also dating back 100 years. We’ve hired a few environmental personnel to go through this legislation and make the adjustments where necessary, of course that would have to go through the legal affairs for vetting and also through parliament”. He believes that this move will also position Dominica to better maximize the many opportunities for developmental funding and training available by environment agencies in the region and the world.“The Environmental Coordinating Unit, which was established over a decade ago was set up to deal with Dominica’s obligations to international environmental protocol but over the years I think we can appreciate the importance that environment and climate change has taken in everything; in politics, finance etc. We in Dominica we have to position ourselves in order to take advantage of funding and other environmental programs that are available”.The Minister also underscored the work that the Ministry of Environment is doing as it relates to addressing the many issues affecting the environment. The ministry is planning a cleanup campaign to be carried out in rivers across the island. “We are doing a lot in the Ministry of Environment, a lot of what we do is just not being seen. One of the things that I’ve been challenged to do is to try to get the ministry involved in some more visible environmental projects, but as we know, everything costs money and I’ve already sat down with the permanent secretary and the Director of the E.C.U to see how we can seek funding to go on a nationwide cleanup campaign, for example, to clean up our rivers. In addition to the cleanliness of the rivers, one can appreciate it can also be used as a mitigation method to avoid disaster like what happened in Layou”.Dominica Vibes Newscenter_img Share Sharing is caring! LocalNews Environmental Coordinating Unit to be converted into a full-fledge government department by: – November 11, 2011last_img read more