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Mayor Michelle Wu on the MBTA, police and education in Boston

Mayor Michelle Wu smiles during her ride in the first electric school bus added to the Boston Public Schools’ fleet. (Jesse Costa/WBUR)
Mayor Michelle Wu smiles during her ride in the first electric school bus added to the Boston Public Schools’ fleet. (Jesse Costa/WBUR)

Boston Mayor Michelle Wu joined Radio Boston in Monday for our monthly conversation. She discussed a range of topics, including rent control, transportation and policing in Boston.

Below are highlights from their conversation, which have been lightly edited.

Interview Highlights

On new MBTA General Manager Phillip Eng:

"My team and I have been very grateful and thankful to the governor and her administration for keeping us updated and and checking in with us along the way about what the city's priorities would be. And we've said from the beginning, we're here to do whatever we can.

"There are a lot of ways in which the city's jurisdiction over roadways or signal traffic signals has a lot to do with how effectively the MBTA can operate within the the footprint of our municipality. And so we've been eager to to push for someone who can hit the ground running and can't wait to meet Mr. Eng and get to it."

On the recent firing of three Boston Police officers:

"I think it's important to start with just how serious and weighty the job of being a police officer is in our society. You are called to respond in moments of intense crisis when no one else will take that risk. You are put in situations of quick response, of drawing on all of your training in very dangerous situations to make a call.

"And because of that serious responsibility and the need for those to protect and serve in our communities, you are given extraordinary tools and authorities to carry that out. Use of force including with weapons that could end someone's life. The ability to take away someone's freedom and .. start them through the criminal legal system. These all require a very, very high standard.

"If we are asking officers to do the important and hard work of enforcing the laws and being the people who will make that call in moments of of great intensity, they cannot be above the law themselves. They have to, at a very minimum level, at the very baseline follow rules. Laws at the city, state, federal level themselves.

"And so, when there has been documentation of multiple violations and and either unwillingness or inability to follow those rules, that is not someone that we can trust to enforce the rules in, again, very serious situations with serious consequences on our residents."

On working with the state to accomplish her priorities:

"I've actually really enjoyed and appreciated a great working relationship with the state. I think we have gotten to know each other in ways that are deeper and and maybe more directly [and] respectful than in in the past.

"And part of that on our end has been really focusing on what we need as opposed to using the state as a platform where you assume nothing's going to happen. Therefore just signaling that you care about 70-80 different things by signing on to all these pieces of legislation.

"We submitted seven pieces up that are very focused and that are specifically about challenges in Boston, and many of them are home rule petitions that would only apply to the city of Boston, and that is a range of issues related to housing, transportation, climate, child care, etc. It's not everything in a single bucket, but these are meant to say we're being very clear with what the solutions are that we see. If you want to talk about it, if you want to engage, by all means let's engage in that process. But we cannot afford to sit back and do nothing. And that's why we're trying to bring as much clarity as possible to these very urgent issues."

On whether her rent stabilization proposal will gain traction on Beacon Hill:

"If you ask residents what is most on their minds, the price of housing is the biggest stressor across every demographic, across every part of our city. And so we need solutions there, whether it is rent stabilization, which could happen through legislation, could happen through a ballot initiative.

"The advocacy community is talking about a whole lot of steps to keep this momentum going, whether it's a transfer fee that would provide sustainable revenues for us to generate more affordable housing even after the federal recovery funds dry up in the next two years or so, or whether it is other innovations in how we can administer our zoning code or find other sources to to partner across municipal lines. We are open to any and all of it and and we are just feeling so much the pain of residents."

This program aired on March 27, 2023.

Amanda Beland Producer/Director
Amanda Beland is a producer and director for Radio Boston. She also reports for the WBUR newsroom.


Tiziana Dearing Host, Radio Boston
Tiziana Dearing is the host of Radio Boston.



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