Quincy is Everything Q&A

Candidate Name: Joseph Murphy (Joe)
Years in Quincy: 10
Occupation: Assistant Director for Administration, MIT Center for Bits and Atoms
Political Party: D
What are you running for? Quincy Ward One, City Council

Yes or No or Neutral: I want to abide by the “Yes, No, Neutral” format, but please do see notes below.

Should Quincy be a Sanctuary City? Yes 

Is Global Warming real? Yes

Do you favor Cannabis Shops? Yes

Do you believe “Sober Houses” belong in residential neighborhoods? yes

Should Jaywalking be enforced? yes

Should the city be doing more for addicts? yes

Is Quincy on the right path to success? No

Should Quincy have a full time water ferry to Boston? Harbor Islands? Yes

Should low income housing be mandatory for new construction? Yes

Sanctuary City: Please read my full answer here: https://www.votejoemurphy.com/blog/sanctuary-city
In short, the current QPD policy is good, I want those who would be affected by this issue to know this policy.  If we decide not to make this designation, a discussion on it will go a long way to making this policy known.

Cannabis shops: I am in favor of legal marijuana.  I believe it reduces the amount of people being arrested for possession, cultivation, and distribution.  This saves jurisdictions significant money that comes from the criminalization of marijuana.  It also adds tax revenue and keeps the substance safer. 
That being said, we have to demand that dispensaries are extremely good citizens.  They should go above and beyond to make their neighbors comfortable.  Their properties should be immaculate and their landscaping and exterior should add to the neighborhood.

Sober houses: are an important part of our battle against addiction.  By ostracizing addicts and making them live away from “mainstream” everyday society in a sterile or institutional setting, we risk pushing them into a subculture that finds itself often in a revolving-door spanning recovery and relapse.
Again, it is incumbent on these sober houses, and their residents, to be exemplary neighbors and contributors to the community. 

Jaywalking: Egregious, dangerous, or obstructive jaywalking should be fined like other traffic violations.  We all need to share the road and think of others as we traverse the city.

Housing: We need affordable housing in Quincy.  If elected, I will work to make sure truly affordable housing (some of what is considered “affordable” by government regs is still too high for many people) is available in Quincy.  But I will stand against developers who try to pervert the 40b housing laws to push in a project that does not fit with the integrity of our neighborhood. 

Is Quincy on the right path?  Not totally.  While we are doing some good things in Quincy, our priorities are often out of whack.

Question and Answer: 

1. How will you encourage the strengthening and enforcement of city regulations to make businesses, tenants and homeowners to keep their property clean? Not pave over their lawns and shovel their walks.

Neighbors should be able to easily and anonymously report properties that they are concerned about.  If you notice someone preparing to pave over a lawn, you should immediately be able to contact inspectional services who will investigate the situation promptly to see if this is an approved project and shut it down if necessary. Folks should be able to report troubling maintenance issues so that the city may be able to warn a homeowner before it reaches the level of blight.
Many homes are in disrepair because of financial hardships.  It is my hope that in the tight-knit communities we have in Quincy, neighbors may be able to help neighbors avoid the fines that can come from leaving a property in a blighted condition.  
We should also encourage our young people to get into this level of work and help with yard cleanups and lawn and snow maintenance for homeowners that can’t afford to hire a professional and are unable to do it themselves. Not only is this a win/win but that experience is good for our youth. 

2. Is the QPD doing a good job? If not, what will you do to make sure that there is more police presence in our neighborhoods to ensure our safety?

I think QPD does a very good job.  I think any police force benefits from information.  We, as citizens, cannot ignore issues in our neighborhoods and expect the police to know via a crystal ball.  People should obviously call 911 in an emergency, but also avail themselves of QPD’s non-emergency number, 617-479-1212, for lower-level real-time issues.  If you see fresh graffiti, someone yanking on car handles, or generally acting suspicious.  Call it in!   You can also contact Quincy via email and social media with general thoughts and observations that are not time-sensitive.  Quincy PD uses data to set up patrols and deployment.  We need to be their eyes and ears so they can accurately set their officers up for success.

3. What steps will you take to address an alternative education program (Vocational or skilled trade) for High School drop outs with the school committee?

I’ve been championing makerspaces in my campaign since the beginning.  These are digital fabrication laboratories that are accessible to users of all levels.  You can learn about computer programming, CNC design, laser cutters, 3d printing, carpentry, electronics, hand tools, etc.  These skills are marketable.  A makerspace is like shop class for the next century.  https://www.votejoemurphy.com/blog/makerspace
Through my work at MIT, I have help deploy many of these makerspaces throughout the world. I know how to do it and I know the impact they have on communities. 

4. Some argue that the influx of low income residents from out of Boston has caused our school system and social welfare organizations to reach the breaking point. In your opinion, does the state of Massachusetts and the Federal government provide the necessary financial resources to properly meet the need of these newcomers to our city? What can the city council do to improve this situation?

The state and federal government can always do more to fund education.  It might be the most important thing we do as a society.  
Quincy is strong city that will welcome new residents, we need to make sure the state and federal government funding follows these new children here.  
The City Council should also make sure that we have the budget to hire paraprofessionals, specialists, and other staff,  to make sure our dedicated teachers are not overburdened.

5. With all the new high-end condos/apartments building built, do you think it will bring in enough revenue to curb the annual property tax increases?

Partially, but I support facilitating the influx of a variety of new business, as in not more of the same types of business that we tend to have in Quincy, to increase our commercial tax base.  

6. What will you do to drive Quincy’s tourism?
As I stated before, we need a variety of new business types in Quincy.   We need activities that increase quality-of-life, and enrich the Quincy experience.  We should tap into our wonderful coastline with guided and unguided kayak and canoe rentals,  we should tap into our rich history with ghost tours, guided walks, and interactive theatre.  We could have mystery dinners, concerts, community theatre, and local art shows.  Let’s stop outsourcing all our activity to Boston and other communities.

7. Are you a team player or prefer to work by yourself? Team.  I’ll get it done on my own if I have to, but the results are usually better with help.

8. In your own words, your FINAL THOUGHTS, feel free to speak your mind.

I don’t expect everyone to agree with all my answers, but I promise that I will never be afraid to tell you what is on my mind.  And you will always have the chance to speak with me and change my mind if You feel I am wrong.  I will be very accessible as a city councilor, including weekly office hours in locations around ward 1.  If we can’t agree, you will know that I will always take constituent-input seriously.  
I will not hide my view to gain votes. 

I decided to run for office because I love working together with people to help them and solve problems.  Although not a lifelong Quincy resident, my wife and I chose Quincy as our home and as the place to raise our girls.  We come to Quincy with fresh eyes.  That means I don’t have all the shared experiences that many of you may have from growing up here.  But, I also don’t owe anyone a favor.  I don’t think we have to keep doing the same things over and over again while expecting better results, just because that’s how it’s always been.  And I'm not going to worry about which “important” person I have to please to gain (or stay in) office.  I'm not afraid to lose doing while doing what's best for my ward and my city. 
While you’d want much of your city council to be staffed by long-term residents, there should be a place for fresh ideas.  I have lived in several parts of the country and can be a source of a new perspective, while still loving Quincy, while still wanting my daughters’ home town to be the best it can be.

9. What's your website?
www.votejoemurphy.com or www.facebook.com/votejoemurphy

10. What's your fondest memory of Quincy?
Well, both my daughters are from Quincy now.   So all the usual milestones, birthdays, Christmas times, first steps, first days of schools, and such have made Quincy the most important place in the world to me.    But I will never forget buying our home in Houghs Neck, opening up that door for the first time and looking out the kitchen window at the Ocean.  It flashes through my mind everyday.