Draft Submission to Quincy Sun*:

AUGUST 28, 2019

I’m Joe Murphy and I am running for city council to represent Quincy’s Ward One. 

I first ran for this office in 2017, making this my second attempt. I learned so much from talking to my constituents in my first campaign and I feel like I have a better understanding of what they want, and what they are lacking in representation.  If elected, I will be available and accountable to all Ward One residents.  I will be independent and focused on improving the lives of the Ward One residents from all our neighborhoods. 

The priorities of my campaign are infrastructure repairs and upgrades, coastal resiliency, encouraging smart-development projects and a greater variety of amenities for Quincy residents. I will continue to stand up to the MBTA mistreatment and work to make Quincy more walkable and bikeable to help relieve much of the traffic issues we now face.  My ideas are outlined at my website, www.votejoemurphy.com.  My campaign priorities and solutions come directly from conversations with Ward One residents.

When you knock on a door in Ward One, there are themes and topics that come up repeatedly.  On one street, it might be a cracked sidewalk that has not been addressed in years and neighbors will tell you how often people trip over it.  The next street over folks will point to the grass in a park that is routinely overgrown. Another set of residents will show you a storm drain that backs up during every big storm and sends water into their basements. Near Bernie’s in the Neck, people point to the blighted house with the shattered windows that has been allowed to haunt the neighborhood for the better part of a decade.  Further down Sea St. they’ll bring up the boat ramp that remains unusable for most of the day. They point to the Maritime Center that was shuttered before the plans for a replacement were finalized and initiated. In Merrymount you’ll hear about commuters racing through their neighborhoods to shave off a few minutes and get further up Quincy Shore Drive. In Quincy Center you’ll hear about ill-conceived traffic patterns that make getting around impossible.  People don’t need to look far to point out the ways the city could improve their lives. 

No candidate will possess a magic wand that can solve all our problems easily.  But we can ask that our leaders start discussions and formulate strategies to start picking these problems off one at a time. 

To make myself as available as possible, I will host weekly office hours at locations around Ward One so that constituents who want the ear of the councilor can come and talk in person. I will also host regular community meetings to get the input of residents before decisions are made.  Too many times, our community meetings are held to tell us what decisions are being inflicted upon us rather than making us a part of the discussion.

I will use social media to let constituents know what we are working on, to take in their concerns, and get them answers quickly.  In 2019, we need to be able to find people where they are: online, offline, in their homes, during office hours, and on the phone. It should not be hard for residents to reach and get a response from their Ward Councilor.  If we are willing to walk around the neighborhood to win your vote, we need to be willing to be around to earn your vote.

It’s important that we send new voices to city council. The city works best when there are checks and balances and a mix of experience and fresh ideas.  If elected, I will support the good initiatives, and push back on the bad. I will partner with fellow councilors to enrich life in Quincy but the needs of Ward One will always be at the center of my work.  

*This submission to the Quincy Sun was made to late in the election cycle. If I’m fortunate enough to get past the primary it should run then.

QATV five-minute pitch/speech: 

Hi Everyone: 

My name is Joe Murphy, and once again, I’m running for City Councilor in Ward 1.  In 2017 I ran on a platform based on enriching life for the people of ward one. That goal is still at the heart of this new campaign.  But after getting to know so many of you, I now have a wiser and more focused approach on how to make our community stronger, safer, and better equipped for the challenges coming our way.

It’s clear that Quincy needs to focus on infrastructure. The roads all around the city and especially in ward one form an obstacle course of potholes for us to navigate. The sidewalks are also a mess. Quincy citizens pay more in property taxes each year and see little improvements on the streets they live on.

We also need to talk about investing in our sewer and storm drainage system. The city is now being sued by the EPA because they have not prioritized keeping our waters clean. This is not something the federal government does lightly and this was not done out of the blue. Our current leaders were not taking this problem seriously enough. Our coastline and waterways are the crown jewels of Quincy and we need to treat them as such. Luxury projects need to wait for the bones of our old city to be repaired.

This leads into our focus on coastal resiliency. We need to expedite seawall and tide gate projects. There are ward one families who are still not back to normal since last year’s flood. Quincy’s current strategy seems to be “let’s hope a storm like that doesn’t happen again.”  And we have yet to take further steps to modernize and green our environmental policy. Renewable energy is now competitive in terms of cost to fossil fuels and we should be moving forward with municipal green aggregation for our electric supply. Any new commercial construction should be required to take steps that reduce their carbon output. To that end, I think the city should form a green zoning task force consisting of energy experts and experienced builders working together to lead Quincy’s revitalization in a responsible direction.

Amidst Quincy’s revitalization, does it feel to you that nearly every available property becomes a luxury apartment complex? This adds students to our schools, people for our first responders to protect, and additional traffic on our streets.  I want us to be a thriving city...that means more than being a boarding house for Boston. We need to encourage a broader mix of amenities for the citizens who are already here.

Speaking of the citizens who are already here….we need to keep them here. We can’t let long term quincy residents to be squeezed out by rising property taxes. We need to talk about more abatements for our seniors, disabled, and veterans. We need to help people afford to stay with access to good paying jobs.

Many of these good paying jobs are in boston and cambridge...This means daily commuting.  No one has spoken out for the citizens of quincy against the mbta mistreatment louder than I. If elected, the MBTA will know that there’s another city councilor that won’t let Quincy commuters be pushed around.

I believe the people of Quincy should have some direct control over the projects that are important to them, so I want to create discretionary funding in the form of participatory budgeting. This would be a pot of money that will go towards projects proposed our citizens. We would then post the projects online and survey the residents to see which projects they want funded. Whether it’s planting trees, park repairs, community block parties or concerts, the citizens could have a direct say in how a small part of the city coffers are spent.

And the time has come to hire a completely independent outside financial consultant to review the city’s financial plan and forecast. With all the money we are borrowing, it’s important that we don’t leave a financial mess for the next generation.

As your representative, you’ll always be able to get in touch with me.  I will hold weekly office hours for anyone who wants the ear of the councilor, and I will use email, mail, and social media to keep you better informed on what’s happening at city hall.  We will start having real community meetings again, and we will discuss all the issues, popular and unpopular. 

No elected official will have a magic wand to easily solve all our problems, but some of our issues can be solved with some hustle and organization.  Remember, the job of a city councilor is not to be the Mayor’s representative in our ward, but the people’s representative at city hall. As your city councilor, I won’t be beholden to the political clique, I don’t owe anyone’s son’s friend’s roomate any favors and I fund my campaign completely with small dollar donations from people who know me and the contents of my heart.  If you elect ME, you’ll be sending someone who wants to represent YOU. Your concerns are my concerns, your fights will be my fights.

I would be honored to have earned your vote in the upcoming preliminary election.  Thank you all.