Council candidates tell the North End they'd crack down on Airbnb, oppose 4 a.m. closings for restaurants

Edwards, Farmer and Passacantilli at North End forum

Edwards, Farmer and Passacantilli at North End forum.

The three candidates for the District 1 City Council seat (North End, Charlestown, East Boston) that Sal LaMattina is giving up sounded similar themes on a number of issues, including Airbnb and 4 a.m. closing times, at a forum sponsored by the North End Waterfront Neighborhood Council tonight.

Lydia Edwards and Margaret Farmer of East Boston and Stephen Pasacantilli of the North End all said the city needs to do something about the Airbnb rentals they said are overrunning the neighborhood, forcing out long-term residents and turning it into a trash-laden haven for transients whose landlords don't really care about the neighborhood.

Farmer said Airbnb has changed from a way for people to rent out a room in their home to a big business in which investors are snapping up Boston unit and hiring managers to essentially run them as hotels. "We should regulate it and tax it like a hotel," she said.

Pasacantilli said he is fed up with the trash bags that now regularly appear outside Airbnb rentals in the neighborhood. "400 Hanover St. is a joke," he said of one Airbnb-heavy building. He called for the return of the city's Problem Property Task Force to go after and public embarrass unit owners into cleaning up.

Edwards said the city needs to be "very aggressive" with enforcing health and fire codes on Airbnb and other absentee landlords, even to the point of putting liens on their property

The three also agreed, in response to a question from a resident, that North End restaurants and bars should not be allowed to stay open until 4 a.m.

Edwards said that for all its bars and restaurants, the North End remains "a precious neighborhood," one that would be ruined by later closing times.

The idea might work on Lansdowne Street, but in the North End, "it's asking too much of residents," Farmer said.

Passacantilli, a recovering alcoholic, said he could not support anything that would let people drink more. He then added, however, that he would work even harder to block any pot shops in the neighborhood - he said marijuana is "a gateway drug" and that recreational pot "is a little bit more horrifying to me than 4 a.m. (closings)." Edwards and Farmer did not address marijuana.

The three also agreed that the BPDA needs to stop siding with developers so much and listen more to residents - and to do a better job of alerting them to impending projects. Edwards said the city needs to consider whether the authority should be broken into two separate agencies, one for planning, one for working with developers. The current model, developed in the 1960s, when Boston was slowly emerging from decades of decline, no longer seems to work, she said.

Passacantilli said that armed with better knowledge, residents can fight the development juggernaut and win - he pointed to the way residents organized to block the closure of a neighborhood nursing home as an example, and added that his years in City Hall means "I can slow things down, and I can make things not happen."

Farmer pointed to the defeat of the original Lewis Wharf hotel plan as a similar example and said she would insist the BPDA speed up its development of master plans for each neighborhood, so that development no longer happens in such an ad hoc manner.

The three did have some differences, mainly in their backgrounds.

Passacantilli acknowledged he considers Mayor Walsh a close friend, because when he was trying to get sober 13 years ago, Walsh helped him on his road toward recovery. "When I was down and out, and nobody wanted to help me, Marty Walsh helped me," he said.

But Passacantilli, who was an economic-development official for Walsh before running for the council seat, added he wished people would stop talking about an "old boys network" and "old Boston" and "new Boston," because he said he would put the residents of the district first.

"My father gave me my name, and I would never compromise that," he said.

Edwards also worked for Walsh, dealing with "housing stability" issues and said her key strength is in being able to "build bridges" - it's how she helped build an East Boston soup kitchen and got state legislation passed in 2014 to protect nannies and maids, she said, and has let her work closely with state Sen. Joseph Boncore - even though she ran against him last year for the seat he now holds. Boncore has endorsed Edwards.

Farmer called herself "a citizen candidate" who doesn't work for city government now. She works for a mental-health non-profit group and has been president of the Jeffries Point Neighborhood Association for several years.

Farmer called for an extensive network of inner-harbor ferries connecting Charlestown, East Boston, the airport and the South Boston Waterfront, in part as an alternative, efficient way to move all the new residents from their homes to their jobs. She also said the city should amend Mayor Walsh's current 53,000-unit housing increase goal to include "workforce" units for people who make too much for "affordable" units but not enough for the luxury units developers just love to put up.

The top two vote getters in the Sept. 26 preliminary election will compete in the November final election for the two-year seat.

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Comments

Yes to 4am closings

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As a new grad student, I support the ability to get take out pizza and cannoli at 4am (waking up early? going to bed late? who knows!) while making no noise in the urban environment that might disturb residents.

ETA: After working on homework all night while watching Master Chef, delivery at this hour would be awesome.

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Ah, since you're new, you might not be aware...

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... of Bova's, open 24 hours in the North End! http://bovabakeryboston.com. Do you live in/near the North End? If you do and you need late night food, Chinatown still has a few late night places, and the South Street Diner, on Kneeland & South Street, is also 24/7.

We need 4AM liquor licenses, as well as more 4AM and 24 hour places to eat, if not drink, in the city, but I agree with the wannabe councillors that dotting them across the North End, densely populated as it is, isn't a great idea. A possibility might be offering 4 AM food-only licenses on the most southwestern block of Hanover only, between Parmenter and Surface Artery.

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No, you really don't need those things.

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The neighborhoods should cater to all interests, rather than increasingly those who are only going to live there for a few years. Most of the things you describe really aren't that necessary.

Another "Gateway Drug" Lunatic

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Passacantilli, a recovering alcoholic, said he could not support anything that would let people drink more. He then added, however, that he would work even harder to block any pot shops in the neighborhood - he said marijuana is "a gateway drug" and that recreational pot "is a little bit more horrifying to me than 4 a.m. (closings)."

          ( fighting his own demons by trying to control everyone else )

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Passancantilli isn't

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Passancantilli isn't responsible enough to handle his booze and pot so he doesn't want the people who can to have any fun. Screw this guy.

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Deciding

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that drinking isn't good for you, and you should stop doing it, and following through, is perfectly reasonable. I've done it myself. Deciding that this qualifies you to decide what is good for other people is not reasonable. Mentioning that you're a recovering alcoholic at every opportunity, as if it's a qualification for office, is a sign that the candidate's interest and understanding doesn't extend beyond his own experience. If you can't figure out that other people are not like you, and have needs and desires that are not like yours, you don't belong in government.

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Might as well pour money into the storm drain

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No, Ron.

A restaurant that stops serving alcohol at 1 AM and stays open 3 hours later is going to go out of business. They don't have any interest in serving fajitas at 3 AM. They want to serve alcohol to the people who want to be there for alcohol at 3 AM.

I disagree, Kaz

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I worked at the Blue Diner. We stopped serving booze at 1:45 but were open 24/7. The diner made more money than god, from midnight to 6 AM. So few places in Boston serve food even after 11 PM, much less at 3 AM, that late night workers & partiers will pack even the most mediocre place (helllooo, old Riley's Roast Beef on Harvard Ave!)

I like Lydia. If I lived in her district, she'd get my vote

Creative campaigner.

:
Elevator speech:

INTEGRITY. INDEPENDENCE. IMPACT.

I have a proven record of standing up to special interests and getting things done—from passing legislation that protects women workers to leading a city department on day-to-day issues facing Bostonians in housing and development.

Now more than ever, we need an independent voice with a fresh perspective representing us in City Hall to fight for what matters: great education for our kids, pathways to home ownership, and reliable transportation.

I promise to be your advocate and fight for our communities as your next city councilor.

About Lydia Edwards .

Supported by;

Mass. Women's Political Caucus
Maria's List:

At Maria's List, we elevate progressive candidates, especially women and people of color, with the potential to address equity and opportunity gaps in education and job creation, government transparency, and the type of public leadership and progressive policies people aspire to see funded.

Former Colleagues
Labor
Planned Parenthood MA
#mapoli pets

Awards & Recognitions;

2017 Game Changer by the Boston Globe
2015 Bostontonian of the Year by the Boston Globe
2015 Boston Rising Stars, 40 under 40 - The National Law Journal & The Connecticut Law Tribune
2015 Super Lawyers Rising Star - Super Lawyers Magazine
2014 Excellence in Law, Up and Coming Lawyers in Massachusetts - Lawyers Weekly
2013 Community Peacemaker Honoree - Community Dispute Settlement Center
2012 Attorney of the Year, Matahari Women Workers' Center
2012 National Award of Distinction, Edna Award - Berger Marks Foundation

ISSUES:
Climate
Small business
Transportation
Traffic
Parking

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I realize

that this alone does not qualify someone for any office, but Mrs. Wiffleball and I met Lydia Edwards during that really cold week in February of 2016. It was night, it was snowing, and we were were walking through Maverick Square with our heads down against the wind, and there was Lydia Edwards, standing outside near the Burger King, introducing herself and talking about her ideas.

Whether or not you favor her policies, she isn't afraid to put in the hard work.

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Unimpressed by any of the candidates

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I went to a few of the candidate forums, and at each one, I asked a question near and dear to my heart- if elected, will you spearhead a change to state law that will allow the City Clerk of Boston to publish the verbatim debates of the Boston City Council? At first, most of the candidates just shrugged the question off like they didn't know what I was talking about. Joe Shortsleeve said something to the effect of "huh?"

Sorry, if the candidates cannot take the time to brush up on the issues, I cannot support any of them. I'm just not going to vote today instead.

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You don't follow Zakland?

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One of his things is making the City Clerk publish the verbatim record of City Council meetings, or the "debates". The thing is, as I love to point out, a state law was passed in the 1950s to expressly prohibit the very thing Zak wants.

So AdamG posts about a candidate forum for a City Council seat and Zak posts about a special election in Bristol County. The link? I have only one guess.

Well played

When I first read it I assumed it was him then saw your name so I was confused and not sure if you were serious. Now I understand.

Has Zak considered running for City Clerk so he could put his proposal to work?

You make that sound bad

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I mean, are you sad that the Senate made the "reforms" to Obamacare not happen?

Sometimes things not happening is a good thing.

Indeed he's another one of

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Indeed he's another one of Walsh's cronies. Boston Grand Prix gave his brother Dan $40,000 to "get the mayor's ear" for IndyCar.

Would vote for Lydia, if I lived in District 1.

Candidates. District 1. District 2. District 7. District 9.

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Tuesday 26 September 2017 Preliminary Municipal Election
https://www.boston.gov/departments/elections/results

District 1 Candidates for Boston City Council at http://twitter.com
East Boston, Charlestown, North End/Waterfront, Harbor Islands are a part of District 3, except Deer Island, which is part of District 1.

1) @LydiaMEdwards
2) @MargaretForBOS
3) @StephenPass

District 2 Candidates for Boston City Council at http://twitter.com
City Hall/Beacon Hill/Islands , Chinatown, South Boston, South End, Harbor Islands are a part of District 3, except Deer Island, which is part of District 1.

1) @CDinopoulos
2) @EdforBoston
3) Kebartas
4) @VoteMikeKelley

5) @PLMcampaign
6) @TrittaLaw
7) @Vote4Vakil

District 7 Candidates for Boston City Council at http://twitter.com
Blue Hill Avenue, Columbia Road, Dorchester, Dudley, Fenway, Roxbury, South End.

1) @Camacho4Comm
2) @Charles4Boston
3) @JDepina12
4) @VoteRufus

5) @RepHenriquez
6) @Kim_Janey
7) @DeeqoJibril
8) @BrianKeithforD7

9) @LopezForBoston
10) @PrinceProphet
11) @DomforDistrict7
12) @Hassan4BostonD7

13) Wise

District 9 Candidates for Boston City Council at http://twitter.com
Allston, Brighton, Brighton Center, Faneuil, Lower Allston, Oak Square, Union Square.

1) @VoteBowserD9
2) @MarkCiommo
3) @VoteGolonka

Candidates for Mayor at http://twitter.com
1) Cappucci
2) @TitoJackson
3) @Marty_Walsh
4) @JoeforBoston

Respect and appreciation to

Respect and appreciation to the North End/Waterfront.com for putting these meetings online for everyone to see, including those of us outside the North End. It's a great view into candidates who will represent not just their district but really the entire city. Kudos.

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Not defending, but they

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Not defending, but they probably weren't being a noisy nuisance during sleeping hours or on someone's steps.