A New Day for Boston
This week: conversations with Andrea Campbell, Carlton Williams, Sidney Baptista, Armani White, Sheena Collier, and Kendra Hicks about Boston on its way to a historic election. Listen today at 2 pm, or anytime at our site.
Boston tilts toward something new as it approaches Election Day. Inequality has been a top priority for voters, across the city. Michelle Wu—a candidate whose policy agenda concerns housing affordability, closing the racial wealth gap, and fare-free public transit—is ahead in the mayoral race by double digits in the latest polls, with an extensive coalition of support (a double-digit lead among white, Black, Latino, and Asian voters).
We talked this week to people focused on remaking Boston, including recent mayoral candidate Andrea Campbell. Campbell spoke of the city’s problems and possibilities, and of what might be done by its mayoral candidates, Wu and Annissa Essaibi George:
Boston is indeed too expensive to live in, we see it every day, and it was the number one issue that came up along the campaign trail from every resident I spoke of, including those who are wealthy, who found it really disturbing that Boston was not affordable. Residents want specifics, including from these two candidates, on how they will use that authority of the mayor’s office with a sense of urgency and immediacy to ensure they can stay here, they can live here, they can move in from a rental opportunity to a homeownership opportunity.
That means of course not forgetting folks who live in public housing and making sure they have opportunities, making sure people have access to mortgage tools that don’t require downpayment assistance. My push to both candidates is to be really specific, especially if they want to see more voters come out in November, because that’s what voters want. They want to know and believe that government can help them.
These changes will, if they happen, be the result of a movement. Carlton Williams is a movement lawyer who joins us this week and describes the means by which this movement has taken off:
You have Twitter, you have Instagram, you have Snapchat, you have Zoom meetings and you have an ability to do things and to communicate with audiences. And there are many, many bad things about that. There are also many, many good things about that. And we’ve seen the rise of a lot of people with a lot of really good ideas coming to the fore and supporting candidates, not supporting candidates, supporting ideas.
Later in the hour, you’ll hear from Kendra Hicks, who’s running for city council in Boston’s District 6. Hicks describes her story of political engagement in Boston that’s led to bolstered attention to electoral politics:
I have been very civically involved and engaged in my community since a very young age. I started doing community organizing work when I was 15, whether it be as a youth organizer fighting for an increase in the youth jobs budget in the city, whether it be doing violence prevention and intervention work, then as a youth worker later on doing public health, racial equity work across the city. But what got me from doing that direct on the ground work to wanting to go into electoral politics, it’s because I’ve realized, and I think a lot of us have realized that electoral politics is a really important lever to be able to pull, particularly local politics, specifically. If we’re able to pull that lever in an effective way, we can have a really big impact on the material conditions of the people in our communities.
There’s a new day in Boston politics; there will be no more Last Hurrahs. There’s a new generation of folks running for something. The activist Sidney Baptista is just running, period. And in the spirit of the season in Boston, he’s built a vision into running and a campaign around it. The Pioneers Run Club is Sid Baptista’s invention for personal and neighborhood health; this month the club drew hundreds of amateur and first-time marathoners into a 26-mile run (not race) through the streets of the city neighborhoods.
Watch: Halloween movies
They can be scary, unpleasant, and just generally bad news; horror movies are, among other things, a chance to reckon with the grim realities of genre. Here’s Richard Brody, suggesting that what standard horror cinema could really use is a killer of (generic) joy:
Halloween is my least favorite viewing season because genre is a curse and horror films carry an extra curse — the curse of gore. I consider it a dereliction of directorial duty for horror films to yield to disguting the viewer — and not only because I’m squeamish. I’ve only said often that doing justice to the extremes of human experience in filmmaking demands extraordinary artistry . . . the curse of genre, though, pulls in the opposite direction, allowing filmmakers to rationalize a movie’s ordinariness.
See: The French Dispatch
Brilliant, fun, and way over the top in parts, the latest film from Wes Anderson captures the whimsy of the old New Yorker we all miss. Who else could bring a magazine and the act of writing to cinematic life?
Listen: George Szell’s Janáček
Janáček’s Sinfonietta, by the Cleveland Orchestra, conducted by Szell, sets the tone in Haruki Murkami’s 1Q84. It was composed as a fanfare for a gymnastics festival in the ’20s, and the composer said it was about “contemporary free man, his spiritual beauty and joy, his strength, courage and determination to fight for victory.” It’s strange music of striving; suggesting the mood of elections as much as gymnastics festivals.
This week’s ephemeral library
Ai Weiwei’s memoir. Millienials fear their Zoomer employees. India Walton’s Buffalo. Thirty two movies that inspired The French Dispatch. Where Have All the Insects Gone?
Happy Halloween, folks. See you next week!
The OS long distance runners