By Laura Al Bast
BU News Service
Following the first mayoral debate, Boston City Councilor, Tito Jackson took to the streets of Roxbury last week to shake hands and speak with his constituents on issues he will carry if elected mayor.
“The people support me.” Jackson told a bystander at a Madison Park Vocational High School football game in Roxbury, who questioned his backing.
Incumbent Mayor Marty Walsh and his challenger, Jackson, vied for public support the night of Oct. 11, as they took part in the first of two mayoral candidate debates ahead of the 2017 Boston mayoral general elections on Nov. 7.
Jackson delivered a stern critique of Walsh’s record on development, education, diversity, and public safety to a sizeable crowd at Hibernian Hall in Roxbury.
“This mayor has turned his back, shut his eyes, and stuck his head in a hole when it comes to issues of violence,” Jackson told BU News Service Sunday afternoon. “At this point, he has shown that he is either unable, ill-equipped, or unwilling to address issues of violence in the city of Boston.”
The city councilor said that since the mayor is “unable” to address those issues, he should “move out of the way.”
Jackson said that $38 million had been spent to settle cases with the Boston Police Department in the past seven years and that the administration spending money based on “a lack of accountability.”
“So far this year there had been 716 shots fired incidents, 168 shooting victims, 35 homicide victims and 278 stabbings,” Jackson said. “I would submit as the mayor brags about crime going down; shootings are up, murders are up, and stabbings are up, what crime is he talking about?”
Jackson referenced a stabbing at Dudley station this past summer and said that those affected by the incident would rather hear that the mayor has a proactive plan to create summer youth jobs that would help solve this issue.
On the issue of trust with the police, Jackson claimed that there is an issue if people don’t feel like they can come forward and the police don’t have relationships to solve crimes.
“The police say that they’re down in reports for internal affairs incidents,” Jackson said, “[that’s] because they don’t want to hear from people.”
Only 14 percent of registered voters turned out at the polls to vote in the preliminary round of elections. Such low turnout in a major American city was described as “embarrassing” by Jackson.
“It also shows lack luster and lukewarm support for Mayor Walsh,” Jackson added.
Earlier this month, Mayor Walsh received a public endorsement from Planned Parenthood Advocacy Fund of Massachusetts that states on their website that “with Mayor Walsh at the helm, our city will continue to stand strong even under this national political climate.”
This endorsement was followed by another on Sunday, when Sen. Elizabeth Warren vowed to stand with Walsh in a public event in Jamaica Plain
“He’s a brand new mayor who has 5 million bucks in his bank account and has to get the support of a sitting United States senator,” Jackson said. But given those factors, Jackson felt the mayor receiving votes from only nine percent of the electorate was underwhelming.
“That’s kind of interesting. That shows to me again, very lukewarm support. And it shows that what we’re doing on the ground everyday is working.”
Tito Jackson is the second black candidate to make it through the preliminary elections since 1983, when community activist and advocate Mel King ran against Ray Flynn.
“He is a mentor of us all,” Jackson said of King, “I would love his support [and] would seek [and] pray for it, but in the meantime the most important piece is that we get the support of the people.”