I thank Sen. Ram Hinsdale and Treasurer Pieciak for their strong commitment to public service. However, I have strong objections to their argument that we can tend to only one crisis at a time: “Addressing the Housing Crisis Must Be Priority #1.”
This is exactly the problem with the bill S.100. Furthermore, this assertion is not true, as our City Council’s recent commentary shows. Were it true, we in government should hang up our hats and go home.
With the goal of benefiting all residents, we need to spur economic development; provide housing, municipal infrastructure, and social services; plan and take action in response to the climate crisis; all while upholding and strengthening our democratic processes. For them to suggest otherwise deeply troubles me.
Government policy requires complex thinking before the multifaceted problems that we seek to solve — and which the public has entrusted us with their power to solve. Because the bill S.100 strips away local authority — which comes with deep, local knowledge of local complexities and the agency to innovate and provide new multifaceted solutions and shareable models — many municipal planners, including ours, have raised concerns that S.100 is too blunt of an instrument. Yet this concern has gone unheard.
We are actively preparing our city plan. If state government wishes to step over local planning authority, why should local government go to all the work? Is local government simply an extension of the state’s tax collection agency and the manager of local assets through the levy of local taxes and payment of bonds? I should hope that they would say not.