LWV Boston Positions

LWV Boston has taken positions on public policy issues as part of our commitment to the improvement of the quality of life and the effectiveness of community services in the city of Boston.

Public Policy Issues

» Boston Harbor

» Boston Taxes

» Housing and Community Development

» Boston Schools

» Structure of City Government

» Transportation

» Health Care: Primary Care

» Health Care: Extended Care

» Health Care: Mental Health and Developmentally Delayed

» Health Care: Acute Care

» Health Care: Regulation and Planning

Boston Harbor

  • Establishment of an overall agency with power to plan and administer the harbor’s development
  • The use of the shoreline and islands In ways which emphasize and enhance their special waterfront characteristics by preserving open space, water dependent uses, and encouraging public use
  • Public acquisition and development of the harbor islands, public access and necessary docking facilities
  • Measures to lessen water, noise and air pollution

Boston Taxes

  • Measures to make the budget-making process more accessible and understandable to the public
  • Measures to make the assessing process more open, equitable, and understandable
  • The state’s assumption of Suffolk County costs
  • Legislative approval of reimbursement to the city for cost of services provided by the city to state-owned and other tax-exempt property
  • Effective management of all city trust funds
  • Efforts to maximize benefits for residential property
  • Greater equity of the property tax and for measures to distribute the tax burden to other users of city services

Housing and Community Development

  • Fair housing practices
  • The concept of decent, safe, affordable housing for all Boston residents
  • Efforts to increase the supply of low-and moderate-income housing particularly families and the elderly
  • Long-range city planning
  • Citizen participation in all aspects of neighborhood development
  • Code enforcement and the encouragement of property maintenance
  • Conservation of neighborhoods
  • Monitoring city housing authorities and agencies
  • Enabling legislation by the state to provide guidelines for cities and towns in writing their own condominium ordinances
  • Protection of buyers/consumers of condos and co-ops
  • Institution of a recapture tax on windfall profits from publicly assisted construction
  • A program of low-interest loans to help tenants purchase their units
  • Encouragement of tenant-sponsored conversions and owner-occupancy of four- to six-unit structures
  • Measures to decrease the problems of arson and abandonment
  • Protection of tenants from displacement and escalating rents
  • Regulation of condominium conversions
  • Policies and programs that increase the supply of affordable housing

Boston Schools

  • Equal access of all population groups to quality education, vocational training and support services
  • Effective management of the school system under the direct leadership of the superintendent
  • Fair and equitable rating of school personnel by a process that includes all relevant constituencies
  • Placing responsibility for construction and maintenance under the control of the school department
  • Decentralization of administrative and decision-making powers
  • Involvement of the mayor in collective bargaining with academic unions
  • School Committee procedures that encourage full citizen participation
  • A School Committee whose role is limited to setting and overseeing policy for the school system
  • Administrative commitment to supporting student government
  • Special efforts by the School Department to involve parents in a meaningful way in their children’s education
  • Responsibility of the educational system to provide adequate health care and health education
  • High school graduation requirements that include multiple criteria to earn a diploma

Structure of City Government

  • Autonomy for the City of Boston under a Plan A, strong mayor, form of government
  • Ward lines that ensure equal representation for residents based on population
  • Registration and voting procedures that ensure equal access for all citizens to the electoral process
  • A liquor licensing board appointed by the mayor which functions in an efficient and open manner
  • Preservation and expansion of park lands within the city
  • Expanded use of park resources through efficient personnel management, use of community volunteers and widely publicized programs and activities


  • Effective transportation planning and management under the direct authority of the state Office of Transportation
  • An efficient and extensive public transportation system, financed in part by highway trust fund moneys and by an equitable assessment system
  • Community and neighborhood participation in transportation decisions regarding service, highway construction, funding and environmental impact
  • A broadly representative state-level transportation council with strong powers
  • Action by the City to limit or control commuter traffic and all-day parking
  • Use of State and Federal moneys to finance a major portion of the MBTA deficit
  • Innovative approaches designed to increase ridership on public transit
  • An MBTA management structure which includes a strong executive director and a strong policy-making board representative of participating cities and towns
  • Incorporation of MASSPORT into the overall framework of government agencies
  • A MASSPORT board which includes the Secretary of Transportation as an ex-officio member and community representatives
  • Shortened terms for MASSPORT board members

Health Care: Primary Care

  • Primary health services that ensure equal access and meet the needs of socio-economic groups and “high risk” populations available in all neighborhoods
  • A well-financed system of neighborhood health centers providing quality, integrated physical and mental health care
  • Private and public health insurance plans that cover preventive and maintenance services
  • Medicare and Medicaid coverage that includes drugs and health appliances Encourage health education and prevention programs

Health Care: Extended Care

  • Comprehensive services and programs for the aged, handicapped and chronically ill which emphasize independent living
  • Patients placed in the most appropriate facility and for the most appropriate length of time
  • Regular and unannounced monitoring of institutions to ensure effective and humane treatment of patients
  • Linkage of payments to standards for quality care and compliance with life/safety and sanitary codes

Health Care: Mental Health and Developmentally Delayed

  • Provision of appropriate community-based facilities and programs, geographically and evenly distributed throughout all neighborhoods
  • Adequate funding and monitoring of community residences and programs Suitable treatment programs and decent living conditions in institutions

Health Care: Acute Care

  • Boston Medical Center’s provision of basic and specialized in-patient services for its existing unique population
  • An effective management system at Boston Medical Center to deliver quality services, safe conditions, reasonable capital improvements and innovative outreach programs
  • Continued support of “Patients Rights” programs

Health Care: Regulation and Planning

  • Health planning mechanisms to control costs, reduce fragmentation and duplication, encourage regional planning and decision-making
  • Adequate reimbursement for Medicaid
  • Strengthening of “determination of need” law to cover all new, expanding or changing services
  • Coordination of all agencies, programs and groups that regulate, license, set rates, finance and set standards for health care
  • A strong hospital cost containment program with provision for controlling the quality and ensuring the equity of services
  • Licensing regulations that define quality standards with mechanisms for enforcement