In the race for District Four City Council, a political newcomer and a former state official go head-to-head
The winner will need to help address some of the biggest challenges facing the district, which mainly includes Dorchester and Mattapan, as well as small slices of the Jamaican Plain and Roslindale – rising rents, violence and racial inequality exacerbated by the coronavirus pandemic.
“Do we want someone with experience, or a newcomer with a way of thinking outside the box? said Rachel Idowu, a resident of Mattapan who worked in the town’s legal department for 20 years.
The residents of the neighborhood are predominantly black and Latino, and about a third were born abroad. Electoral participation in preliminary elections was slightly lower than the disappointing overall city-wide participation; about 23 percent of the district’s 46,000 voters voted.
Carvalho, a progressive Democrat who emigrated from Cape Verde at age 15, has done well in the progressivism bracket of District Four Jamaica Plain, and in the Bowdoin-Geneva district, is home to a large Cape Verdean community.
Worrell, small business owner whose parents emigrated from Jamaica and Barbados, and who has strong roots in the Caribbean diaspora of the district, received much of its support from the Ashmont, Codman Square and Mattapan Heights neighborhoods.
Despite his own family’s immigration history, Worrell promoted himself in his campaign media as a native of Dorchester and “the only permanent resident of Boston to run”. In an interview, Worrell said his deep roots in District Four make him better equipped to tackle issues in the area.
“It’s about knowing the people, it’s about knowing the problems and experiencing those problems,” Worrell said. “My whole family has been through these real problems since the 1960s.”
Carvalho highlights his long history of government service – and 20 years in the district.
“I have served this community no matter where I lived,” he said.
Carvalho is a graduate of Madison Park Vocational Technical High School and graduated from the University of Massachusetts Amherst and Howard University School of Law. He is now the executive director of the city’s Human Rights Commission, an agency that helps tackle the inequalities faced by marginalized communities in Boston.
“Right now we have a new mayor, we are going to have five or six new city councilors, and we have a lot of momentum in the city,” Carvalho said. “We need people who have experience on the board to get things done. “
Worrell grew up on Fuller Street in Dorchester, with a large extended family; he attended Lincoln-Sudbury Regional High School as a METCO student and graduated from Northeastern University. Now he owns Greater Investments Real Estate in Dorchester.
In his work as a real estate broker, Worrell said, he has helped families build generational wealth; he also helped organize vaccination clinics, food deliveries and other community services, especially during the pandemic.
“Our campaign isn’t just about ‘I have experience’ ideas,” Worrell said. “It’s, ‘I’ve got the action.’ “
The candidates have a few political differences: Carvalho supports rent control; Worrell opposes it and supports instead offered 100 percent affordable housing units on vacant lots in District Four. Carvalho said he would work to increase the percentage of affordable housing across the city to at least 20 percent.
Worrell supports hybrid body of appointed and elected school committees members, while Carvalho prefers a fully elected school committee. The two candidates want the city to expand school curricula, introduce vocational and technical skills in younger children, and inject more money into after-school and youth employment programs.
After a “Recharge Rally” campaign at the Cesaria de Bowdoin restaurant on a recent Saturday, Carvalho knocked on doors along Olney Street waving to voters Portuguese, Cape Verdean Creole, English and limited Spanish.
A resident shared the trauma she and her 8-year-old daughter have struggled with since the April gunshot death of her grandmother. Fourteen bullet holes from this tragedy pierced the gray exterior of the house.
She said no one in town has been registered since the death of his grandmother. Due to the frequent violence on her street, she said, she “has the cops in her. [smartphone] favorites. “
Carvalho took her number and said he would contact city employees to contact her, he said.
“I promise you that I will be there to support you,” Carvalho said. “You can put me in your favorites. “
Although both candidates agree the city needs police reform that tackles violence in their district without over-policing communities, Worrell, who has relatives at the police department, has been approved by the Boston Police Patrol Association. This could be a mixed blessing in the post-George Floyd era, and in a town where the police union was rocked by scandal.
Carvalho says the union’s approval is telling: Although he served as Suffolk’s deputy prosecutor, prosecuting gun crimes, assaults and drug distribution, he also pushed for progressive criminal justice reforms as a legislator, including repealing mandatory minimum sentences and raising the age at which minors can be tried.
In the race for advice, Carvalho has proposed updating the Boston Police Patrolmen’s Association contracts so that the Office of Police Accountability and Transparency and the Civil Review Board have more power to hold officers to account.
“The choice is very clear,” he said. “Who is for reform, or who is for the status quo?” “
Worrell said he is also engaged in police reform that takes into account the different issues affecting various neighborhoods in the district, and he has established relationships with groups such as the Massachusetts Association of Minority Law Enforcement Officers.
“I understand the importance of having open communication and dialogue with our police department to ensure that all areas of our community are protected,” said Worrell. He supports community policing models, such as a neighborhood task force that would bring together community stakeholders to fight crime.
On a frosty Thursday night recently, Worrell knocked on doors about Reverend Loesch Family Park. Introducing himself as a ‘child of Dorchester’, he stressed the importance of voting and explained how he would use his real estate experience to bring affordable housing to the area.
Tinaja Pearson, from Dorchester, told Worrell her landlord was trying to evict her family because they couldn’t pay the rent. Her 10-day-old son, with her in a stroller, was her sixth child.
“Even if the hospitals help. . . with housing, they don’t have too many resources to help us, ”said Pearson, noting that the RAFT program, which provides emergency rent relief during the pandemic, “takes way too long, and that leaves us in Section 8 out of the way.”
“I know a lot of people in [the real estate network]Worrell said, handing him his business card. “Let’s connect and see if I can connect you to more resources.”