Bike lanes. A new “forestry” division. A 20% raise for out of control city councilors. Shootings. A continued crisis at Mass and Cass.
For this we’re supposed to take a victory lap for Boston Mayor Michelle Wu’s first anniversary?
Wu on Wednesday did exactly that, criss-crossing the city from Java with Jimmy in Roxbury to the opening of a senior center in East Boston to “commemorate” her first year in office.
Wu has had some successes, like getting the streets plowed last winter, and represented city residents well during the MBTA Orange Line shutdown, holding the T accountable.
But the reality is that it’s been a sometimes rocky first year for Wu, whether it’s clamping down on protesters outside her house to explaining why shootings and murders continue to plague city neighborhoods.
She vetoed a 20% pay hike for city councilors and other city officials but could not even sustain her veto — showing she can’t control the pay-hungry elected officials.
Councilors also now have a big say in the budget, which has weakened Wu’s power.
In Roxbury and Mattapan, Black ministers are taking matters into their own hands because police can’t protect their neighborhoods.
Earlier this week, a Transit cop was attacked by a group of teenagers at Forest Hills T station in the latest brazen act of violence. The suspects, ages 14 and 15, were charged with assault and battery on a police officer but will probably get off with a slap on the wrist.
Wu has not addressed the violence except to say we need more youth programs and mental health services.
She’s spent more time talking about new bus lanes, while making public relations moves like riding her bike to work.
She passed an ordinance allowing police to arrest protesters in front of her Roslindale house, in a move to crush dissent, only to see one of those arrests get thrown out in court.
She has no control over the city council, allowing them to flex their muscles on a new pay package and exert more control than ever over the city budget. No previous mayor would have allowed the council to wield his much power and show such a lack of respect for the mayor’s office.
City Hall is now an embarrassment and a laughing stock under Wu’s tenure.
Wu has spent millions to create new city departments and high-paid positions.
She created a Forestry Division and hired a dozen new employees for a city that has no forests.
“Trees are our best green technology to fight climate change and build healthy, beautiful communities, especially as heat and storms intensify,” she said. “Dedicating staff and resources to our new forestry division will empower the city to strengthen our tree canopy citywide, so every community benefits from these treasured resources.”
These resources are so treasured that Wu’s public works department just mowed down acres of small trees, bushes and wildflowers at one of the city’s real treasures, Millennium Park in West Roxbury. Can’t wait for year two.