'Responsible' development is goal for coalition in the mayor's race

There is a difference between responsible development that strengthens neighborhoods and development that doesn’t. Our city will be best served if our candidates for mayor acknowledge and discuss the differences so we build a more inclusive and equitable future for all Boston neighborhoods.

Making that discussion take place is why I founded the Responsible Development Coalition. I am a lifelong Bostonian and the leader of our region’s carpenters union. I care about my city and its workers who are trying to make a decent living while being able to afford to live in the city they call home.

Responsible development strives to make housing more affordable, create good-paying union jobs that offer equal pay and worker diversity, beautify neighborhoods, collaborate with local residents, use more environmentally sustainable building materials, maintain safe building sites, and pay all tax obligations.

Earlier this month, our coalition of responsible developers, contractors, and the carpenters union began an advertising campaign to urge our mayoral candidates and city residents to support only responsible development. You can add your support by joining our pledge to promote responsible development at SignThePledge.com.

While there you can also contact the mayoral candidates directly to inform them of your support.

Our next mayor will play an essential role in building Boston’s economy, protecting our neighborhoods, and expanding opportunity for our city’s workforce, including more than 6,000 carpenters and their families whom I represent. Supporting responsible development is crucial in that role.

Mayoral candidates should note that Boston voters overwhelmingly agree. Here are some numbers from a poll we recently completed:

• 69 percent support development when it is done responsibly;

• 42 percent of all people polled answered housing and housing affordability when asked what was the most important issue facing our city. All other issues received substantially lower ratings.

The Responsible Development Coalition will host a mayoral candidate forum on July 15 to allow candidates to address Boston development in greater depth and make certain that they will not allow our collective future to be built by city developers and contractors who put profits above all else, hire people at poverty wages, disregard the need to increase affordable housing, fail to pay their taxes, keep unsafe work sites, and ignore neighborhood concerns.

Since our coalition was established only a few short weeks ago, all of our mayoral candidates have signed the pledge to support responsible development. And candidates for other offices, including Boston’s city council, have also started signing the pledge. It is an encouraging start. Moving forward, candidates and elected leaders need to back up their pledges with specific plans and actions. It is our job as voters and residents to hold them accountable.

Development when done properly creates economic opportunity for all. Our coalition members believe that when people work together and pledge to support responsible development, we can make our neighborhoods more affordable, equitable, and inclusive. Boston voters need to know that our next mayor has our back and will lead the way to build a better future for all of us.

Joe Byrne is the executive secretary treasurer of the North Atlantic States Regional Council of Carpenters and chairperson of the Responsible Development Coalition.

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