A great way to get more public input is for the freshly elected Boston City Council to give itself some power.
During the last City Council election two years ago, empowerment was all the rage. There was talk of a charter commission to review the current few-checks-and-no-balances form of city government. Virtually every candidate vowed to reform the Boston Redevelopment Authority, that epitome of governmental unaccountability.
It never happened. Instead, the councilors (and local residents) have spent a lot of time putting out fires lit by the Menino administration. Our public school and library systems have been altered by crisis as much as by plan. You can almost hear the council panting to keep up. A political victory in Boston consists of gaining a week to think about a major change.
The City Council could empower the public by empowering itself. Or could it be that the several councilors with obvious mayoral ambitions are looking forward to seizing that unbalanced power for themselves?
We’ll find out in the next two years.