Mission Main activist runs for District 8 council seat

June 14, 2013
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City Councilor Mike Ross has represented District 8, which includes Mission Hill, for more than a decade. With the councilor now running for mayor, Mission Hill resident Gloria Murray want to step in to continue and expand the good work she said he has done.

She said Ross has been hands-on with District 8, attending community meetings and being involved with the Boston Public Schools (BPS).

“I am a community activist who wants to work in making the community stronger,” Murray said in a phone interview with the Gazette.  “As a city councilor, I can make a difference in the community.”

Murray, who lives in the Mission Main public housing development, is a community activist on several fronts. She helped found the Mission Main Concerned Residents Committee in 1998; publishes a Mission Main newsletter that is emailed to more than 600 residents of the housing development; is a member of the Mission Main Tenants Task Force; and has done consulting work for the Committee for Boston Public Housing.

Murray said that Mission Main is a “strong community” with a lot of tenant participation, but it could be better.

“If everyone works together, we could have an excellent community,” she said.

Murray, who has worked with the Boston Housing Authority, said that that organization is “great,” but said that it could be more hands-on at Mission Main.

Murray also said she worked with former state Sen. Dianne Wilkerson on a bill filed in 2001 that addressed disparities in federal and state public housing. The bill was never voted on, according to Murray.

She said one of the pressing issues on Mission Hill is universities expanding into the community, most notably Northeastern University (NU). Murray said NU has been reaching out to the community and been more proactive by coming to community meetings to listen to residents’ concerns.

“They are doing a good job, but they could be doing a lot more,” said Murray.

She said the increasing student population on Mission Hill is driving up home prices, which affects residents’ property taxes.

Murray said another issue for Mission Hill residents is BPS, noting the area is in flux because of the school-move plan. Mission Hill K-8 and New Mission High School relocated to other areas of the city, while the Fenway High School is expected to move to those schools prior residence at 67 Alleghany St. in 2014.

She said BPS needs to do a better job in listening to residents about school locations and grades.

Murray called District 8 “very big” and “very diverse.” She said like Mission Hill, student housing is an issue for the entire district. Murray also said the district needs to continue attracting new businesses and making sure that “quality housing” is being built here.

Murray said if she is elected, she wants to meet with the community to learn constituents’ pressing needs and to “hit the ground running.”

District 8 City Council candidate Gloria Murray. (Courtesy Photo)

District 8 City Council candidate Gloria Murray. (Courtesy Photo)

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