John White is a Roslindale resident and grave digger for the City of Boston. He has been a union laborer for over 35 years.
Boston Candidate Science Survey Response
Below are the survey responses from the candidate. To ensure the candidate’s voice comes through to the voters, the content of the answers are unedited.
Technology + Society
As the City uses more advanced technology to monitor city services and communicate with residents, how will you ensure citizens’ privacy rights as increasing numbers of monitoring devices are installed around the city? What will you do to make sure that the data collected will be used for the benefit of all Bostonians?
Good question. I’m not a lawyer. But there are agencies out there that are equipped to tackle such issues. But when technology is used for public safety, where do we draw the line? . I Am not a big fan of Big Brother watching. But I would advocate for accountability and transparency between the city and its citizenry.
What are your policy priorities to address the ongoing climate crisis? How will you ensure climate resiliency projects are distributed equitably among communities, especially in low-income neighborhoods? What are your policy priorities to protect areas of the city that are vulnerable to sea level rise (i.e. South Boston, Back Bay, Downtown, East Boston, Charlestown, Dorchester, Seaport)?
What are your policy priorities to protect areas that are vulnerable to increased temperatures during the summer months due to the urban heat island effect? Given that trees and an urban canopy have been shown to mitigate excess heat, how would you support the implementation of the Urban Forest Plan for Boston?
I would like to see a more comprehensive educational campaigning directed towards the deniers in society. Public Transportation has to do better to attract more riders to elevate car usage in the city. We have to wean ourselves off of fossil fuels and develop more alternative cheap and environmentally safe technologies now.
Renters and homeowners in all communities should have equal access to city and state programs and capital to retrofit thier properties. ie removal of lead pipes, energy efficiant heating and cooling systems, and landscape investment.
Sea level has always been an underlying issue. Most of Boston lyes on top of landfill. New construction should look into ways to eliminate the need for having a basement and a useful purpose for the first few feet above the protected sea level . I would look into all the ideas that are being brought forward ie sea wall or levee system and come up with a strategy that uses all the best ideas strengths and make a solid approach to addressing the reality.
The tree canopy of the city is an essential piece in fighting climate change. The canopy has been neglected far too long. Through age and development it has diminished. I would keep an interest in the Imagine Boston 2030 doctrine. The 2016 rollout of Climate Ready Boston would get regular increases in its budgets and scopes.The Boston Parks and Recreation Department is going to start playing a big role in this vital work. Thus the city should fund and supply the resources it needs to accomplish the goals and challenges that it will face.
What should the role of science and scientists be in government, policy, and decision-making? How does science fit into your agenda for Boston?
We have always seen the role of our office as convenors. We serve as the microphone to the community and seek to amplify their concerns, their voices, and their ideas. This fundamentally includes the role of science and scientists in our policies and decision-making.
Misinformation has been cited as one of the reasons for vaccine hesitancy against the COVID-19 virus. How do you propose the City improve messaging in order to promote science-based actions and combat misinformation, not just for COVID-19, but also broadly?
They should be heard and relevant to the issues at hand.Individuals that make decisions on public policies should consider the public majorities well-being over self interest and the false narrative that’s being spunn to cloud the judgement of citizenry. I think the city has done well on the issue.Certain individuals have made up their own minds that no matter what is available to them they choose not to participate.
The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted disparities in healthcare access for different neighborhoods in Boston. As of June 29, 2021, we know that only 38% of residents in Mattapan were fully vaccinated compared to over 70% of South End residents. How can ideas about distributing vaccines, challenging misinformation related to healthcare, and tackling language barriers be applied more broadly to form a more equitable healthcare system? What policy changes should be made to both prevent and respond to future pandemics or health crises in a more effective way?
The healthcare industry has its own way of doing business. Mattapan and the Southend are on opposite ends of the socio-econmic ladder. The main issue is access to affordable health care and wellness.Hospitals, clinics and primary care doctors need to build relationships in the communities.The same messages sent out to the public by these entities could clear up some of the misinformation floating out there. Well hopefully there is not going to be another pandemic for a hundred years. It exposed what was already known. That we have a health crisis that affects our citizens nationwide. Let’s get serious about making life easier and safe for all.
How, if at all, has the COVID-19 pandemic affected your positions on education policies? What should the City’s role be in ensuring public schools are equitably funded and serve the needs of our children?
This issue has been prevalent for decades. The infrastructure is failing the children. Schools have closed. Built new ones. The curriculum has changed somewhat and not for the better for the students’ well rounded skill set needed to compete in the technological world they are facing. The school budget is in the hundreds of millions dollars and per student costs are in the tens of thousands. We have to get it right for future famalies .
Boston’s technology, innovation, and scientific research ecosystem has long made it a hub that attracts a diverse group of people and talent from around the world. How can the city maintain and foster its international status as a technological hub and attract immigrant scientists to strengthen the diversity, culture, and economic activity of Boston?
Hospitals and Universities have to maintain their relationships with countries that have the talent.Its a win win for all involved. Working visas should continue. A citizenship process with less red tape. Could entice people to stay and invest in the economy. The city has the resources and talent to drive investment.The city can offer incentives for technology, innovation and scientific research to do business here. In the end the city has to benefit the most from any transaction..
What is your plan to strengthen the Boston scientific research and technology enterprise to benefit our economy? How can you ensure that the economic benefits of investing in science and technology reach all Bostonians?
Create good paying jobs for people that will spend their money in the city.
The city and nonprofits have programs and the means to get economic benefits to all Bostonians
Food + Agriculture
What policies do you propose for the City to maximize land use in the city for green spaces and community access to gardens or farms? How can your administration bring more transparency to this process and connect community groups to the resources they need to support sustainable urban farming?
New construction and remodeling sites could incorporate rooftop gardens and landscape designs. More trees planted along roadways and on sidewalks .The parks and fields already in the mix need to be maintained and improved when neccesary. The city has a lot of vacant lots throughout which some could be used for urban farming.
The city could create a 311 call and answer platform that could coordinate between community groups and needed resource information.