Leonard Lee

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Leonard received his B.S. in Management from Johnson and Wales University, as well as attending the Boston University School of Management. He briefly served as the Deputy Commissioner for the Connecticut Department of Public Health, while also serving as the longtime Division Director of Violence and Injury Prevention for the Massachusetts Department of Public Health. Leonard now serves as the Assistant Commissioner board member for the City of Boston Parks and Recreation Commission, as well as a board member on the Boston Human Rights Commission.


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?


I subscribe to the City of Boston Ordinance on Surveillance Oversight and information Sharing offered by Councilors Arroyo Janey, Wu, Flaherty, Edwards, Meijia, Campbell, Breadon, Bok. Flynn and O’Malley.
As a Commissioner on the City of Boston Human Rights Commission, I will expand that work to ensure monitoring will include safeguards with accountability to the public to protect privacy rights and civil liberties.

Environment

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?


Boston’s sea level reportedly could rise 8 inches above 2013 levels by the 2030’s could greatly increase flood risk in some areas of the city. I will work with Boston’s Climate Ready Boston initiative to protect Boston’s neighborhoods. I also support the plan for a Resilient Boston Harbor to protect 47 miles of harbor with a cost of $1.2 billion.
Boston reportedly ranks 6th in a list of urban heat islands in the United States. To mitigate the impact, I will work with the Trust for Public Lands Climate- Smart Citiesprogram which helps cities nationwide to conserve land and create parks and greeninfrastructure to meet the climate challenge.
I serve as a Commissioner on the Boston Parks & Recreation Commission. To supportthe Urban Forest Plan I will work with the Community Advisory Board to analyze conditions, set goals, make recommendations, report out and move toward implementation in collaboration with residents.
In addition, I would encourage districts to apply for the new Boston Community CleanAir Grants which are funded through the Air Pollution Control Commission. These grants are designed to help residents, nonprofits, and business to reduce air pollution and carbon emissions. The city is encouraging partnerships through collaboration andjoint proposals.

Science

What should the role of science and scientists be in government, policy, and decision-making? How does science fit into your agenda for Boston?


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?


Having worked for the MA Department of Public Health, I understand the importance of science in driving government policy and decision making.
Messaging must be targeted to the multicultural audiences of the city and communicated through community based messengers including doctors and the faithcommunity,

Healthcare

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?


For the past year and half through my program called “Masking the Community,” I have handed out more than 300,000 masks and other protective equipment throughout the city of Boston and elsewhere around the Commonwealth.
Community based initiatives must partner with the Department of Public Health, Boston Public Health Commission, the faith community ,the system of community health centers, drug stores and mobile units to prevent and respond to future pandemics or health crises.

Education

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?


As a City Councilor I will have a seat at the table to ensure that the Mayor puts forwarda budget that adequately meets the needs of the Boston Public School System. The key to success is to ensure that we constantly forecast ahead to address the ever-changing needs of the student population and provide the required services. We must use the available funds more effectively and efficiently to support students, teachers and administrators. As the District 4 City Councilor I will advocate on behalf of students in my district and the school system as a whole.
We must respond to the current needs of students who have fallen behind due to the Covid 19 pandemic. We must also work to open the schools safely and securely as we transition through the health crisis. We must serve low-income students and students of color, students with special needs, and students who require the IEP for special needs (Individual Education Program).
It is important that we all work together to create additional opportunities for those who have been disproportionately impacted by Covid-19. They will require additional resources to catch up as we emerge from the pandemic which would provide opportunities for students, parents, teachers and administrators.

Immigration

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?


As a city councillor, I will work to create a pipeline through BoSTEM which brings STEMopportunities to every Boston middle schooler through a coalition comprised of nonprofits, schools, researchers and industry partners. By working with a diverse student body and nurturing their career opportunities, we can strengthen the diversity, culture and economic activity of Boston from the inside out.

Economy

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?


As city councillor, I will work with the City of Boston’s team of Innovation & Technology and industry leaders to enhance data and analytics, expand broadband, cable and digital equity and maintain online cyber security.
I will also ensure that funding is available for Digital Equity Initiatives across the city of Boston.

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?


As a Commissioner on the City of Boston’s Commission for Parks & Recreation, I have pledged to protect and maximize land use for green spaces and community access.
As an urban bee keeper with hives in local gardens and farms, I will bring a deep understanding of the kinds of resources community groups need to support sustainable urban farming. For example, I have taught classes at the historic FowlerClark Epstein Farm in Mattapan.
I will support funding for urban farming re-entry jobs. I will work with the Office of Food Access to support commercial urban farming in the city and connect residents to plots of land or roof tops and the permitting and regulatory process for starting farms.
I will also work with the Boston Conservation Commission to: expand recycling programs; keep garbage out of landfills; plan more trees; protect wetlands and urbanwilds; and work on plans to protect open spaces.

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