Mayor Marty Walsh Answers Hard-Hitting Questions During Reddit AMA
Here are some key takeaways from Walsh’s first dive into the world of online forums.
Sticking to his promise to somehow connect with residents everywhere, whether in person or online, Mayor Marty Walsh entered the Reddit arena on Thursday to take part in his first-ever Ask Me Anything (AMA) session.
Much like his prior Facebook and Twitter chats, Walsh played his cards close to his chest when it came to answering many of the questions, seemingly dodging certain things with vague responses during his 30-minute Q&A using the online community forum. But people still learned some stuff about the newly elected official. Not only did he inform residents about some ongoing projects, he also let loose a little bit and showed his less serious side—we now know that the mayor loves Legal Seafoods, and understands Gaelic (but only when spoken to).
Below are the top takeaways from the mayor’s discussion with constituents:
He (sort of) cleared the smoke about his stance on medical marijuana facilities:
“I support the law and the will of the voters. My concern is the applications—there was incorrect information on some of the applications and I simply want to make sure that everything is in order. I know that this is the law and that medical marijuana will eventually come to Boston,” Walsh wrote, when a user asked if he was really trying to block two dispensaries from opening their doors in Boston, even though the state overwhelmingly approved of legalizing medical marijuana. The answer didn’t seem to satisfy Redditors, who further pressed the mayor for details on quotes picked up by the Boston Globe. The mayor didn’t respond, however.
He’s all about the city taking control of the liquor license process:
After two years of hard work, City Councilor Ayanna Pressley filed legislation so that Boston could take away the state’s power to regulate how many liquor licenses the city can have. Former mayor Tom Menino backed Pressley’s plan during his time in office, and during the AMA, Walsh did the same. “I am in full support of Boston controlling its own liquor licensing process. I support Councilor Pressley’s legislation, and I see this as an extremely important economic development issue. We just announced a late night task force to look at extended hours for bars and other retail venues. We’re meeting now and I definitely look forward to their ideas,” he said.
He wants to bring Google Fiber to the city:
The search giant has extended its reach to other major metropolitan cities already, but Boston missed the boat. While he didn’t say much on this subject, and left this question open for interpretation, Walsh alluded to the fact that he wants Boston to be part of Google’s master plan. “We’re working on ways to bring fiber to Boston. Stay tuned…,” he wrote. Those ellipses say so much, but so little at the same time.
His administration is forming a task force for almost everything:
When asked about the taxicab industry, and the legalities and impacts of transportation services like Lyft and Uber, Walsh’s answer was direct: “We are in the process of forming a task force to look at all the forms of transportation in the city, not just taxi services but Uber, other livery services, and other forms of transportation.” Walsh already announced the formation of a Task Force that will be responsible for looking into whether or not keeping bars and clubs open past regular hours in certain parts of the city will be doable.
Residents wanted to know if Boston cops will be equipped with cameras anytime soon:
In other parts of the country, including Los Angeles, officers are now walking around with recording devices strapped to their bodies. One user was curious if Boston would follow suit. Walsh wasn’t sure, however. “Haven’t had a conversation with the police about this – I’d have to have a conversation with the Commissioner about the idea of police wearing cameras. Not sure how logistically this would work,” he wrote. That being said, some municipalities in the Greater Boston area have been playing around with Google Glass, and are considering equipping police with the hands-free devices, so he’d better ask soon.
He knows Mr. Butch:
The iconic Mr. Butch, who lived and roamed in Allston and beyond for years before he passed away, is the undisputed mayor of Kenmore Square, according to Walsh, who said as much when someone “petitioned” for a permanent memorial to be erected in memory of the man. The reference to Mr. Butch came after someone asked a question about the arts under the username “Mister Butch.”
He welcomes the arts:
If it weren’t apparent by his campaign promises and his actions after being elected, Walsh wanted to make it abundantly clear that he stands in favor of bolstering Boston’s arts community. “We welcome proposals for ANY arts activities in ANY of our parks. We are working on streamlining the permitting process – we envision a city where arts happen in all places,” he said, when asked a lengthy question about the city’s permitting process, and how parks are used for concerts and outdoor events. He also added a little humor to his response: “Now turn that racket down and get off of my lawn!!(JK).”
His thoughts on taking back former Senator Scott Brown?
“No thank you.”
When it comes to clam chowder, there’s only one place for Walsh:
“Legal Seafoods,” he said. He has more favorites, too. His favorite book, he revealed, is Mountains Beyond Mountains about Paul Farmer, and he’s looking forward to reading A Fighting Chance by Elizabeth Warren. As for food trucks, he said the Frosty Ice Cream truck is his top choice (although that doesn’t seem very nourishing). But he’s also up for anything on City Hall Plaza “because I have a fighting chance of getting there.”