Boston Mayor Martin Walsh released a photo of himself at City Hall Monday ahead of a live Question and Answer session on Facebook. Photo: City of Boston
In a 30-minute live exchange on the city's Facebook page Monday, Boston's new mayor answered a plethora of question from residents, most of whom adhered to the city's request that the discussion stay focused on education and innovation.
During the Q&A, Mayor Martin Walsh said he supports lifting the cap on charter schools, and told one parent to contact his office directly to look into an allegation of bullying at a local school that had gone unaddressed by teachers.
In many responses, Walsh seemed to give satisfactory answers to concerned residents.
During one exchange, Walsh promised to attend a meeting with parents at the Jackson-Mann school who are looking for a way to create a sense of community at the school and boost parent engagement.
Many questions surrounded school funding.
"We are actually investing an additional $36 million in our schools next year. There's always more to do, as we are face significant challenges from state and federal sources continue to decline," Walsh said.
A few participants veered off topic and into the arena of gun control, traffic, and alcohol licensure. Walsh obliged, saying he supports residents' constitutional right to carry guns, as well as Boston City Councilor Ayanna Pressley's legislation that would eliminate the state cap on alcohol licenses for restaurants.
In response to a complaint about traffic in South Boston, Walsh said there is "a discussion of a traffic plan underway."
Unfortunately, these Facebookers didn't get any feedback:
"What is your favorite JP Licks ice cream flavor?” - Annie Lewis
“Does Mayor Walsh ever smile? I know running Boston is serious business, but dang! It would be nice to see him smile!” - Arreba Stafford
“Dear Mayor of Boston I think [Ramat Gan] can be a perfect sister city for Boston” – Moshe Shalit
More online discussions are expected soon, Walsh said.
“Social media is an opportunity to directly connect with constituents in real time, and engage on a personal level," Walsh said in response to one participant. "These conversations are a fantastic way for me to hear what is on your mind, and I use this information to inform what we focus on in the City. Where I can, I always want to hear directly from constituents.”