BOSTON CITY COUNCILOR AT-LARGE JULIA MEJIA VOTES AGAINST THE FY21 BUDGET

In the second round of voting, Councilor Mejia has rejected the proposed budget stating that “this isn’t the mayor’s budget; this is the people’s budget.”   BOSTON, June 24th, 2020 ​– Today the Boston City Council voted on the resubmitted ​budget​ offered by the Mayor’s Office. Councilor Mejia has been ​very outspoken​ about how the budget is a values statement and how “​we need to utilize the dollars that we have to invest in things we have overlooked for far too long​.”  

“For those who may or may not know, I won by one vote,” Councilor Mejia said in her opening remarks. “That one vote I found at barbershops, at nail salons, by crashing barbeques and baby showers. It is the people and their voices that I am carrying into this space. It is the people that put me in this seat that I am here to represent.”
 
Councilor Mejia went on further to reaffirm that she is “no longer interested in having drip-drop incremental changes that expect us to continue to hope and pray and wait some more about finally having the type of budget that really reflects the needs that our people find themselves in today.”
 
Running on a platform for increased civic engagement and government accountability to uplift underrepresented voices, Councilor Mejia’s motto of ​all means all ​ has remained a guiding principle throughout this budget process.
 
“My vote here today is to ensure that the people who have never even been a part of the process before actually have something to believe in,” Councilor Mejia said. “My hope is that the people who have been left out of every conversation recognize the power of their voice and recognize the power of their vote. These are the people that I am here to represent. These are the people that I want to make sure don’t feel left out, unheard, invalidated, or undervalued. These are the people that I am voting on behalf of. Those who have gone far too long unheard by this very institution. Those are the people I am fighting for today.”
 When discussing the reallocation of Boston Police Department dollars, Councilor Mejia has been ​vocal about reinvesting money back into the community​ and towards public health and safety.  

 “If the goal of the police is to protect and serve, we need to start focusing on the service part,” Councilor Mejia said in her speech. “That means dismantling the gang database, reinvesting mental health dollars away from the BPD and towards the BPHC, and establishing a public safety dashboard. But we also need to see more money for things like restorative justice in our schools and expanded low-income housing opportunities.”
 As someone who is a native Spanish-speaker and held a ​Hearing on Language Access and Information Parity in the City of Boston live translated into four languages​, Councilor Mejia has​ ​advocated for increased language access throughout the budget hearings.
 
“I asked each department head what they were doing to make sure their information was available in languages other than English,” Councilor Mejia reiterated. “A lot of departments said that there was room for improvement to make their information more accessible. We need a budget that reflects the diversity of languages in our community and that’s going to take more money than what is being proposed.”
 
In her concluding remarks, Councilor Mejia said, “I know these demands are a lot, and to some they may be too much, but we need to stop thinking about what is easy and start looking at what the challenges are and rise to the occasion. We keep talking about how the budget is a ‘values statement.’ In our office, our values are informed by the voices of the people, and until we see the same sentiment applied to this budget, we could not in good conscious vote in favor of it.”

 

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