Boston City Council in ‘complete disarray’ after recent events, says political historian

BOSTON — The Boston City Council is dealing with some issues. In recent days residents have seen one councilman announce this will be his last term, another councilor got into a crash while driving an unregistered car with a suspended license, and a third councilor was fined $3,000 by the ethics commission.

“The city is getting hit left and right in terms of its public image,” says Boston 25 Political Historian, Tom Whalen.

Boston City Council continues to make headlines. Days after Councilor Ricardo Arroyo admitted to violating the state’s conflict of interest law, Councilor Kendra Lara was charged in connection to a car crash in Jamaica Plain on Friday.

Boston 25 News went to Lara’s office to hear from her directly, but no response. On Wednesday, Council President Ed Flynn wrote an open letter addressing the concerns of residents about the latest council member’s events.

“Councilor Lara deserves her opportunity to be heard in court, but these alleged incidents are troubling. Residents are looking for positive leadership, ethical leadership, and there’s been a lot of these incidents regarding Councilor Arroyo,” says Councilor Ed Flynn.

Boston 25 News political historian Tom Whalen says the city council is in “complete disarray” but says it could work to Mayor Wu’s advantage citing a “divided council possibly means less opposition to her policies.”

“In a strange way, this probably strengthens Mayor Wu’s hand here because whenever you have in a government body a legislature coming apart at the seams, which this seems to be that kind of situation, the executive always benefits politically,” says Whalen.

Boston City Council is no stranger to controversy. Long before these latest incidents, we’ve seen years of tension among members. With some members of color alleging bullying and racism at past city council meetings.

“What do I have to do to get respect as a black woman?” said Council Tania Fernandes Anderson during a council meeting in 2022.

“I think a lot of it is a reflection of the city itself, there are a lot of issues kind of percolating under the surface now that have not been addressed over the decades including income inequality, housing, policing matters and ethics among administrative and government officials and I guess the chickens have come home to roost,” says Whalen.

Now the latest news coming out of the city council is that Councilor Michael Flaherty won’t seek reelection after 20 years of service.

“Given recent events, you have to scratch your head whether it will be an adequate replacement for that void that has been made,” says Whalen.

Councilor Flaherty won’t have his name on November’s ballot, but he will finish the remainder of his term until January.

This is a developing story. Check back for updates as more information becomes available.

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