A True Safety Net
A true commonwealth relies on the idea that the public realm – the resources we all share is important, and deserves to be maintained properly, and invested in. Roads and bridges; public water supplies; sewers and drains; rivers and the ocean; parks and recreational facilities – there are all public goods, belonging to us all, and to future generations. Here in Somerville, public transportation is another essential element of the public realm.
Affordable housing, whether public or publicly subsidized, is another social essential, both for the lower-paid end of the workforce (and increasingly, mid-wage workers), and for frail elders, and others unable to manage market-rate rents. While often maligned, and sometimes neglected, public housing is a vital asset among our public goods. Although the trend has moved to public subsidies of market-rate apartments for those without sufficient earnings, this practice is not sustainable in a housing market which is increasingly becoming attractive to investors, including those overseas.
A “true safety net,” for me, means maintaining all our public assets, first of all. It means investing in expanding the public realm to better serve our population. It also means providing the subsidies and services necessary to assure that our people are able to live decent lives.