To the editor:
Mayor Fiorentini and the City Council are considering making Haverhill more democratic. I am happy to see one of the key positions of my platform being taken up by our city’s leadership.
Currently Haverhill elects nine city councilors at large, meaning all could live in one ward or, theoretically, on one street. With a city of over 35 square miles, 400 road miles, and over 60,000 people, this structure is antiquated and underserves our city.
Time and again Haverhill residents tell me that they are concerned with public safety. It is not a coincidence that the most recent shootings in the city have largely taken place in the one ward that consistently does not have a councilor. If there were a guarantee that someone living in that neighborhood — someone who feels the anxiety and concerns as much as anyone in that ward — had a vote at City Hall, we could address crime more effectively.
Ward council seats ensure local accountability. If crime is up or employment is down in a neighborhood, a ward councilor represents those needs at city hall. If we guaranteed that a city councilor would hit the same potholes as you, drive under the same streetlights as you, or have the same concerns about their child waiting at the bus stop as you do, Haverhill would be better off.
Ward council seats guarantee a voice in every neighborhood. Let’s make sure that no matter what happens on Election Day, your voice is always heard at Haverhill City Hall.