Councilor Jackson: ‘When Chinatown is going up, Boston is going up’

Boston City Councilor Tito Jackson held a media briefing on Feb. 2 at City Hall. (Image courtesy of Ruobing Su.)

Boston City Councilor Tito Jackson (波士頓市議員傑克遜) held a media briefing Feb. 2 at City Hall with members of the ethnic media. Jackson addressed his plans and vision for Chinatown as well.

Chinatown serves as a critical role in Boston’s economic development, as one of the most important cultural and economic neighborhoods for hospitality in the city.

“When Chinatown is going up, then Boston is going up; if Chinatown is not growing rapidly, perhaps we are not uplifted enough as a city,” said Jackson.

Jackson sees a bright and promising vision for Chinatown’s future, with several concerns that need to be resolved.

Last year, Boston added 67 new affordable housing units at Oxford Ping On (好事福平安大樓). However, there are still many people waiting for housing. “When we speak of affordable housing, we are normally not speaking about the same thing – in the City of Boston, 50 percent of people making $35,000 or less – they are not qualified for affordable housing because the majority of the units are for 70 percent area median income,” Jackson said.

Jackson hoped the metrics of measuring affordability could be updated, beyond building more units. Income qualifications are updated annually and should take into account the median income of the neighborhood where affordable units are built. This would ensure existing residents can benefit from affordable housing.

Boston’s inclusionary development policy requires developers to pay a set percentage of project costs into a fund for affordable housing and job training. Jackson advocated for local hiring on construction sites. “We want to make sure the community members who live there have the opportunity to work on those job sites, the business can get contracted on those jobs sites, and the suppliers of that community can supply enough job sites.”

Jackson believed it is important to preserve Chinatown. “It’s painful to see how much Chinatown has shrunk in recent years,” he said. He mentioned efforts to bring the library back to Chinatown as soon as possible.

In light of recent executive actions on refugees and immigrants, Jackson showed support for individuals affected or potentially affected by them, going to Logan Airport to protest on Jan. 28. He said, “Immigrants have always been a critical part of this community, this city and country.”

Serving as chairman of the Boston City Council’s Committee on Education, Jackson understood concerns facing children of immigrants. “We want to make sure that young people are supported by their schools – the Boston Police department is not going to participate in any forms of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement,” Jackson said. “We will continue to hold the line at the highest level to ensure our residents are safe, and we will fight for equal protection under the law for everyone in the city of Boston.”

Jackson will run for Boston mayor in November, against Marty Walsh. “I hope I can come to Chinatown and talk to the Chinatown residents as soon as possible for their concerns about the community,” he said.

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