Seven Ways To Tell If Kim Janey Will Be A Woke Mayor of Boston

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Boston has a new mayor — and she’s woke.

But how woke will she attempt to govern?

The U.S. Senate voted 68-29 on Monday to confirm former Boston mayor Marty Walsh as the U.S. Secretary of Labor. Now, former city council president Kim Janey has taken his place as mayor. She is the first black person and the first woman to hold the post. She took over the post on Tuesday morning after Walsh resigned on Monday night a couple of hours after the Senate vote.

And suddenly the most left-wing mayor in the history of Boston has become the second most left-wing mayor in the history of Boston. On paper, Janey has Walsh beat, by a lot.

So what should Boston expect?

Here are seven ways to know if Janey plans to govern the way she talked when she was a city councilor:


1.  Supporting Extreme Abortion Policies

Kim Janey was an early supporter of the ROE Act abortion expansion bill, coming out in favor of it in the spring of 2019. She earned praise from Planned Parenthood for it — the abortion provider said via Facebook, “‪Thank you to Boston City Councilor Lydia Edwards, City Councilor Kim Janey, City Councilor Matt O’Malley, and staff of the Boston City Council for today’s important discussion about the ROE Act and how we can protect and expand safe, legal abortion in Massachusetts.”

The original ROE Act bill that Janey supported never got a vote out of a legislative committee that studied it over the course of a year and a half. It called for eliminating parental consent at any age, eliminating language in current state law requiring that abortions after 24 weeks take place in a hospital, eliminating the current requirement that a doctor try to save the life of a baby born alive after an attempted abortion, and expanding public funding for abortion, among other things. 

Janey supported all of that.


2. Prefer Non-White Employees

Answering a questionnaire from the American Civil Liberties Union of Massachusetts, Janey noted that a priority of hers as she ran for re-election to the city council was making the Boston Police Department less white.

The ACLU asked her what she would do to “eliminate racial bias in policing, besides previously proposed plans of hiring more officers of color?”

She accepted the premise of the question.

“In addition to hiring more officers of color, we must mandate implicit bias training for all law enforcement officers and personnel to eliminate racial and ethnic disparities in street-level policing practices,” Janey wrote. “It is also important to monitor the arrests for minor offences and push for more body cameras.”


3. Ending the Gang Database

Should the city of Boston have a database that keeps track of active gang members? Gang members, after all, are one-half of a percent of the city’s population, but 94 percent of them have a criminal history in the Boston area, according to Commonwealth Magazine.

Janey wants to end it. She answered “yes” to that question on her ACLU questionnaire in 2019.

Critics of the Gang Database argue that it’s a way to target minorities and that it can result in surveillance, police stops, and deportations. Supporters note that poor people are the most likely victims of gangs, and argue that if police keep tabs on gangs, they might be able to lower crime in poor neighborhoods.


4. Defund the police

Janey wants to defund the police because — well because of course she does.

For Janey, that doesn’t mean abolishing the police. But it does mean whacking the budget.

She led the push on the Boston City Council last year to cut the police budget by 10 percent.

“For too long, Black and Brown communities have been excessively policed and disproportionately targeted by state sanctioned violence. While the trauma of police brutality cannot be overstated, we must look deeper — this is about more than just reform,” the letter city councilors signed onto for Walsh read, according to The Boston Herald. “It is about dissecting and reimagining the system which not only allowed for, but actively created Boston’s massive racial wealth gap, the 30 year life expectancy gap based on zip code, and most recently the racial disparities in COVID-19 infections and outcomes.”


5. Re-Naming Things 

Could Faneuil Hall end up with a new name under Mayor Janey?


In 2019, Janey supported putting a proposal on the ballot in Roxbury to change the name of Dudley Square to Nubian Square, after an ancient African civilization situated where southern Egypt and Sudan are now.

At the time, she told The Boston Globe, “People should have the ability to name themselves and define themselves.”

The irony:  supporters wanted to change the name because it honored colonial Governor Thomas Dudley, who served four terms as governor of Massachusetts Bay Colony, where slavery was legal. Meanwhile, Nubia had slaves, as Penn Museum points out.

But then again, maybe it wasn’t about slavery.


6. Sanctuary City Status

Do you think Janey wants to enforce federal immigration law in Boston?

Of course not!

The ACLU asked her in the questionnaire:  “if elected or reelected to the City Council, what will you do to protect Muslim Bostonians and activists from unwarranted federal harassment and surveillance?”

On the face of it, that question is not necessarily about immigration. But for Janey, it was.

Her response made clear that she supports the Safe Communities Act which would turn Massachusetts into a sanctuary state.

“I have been a vocal supporter of the Safe Communities Act on the state and local level. Muslim Bostonians and activists have the right to feel safe in the places they call home,” Janey wrote. “I would also seek to limit interactions between the Boston Police Department and federal law enforcement to an absolute minimum, as well as align policy with the ruling of the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court stating officers cannot hold individuals in custody solely based on civil detainers issued by Immigration and Customs Enforcement.”


7.  Be Pro-Drug

So there is one place on drug policy where Janey gets it right, but one place where she gets it woefully wrong.

To her credit, she wants to treat addiction as a disease and to allow people to seek treatment without incarcerating them. The problem with imprisoning addicts, of course, is that it not only limits their economic opportunities when they leave prison, but there is an abundance of drugs in prison and prisoners have a lot of idle time. That’s a bad mix.

However . . .

She also wants to go easy on drug dealers and traffickers.

The ACLU asked her, “if elected or reelected to the City Council, what are your policy proposals to increase access to long-term treatment, limit arrests for drugs, and implement evidence-based harm reduction services, such as safe consumption spaces?”

In her answer, Janey conflated drug users with drug pushers.

“Substance use disorder is a medical condition, and treatment, not incarceration, is the answer,” she wrote. “I am a strong supporter efforts to eliminate mandatory minimums for drug offenses, and I support establishing early release programs for those convicted of nonviolent drug charges. We need to do more for those on the path to recovery, including connecting them with jobs, family members, housing, and social services.”

If someone’s only crime is that he shoots up heroin, then yes, let him seek treatment. If someone sells heroin to 1,000 people, though, that person is likely helping kill many people. Why should we just let him go and do that some more?