Garrison takes council seat; to make housing top priority

Althea Garrison

Garrison and City Council President Andrea Campbell.

Mayor Walsh swore Althea Garrison in today as an at-large city councilor, following the resignation of Ayanna Pressley, now in Washington.

Garrison vowed to work for rent control and a requirement that landlords only be allowed to evict tenants for a just cause in the year she has remaining in what had been Pressley's term.

But Garrison also said she hopes to have more time to work on her agenda - she said she plans to run for re-election this fall.

Garrison, who has run almost every year for one elected position or another for decades, gained her seat under a provision of the city charter, which calls for the first runner-up in the election for four at-large council seats to be offered a seat should won of the winners leave office.

Garrison had previously served one term as a state reprensentative, 1993, to 1995.



Free tagging: 




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She's probably America's first black transgender Republican elected official.



She's transgender? I thought that was a cruel joke aimed at her looks.


I should hope to look half as good when I'm her age. She really knows how to do hair and makeup. Don't see a lot of lines on that face.

Should have been left vacant.

Ms. Garrison has been repeatedly rejected by the voters throughout her "career"* And yet, this stupid system gives a vacated seat to the next highest vote-getter. What if she came in sixth out of six, with only one vote? I don't think the City Council is important enough to warrant a special election. By the same token, it can certainly run just fine with one fewer councillor till the next regular election. We could and should have just saved the money allotted for her salary, her benefits, her staff, her office, her perks, and her pension. We should change the system so this doesn't happen again.

*Come to think if it, how exactly does one make a living running for office and losing every time? Nice work if you can get it, I guess.


"What if she got one vote?"

Then she would still deserve the position she has now. Elections shouldn't have minimums. If the electorate wants to sulk and stay home, that's on them.

That's why I vote for myself for most offices: If nobody else votes, I win.


What's your problem with democracy?

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She won the seat fair and square according to the rules. She is mostly harmless.

You make an excellent point that the City Council is not important. Why don't we get rid of it for a year or two and take all that money and put it into bike lanes, parks, schools. It's mostly the Mayor that runs the town anyway, so why have the charade that we need a legislative body?

Does anyone on UHUB actually call their city councilor to sort out a problem? I'd be interested to know what people use their city council for.


Use of city councilors

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Actually, city councilors are very helpful in getting the attention of public agencies when you need them, getting cross walks installed, making sure the BRA is aware of a neighborhood position on an issue when you can’t show up personally to a hearing and other such things. They are like a citizen liaison to the executive branch.


you are delusional

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If you think the majority of the city council is productive....any body can say, i proposed this i supported that....when ya need them they are in DC presenting a purple chair to the laziest of all of them....

Oh cool. She was outed and

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Oh cool. She was outed and shamed for being trans when she was last in office and was the butt of anti-trans sentiment and reporting and is a woman of color. Definitely *no* bias against her being in office, nope.

Also, she is employed by the comptroller and is in her 70s now. Hardly someone living off of running for office.

But go ahead. You do your racist transphobic self.


I'm curious what you find...

...racist or transphobic about anything that anybody has written on this thread. Seriously, please let us know. I don't think our host would tolerate that sort of behavior.


Runoff voting

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This is why we need runoff voting or another system where voters get to express preference for more than one candidate - in addition to being better for third-party candidates, it gives a natural solution for any vacancy as there's an obvious backup selected by voters.


Thank you for your comment

Interesting comment.

... you mean this in general, as a concept right, and not Boston, where there are no parties in municipal voting, I assume.

Edit: I have to continue b/c you're obviously not from Boston. You don't get one vote for a councilor at large, you get four. So, people did "rank" choose.

In fact, I chose her over Michael Flaherty so ..

Boston *does* have runoffs for city elections

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All Boston elections are non-partisan, so third-party candidates are not at a disadvantage. In the case of the four at-large council seats, they have a non-partisan primary in Sept, in which you can vote for four candidates. They then run the top 8 vote-getters in the general election. The top 4 vote-getters get the 4 council seats, and the remaining candidates are alternates, in order of the number of votes cast. If there are fewer than 8 candidates to begin with, they skip the primary.

Change the rules

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In the meantime, stop being such a poor sport because someone that you don't like followed them.

She persisted.



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She still got over 18,000 people in the city to vote for her. The next behind her was Domingos Darosa with 11,647. (The fourth place at-large winner, Annissa Essaibi George, had 45,500+.)
I'm not so sure about her positions on a bunch of issues, but anyone willing to continually go for it on their own dime (she's not paid to run for office....actually I have no idea WHAT she does to support herself) year end and year out gets a thumbs up for stick-to-itness.


What is a comptroller anyway?

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Without looking it up on the internet, does anybody know what the heck a comptroller is? It's another one of those arcane titles like ombudsman.

Hardly arcane

The comptroller is the state's chief accountant, the job is to do for the state government what a CFO does for a corporation: track all the money that the state spends and receives, etc.

State's Chief Accountant

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Well then why don't they call it that instead of something that sounds like an old clunky manual adding machine from the 1940s? Comptroller is indeed an arcane job title.

Companies too

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Some companies also have comptrollers. In my experience they're usually just below the CFO in the corporate hierarchy.

I saw her at a debate when

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I saw her at a debate when she ran for State Senate in my district last spring, following Dorcena Forry's departure. I got to talk to her in person for a couple of minutes after the debate. She's kind of like a sweet grandma, but I would describe her performance as clueless. She'll say where she stand on an issue in a short sentence, but then she has practically nothing to say to argue for or against it.

Even then, she's hardly a treat to democracy; she's kind of entertaining in a way, and she will be replaced in a year.

Good for her

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I can’t wait to get the stenographer’s notes of her first speech. I’m glad I took that class on stenography. It’s finally paying off.

Flawed inaccurate produced off site video captions.

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● Public funded WGBH Media Access Group Caption Services.
Flawed inaccurate produced offsite WGBH Media Access Group Caption Services video captions of the Wednesday 9 January 2019 Public Meeting of Boston City Council are to turn up promptly at the bottom of the webpage at

● Public funded City of Boston Stenographic Services.
An example of a flawed inaccurate attempt decoding an earlier .sgstn computer file of the produced onsite Stenographic Record

● Public funded Minutes produced from the Stenographic Record.
Minutes, less complete, produced by Legislative Support Program of Boston City Clerks Offices at

Sweet but clueless

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I've met her a few times and saw her at some candidate forums. As someone else said, she seems clueless. She is conservative on social issues, otherwise her philosophy is incoherent. Despite all the jokes at her expense, and some pretty mean coverage in the Herald, she persisted. So kudos to her.