By Matt Conti
District 1 City Councilor Sal LaMattina announced that he will not seek reelection in September 2017 for another term on the Boston City Council. The decision comes after 29 years of public service to the City of Boston, including 11 years on the City Council. “I feel the time is right to move on to something new,” said the 57-year-old LaMattina to friends and supporters at a Tuesday night event in the North End.
The East Boston resident started his city career as a neighborhood liaison for the North End, rising to become a major political force in the District 1 neighborhoods of the North End, Charlestown and East Boston.
Reflecting on his decision he added, “I am proud of my accomplishments in the district, especially in helping residents and small businesses. I have no specific plans, but I am anxious for new challenges after leaving office and I will probably look for other ways to help the community in the years ahead.”
LaMattina played a key role in defending urban quality of life as development and gentrification brought major changes to the North End and downtown Boston. The expansion of the Eliot K-8 Innovation School will be a lasting legacy for the councilor. Working with neighborhood families, he helped the city secure the 585 Commercial Street location and negotiated the property swap with the North Bennet Street School that also allowed the historic trade school to grow in the North End. The councilor worked closely with Boston Police on reducing crime and public safety issues. In particular, he led the Problem Property Taskforce to help city agencies deal with absentee landlord issues, such as excessive trash and loud parties.
LaMattina was an important force in pushing to save the North End Nursing Home for local seniors. On the City Council, he was appointed a voting member of the Civil Rights Committee and recently traveled to Europe with City Council President Michelle Wu to meet climate change leaders.
Representing three waterfront neighborhoods, LaMattina has been an advocate for water transportation and a new ferry system to connect East Boston, North End and Seaport to help alleviate traffic congestion. In his latest term, he secured funding to study a new North End community center and continues to work on proposed regulations for short-term rentals, such as AirBnb, to protect neighborhood housing.
LaMattina was first elected in 2006 in a special election to fill the seat of former District 1 City Councilor Paul Scapicchio. He won in a very tight race with Daniel Ryan who is now State Rep. for the 2nd Suffolk District.
LaMattina’s decision marks a changing of the guard on the City Council among several Boston neighborhoods. District 2 Councilor Bill Linehan is also vacating his seat on the City Council this year. District 2 includes much of Downtown (including the waterfront south of Christopher Columbus Park), South Boston, Chinatown and the South End. In Roxbury, Councilor Tito Jackson is running for Mayor which will leave a third district seat open there.
LaMattina’s home neighborhood of East Boston has the most voters in District 1 and his announcement breaks open the field for the seat. LaMattina was popular as councilor and had little competition in securing his most recent terms. After his announcement not to seek reelection, there could be multiple candidates announcing their intentions in the weeks and months ahead before the September election.