Richard Boggiano and Kevin Bing
Richard Boggiano and Kevin Bing

Ward C Councilman Richard Boggiano and his challenger, community activist Kevin Bing, who will face each other in a runoff election on Tuesday, Dec. 7, are back on the campaign trail trading talking points and at times some not-so-disguised barbs.

The runoff became automatic when no Ward C candidate received over 50 percent of the vote on Nov. 2. Boggiano received nearly 44 percent of the vote, and Bing nearly 30 percent (Tom Zuppa, who was a third candidate who received approximately 27 percent does not qualify for the runoff).

Both men appear at this stage to be focusing on quality-of-life issues. Bing issued a “policy paper” on Nov. 9 citing four issues he said he would address as councilman: street litter; street “beauty” (the condition of sidewalks and the number of street trees); helicopter noise, and park space.

“Journal Square residents have an iPhone’s worth of park space per person. We must expand our park space in Ward C by building new pedestrian plazas, honoring the commitment to develop Courthouse Park and Reservoir #3, preserving the Waldo Community Garden and open space, and reforesting our built environment,” he said.

Alternatively, Boggiano is zooming in on one thing at the moment: parking. Calling the runoff a “referendum” on bike lanes versus parking spots, Boggiano suggests in a press release that a Bing victory could result in the loss of more than 70 parking spaces in the ward and even some residents’ losing their driveways to make room for bike lanes. Also impacted, his statement said, would be mom and pop shopkeepers.

“As a small business owner in the community, my livelihood depends on my customers being able to find parking,” said local business owner Raju Radia. “I know we can count on Councilman Boggiano to help small businesses succeed by protecting and expanding street parking.”

The two men also betray different styles of politicking.

Not only does Boggiano directly critique Bing and his policies, but he focuses on meat and potato issues, reminding readers of his tenure as a “police officer and public servant for over 40 years” running on a platform of “keeping residents safe” among other things.

Bing’s use of a policy paper (in which he alludes to getting back on the campaign trail and knocking on doors) suggests a more cerebral approach though his language is peppered with a longshot’s scrappiness and independence.

“I want voters in Ward C to know that they have a Councilperson who will respond to their phone calls,” Bing said, implying that Boggiano does not. “If elected, my office will represent every constituent equally, not just those who agree with me or supported me in the election.”

Deputy Editor Elizabeth Morrill has worked in business, not for profit fundraising and as a freelance copy editor. She holds degrees in American studies and education from Yale and Harvard.