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波士頓市議員吳弭 (Michelle Wu ) - meeting note 11/7







Anyone can sign up to receive these notes by email at www.michelleforboston.com/sendmenotes or see the list of all previous notes at www.michelleforboston.com/notes.

Back Taxes: We voted to pass the ordinance filed by Councilors Edwards & Flynn regarding the repayment of back taxes, which would allow the City to negotiate with with those who are delinquent on property taxes to set up payment plans and reduce interest for those in financial hardship. Councilor Flaherty held a working session regarding ordinance in September, and Councilor Ciommo also held a hearing on flexible payment plans for property taxes arrears. After feedback from the administration, the new draft of the ordinance features a single repayment program for low-income elderly residents, with a five-year repayment plan and 50% interest forgiveness.

Tax Classifications and Residential Exemptions: Councilor Ciommo filed an annual order to approve the FY19 tax classification to residential properties and set the residential factor at the lowest level permitted by state statute, as well as to approve residential exemptions at the maximum, which is 35% of the average assessed value of eligible residential parcels. The matter was assigned to the Committee on Ways & Means.

Pension Fund Investment: Councilors Edwards, O’Malley and I filed a hearing order to discuss disclosure and divestment of City pension funds to ensure socially responsible investment. Currently, the City invests billions of dollars in stocks across different industries, from real estate to fossil fuel industries and defense sectors. Councilor Edwards noted that the pension funds are established to protect workers, but some of the investments are tied to socially irresponsible actors that cause harm. Councilor O’Malley emphasized that divestment is often not just a moral decision but the financially smart decision as well -- investments in fossil fuels put retirees’ stability at risk, as renewable energy companies have been growing and have become a demonstrated better investment. I also noted that in general, the city should be recognizing our power to have impact by making our investments and purchases proactively aligned with our policy goals. Other cities have divested their pension funds from the fossil fuel sector and/or unethical industries, including New York City and Somerville, and while the City of Boston established an interim cash investment policy outlining protocols for non-pension fund investments, it does not currently exercise socially responsible investment screens. The matter was assigned to the Ways and Means Committee for a hearing.    

Use of Public Ways: Councilor Zakim filed a hearing order on the process for approving road closures on our streets for special events. He noted that nearly weekly road closures for not just large scale signature events, but road races and other events, can impose burdens on residents who try to navigate their travels, especially for Back Bay residents where most of the road closure events take place. The matter was assigned to Planning, Development, Transportation Committee for a hearing.  

Violence and Trauma: Councilor Pressley called for a listening-only hearing to understand challenges faced by communities impacted by violence and trauma and gather recommendations regarding the City’s response system through a listening session. She stated that her first hearing on the Council was a historic listening-only session on the same topic, and set an agenda for her work to come. She will similarly convene another session and synthesize the testimony into another report. The matter was assigned to the Committee on Healthy Women, Families & Communities.

Appropriation Orders:
  • $6.5M from the City’s Capital Grant Fund to address the impact of transportation network services on the City’s public travel infrastructure, such as municipal roads and bridges. The matter was assigned to the Ways and Means Committee for a hearing.
  • $16,077 from the FY19 Collective Bargaining Reserve to fund the collective bargaining agreements between the Boston Public Schools and the AFSCME Council 92, Local 230A, which includes a 2% wage increase. [Passed]

Grants:
  • $966,932 from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to fund a coordinated health and social service system for elderly independent living. The grant will be administered by the Elderly Commission. [Passed]
  • $78,984 from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to fund services to improve the health of seniors in Boston. The grant will be administered by the Elderly Commision.  [Passed]
  • $30,000 worth of Naloxone kits from AETNA through the Boston Public Health Commision. This will enable BPHC to conduct a series of overdose prevention training with selected City departments, with the vision to expand this to other City departments as part of a pilot program. [Passed].
  • 14,765.56 from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services for information and services to improve the health of seniors in Boston. This order supplements an earlier FY17 allocation. The grant will be administered by the Elderly Commission. [Passed].
  • Two wooden city seals from the Massachusetts College of Art and Design to be used during City programs as part of the Mayor’s podium. The seals will be laser cut by student technicians, and will be used daily. [Passed]

Make Boston Shine Fund: The Mayor filed an order to create a “Make Boston Shine Trust Fund” to promote civic engagement and community pride, and to support projects that will beautify our neighborhoods. The matter was assigned to the Committee on Ways & Means.

Upcoming hearings (In the City Council Chamber unless otherwise noted. Watch at: https://www.boston.gov/departments/city-council/watch-boston-city-council-tv):

  • Thu, November 8th, 3pm: Working session re: speculation in the Boston housing market (Housing and Community Development)
  • Tues, November 13th, 10am, Hearing re: speed limits and pedestrian safety (Planning, Development & Transportation)
  • Tues, November 13th, 5:30pm: Hearing re: gentrification and displacement in Roxbury (Housing and Community Development)[Offsite at the Bruce Bolling Building]
  • Wed, November 14th, 12pm: Hearing re: Boston Freedom Rally (Environment, Sustainability, and Parks)
  • Thursday, November 29th, 4pm: Hearing on Declaring Surplus the City of Boston’s Frontage Road Parcels (Planning, Development & Transportation)
  • Our next City Council meeting will be on November 28, 2018 at 12pm


Tomorrow night we'll see the results of one of the most important elections in our lifetimes. Massachusetts and the country stand at a crossroads for how to tackle the generational challenges of racial and economic inequality and climate change that will determine opportunity for generations to come. Whatever issue matters most to you, make sure your voice is included and remind your friends, family, and neighbors to exercise their civic duty too: VOTE!
I'm proud to stand with the Democratic ticket in our state to push for bolder and faster progress. The status quo is failing too many residents, and it's time to reach for a more inclusive and sustainable future. Massachusetts voters will also decide three ballot questions, and I hope you'll consider a Yes vote across the board:
  • Yes on Question 1 for safer staffing ratios for nurses serving patients in critical care
  • Yes on Question 2 for the creation of a citizens commission to push for a constitutional amendment limiting the influence of money on elections
  • Yes on Question 3 to uphold public accommodations protections that guarantee equality for transgender residents
Tonight, we rallied in Roxbury for a future that recognizes we are all connected, and government should be leading the charge to create opportunities for everyone. From public transportation to affordable childcare and quality education, we can demand a better future. Tomorrow, let's vote to make it happen! 
See you at the polls,

Paid for and Authorized by The Wu Committee
The Wu Committee
P.O. Box 960782
Boston, MA 02196
Today’s meeting started with a special thank you to the Boston city workers who were recognized as Shattuck Award winners for excellence in public service by the Boston Municipal Research Bureau last night. We also had a special performance by 10 year-old Domenic Cole, who under the mission called “Percussion for a Purpose” drums for tips in Boston Common that he donates to organizations addressing homelessness. Anyone can sign up to receive these notes by email at www.michelleforboston.com/sendmenotes or see the list of all previous notes at www.michelleforboston.com/notes.

Local Wetlands Protection Ordinance: I filed an ordinance in partnership with Councilor O’Malley aimed at strengthening the City’s ability to fight climate change and reasonably regulate development. The Local Wetlands Protection Ordinance would empower the Boston Conservation Commission to require green infrastructure with new development, including protections for urban wetlands and natural resource areas, and explicitly adopt climate change adaptation as a resource area value. These areas are important not just for conservation of open space and wildlife habitats, but to manage rain, flooding and heat. Especially in light of the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report last week, with over 1,000 scientists over 2.5 years concluding that the world may have only twelve years left to keep greenhouse gas emissions below a threshold that keeps the planet livable, we must take every possible action to reduce energy demand, increase renewable energy supply, and transform our land use policies to align with climate change mitigation and adaptation. Boston is currently one of the only three coastal municipalities without such a municipal ordinance adding protections beyond the state baselines. The matter was assigned to the Government Operations Committee for a hearing.

Marriott Strike: We voted unanimously to pass a resolution that Councilor Flynn and I introduced in support of the 1,500 Unite Here Local 26 Marriott Hotel workers who have been on strike since October 3rd for the principle that one job should be enough to survive. The workers are fighting to decent wages, access to affordable health care, and scheduling predictability. The resolution asks the Council to support and honor the strike and picket line by not eating, meeting, or sleeping at Marriott Hotels while a labor dispute is in effect.

Immigration and Public Charge Rule: We voted to pass a resolution sponsored by Councilors Zakim, Campbell and Pressley against Donald Trump’s proposed expansion of the definition of “public benefits” within the “public charge” rule as it relates to federal immigration policy. One of the assessments for granting citizenship or maintaining legal status is to consider whether someone is a “public charge,” which means that he or she is likely to be dependent on government support, receiving cash benefits or long term institutionalized care at the government’s expense. Currently, the public charge assessment does not include non-cash benefits such as Medicaid, housing subsidies, or nutritional assistance. However, if the proposed changes go through, immigration officials would be able to count these non-cash benefits towards determining whether someone is a public charge, jeopardizing families who want to maintain their health, housing, and nutrition with the threat of losing their legal status.

Winthrop Square Proceeds: We voted to authorize a disbursement of $105.4 million dollars from the sale of the Winthrop Square garage parcel to Millennium Partners and , which recently closed. As designated earlier, this funding will be allocated as one-time funding supports for improvements and to create trusts for the Boston Common, Franklin Park, and the Greenway Conservancy, as well as the redevelopment of Boston Housing Authority’s Old Colony development in South Boston and Orient Heights development in East Boston. Here is the breakdown (including $1.6M from the FY19 capital budget)
  • $23M for Franklin Park improvements
  • $23M for Boston Common improvements
  • $11M for Emerald Necklace improvements
  • $15M for the creation of 3 trusts ($5M each for Boston Commo, Franklin Park, and the Greenway) whose interest will fund maintenance of these parks
  • $25M for the Old Colony Development
  • $10M for the Orient Heights Development

Browne Fund: We voted to approve the appropriation of $809,500 from the Edward Ingersoll Browne Fund following a hearing chaired by Councilor Flynn. The Browne fund was created in 1892 through a will directing that 1/3 of the Browne estate be set aside in a special fund for improvement of Boston’s public spaces. Only investment earnings income generated from the fund is used for projects. This cycle’s grants are:
  • $24,500 to the Foundation for the Preservation of 20 Arlington Street for landscape improvements and lighting near Arlington Street Church;
  • $225,000 to the Fund for Boston Neighborhoods for a memorial honoring the victims of the 2013 Boston Marathon bombings;
  • $50,000 to Rosie’s Place for a memorial honoring Kip Tiernan;
  • $25,000 to the Friends of Elliot Norton/Bay Village Parks for landscape improvements and restoration to Bay Village Park and Fountain;
  • $100,000 to the Nonquit Street Land Trust to refurbish Nonquit Street Park Green and a piece of public artwork;
  • $120,000 to the Friends of Memorial Hall for ornamental fencing around Memorial Hall and lighting elements for the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Garden and Monument;
  • $45,000 to the Puerto Rican Veteran Square Association for an ornamental gateway located at the entrance of the Memorial Park;
  • $50,000 to the Frederick Douglass Sculpture Committee for landscape design development to the open space surrounding the planned Frederick Douglass sculpture located along Tremont St in Roxbury;
  • $20,000 to the Roxbury PATH Forward Neighborhood Association for public art in Gertrude Howes Park to celebrate individuals during the Civil Rights era and beyond;
  • $150,000 to the Freedom Trail Foundation for the creation of public art adjacent to Faneuil Hall commemorating Africans and African-Americans sold into slavery on Merchants Row.

Fiber Optic Cable in City Buildings: We voted to authorize the Department of Innovation and Technology (DoIT) to enter a contract with Crown Castle Fiber, LLC following a hearing chaired by Councilor Ciommo. The contract will be for a period of up to 30 years for the lease of fiber optic cable connecting 170 City buildings with the City’s existing fiber optic network.

Collective Bargaining: We voted to authorize the appropriations to fund recently settled collective bargaining agreements between the Boston Public Health Commission and Local 888. The major provisions of the contracts include base wage increases of 2% effective the first pay period of January of each fiscal year through 2020, paid parental leave, and other benefits consistent with other city contracts.

Dockless Mobility and Electric Scooters: Councilor O’Malley reported back on a hearing that I chaired on Monday regarding micromobility and dockless scooters. The technology allows for electric, motorized scooters that can travel up to 15mph with a goal of providing first- and last-mile connections to transit. At the hearing representatives from the City, micromobility companies and advocates discussed changes that would be needed to state law to authorize scooters. Boston is working on a regional pilot with our municipal partners in the bike share system (Cambridge, Brookline & Somerville) to launch a dockless scooter pilot, potentially next spring.

BPS Exam School Admissions: Councilors Janey and Campbell filed a hearing order to examine the admission policies for the three exam schools in Boston: Boston Latin School, Boston Latin Academy, and John D. O’Bryant School of Mathematics and Science. Admissions to these schools is determined by test scores from the ISEE (Independent School Entrance Exam) and grades from the last two grades. The sponsors noted that the demographics of exam school students do not reflect the makeup of Boston Public Schools overall. Black and Latino students make up 75% of total BPS students, but only 40% of the population in exam schools, and only 20% at Boston Latin School. The ISEE also includes subjects not covered by the BPS curriculum, giving advantage to families who can afford outside test prep. Recently, the Harvard Kennedy School conducted an analysis suggesting that if admissions were based on MCAS rather than ISEE scores, enrollment by Black and Hispanic students could increase by up to 50%. Councilor O’Malley spoke about the need for maintaining a meritocracy, though the competition should be fair and all students should have access. He noted that BPS may start administering the ISEE to all 6th graders during school as soon as next year. From my perspective, we need to see equity in access to every BPS school, but also change the system so that every high school seat is a quality opportunity, not just at exam schools. The matter was assigned to the Education Committee for a hearing.

Corporate Tax Break Transparency: I called for a hearing on transparency around corporate tax breaks. Boston residents deserve complete transparency when corporations receive breaks on their obligation to pay taxes that fund needed city services. Residents should be able to access information about the companies that receive tax breaks, such as benefits they will provide the city, including number of jobs created with wages and benefits information. Transparency would also ensure effective monitoring and accountability. Massachusetts received the lowest score from the Pew Foundation in 2017 for its evaluation of tax breaks, and Boston’s Tax Increment Financing Program received a score of zero in transparency from Good Jobs First, while other cities, such as New York and Austin, are providing their citizens with transparent databases that hold government and businesses accountable. The matter was assigned to the Committee on Ways & Means for a hearing.

Equitable Homeownership: We voter to pass Councilor Edward’s resolution urging modernizing the Community Reinvestment Act (CRA). The CRA was was enacted on October 12, 1977, to end the practice of “redlining” by financial institutions that prevented low income families and people of color from getting mortgages and loans from banks. The CRA established regulations for monitoring the level of lending from banks to low and moderate income communities, and banks are assigned a “grade” based on an institution’s level of lending to these communities. CRA has been successful, with CRA-covered banks issuing more than 25 million small business loans in low- and moderate-income tracts totalling in value of $1 trillion, and $980 billion in community development loans that support affordable housing and economic development projects since 1996. However, the CRA has not reached its full potential, since it has not been updated to take into account changes in the banking industry, and independent mortgage companies and financial technology companies not covered by CRA make up a substantial portion of the lending market.

Siting Recovery Facilities: Councilors Edwards, McCarthy & Essaibi-George filed a hearing order to discuss regulations on the proximity of alcohol and cannabis establishments to recovery facilities. Currently there are regulations governing the proximity between these facilities and schools and on minimum distance from other cannabis establishments. The sponsors stated that the city should address how it can fairly encourage businesses while also protecting the public health of our residents. The matter was assigned to the Homelessness, Mental Health & Recovery Committee for a hearing.

Grants:
  • Fire Department FEMA Grants: $966,871 for an Accountability Management System for critical on scene activities, including Personal Accountability Reports and unit assignments and $172,427 for personnel to be trained in tech rescue in Boston and its surrounding towns and cities, assigned to the Committee on Public Safety & Criminal Justice. We also passed a $54,286 grant for 1,500 smoke alarms, 1000 carbon monoxide monitors, and 10,000 fire safety education materials for outreach and prevention activities carried out by the Fire Department’s Fire Prevention Division, and $50,124 for instructor-led, train-the-trainer courses and clinical resources to develop a peer support program in the Fire Department.
  • Waste Reduction: $2,000 from the Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs for the FY19 Sustainable Material Recovery Program to fund materials and services for waste reduction programs. The grant will be administered by the Environment Department. (Passed)

Appointment: The Mayor appointed Kathleen Joyce as the Chair of the Boston Licensing Board, for a term expiring June 1, 2020.

Upcoming hearings (In the City Council Chamber unless otherwise noted. Watch at: https://www.boston.gov/departments/city-council/watch-boston-city-council-tv):

  • Thursday, October 18th, 1pm: Hearing re: BPDA’s biannual Urban Renewal Update (Planning, Development, and Transportation)
  • Thursday, October 18th, 6pm: Working session re: Redevelopment of One Charlestown. Location: Harvard Kent School.  (Housing and Community Development)
  • Tue, October 30th, 11am: Hearing re: Safety of Boston’s gas line infrastructure. (Environment, Sustainability, and Parks)
  • Our next City Council meeting will be on October 24, 2018 at 12pm

Today, we declared September 24-30 as Climate Preparedness Week in the City of Boston! Next week, community leaders are hosting events around greater Boston to help prepare residents for the dangerous impacts of climate change and extreme weather. For more information or to find out about activities near you, check out climatecrew.org/prepweek. Anyone can sign up to receive these notes by email at www.michelleforboston.com/sendmenotes or see the list of all previous notes at www.michelleforboston.com/notes.

Public Accommodations Protections: We voted (11-0, Councilors Flaherty & Zakim absent) to adopt Councilor O’Malley’s resolution in support of voting yes on Question 3 on this year’s ballot, which asks voters whether to maintain the anti-discrimination and public accomodation laws passed in 2016 to protect the rights of transgender people. This referendum is the first attempt in the country to repeal transgender public accommodation laws. Voting Yes would preserve the statewide anti-discrimination protections.

Commission for Economic Justice in the Construction Industry: Councilors Edwards and Janey filed an ordinance to establish a Commission for Economic Justice in the Boston’s Construction Industry. In order to better implement and ensure compliance of the revised Boston Residents Jobs Policy, the Councilors would like to establish this commission to have biannual reviews to assess union and nonunion contractors’ performance in meeting the standards set in the Boston Residents Jobs Policy. The language would require at least two public hearings a year with representatives of each of the trade unions covering Boston, and twice a year with representatives of open shop trade associations which represent non-union contractors. The Commission representatives would include one representative from each of the nine Council districts from nominees put forward by district Councilors and four representatives appointed by the Mayor (one with a history of advocating for the rights of Boston workers and involvement with education, one with a history of advocacy for workers of color, and one with a history of advocacy for women in the construction field). The matter was assigned to the Government Operations Committee.

Net-Zero Carbon Requirements: Councilor O’Malley reported back as Chair of the Committee on Environment, Sustainability and Parks on three working sessions over the last year on the benefits of net-zero carbon requirements and incentives for future construction. He summarized policy suggestions coming out of these sessions:
  • Incentivize density bonuses
  • Lower parking requirements
  • Require energy use intensity reporting after a year of operation
  • Include riders during the land-disposition process that new construction become Net Zero Carbot
  • Establish a Net Zero Carbon Overlay District
  • Advocate for a State building code to follow Architecture 2030
  • Hire an engineer to conduct a review of energy models and ensure quality control of Article 37
  • Support family homes in converting from oil to heat pumps
  • Expedite permitting for qualifying projects
  • Revise the floor area ratio in the zoning code to measure from the inside of the wall
  • Promote the use of eco-roofs (green, solar, solar thermal, etc)
The matter remains in Committee.

Gas Infrastructure: Councilors O’Malley, Flynn and Pressley called for a hearing to examine the safety of gas infrastructure in the city and look at our emergency preparedness measures in the face of risks from gas leaks and incidents. In the wake of what happened in Lawrence, North Andover and Andover, we need to make sure that natural gas companies have the standards to ensure the safety of neighborhoods, and that the City is taking all the necessary steps to ensure this disaster is not repeated. Specifically, the Councilors called for discussing natural gas safety features such as automatic shutoff valves, communications strategies to inform residents through multiple sources about disaster preparedness, and optimized coordination with utilities. The matter was assigned to the Committee on Environment, Sustainability & Parks for a hearing.

Employment and Residents Jobs Policy: Councilors Edwards and Janey filed an hearing order on a biannual review of the Boston Employment Commission and Boston Resident Jobs Policy. The policy, first enacted in 1983 and most recently revised in 2017, requires city-financed construction projects to have at least 51% of the working hours be performed by Boston workers, at least 40% workers of color, and at least 12% women. The Boston Municipal Code requires the Council to hold biannual hearings with the Boston Employment Commission about compliance on the Boston Residents Jobs Policy, including data on the number of compliance determinations, contractors or developers out of compliance, sanctions received, sanctions by trade, work hours by trade and total hours performed by Boston workers, women and people of color. The Councilors also noted that the hearing would consider procedural structures to have uninterrupted biannual reviews. The matter was assigned to the Committee on Jobs, Wages, and Workforce Development for a hearing.

Opioid Crisis: Councilor Essaibi-George filed a hearing order in compliance with open meeting law as the Council and Boston State Delegation convene a working session regarding a collaborative approach to tackle the opioid crisis on Monday, September 24th, at 10AM in the Curley Room at City Hall. She noted that the meeting will be open to the public, but there will be no public testimony taken.

Grants:
  • Domestic Violence Advocates: Mayor Walsh filed an authorization order for the Council to accept a $417,809 Edward Byrne Memorial Justice Assistance Grant from the Justice Department to fund four Domestic Violence Advocates. The grant will be administered by the Police Department. The matter was assigned to the Committee on Public Safety & Criminal Justice for a hearing.
  • Youth Homelessness: We voted to approve the Mayor’s order to accept $4.92M from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development for the FFY17 Youth Homelessness Demonstration Program. This is the largest grant of its kind that the City has ever received. On any given night, there are over 360 youth and young adults on our streets and in our shelters experiencing homelessness, not to mention youth who are couch-surfing and living in unsafe conditions who are undercounted in this number.
Grants: The Mayor filed orders to request authorization to accept the following grants:
  • Reducing $155,895 from the FY19 Reserve for Collective Bargaining to provide funding for collective bargaining agreements between Property Management and the Municipal Police Patrolmen’s Association
  • Reducing $42,146 from the Reserve for Collective Bargaining to provide funding for collective bargaining agreements between Parks and Recreation Department and the Boston Park Rangers Association
  • Reducing $23,806 Reserve for Collective Bargaining to provide funding for collective bargaining agreements between Property Management and the Municipal Police Superior Officers Association
Trust Fund for BPS Kitchens:  We voted to approve establishing the “My Way Cafe Trust Fund” following Councilor Ciommo’s recent hearing. The order creates a mechanism to accept and disburse funds for the City to renovate or retrofit kitchens in various Boston Public Schools so that fresh and healthy meals can be cooked and served on site. Councilor Edwards noted some concerns about the lack of opportunity for Councilors to shape the details of the language establishing the trust, which does not include a parent or teacher on the board, and any guarantees for continuing to provide meals with potential future shortfalls.

Upcoming Hearings (In the City Council Chamber unless otherwise noted. Watch at: https://www.boston.gov/departments/city-council/watch-boston-city-council-tv)
  • Thursday, 9/20, 5:30pm: Working Session re: East Boston Master Plan (Planning, Development, and Transportation)[Offsite at the East Boston YMCA, 215 Bremen Street]
  • Monday, 9/24, 10am: Working Session re: the opioid crisis (Homelessness, Mental Health & Recovery)[Curley Room]
  • Thursday, 9/27, 12pm: Hearing re: land disposition and stewardship (Planning, Development, and Transportation)
  • Monday, 10/1, 3pm: Hearing to review the Boston Public School's strategies to serve off-track youth (Education)
  • Tuesday, 10/2, 1pm: Hearing re: plans regarding reconstruction of the Long Island Bridge and the reopening of service facilities (Planning, Development, and Transportation; Homelessness, Mental Health and Recovery)
  • Our next City Council meeting will be on September 26, 2018 at 12pm

Please save the date to join my annual block party in Roslindale: Thursday, August 23rd, 5-8PM! Bring the whole family for food, music, and fun outside my home on Augustus Ave. To RSVP, respond to this email or register online here: bit.ly/WuBlockParty18

Hope to see you in a few weeks!


P.S. If interested in volunteering, respond to this email or click here.

We started today’s meeting by joining Councilor Janey in celebrating local activist and community leader Stephanie Thomas and joining Councilor Pressley in thanking the advocacy organization, Parenting Journey, for their work to propose a parenting bill of rights. Anyone can sign up to receive these notes by email at www.michelleforboston.com/sendmenotes or see the list of all previous notes at www.michelleforboston.com/notes.

Living Wage Ordinance: Mayor Walsh submitted for Council approval an ordinance amending City of Boston Code, Ordinances, Chapter 24, Boston Jobs and Living Wage Ordinance. These amendments will ensure that City dollars are not used to undercut the prevailing standards that have been attained by individuals who clean and maintain buildings and individuals who provide security guard services, such prevailing standards exceeding the current requirements of the City’s Living Wage ordinance. The Mayor also added a transitional employment period for individuals providing such services to the City in the event that a City contract expires or is otherwise terminated. This police will provide valuable protection for workers and serve the City’s interest in maintaining a qualified and experienced contracted workforce that is familiar with the City’s facilities and work. You can view the entire ordinance here.

Back Taxes: Councilors Edwards and Flynn filed a ordinance regarding repayment of back taxes. Boston has a significant number of low-income, elderly and disabled homeowners that have property tax arrears owed to the City. Although the City provides support for payment of future taxes, such as a senior tax work-off program, there is currently a requirement that payment plans must include a 25% down payment and one year for paying off the full amount. State law allows municipalities to adopt a provision granting the ability to enter into more flexible payment plans and the ability to forgive up to 50% of accrued interest pursuant to G.L Ch. 60 Sec 62A. The Councilors propose extending the repayment period to three years in general, or five years for those with a demonstrated financial hardship and who is a senior, recently unemployed, disabled, or a veteran or on active military status. The legislation would also create the ability for the City to enter into commercial repayment agreements that could waive 50% of the interest accrued if the property owner files a written agreement for remediation of an environmentally contaminated site, leasing of at least half of the housing units at below-market rents for ten years, or leasing a retail storefront at below-market rent to a Boston business for five years. The matter was assigned to the Committee on Government Operations for a hearing.

Chain Store Zoning: I filed a zoning text amendment with Councilors Janey and Edwards to amend our zoning code to regulate formula retail use, also known as chain stores, to require conditional use permits for chain stores to open in neighborhood business districts. Chain stores would be defined as an establishment with 11+ locations worldwide and satisfy at least two of the following: a standardized array of merchandise, a standardized facade, a standardized decor and color scheme, uniform apparel, standardized signage, a trademark or a servicemark. The legislation would not prohibit chain stores anywhere, but would give local residents and stakeholders a voice in community process before the Zoning Board of Appeals in how a national corporation might complement a neighborhood rather than destabilize local businesses. Councilor Janey spoke about how important small businesses are for building community and community wealth, and that chain stores may make sense in some locations but not others. Councilor Edwards stated that the North End Starbucks fight highlighted that our zoning code should treat chain stores differently from local businesses because of different impacts, both positive and negative. Councilor O’Malley expressed caution, saying that local elected officials can have a role in speaking up even in as-of-right situations, and this is a complicated matter that could have unforeseen consequences, particularly worrying about locally-owned businesses that have grown to have many locations. Councilor Campbell reinforced that the zoning code is very complicated, and chain stores may be welcome in many places. The matter was assigned to the Committee on Planning, Development & Transportation for a hearing.

Discrimination, Harassment, and Retaliation Policy: Councilors Zakim and Pressley filed an order to adopt a discrimination, harassment, and retaliation policy for City Council employees, following working sessions to discuss details. The proposed language would codify a zero tolerance policy for any form of discrimination, harassment, or retaliation, including Councilors, paid staff, and unpaid staff. The policy defines a process for receiving, documenting, and addressing each complaint, with deadlines for action. The matter was assigned to the Committee on Rules and Administration for a hearing.

Parent Bill of Rights: We voted to adopt Councilor Pressley’s resolution to support Parenting Journey’s Parents’ Bill of Rights. Parenting Journey, a national nonprofit based in Somerville, has established a Parents’ Bill of Rights to support policies that empower families and erode systemic barriers of oppression. These policies include paid time off to care for a new child or sick family member, comprehensive healthcare, high quality and affordable childcare, and much more. You can read more about the Bill of Rights at https://parentingjourney.org/pbor.

Archaic Statutes Targeting Young Women: We voted to adopt Councilor Pressley’s resolution to urge the House Committee on Ways and Means and Governor Baker to, respectively, pass bill S.2260 “Act negating archaic statutes targeting young women” and sign it into law. She noted that with Justice Anthony Kennedy’s announcement of his retirement from the court, the President and his administration can nominate a new Supreme Court judge, upending a delicate pro-choice majority. The lawsuits seeking to overturn Roe v. Wade, which provided access to safe and legal abortion care, are moving through the lower courts. There are several archaic statutes still on the books in Massachusetts that limit access to birth control and abortion and pose new threats to women’s reproductive freedom should the federal government overturn Roe. Bill S.2260 would repeal archaic laws targeting women, including the laws that could be used to criminalize abortion.

Child Care Assistance to Homeless Families: We voted to adopt the resolution filed by Councilors Pressley and Essaibi-George to support S.257 and H.2796 “An Act providing immediate child care assistance to homeless families.” Currently, there are 1,123 homeless families in Boston and parents in a shelter must prove that they take part in a “service need” such as employment or education for 30 hours a week to qualify for full-time child care, but for most families their eligibility depends on their ability to find flexible child care. Childhood homelessness has been linked to social and emotional delays among teens and low academic achievement. The passing of these bills will ensure all families, no matter their socioeconomic background have access to tools to ensure their children are adequately supported during their educational, emotional, and physical growth.

Foundation Budget Amendment: We voted to adopt Councilor Essaibi-George’s resolution supporting Rep. Dan Ryan’s amendment to cap the municipal revenue growth factor for communities like Boston and allow our city to benefit from new funding sources. Nearly every Councilor spoke about the need for Boston to be treated equitably in school funding, and how the foundation budget changes should include improvements for Boston as well.

INon-U.S. Citizen Voting: Councilors Flaherty and Campbell reported back about yesterday’s hearing on extending voting privileges in municipal elections to non-citizens, including residents and taxpayers who are legal permanent residents, as well as visa holders, Temporary Protected status recipients, and Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals recipients. The matter remains in Committee for further action.

Surplus Request: Frontage Road in South Boston: Mayor Walsh filed an order to declare surplus and transfer of care, custody, management and control of the following parcels to the Public Facilities Committee: 400 & 200 Frontage Road. This would enable the City to potentially sell off the Public Works facility and tow lot for private development. The matter was assigned to the Committee on Planning, Development & Transportation for a hearing.

Wetlands Protection Legislation: I filed a hearing order regarding the local wetlands protection legislation to examine the policies and resources available for the development and implementation of local wetlands ordinance. Urban wetlands are an effective land use for alleviating the effects of climate change, particularly managing flooding and reducing the urban heat island effect. They also provide important ecosystem services, such as water filtration, wildlife habitat, and pollution sequestration, including carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases that contribute to climate change. A total of 198 municipalities within the Commonwealth have enacted local wetlands ordinances, and those, such as Arlington, that have included consideration of climate change in their regulations, have effectively provided better protection against flooding and heat island effects. The matter has been assigned to the Committee on Environment, Sustainability & Parks for a hearing.

Retirement Age of Police Officers: Councilors Flaherty and Flynn filed a hearing order to discuss the retirement age of Boston police officers, currently set at 65 years of age. Councilors Flaherty and Flynn stated that police officers gain significant training and experience, as well as develop relationships and familiarity with communities in our city. There is a need to retain talent and experience, as many officers have the mental and physical capabilities to continue to serve beyond the required retirement age of 65. The matter has been assigned to the Committee on Public Safety & Criminal Justice for a hearing.

Body-worn Cameras: Councilor Campbell filed a hearing order to review the Boston Police’s body-worn camera pilot program final study results. In September 2016, Boston Police began a six month body-worn camera pilot program, which was extended an additional six months to ensure sufficient data is available for an effective study of the program. Northeastern University School of Criminology and Criminal Justice has recently released their final and full evaluation of the pilot program. The matter has been assigned to the Committee on Public Safety & Criminal Justice for a hearing.

Appointments: Mayor Walsh made the following appointments:
  • Kara Elliott-Ortega as Interim Arts Commissioner of the Office of Arts & Culture, effective July 1, 2018.
  • Gayle Willett, Commissioner of Assessing, appointed Julie Castor as Assistant Assessor, effective June 9, 2018.
  • We voted to approve the Constable Bonds of Baraa Mohamed, Charles MBA and Carmen Rivera as approved by the Collector-Treasurer.
Hero Square Designation: We voted to approve the following resolutions to designate a Hero Square to recognize the following individuals’ service and sacrifice for our country:
  • Councilor Baker designated the intersection of Edison Green Street and Pond Street in Dorchester as 2nd Lieutenant Warren Francis Ames Hero Square. He joined the U.S. Army/Air Force on April 26, 1943 at the age of 19, and served as a 2nd Lt. in Hungary. He was killed in action during a battle in Hungary on March 2, 1946.
  • Councilor Baker designated the intersection of Bellevue Street and Kane Street in Dorchester as the Sergeant Victor M. Gemelli Hero Square. He was born in Roxbury and grew up in Dorchester. He joined the U.S. Army at the age of 35 and served as Sergeant in Germany. Sgt. Gemelli was killed in action on October 21, 1944 from wounds received during hostile ground action in Germany
  • Councilor Ciommo designated the intersection of Royce Road and Commonwealth in Allston as the Private First Class John MacDonald Hero Square. He served bravely in World War II with Company F, Second Battalion, Eighth Marine Regiment, Second Marine Division and was killed in action on November 20, 1943 in the Battle of Tarawa. His remains were not identified and returned to his family until 74 years later and was finally laid to rest at the Massachusetts National Cemetery
Grants: We voted to approve Mayor Walsh’s authorization orders for:
  • Department of Neighborhood Development to receive $17,299,498 from the Federal Community Development Block grant. The grant will fund Housing Preservation and Production, Homebuyer and Homeowner Assistance programs, Human Services, Fair Housing, Environmental Abatement program, Main Streets and Business Assistance programs.
  • Department of Neighborhood Development to receive $5,863,642 from the Home Investment Partnership Program grant. The grant will fund development of affordable rental and homeownership housing units.
  • Department of Neighborhood Development to receive $$2,588,781 from the Housing Opportunities for Person with AIDS grant. This grant will fund Housing related services to person with HIV/AIDS, primary to provide tenant-based rental assistance.
  • Boston Police to receive $250K from the Downtown Boston Business Improvement District Public/Private Safety Initiative. The grant would fund the purchase and installation of video cameras and related equipment in the Downtown business area and assist BPD with enhancing public safety and improving quality of life in the downtown area.
  • Boston Center for Youth and Families to receive $150K from the CanShare 2018/2019 grant. The grant will fund matching and supporting Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, Healthy Incentives Program and the new Boston Double Up Food Buck pilot program. This funding will enable beneficiaries of these programs to double their buying power at Boston Farmer’s Market and select neighborhood convenience stores, providing greater access to fresh foods.
  • Boston’s Office of Economic Development to receive $100K from the Efficiency and Regionalization grant to fund the Greater Boston Regional Economic Compact Cities to hire a consultant who will develop an Action Plan of operational projects based on overlapping needs expressed in the municipalities’ community master plans.
  • Mayor’s Office to receive $90K from the TD Bank’s Community Gardens Grant to fund the activation of community gardens and green spaces located in the City.
  • Environment Department to receive $25K from the Barr Foundation’s Phase II of the Climate Ready Boston Initiative grant to fund a set of community-level resilience strategies recommended by the Boston Green Ribbon Commission to address climate risk
  • Boston Police to receive $13,607.50 from the Pipefitter’s Association Local Union 537 to fund the installation of two security cameras on Enterprise Street and Clapp Street
School Repairs: Mayor Walsh submitted authorization orders for the following school repairs projects, all assigned to the Committee on Ways & Means for a hearing:
  • $5,429,403 for a window replacement project at the John Marshall Elementary School (UP Academy). The order can be viewed here.
  • $600,000 for a feasibility study and schematic design work associated with partial/full boiler replacement and/or roof replacement projects at the following schools: Hernandez, Lyndon, McKay K-8, Otis, Josiah Quincy ES, Snowden, and O’Bryant. The order can be viewed here.
The projects will be expended under the direction of the Public Facilities Department on behalf of BPS and includes the payment of all costs incidental or related thereto, and for which the City may be eligible for a grant from the MA School Building Authority.
Upcoming Hearings (livestream: https://www.boston.gov/departments/city-council/watch-boston-city-council-tv)
  • Monday, 7/16 at 6PM: Hearing on East Boston zoning initiative and master plan [off-site at Umana Academy on 312 Border Street in East Boston] (Planning, Development & Transportation)
  • Tuesday, 8/7 at 2PM: Hearing on vacant affordable housing units and improving access to those units in the City of Boston (Housing & Community Development)

There will be no City Council meetings on 7/18 and 7/25; meetings will resume on 8/1.

At the beginning of today’s meeting we joined Councilor Flynn in thanking representatives from Comcast for their annual service day in Boston’s neighborhoods, which took place this year in Chinatown. Anyone can sign up to receive these notes by email at www.michelleforboston.com/sendmenotes or see the list of all previous notes at www.michelleforboston.com/notes.

FY19 City of Boston & School Department Budget: We voted to pass Mayor Walsh’s resubmitted Recommended Operating Budget of $3.29 billion (unanimously) and the BPS budget of $1,112,248,805 (12-1, Councilors Campbell opposing). The revised budget includes $500,000 for expanded training on racial and gender bias, sexual harassment and employee awareness, new funding for the Elder Nutrition Program, funding to expand the number of community-based pre-K seats (for 4 year-olds) by 80 seats, a doubling of funds for the Youth Development Grant Program, additional staff for the Office of Immigrant Advancement, Office of Economic Development, park ranger program, and increased funding to support collective bargaining agreements. Councilor Edwards said she was very torn, expressing support for many of the initiatives included in the budget, but also stating that she did not believe the Administration and this budget had included a strong enough commitment to addressing harassment and discrimination, particularly for the women serving as firefighters in the Boston Fire Department. Councilor Campbell stated that she believed Boston Public Schools had enough resources to deliver quality education, but that the current systems are not performing at a high enough level given those resources, and that the School Department had not delivered on promised transportation budget savings. You can see the full budget here and the school department budget here.

Capital Budget: We voted unanimously to take the second necessary vote on the FY19 Capital Budget. Capital loan appropriations require two affirmative votes by a 2/3 majority of the Council at least two weeks apart. See more details on the 5-year, $2.4B capital budget here: https://budget.boston.gov/capital-projects.

Lobbyist Registration and Regulation: We voted (through a voice vote; Councilor Baker opposing the Home-Rule Petition) to pass an ordinance that I filed with Councilors Flaherty and Campbell to require lobbyist registration and disclosure, as well as an amended home-rule petition originally filed by the Mayor. The goal of the legislation is to ensure transparency by requiring registration and disclosure of lobbying activities, to create fairness and consistency by applying the same rules across the board, and to reinforce public trust in government by guaranteeing convenient, timely access to information about attempts to influence the government’s decisions. Mayor Walsh had previously filed a Home-Rule Petition based on state lobbying regulations and the Administration wanted to preserve fines of up to $10,000 and criminal penalties mirroring the state. My co-sponsors and I believed that we could most effectively implement lobbyist registration and disclosure requirements not through a home-rule petition, which would involve waiting for the uncertainty and longer timeline of state approval but through a city ordinance more tailored to municipal decision-making and that could be implemented immediately. The ordinance also removed thresholds in the home-rule petition that exempted lobbyists from disclosure and registration if making less than  2500 during the reporting period or if engaging in fewer than 25 hours of lobbying per reporting period, focusing instead on what counts as lobbying whether paid or unpaid, regardless of how many hours per month.More and more decisions affecting parties with significant financial interests are coming through City Hall on a regular basis (e.g. short term rentals, cannabis industry licensing, development and zoning decisions, and more). We believed it was most important to set the rules through city law now, even at the city’s standard fines of $300 per violation per month, then seek heightened penalties through a simplified home-rule petition. The ordinance additionally refined the definitions of the types of activities categorized as lobbying to match city business, and increased the frequency of disclosure from twice a year to quarterly. The provisions of the ordinance will take effect 180 days after the Mayor signs the legislation, giving some time for the Clerk’s office to set up systems for registration, access, and enforcement.

Salary Increases: We voted 11-2 (Councilors Pressley & Zakim in the minority) to pass the Mayor’s ordinance amending salary categories for certain city employees, including elected officials, following the recommendations of the City of Boston Compensation Advisory Board. The Mayor’s salary will be increased from $199K to $207K, to take effect after the next Mayoral election, and Councilors’ salary will go from $99,500 to $103,500, to take effect after the next Council election. Although I still believe that elected officials should not set their own salaries and therefore we should have a fully independent board set the amounts without a Council vote, this year’s process was as close as practically possible to an independent review in the near term. The Compensation Advisory Board retained an independent consultant to analyze classification and compensation from cities across the country, and the board voted unanimously to present this recommendation to the Mayor. The increases will not take effect this term, but now have been passed with plenty of time for anyone to run for these positions with the new compensation. You can view the committee’s report here.

City Council Personnel Salaries: We voted to pass Councilor Campbell’s order to increase certain City Council personnel salaries for the central staff members that support every Council office, and for the staff members in each Council office that report to individual Councilors. Each Councilor’s office shall receive $236,250 per year (increased from $216,250) for staff salaries excluding benefits and the President’s office shall receive $287,500 (increased from $262,500).

Jitney License: We voted to reject the Local Motion’s petition for a jitney license to operate a corporate shuttle between Boston Landing and Kenmore Square. At the hearing several weeks ago, the Boston Transportation Department representatives recommended disapproval of the license as redundant to public transportation since commuter rail stops have recently been built near the proposed pickup and dropoff locations. The situation implicates a larger concern -- many institutions and businesses operate private shuttles that should require a jitney license according to the current laws, but have not applied for a license with the city. As committee chair, I will be undertaking a larger effort to understand the law and verify licensing requirements in order to close any loopholes or amend the relevant law in order not to punish those that attempt to seek a legal license rather than operate a route under the radar.

Curbside Composting Program: Councilors O’Malley and Pressley reported back on the feasibility of implementing a curbside composting program in Boston. They both spoke on how such a program would save the City money by reducing waste sent to landfills, while also producing finished compost that could be used for landscaping in Boston’s parks and gardens or could be sold. This year, the City will add two weeks of yard waste pick ups, increasing the window for curbside leaf and yard waste, but we still do not have a plan for full curbside composting. The matter will remain in the Committee on Environment, Sustainability & Parks for a hearing.

Affordable Housing Units: Councilor Essaibi-George filed a hearing to determine strategies for streamlining the process to apply for affordable housing and to create a more rapid and efficient process for occupying affordable housing units. Currently the City is at 108% of the target pace needed to create 1,500 new units for extremely low income households by 2030, having permitted 422 new units, 348 of which have been targeted to homeless households. The process to access both ownership and rental affordable units is irregular and unpredictable for those paying increasingly more of their disposable income for housing costs, experiencing homelessness and in emergency assistance. Affordable housing will continue to make Boston a more inclusive and diverse City. The matter was assigned to the Committee on Housing and Community Development for a hearing.

Inclusionary Development Policy Fund: We voted to follow Councilor Edwards’ recommendation to pass the Mayor’s order designating $30M from the Inclusionary Development Policy Fund to the Department of Neighborhood Development to produce and preserve affordable housing.

Safe Communities Act: We voted to adopt Council Pressley’s resolution urging the state legislature to support the MA Safe Communities Act with specific provisions that would protect families from being separated. On June 20, 2018, we voted to unanimously passed a resolution condemning the current Federal ‘Zero-Tolerance’ immigration policy that is separating families at the US-Mexico Border. There is a conference committee at the Mass State House charged with reconciling the House and Senate versions of the Safe Communities Act but it is imperative that the final version of this bill include provisions that would protect parents from being torn away from their children.

Concealed Carry of Firearms: We voted to adopt Councilors Campbell’s and Pressley’s resolution to support HR38/S446 Opposing Concealed Carry Reciprocity. U.S. Representative Richard Hudson introduced HR 38 and U.S. Senator John Cornyn introduced S 446, both known as the Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act of 2017. The Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act would allow people with concealed carry permits in one state to take their weapon to any other state, even if the other state has stricter limits on concealed carry weapons than the home state in which they obtained their permit. Our nation is suffering from an epidemic of gun violence which kills over 200 Massachusetts residents every year, and we must begin taking steps to protect our residents from this public health crisis.

Disaster Housing Assistance for Puerto Rico: We voted to adopt Councilor Pressley’s resolution urging the activation of the HUD/FEMA federal program available to provide long-term relief to victims of the natural disaster of Hurricane Maria through rent subsidies, security-deposit assistance, and help paying utilities. Activating this program would help stabilize Puerto Rican evacuees in Massachusetts and throughout the nation who have been displaced by Hurricane Maria.

Everett Street in Allston: Mayor Walsh filed an order to declare surplus and authorize a sale of a certain portion of public way known as Everett Street in Allston, containing 4,417 square feet. The matter was assigned to the Committee on Planning, Development & Transportation for a hearing.

Boston Planning and Development Agency: Communication was received from the City Clerk by BPDA of the “First Amendment to the Report and Decision on the Boston Garden Development Corp, now known as the Hub on Causeway Chapter 121A Project.

Grants: We voted to approve Mayor Walsh’s authorization orders for:
  • Boston Police to receive $100,833 from the MA Department of Mental Health to fund continued support of a full-time Master’s level Mental Health Clinician to co-respond with officers in Police Districts B-2 and B-3, as well as a part-time Certified Peer Specialist.
  • Consumer Affairs & Licensing to receive $58,000 from the MA Attorney General to fund the intake, resolution, and administration of consumer complaints and outreach on topics of concern to consumers.
  • Boston Police to receive $15,000 from the Department of Public Health to fund data collection by the Bureau of Investigative Services and the Drug Control Unit.
  • Department of Neighborhood Development to accept and expend $27M from HUD for Community Development Block Grant, Home Investment Partnership Program, Housing Opportunities for Persons with AIDS, and Emergency Solutions Grant; $4.3M from HUD to fund investments in education, public safety, workforce development, economic development, street improvement, public art, placemaking, parks, home ownership and WiFi; $1.4M for essential services to residents experiencing homelessness, emergency shelters, and homeless prevention services.
Appointments: Mayor Walsh made the following appointments:
  • Director of Fair Housing & Equity: William Onuoha, effective July 2, 2018
  • Director of Women’s Advancement: Tania Del Rio effective June 11, 2018
  • Boston Cultural Council: Lana Jackson and Paola Garcia as members of the until October 2019; Shawn Radley and Ann Moritz until October 2020
  • Archives and Records Advisory Commission: Jill Ann Snyder and Judith Watkins as members until January 2022
  • Boston Licensing Board: Keeana Saxon as a member until June 2024
  • Boston Scholarship Fund Committee: Benjamin Vainer until August 2019
  • Residency Compliance Commission: Ken Ryan, Sr. as a member until January 2022
  • Gayle Willett, Commissioner of Assessing, appointed Francis Graham as Assistant Assessor, effective May 12, 2018.
  • We voted to approve the Constable Bond of William Flippin as approved by the Collector-Treasurer


Upcoming Hearings (livestream: https://www.boston.gov/departments/city-council/watch-boston-city-council-tv)

  • Thursday, 6/28 at 11AM: Hearing on 3 dockets regarding art grants (Arts, Culture, and Special Events)
  • Thursday, 6/28 at 2PM: Hearing on Resident Parking (Planning, Development & Transportation)

Today’s meeting included the first budget vote and 8 votes on Short Term Rentals legislation! We also celebrated the Mass. Network of Foster Care Alumni, students from Boston Latin Academy who received the Generation Citizen Change Maker awards, and the national president of LULAC. Anyone can sign up to receive these notes by email at www.michelleforboston.com/sendmenotes or see the list of all previous notes at www.michelleforboston.com/notes.

Salary Increases: Mayor Walsh filed legislation to amend the Salary Categories for Certain Offices following the recommendations of the City of Boston Compensation Advisory Board. These include increasing the Mayor’s salary from $199,000 to $207,000, City Councilors from $99,500 to $103,500, and various department heads’ salary ranges. The salary for elected officials, including the Mayor, would take effect after the next relevant municipal election. The matter was assigned to the Committee on Government Operations for a hearing.

Community Preservation Fund: Mayor Walsh filed an appropriation order to transfer $8,035,055 from the FY18 community preservation fund revenues for community preservation projects at the recommendation of the Community Preservation Committee. As part of the Community Preservation Act, the City Council must approve such authorization orders from the Community Preservation Fund in order to implement the recommendations of the Committee. The funds will be used towards affordable housing, historic preservation, and parks and open space projects around Boston. You can find details on all the proposed capital projects here. The matter was assigned to the Committee on the Community Preservation Act for a hearing.

Collective Bargaining: We voted to pass two sets of orders filed by Mayor Walsh to fund recently settled collective bargaining agreements:

  • Between the Boston School Committee and the following unions: Boston School Department Plant Administrators Association, Lunch Hour Monitors Association, and the Boston School Police Unit of the Boston Police Superior Officers Federation, all from 2016-2020. The major provisions of the contracts include base wage increases of 2% each fiscal year, consistent with other agreements. The agreement also contains other benefits including new steps.
  • Between the Boston Public Health Commission and Local 888, SEIU-Coordinators Unit. The terms of the contracts are July 1, 2016 through June 30, 2020. The major provisions of the contracts include base wage increases of 2% effective the first pay period of October of each fiscal year. The agreement also contains other benefits including a new step beginning in FY 2019.

Grants: We voted to approve Mayor Walsh’s authorization orders for:

  • The Police Department to receive $31,313.74 for the Federal FY17 Paul Coverdell Forensic Science Improvement grant, awarded by the National Institute of Justice. The grant will fund training and continuing education for forensic examiners, criminalists and laboratory personnel.
  • Boston Center for Youth and Families to receive $2,442.60 from the United States Department of Agriculture for the FY18 Child and Adult Care Food Program. The funds will provide breakfast and snacks for the City Hall Child Care Center.

Ways and Means Committee: Today we took the first formal vote to reject the Administration’s proposed budget. According to the City Charter, the Council must take action by the 2nd Wednesday of June. However, the fiscal year runs until the end of the month. That means we typically reject the budget without prejudice as a formality, and the Administration will refile it with amendments to be voted on before June 30th.

Short-Term Rentals: We voted to pass an amended Short Term Rentals ordinance after seven rounds of amendments! Here’s the play-by-play:
  • Councilor Flaherty, as Chair of the Committee on Government Operations, reported out of committee an amended ordinance (read the committee report and language here). The main changes included removing the 120-day cap on owner-adjacent units, requiring that the information in the new Short Term Rentals registry be made public and reporting every year.
  • 120-Day Cap (rejected 7-6, Councilors Essaibi George, Flynn, O’Malley, Pressley, Wu, Zakim voting in the minority): Councilor O’Malley moved to reinstate the 120-day cap on Owner-Adjacent Units, expressing concerns that closing down the downtown investor market for Short Term Rentals would push demand to the neighborhoods and destabilize the outer neighborhoods with a higher proportion of 2- and 3-family homes, including in his district.
  • Biannual Reporting (passed 12-1, Councilor Flaherty voting against): Councilor O’Malley moved to require reporting with specific data every six months, rather than yearly as in the draft ordinance.
  • One Whole Unit at a Time (passed 8-5, Councilors Baker, Campbell, Ciommo, Flaherty, McCarthy voting against): I filed an amendment (split into two provisions after a challenge from Councilor Flaherty to Divide the Question and affirmed by Councilor Campbell; this is the first part) to limit operators to listing one whole unit at a time. This means that an owner-occupant of a 2- or 3-family home could list an owner-adjacent unit 365 days per year, and extra bedrooms in his or her primary resident unit 365 days per year, but if that person intends to list the entire primary resident unit while on vacation or out of town for up to 90 days, s/he can’t additionally list the owner-adjacent unit and leave a hotel-like situation for 90 days of the year.
  • Wind-Down Provision (passed 10-2, Councilors Flaherty and Janey against): The second part of my amendment, which I was happy to add Councilor Baker as a co-sponsor on since it was similar to one he was intending to propose, creates a mechanism to ease the transition for those whose economic opportunities will be eliminated or limited by our new ordinance. The language maintains the January 1st, 2019, implementation date, but allows existing units contracted for Short Term Rentals with a lease in place as of June 1, 2018, to continue operating until the expiration of the lease or September 1, 2019, whichever date comes first. That means that the units contracted long-term could transition back to the housing market when renters are looking, most often in September or one of the summer months. Other cities that have passed similar regulations have provided for a wind-down period of 1-3 years.
  • Buildings with Up to 6 Units (rejected 9-4, Councilors Baker, Ciommo, Essaibi George, McCarthy voting in favor): Councilor Baker proposed amending the provision that allows for owner-adjacent units for owner-occupants of 2- or 3-family homes, to increase that eligibility for owner-occupants of 4-, 5-, and 6-unit buildings. Councilors Baker and Ciommo noted that the City’s current Rental Registry distinguishes between landlords at 6+ vs. under 6-unit buildings.
  • Investor Units with 5% Cap (rejected, only by voice vote, not roll call): Councilor Ciommo moved to add a provision that would allow investor units for Short Term Rentals, provided that the total number of investor units per building would not exceed 5% of the total units. He expressed concern that shutting down downtown demand would shift all demand to neighborhoods, and said his solution would be to increase competition by allowing some investor units with a reasonable cap.
  • Tenants (rejected 10-3, Councilors Baker, Ciommo, McCarthy in favor): Councilor McCarthy proposed an amendment to allow tenants to offer short-term rentals as well, stating that he believed this would help ensure equity.
  • Process: Councilor Essaibi George expressed frustration that there was not an additional working session before today’s vote.
  • FINAL vote on amended version, including the 3 successful amendments: PASSED 11-2, Councilors Baker and Ciommo voting against.

Vacant Properties: Councilor Flynn as Committee Chair and Councilors O’Malley and Campbell as sponsors reported back on their hearing to explore solutions to vacancies in the City, including potential fees on vacant properties and the need to continue reviewing the available data. The matter remains in committee for further action.

Healthy Youth: We voted to adopt the resolution filed by Councilor Pressley to urge the State Legislature to support H.3704 “An Act relative to healthy youth” in an effort to advance comprehensive sexual education curriculum for youth that promotes inclusion, consent, and medically accurate information. The benefits of a comprehensive sex education curriculum extend well beyond curbing inflection rates and teen pregnancies and can have positive effects on social and emotional wellness. According to the biennial MA Health Youth Survey in 2015, teens reported experiencing increased rates of bullying, dating violence, and non-consensual sex. State Senator Sal DiDomenico and State Representative James O’Day have introduced the bill to require schools that teach sex education to have a more comprehensive curriculum.
Voter Registration: Councilor Zakim filed a hearing order regarding the elimination of the voter registration cutoff law and its effects on Boston. He noted the importance of giving everyone who is eligible the opportunity to register to vote and exercise their right, free of unnecessary and arcane limits. A year ago, the Massachusetts voter registration cutoff law (M.G.L. Ch. 51 Sec. 1F & 26) was ruled unconstitutional by Suffolk Superior Court in Chelsea Collaborative v. Galvin. While we are waiting for the MA Supreme Judicial Court ruling to come down shortly, Boston must take proactive steps to ensure our Elections Department is prepared to uphold the new law. The matter was assigned to the Committee on Civil Rights for a hearing.
Upcoming Hearings (livestream: https://www.boston.gov/departments/city-council/watch-boston-city-council-tv)
  • Thursday, 6/14 at 10AM: Policy Briefing on Diversity Initiatives for Boston’s Public Safety Agencies (Public Safety & Criminal Justice)
  • Thursday, 6/14 at 1PM: Hearing on Summer Violence and Community Engagement (Public Safety and Criminal Justice)
  • Monday, 6/18 at 10AM: Hearing on Tree Coverage (Environment, Sustainability & Parks)
  • Monday, 6/18 at 3PM: Hearing on Teacher Diversity in BPS (Education)
  • Tuesday, 6/19 at 4PM: Hearing on Usage of Surveillance Technology (Public Safety & Criminal Justice)
  • Friday, 6/22 at 1PM: Hearing on Equitable Access to Public Transportation & Cashless MBTA Fares (Planning, Development & Transportation)
  • Monday, 6/25 at 10AM: Hearing on Curbside Composting (Environment, Sustainability & Parks)
  • Thursday, 6/28 at 2PM: Hearing on Resident Parking (Planning, Development & Transportation)
and 3-family homes may list an additional owner-adjacent unit for up to 120 days per year. The previously proposed exemption for medical stays is still included, as well as an exemption for corporate or institutional furnished stays of 10 or more consecutive nights. Property owners that want to use residential units for short-term rentals outside the bounds of this ordinance will still have the option of applying for and securing a change of use and occupancy for those units. The matter remains in committee for potential amendments. The next opportunity for a vote would be at our next meeting, June 6th.

Security Officers: We voted to adopt the resolution filed by Councilors Campbell and Janey in support of 32BJ security officers in Boston and Cambridge. 2,265 security officers are currently in contract negotiations, all of whom work in the Boston area, are on the front line in emergency situations, protecting the lives of CEOs, secretaries, lawyers, and other members of the public in our city. The goals of the 2018 contract - affordable health care, higher wages, retirement benefits, and better working conditions - are fair and reasonable and will mean better jobs and stronger neighborhoods. The current contract expires on June 30th, 2018.

Land Disposition and Stewardship: Councilor Edwards filed a hearing order regarding public land disposition and stewardship in the City of Boston. She stated that public land is a public good whose protection and use or disposition should further a greater purpose, such as promoting open space, enhancing cultural activity, creating recreational opportunities or expanding and preserving affordable housing in perpetuity. Currently, Boston lacks a uniform policy for land disposition that would further these community-defined priorities, including affordable housing goals that match that community’s needs and provide for the longest term of affordability, and offer the highest level of community resident ownership and control. In 2017, the Department of Neighborhood Development reported 186 land parcels and buildings sold or transferred for development or open space. Boston may have additional tools at its disposal to optimize the stewardship of land or promote long-term affordability. The matter was assigned to the Planning, Development, & Transportation Committee for a hearing.

Concurrent BPD Jurisdiction: We voted to pass a home-rule petition filed by Councilor McCarthy to create concurrent police jurisdiction for State and Boston police at certain Massachusetts Port Authority properties in Boston. This legislation follows a recent public hearing and many years of conversations--the Seaport neighborhood of the South Boston Waterfront is the only place in the state where the municipal police do not have at least concurrent jurisdiction; State police have full and exclusive jurisdiction currently. As the residential population continues to grow quickly and more visitors spend time at companies and retail businesses in the area, having BPD jurisdiction (including ability to collect data, make arrests, and respond to calls) is urgent. Councilor McCarthy noted that this is an emergency law needed for the immediate preservation of public safety.

Open Meeting Law: Council Campbell filed an order for the Law Department for the City of Boston to address an open meeting law complaint on behalf of the Boston City Council.
Upcoming Hearings (livestream: https://www.boston.gov/departments/city-council/watch-boston-city-council-tv)
  • Thursday, 5/24 at 1:00 PM: Hearing re: an appropriation from the George Francis Parkman Fund for the maintenance and improvement of certain parks (Ways & Means)
  • Thursday, 5/24 at 3:00 PM: Hearing re: amending the City of Boston Code, Ordinances, Ch. VI, Sec. 6-6.3, Schedule of Parking Fines (Government Operations)
  • Friday, 5/25 at 10:30 AM: Hearing re: Petition of Local Motion of Boston, for a license to operate motor vehicles for the carriage of passengers for hire over certain streets in Boston (Planning, Development & Transportation)
  • Friday, 5/25 at 11:00 AM: Hearing re: Petition of Limo Liner, LLC, for a license to operate motor vehicles for the carriage of passengers for hire over certain streets in Boston (Planning, Development & Transportation)
  • Wednesday, 5/30: No Boston City Council Meeting (Memorial Day holiday)
  • Wednesday, 5/30 at 11:00 AM: Hearing re: implementation of Community Choice Energy in Boston (Environment, Sustainability & Parks)
  • Wednesday, 5/30 at 3:00 PM: Working Session re: implementation of Plastic Bag Ban in Boston (Environment, Sustainability & Parks)
  • Thursday, 5/31 at 2:00 PM: Hearing re: flexible payment plans for property tax arrears (Ways & Means)
Upcoming Budget Hearings (livestream: https://www.boston.gov/departments/city-council/watch-boston-city-council-tv)

  • Thursday, 5/23 at 11:30 AM: FY19 Budget: Parks and Recreation Department
  • Monday, 6/4 at 11:00 AM: FY19 Budget: Carryover
  • Tuesday, 6/5 at 2:00 PM: FY19 Budget: Public Testimony

Today, we joined Councilors Pressley and Essiabi-George in thanking the Samaritans for their work in suicide prevention and raising awareness. Anyone can sign up to receive these notes by email at www.michelleforboston.com/sendmenotes or see the list of all previous notes at www.michelleforboston.com/notes.

Reservation Road Park, Hyde Park: The skate park and turf field planned for Reservation Road in Hyde Park got a boost, as the Council voted to suspend and pass Mayor Walsh’s home rule petition seeking approval from the Legislature pursuant to Article 97 to change the use land from conservation use to playground use. In 1980 and 1981, the City acquired two parcels now known as Reservation Road Park in Hyde Park, but later legislative action changing the use to playground only listed one of the two parcels making up the site. We also voted to approve the acceptance and expenditure of a $300,000 grant from the US Department of the Interior to the Parks Department to make capital improvements to the park.

Boston Public Health Commission: We voted to fund the supplemental appropriation order for the Boston Public Health Commission for FY18 in the amount of $6,252 to cover the FY18 costs items contained within the collective bargaining agreements between the Boston Public Health Commission and the Firemen and Oilers, Local 3, SEIU. The contracts are from October 1, 2016 to September 30, 2020 and include 2% annual increases in line with other collective bargaining agreements.

Arts and Culture Grants: The Mayor filed orders asking for Council approval to accept the following grants (all assigned to the Committee on Arts, Culture & Special Events except the last one)
  • $332,330 from the Boston Redevelopment Authority to fund Boston Artists in Residence programming.
  • $235,011 from the Boston Redevelopment Authority to fund the Boston Cultural Council grants to individual artists.
  • $332,330 from the Boston Redevelopment Authority to fund Boston Artists in Residence programming.
  • $250 from Runstreet Donation, awarded by Donor Group, to fund the Mayor’s Mural Crew.

Appointments: Mayor Walsh appointed the following individuals as Constables of the City of Boston, authorized to serve civil process upon filing of bond, for the period commencing May 1, 2018 and ending April 30, 2021:
  • Lorellys Arrington
  • Lamar Capehart
  • Eric Hardin
  • Daniel Manning
  • Maria Patrone
  • Carmen Rivera
  • Regina Skinner
  • Crefton Watty-Niles

Motor Vehicles License: LimoLiner, LLC submitted a petition for a license to operate motor vehicles for the carriage of passengers for hire over certain streets in Boston. The matter was assigned to the Planning, Development and Transportation Committee for a hearing.

Liquor Licenses: Government Operations Committee Chair Flaherty and sponsor Councilor Pressley reported back on yesterday’s hearing regarding a home-rule petition for a Special Law to authorize additional non-transferable liquor licenses in Boston: 5 citywide all-alcohol licenses, 5 citywide beer & wine licenses, 3 all-alcohol and 2 beer & wine for each of Dorchester, East Boston, Hyde Park, Jamaica Plain, Mattapan, Mission Hill, and Roxbury, 3 all-alcohol and 2 beer & wine licenses for Main Streets Districts, and 1 all-alcohol license each for the Lawn on D at the Boston Convention and Exhibition Center, Boston Center for the Arts, and the Bolling Building. Several Councilors voiced urgency on this matter, as neighborhoods lacking licenses (particularly in communities of color) are struggling from inequity. Councilor Flaherty noted that there was a question remaining on whether the proposal should be split in two, because there is additional concern about granting blanket umbrella licenses for a large development, and whether that results in progress for equity. The matter remains in committee.

BPD Age Exemption Petition: We voted to pass Councilor Baker’s home rule petition to waive the maximum age requirement for police officers so that Hugh Truong Ngo could proceed with the BPD exam process. He aged out weeks into the process, and Councilors noted that the hearing highlighted Mr. Ngo’s qualifications. He is also fluent in Vietnamese, and our police department very much needs Vietnamese-speaking officers and AAPI officers across the board are underrepresented.

East Boston Zoning Initiative and Master Plan: Councilor Edwards filed a hearing order for a community-driven East Boston Zoning Initiative and Master Plan. She spoke about East Boston’s rapid growth, intense development pressures, traffic congestion, and sea-level rise and flooding. East Boston lacks a comprehensive transportation, traffic and parking plan; the last master plan was completed 18 years ago and for many does not reflect the current needs of the community and what we can expect with intensifying climate change. The matter was assigned to the Committee on Planning, Development & Transportation for a hearing in the neighborhood.

Payment in Lieu of Taxes Agreements: Councilors Edwards and Essaibi-George filed a hearing order regarding the City’s Payments in Lieu of Taxes (PILOT) agreement with tax-exempt institutions. Boston depends heavily on property tax revenues to fund education, police and fire departments, housing, social services, road plowing and maintenance, and other investments in public goods. However, nearly half of Boston’s land is tax-exempt, including land owned by educational, medical, cultural and religious institutions, city departments, state agencies, the federal government, and quasi-public organizations such as the Boston Planning and Development Agency and the Massachusetts Port Authority. Many of these institutions depend extensively on the city’s infrastructure, housing stock, roadways, and social services. The City negotiates PILOT agreements with several tax-exempt institutions in an attempt to guide them towards paying a fair share and to help them alleviate the burden on residential and commercial tax payers. The Mayor’s PILOT Task Force calls upon tax-exempt institutions to submit payments for 25% of the assessed value of their property, deducting from that payment certain community benefits that demonstrate clear value to Boston residents and any real estate taxes paid based on use. Participation in the program has deteriorated significantly since 2012, with institutions paying only 65% of dollars requested in 2017. In 2017, educational, medical and cultural institutions were expected to contribute approximately $49.5 million in cash and $52,3 million in community programming, those institutions contributed $32 million dollars, with several institutions not contributing at all and some institutions charging the City for Boston Public Schools’ use of athletic fields. The City of Boston does not negotiate PILOT agreements with the Boston Planning and Development Agency, although that Agency assists in negotiation of PILOT agreements with private leaseholders on behalf of the City of Boston. The matter was assigned to the Committee on Government Operations for a hearing.

Concurrent BPD Jurisdiction: Councilors McCarthy and Flynn filed a hearing order regarding concurrent jurisdiction of MassPort-controlled properties in the city. Currently, state law specifies that the State Police is the sole police authority of Logan airport and MassPort properties located within a municipality. The Boston Police does not have jurisdiction on MassPort properties in the city. Prohibiting the Boston Police from responding to incidents on MassPort properties creates public safety concerns and may place the city at risk of litigation if the Boston Police respond to situations on MassPort properties. This type of jurisdiction is specific to MassPort properties only. The State Police and local police have concurrent jurisdiction on all other state property including DCR property, MBTA property and state roads. The proposed legislation does not take away the authority of the State Police, but adds concurrent jurisdiction for BPD. The Councilors hope the proposed amendment grants jurisdiction to local law enforcement and requires the establishment of roles and responsibilities between the State Police and local enforcement. The matter was assigned to the Committee on Public Safety and Criminal Justice for a hearing.

Short Term Rentals: Mayor Walsh tried to late-file a revised ordinance creating regulations for the short-term rental industry, including platforms like AirBnB, but it was blocked by Councilor Baker’s objection. [Because of Open Meeting Law requiring 48 hours’ notice, legislative dockets must be filed with the Clerk’s office by Monday morning in order to appear on the Wednesday meeting agenda. There is a process for submitting dockets late, but it requires unanimous consent of the Council.] That means, the item will appear on next Wednesday’s agenda and the Council can discuss it then. In the meantime, the language is available online. The amended version eliminates investor units and restricts short-term rentals (defined as fewer than 28-night stays) to owner-occupied properties, except that owner-occupants of 2- and 3-family homes may list an additional owner-adjacent unit up to 120 days per year. The previously proposed exemptions for medical stays is still included, as well as an exemption for corporate or institutional furnished stays of 10 or more consecutive nights. The docket will be assigned to the Government Operations Committee next week for a hearing to be scheduled afterwards
Upcoming Hearings (livestream: https://www.boston.gov/departments/city-council/watch-boston-city-council-tv)
  • Friday, 5/11 at 11:00 AM: Hearing re: Amending the City of Boston Code, Ch. VI, Sec. 6-9.5(G), the Solar Renewable Energy Certificates Revolving Fund (Government Operations)
  • Friday, 5/11 at 12:00 PM: Hearing re: Amending the City of Boston Code, Ordinances, Chapter XVI, Section 16-12.3, Sandwich Board Signs (Government Operations)
  • Monday, 5/18 at 1:00 PM: Working Session re: the issues related to stray voltage in the City of Boston (City, Neighborhood Services and Veteran and Military Affairs)
  • Tuesday, 5/15 at 3:00 PM: Working Session re: benefits of net-zero carbon requirements and incentives for the future of construction in Boston (Environment, Sustainability & Parks)
  • Friday, 5/25 at 10:30 AM: Hearing re: Petition of Local Motion of Boston, for a license to operate motor vehicles for the carriage of passengers for hire over certain streets in Boston (Planning, Development & Transportation)
  • Wednesday, 5/30 at 11:00 AM: Hearing re: implementation of Community Choice Energy in Boston (Environment, Sustainability & Parks)
Upcoming Budget Hearings (livestream: https://www.boston.gov/departments/city-council/watch-boston-city-council-tv)
  • Thursday, 5/10 at 11:00 AM: FY19 Budget: BPS Human Capital and Equity
  • Monday, 5/14 at 11:00 AM: FY19 Budget: Boston Centers for Youth and Families
  • Monday, 5/14 at 12:30 PM: City Hall Child Care Revolving Fund
  • Monday, 5/14 at 2:00 PM: FY19 Budget: Youth Engagement and Employment
  • Tuesday, 5/15 at 11:00 AM: FY19 Budget: Public Works
  • Thursday, 5/17 at 10:00 AM: FY19 Budget: Public Health Commission (1)
  • Thursday, 5/17 at 2:00 PM: FY19 Budget: Public Health Commission (2)
  • Friday, 5/18 at 11:00 AM: FY19 Budget: Emergency Medical Services
  • Monday, 5/21 at 11:00 AM: FY19 Budget: Fire Department
  • Tuesday, 5/22 at 11:00 AM: FY19 Budget: Police Department
  • Tuesday, 5/22 at 12:30 PM: FY19 Budget: BPD Revolving Funds
  • Tuesday, 5/22 at 2:00 PM: FY19 Budget: Boston Planning and Development Agency
  • Tuesday, 5/22 at 5:00 PM: FY19 Budget: Boston Transportation Department
  • Thursday, 5/23 at 11:30 AM: FY19 Budget: Parks and Recreation Department
  • Monday, 6/4 at 11:00 AM: FY19 Budget: Carryover
  • Tuesday, 6/5 at 2:00 PM: FY19 Budget: Public Testimony
Anyone can sign up to receive these notes by email at www.michelleforboston.com/sendmenotes or see the list of all previous notes at www.michelleforboston.com/notes.

BPD Grant: The Boston Police Department to accept and expend:
  • $850,000 from the Boston Regional Intelligence Center Allocation. The grant would fund upgrading, expanding, and integrating technology and protocols related to anti-terrorism, anti-crime, anti-gang and emergency response. (Assigned to the Committee on Public Safety and Criminal Justice)

Grants: We voted to approve Mayor Walsh’s authorization orders for:
  • $99,314 from U.S. Department of Justice to fund Address Verification Program activities mandated by the MA Sex Offender Registry Board. This grant would also fund the FY17 Byrne Justice Assistance Grant Reallocation.
  • The Elderly Commission to accept and expend $130,253 from the Retired Senior Volunteer Program grant from the Corporation for National and Community Service to fund 356 RSVP volunteers who will provide social support to homebound or older adults and individuals with disabilities.
The Mayor’s Office of Arts and Culture to accept and expend:
  • $5,000 from the MA Cultural Council to fund programming in the Roxbury Cultural District.
  • $5,000 from the Boston Foundation to fund the original creation of contemporary artwork by emerging artists.

Appointments:
  • Tony Barros as a Member of the Boston School Committee Nominating Panel for a term expiring on April 13, 2020.
  • Laurie Ciardi as a Member of the Boston School Committee Nominating Panel for a term expiring on April 13, 2020.
  • Jerry Howland as a Member of the Boston School Committee Nominating Panel for a term expiring on April 20, 2020.
  • Daniel Greene as a Trustee of the Boston Retirement Board for a term expiring on March 13, 2020.
  • Amelia Croteau to serve as an Ex Officio Trustee to the Boston Groundwater Trust.
  • Michael Parker as Chairperson of the Boston Conservation Commission, effective immediately.
  • Alexis Tkachuk, the Director of Emerging Industries, to execute on the Mayor’s behalf to host community agreements with marijuana establishments or medical marijuana treatment centers.

Human Rights in Honduras: We voted to adopt the resolution Councilor Edwards filed to urge the U.S. Congress to pass H.R. 1299, the Berta Caceres Human Rights in Honduras Act. Honduras has been experiencing an unprecedented level of insecurity and violence. In the aftermath of the election, there were 192 repressed demonstrations, resulting in over 1,250 arrests, 38 people killed, 393 people injured, 76 victims of torture, cruel, inhumane and degrading treatment, 15 journalists assaulted, 24 individuals in preventive detention as political prisoners, and 73 human rights defenders the victims of threats and other actions. The Berta Caceres Human Rights in Honduras Act, introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives As H.R. 1299 by Rep. Hank Johnson, would prohibit funds from being made available to Honduras for the police and military (including for equipment and training), and direct the Department of the Treasury to vote against multilateral loans to Honduras for its police and military, until the Department of State certifies that the government of Honduras has taken certain steps to promote accountability, dignity, freedom of speech and human rights.

Protected Bike Lanes on the Longfellow Bridge: We voted to adopt the resolution that Councilor Zakim and I filed a resolution to support the implementation of protected bike lanes on the Longfellow Bridge. The Cambridge City Council unanimously passed a similar resolution. The bridge is scheduled to reopen this month after nearly a decade of planning and construction. According to the Boston Transportation Department, the number of Bostonians who “usually” commute by bicycle increased by 180% from 2007 to 2016, cyclists comprised 34.9% of inbound traffic on the bridge during the morning commute in 2017, and the bridge was among the top 10 busiest cycling locations in the entire city of Boston during 2017, despite the lack of a safe bicycle land during construction. More than 3,100 individuals signed a petition calling on the MA Department of Transportation to install protected bike lanes on the Longfellow Bridge, with signatories using terms such as “dangerous,” “death-trip,” and “terrifying” to describe riding on the bridge absent adequate infrastructure.  We support advocates’ requests to reduce the number of vehicular lanes on the inbound side of the Longfellow Bridge from two to one for the uphill portion of the bridge and implementing physically separated bicycle infrastructure on the bridge wide enough to facilitate passing, before it reopens. MassDOT has recently committed to being open to a pilot of this situation after certain baselines are established, but we believe the infrastructure should be safe from the beginning and the current numbers demonstrate a strong baseline for cyclist demand and need. The Council also urges the MA Department of Transportation to make an immediate public commitment to implementing this revised plan, and work with advocates and stakeholders to ensure the new bridge works for commuters of all transit modes.

Today we started our meeting by joining Councilor Flaherty in celebrating the 107th birthday of Mr. Jean St. Fleur Joseph! Anyone can sign up to receive these notes by email at www.michelleforboston.com/sendmenotes or see the list of all previous notes at www.michelleforboston.com/notes.

City of Boston FY19 Budget: Mayor Walsh submitted his recommended Fiscal Year 2019 City of Boston operating budget, totaling $3.29 billion, an increase of $137 million or 4.3% over FY2018. That includes a recommended Boston Public Schools FY19 budget of $1.109 billion, a $48 million increase over FY18 to expand programs like Excellence For All and Becoming a Man to new schools and grades. BPS will also add new nurses, psychologists and social workers across the district. Read the full report here: https://bit.ly/2GQ9Izh. In addition, the general operating budget includes adding new public safety personnel, implementing police body-worn body cameras, programming for affordable housing, transportation investments, resources for the engagement center at Newmarket Square which serves many individuals struggling with substance use and addiction, and funding to rebuild the Long Island bridge. 70% of the overall operating budget is funded by property taxes, and state aid makes up 14%, having gone down each year. The current state budget’s Charter School Reimbursement line means that Boston would receive $27M less than owed under state law. See details on Boston’s full budget here: https://bit.ly/2GNRYIP.

Appropriation Orders: Mayor Walsh filed several authorization orders for Council approval. All were was assigned to the Ways & Means Committee for a hearing:
  • $40M to the Other Post-Employment Benefits (OPEB) Liability Trust Fund. This is an annual payment to address our unfunded post-employment benefits liability. The City is currently ahead of schedule in meeting this liability, which was initially scheduled to be current in 2040.
  • $53,802,817 from the Parking Meter Fund for various transportation and public realm improvements aligned with the goals of Go Boston 2030. The funds would come from the Parking Meter Fund.
  • $1.6M from the Surplus Property Disposition Fund to the Capital Fund for the development of master plans, architectural and engineering plans and designs, and for the implementation of such plans and designs for Boston Common, Franklin Park, and the completion of the Emerald Necklace.
  • $759,663 for the administrative and operating expenses of the City of Boston Community Preservation Committee, and a further appropriation of $21.2M from the Community Preservation Fund to be appropriated and reserved for future appropriation. The Fund was created upon the adoption of the Community Preservation Act in November 2016 and is funded by the 1% property tax surcharge on residential and business property tax bills that took effect in July 2017 and an annual state distribution from the MA community preservation trust fund.
  • $4.4M from the 21st Century Fund to the Public, Educational, or Governmental Access and Cable Related Grant for cable related purposes consistent with the franchise agreement between the cable operator and the city.

Grants
Mayor Walsh filed an authorization order for Council approval for:
  • For the City of Boston to accept $1.2M from the George Francis Parkman Fund for the maintenance and improvement of Boston Common and Parks.
  • The City of Boston Elderly Commission to accept and expend $569,031 from the State Elder Lunch Program. The grant would fund meals for seniors in Boston.
  • The City of Boston to accept and expend $150,000 from the Childhood Obesity Prevention Grant, awarded by The United States Conference of Mayors. The grant would fund BOSFoodLove, a partnership between BPS Food and Nutrition Services and the Mayor’s Office of Food Access, to ensure children at selected schools receive healthy and delicious meals to fuel their school performance and success.

Parking Fines: The Mayor filed an order to amend the City’s Schedule of Parking Fines, increasing the amounts fined for specific categories of parking violations, and creating a new category of violation for overnight street sweeping, which will be designated as a no-tow violation. Residential parking violations would increase from $40 to $60, and all parking meter tickets would rise from $25 to $40. The City would also stop towing for overnight street cleaning, but increase that ticket from $40 to $90. This would improve safety, reduce congestion, ease resident parking burdens, help business districts, and increase cleanliness in Boston streets. The matter was assigned to the Government Operations Committee for a hearing.

Increasing Access to Voter Registration: Councilor Edwards reported back on the hearing on Tuesday regarding speculation in the Boston housing market. She described the housing crisis and wealth gap in Boston as undermining people’s ability to stay in Boston. She suggested taxing the flipping of residential properties into luxury condos or apartments, foreign investment, and condo conversion to slow the forces that continue to reduce our supply of housing for working families and generate needed revenue for affordable housing creation. Sheila Dillon, Chief and Director of the Department of Neighborhood Development spoke about the Boston Housing Plan and shared her concerns on the Boston real estate market and displacement. The Boston Plan and Development Agency (BPDA) also spoke about affordable housing and growing housing prices. Residents testified about the pressures from the housing crisis, with properties being flipped and sold for profit. The matter remains in committee.

Hospital Merger: Councilors Flynn and McCarthy reported back on yesterday’s hearing on the proposed 13-hospital merger of Caregroup, Inc. (the parent company of Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center) and Lahey Health System. The Councilors had called for the hearing since the merger would result in creating another powerful hospital market, on par with Partners Healthcare, and increased market leverage. Councilor Flynn expressed concern over how a consolidated BI-Lahey Hospital would impact both costs and access to care in Boston and the ability of community hospitals to serve low-income communities of color. The matter remains in Committee.

Alcohol Advertisement-Free on the MBTA: We voted to adopt Councilor Essaibi-George’s resolution to support an alcohol advertisement-free policy for the MBTA. Alcohol ads had been banned on the T since 2012; however, the MBTA Fiscal and Management Control Board recently voted to reverse the ban on alcohol advertising, with some restrictions on where the ads can run: not near schools or community centers or in rail stations where more than 10 percent of passengers use student passes. Councilor Essaibi-George spoke about how early exposure to alcohol ads contributes to positive attitudes and perceptions about alcohol use in youth and predicts future intention to drink and the likelihood of underage drinking. The cost of underage drinking for Massachusetts residents was approximately $1.2 billion in 2013. The MBTA’s expected $2.5 million in revenue from alcohol advertising does not compare to the risks for our youth.

Tree Coverage: Councilors Pressley and O’Malley offered a hearing order to discuss and assess the amount and quality of tree overage in Boston. Across the country, about 30% of trees in cities have been lost to development. Councilor Pressley spoke how Boston has contributed to the decrease in the number of mature trees and green space overall during this building boom. Climate change continues to change our seasonal and temperature norms and the focus on development needs to include the importance of our City’s trees and recognize the link between healthy mature trees and creating healthy neighborhoods. Trees are a vital natural resource offering direct ecological, economic, and health benefits to the community. The matter was assigned to the Committee on Environment, Sustainability and Parks for a hearing.

Charter Schools Formation of Unions: We voted to adopt Councilor Essaibi-George’s resolution to support the efforts of charter school educators and staff to exercise their right to collective bargaining and the formation of unions. She spoke about how it is the democratic right of all Americans to have the freedom to join together in a union for a better life. Across Massachusetts, an increasing number of teachers in charter schools, including Boston, have overwhelmingly indicated their commitment to join together in unions for a voice at work and to be even stronger advocates for their students. Charter schools receive public funding and therefore are properly subject to public scrutiny of their labor practices. Educators and staff who faithfully follow the required process to join a union based on past precedent and common standards should have that union recognized by management.

Seaport Police Jurisdiction: We voted to adopt the resolution sponsored by Councilors Flaherty and Flynn supporting the House Budget Amendment to create concurrent police jurisdiction for Boston Police in the South Boston Waterfront, also known as the Seaport. Currently, that is the only area within city limits where Boston Police have no jurisdiction at all; it is exclusively the realm of State Police because this is MassPort land. Every other parcel of state land in Boston is subject to concurrent jurisdiction between State and local police. With all the development in the area and greater risks of flooding with more frequent storms, and with a growing residential population, public safety depends on first responders who are closest to the area being able to reach residents and visitors.
Upcoming Hearings/Working Sessions (livestream: https://www.boston.gov/departments/city-council/watch-boston-city-council-tv)

  • Thursday, 4/12 at 10:00AM: Hearing re: petition to establish the Greenway Business Improvement District (Planning, Development, & Transportation)
  • Friday, 4/13 at 1:30 PM: Conversation on housing with local officials from Boston, Cambridge, Somerville and Chelsea (Housing & Community Development)

Anyone can sign up to receive these notes by email at www.michelleforboston.com/sendmenotes or see the list of all previous notes at www.michelleforboston.com/notes.

Sandwich Board Signs: The Mayor refiled an ordinance regulating free-standing signs, also known as sandwich board signs, after the pilot program passed in 2015 expired. Sandwich board signs serve as significant marketing tools for small and local businesses, but must not interfere with sidewalk accessibility. The previous code amendments included the following requirements: Massachusetts Architectural Access Board Regulations to ensure accessibility and prevent interference with public travel, the sign does not exceed 24”x36”, is not adhered or attached to any structures or fixtures, is constructed of weather resistant material, maintained in good condition, placed on the public walkway during the hours of operation, the sign identifies the name, address, and telephone number of the business, the sign displays content limited to the business establishment’s goods, wares, services or merchandise for sale at the location of the sign; and the sign does not display advertisement of alcohol or tobacco products. The matter was assigned to the Government Operations Committee for a hearing.

Collective Bargaining: We voted to authorize funding a supplemental appropriation of $8,451 for the recently settled collective bargaining agreements between the Boston Public Health Commission and SEIU, Local 888 - Clerical Technical Unit. This would include base wage increases of 2% effective the first pay period of January of each fiscal year and new steps beginning in July 2018. The contract is from October 1, 2016 to September 30, 2020.

Appointments
Mayor Walsh made the following appointments:
  • Cathleen Douglas Stone as a member of the Boston Water and Sewer Commission for a term ending January 1, 2022.
  • Meg Mainzer-Cohen, Francis Crosby, Nancy S. Brickley, Christopher Cook, Christopher Osgood, Daniel Donahue, and Leo Fonseca as trustees of the Copley Square Charitable Trust for a term expiring on February 15, 2020.
  • Christopher Cook, Richard Berenson, Sean Hennessey, Suzanne Taylor, and Christopher Osgood as members of the Freedom Trail Commission for a term expiring January 3, 2022.
  • Blanca Tosado, Denise Williams Harris, Eileen Boyle, Francis Doyle, and Jordan Deasy as members of the Residency Compliance Commission for a term expiring January 3, 2022.
  • Kathryn Preskenis as a member of the City of Boston Scholarship Fund Committee for a term expiring March 16, 2021.
  • Natacha Thomas as a member of the The Living Wage Advisory Committee for a term expiring March 16, 2021.
  • Craig Galvin as a member of the City of Boston Scholarship Fund Committee for a term expiring March 23, 2021.
  • Brooke Woodson as a Chairperson to the City of Boston Scholarship Fund.

2017 Vision Zero Progress Report: Councilor Essaibi-George will hold a briefing regarding the city’s resources and strategies to eliminate fatal and serious traffic crashes in the city by 2030 as part of the Vision Zero plan. The progress report will be presented by the Livable Streets Alliance at 10AM on Wednesday, April 11, 2018 in the Curley Room of City Hall. More on Vision Zero Boston can be found here: www.visionzeroboston.org

Speculation in the Boston Housing Market: Councilor Edwards reported back on the hearing on Tuesday regarding speculation in the Boston housing market. She described the housing crisis and wealth gap in Boston as undermining people’s ability to stay in Boston. She suggested taxing the flipping of residential properties into luxury condos or apartments, foreign investment, and condo conversion to slow the forces that continue to reduce our supply of housing for working families and generate needed revenue for affordable housing creation. Sheila Dillon, Chief and Director of the Department of Neighborhood Development spoke about the Boston Housing Plan and shared her concerns on the Boston real estate market and displacement. The Boston Plan and Development Agency (BPDA) also spoke about affordable housing and growing housing prices. Residents testified about the pressures from the housing crisis, with properties being flipped and sold for profit. The matter remains in committee.

Reentry: Councilor Campbell reported back on comprehensive review of reentry resources for incarcerated populations in Boston from the public hearing yesterday at the Suffolk County House of Corrections. She noted that according to the MA Department of Correction, 32% of offenders are reincarcerated within three years, and a disproportionate number of individuals caught in the cycles of recidivism are men and women of color. There is much work to be done coordinating resources for returning community members. The matter remains in the Committee on Public Safety & Criminal Justice.

BPD Disability Pension: Councilors McCarthy and Flynn filed a petition to increase the disability retirement pension for former police officers Terry L. Cotton and Francis Jankowski. Both individuals sustained serious injuries while in the performance of their duties and as a result were incapacitated from further service as police officers. The bill would authorize the State-Boston Retirement Board to increase the accidental disability retirement allowance payable to Mr. Cotton and Mr. Jankowski, setting the annual amount of pension payable equal to the regular full rate of compensation which would have been paid had they continued as a police officer at the grade held by each at the time of his retirement. The matters were assigned to the Committee on Public Safety and Criminal Justice for a hearing.

Teacher Diversity in BPS: Councilor Janey called for a hearing regarding teacher diversity in the Boston Public Schools. Increasing teacher diversity is an imperative for BPS to close opportunity and achievement gaps. Research has shown that students with teachers of the same race can substantially improve educational outcomes for students. Teacher diversity has been linked with higher test scores and graduation rates and lower dropout rates. 86% of BPS students are Black, Latino, or Asian American, yet only 38% of teachers are Black, Latino, or Asian American. She also noted that a more diverse teaching force improves social-emotional outcomes for students of color, with students feeling happier, more cared for, and more engaged in learning. Councilor Janey would like to examine the current policies and recruitment practices BPS employ to recruit and retain teachers of color. The matter was assigned to the Committee on Education for a hearing.

Vacant Properties: Councilor O’Malley called for a hearing regarding vacancy data collection and incentives to reduce vacancy of commercial or residential properties in Boston. He spoke about Boston’s booming real estate market and the displacements of neighborhood businesses due to higher rents. He noted cities across the U.S. experiencing “high-end blight,” where high commercial rents cause vacant storefronts in vibrant neighborhoods. The City has implemented many initiatives aimed at increasing the affordability of commercial and residential space ranging from zoning reform to subsidies, but has not explored disincentives such as fees levied on long-term vacant properties. Storefronts left vacant for multiple years suggest a market failure, empty residential units remove housing that could otherwise provide homes, and filling vacant space improves the vibrancy and livelihood of our city while packing downward pressure on rents. The matter was assigned to the Committee on Housing & Community Development.

Honoring Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.: We voted to adopt a resolution offered by Councilors Edwards and Pressley honoring Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and recognizing his contributions to the City of Boston and the United States. On the evening of April 4, 1968, Dr. King was  assassinated in Memphis, TN; and fifty years later, his legacy continues to inspire people of color and all Americans, adults, children, low-income people, people of faith and all people of conscience to campaign for human dignity until such basic rights as food, water, stable housing, equality at work and home and fair access to public transportation are basic guarantees. Dr. King spent years in Boston as a student at Boston University, as a preacher in Roxbury at the Twelfth Baptist Church, and as a resident of the South End.
Upcoming Hearings/Working Sessions (livestream: https://www.boston.gov/departments/city-council/watch-boston-city-council-tv)

  • Monday, 4/9 at 2:00PM: Hearing re: ordinance regarding the right of free petition (Government Operations)
  • Tuesday, 4/10 at 10:00AM: Hearing re: proposed 13 hospital merger of Caregroup, Inc. (Parent Company of Beth Israel Deaconness Medical Center) and Lahey Health Systems (Government Operations)
  • Tuesday, 4/10 at 5:30PM: Hearing re: the opportunities and challenges facing small businesses in the City of Boston (Small Business and Consumer Affairs) at Bruce C. Bolling Building located on 2300 Washington Street in Roxbury
  • Thursday, 4/12 at 10:00AM: Hearing re: petition to establish the Greenway Business Improvement District (Planning, Development, & Transportation)
If you’ve found yourself looking for ways to support the resistance or wondering how to get more involved in reshaping our political system, here’s a suggestion: let's support the next generation of leaders and voices!
The history of this event goes back to the 70's and 80's, but I'm proud to co-chair this reboot of the event with an added twist: all proceeds from our banquet will go to fund a full-time organizer for millennial voters and a part-time student organizer this election cycle. 
Please join us on Thursday, April 5th at 6PM at China Pearl Restaurant in Boston’s Chinatown for an 8-course Chinese banquet dinner, drinks, and conversation with Dems from across the Commonwealth.
The event is almost sold out, so get your tickets today:
A special heartfelt thank you to those who have joined as banquet super hosts and banquet influencers! If you have questions about ways to get involved in sponsorship, email Sharon at sharon@michelleforboston.com and let us know.
Hope to see you soon! 
Michelle

P.S. If you would like to support our efforts, but can't make it, consider making a contribution here: https://secure.actblue.com/donate/chinapearl2018.

Today we joined Councilors Pressley and Janey in thanking Arthur “Sonny” Walker and his family for the many years that he ran Sonny Walker’s (formerly C & S Tavern), also known as the “Cheers” of Roxbury. Anyone can sign up to receive these notes by email at www.michelleforboston.com/sendmenotes or see the list of all previous notes at www.michelleforboston.com/notes.
Traffic Enforcement: We voted to approve the Mayor’s order for the Police Department to receive a Traffic Enforcement grant of $55,976.70 from the United States Department of Transportation. The grant would fund high-visibility traffic enforcement of motor vehicle laws, including but not limited to, speeding and aggressive driving, impaired driving and occupant protection.
Flooding: I reported back on Monday’s hearing where we discussed financing, governance, and legislative steps needed to address the immediate and long-term challenges Boston residents and businesses face from more frequent and intense flooding. We were joined by experts from UMass Boston Sustainable Solutions Lab, Boston Society of Architects, Boston Society of Civil Engineers, Boston Green Ribbon Commission, leaders from Boston Harbor Now, Conservation Law Foundation, and Harborkeepers, as well as city representatives from the Boston Planning and Development Agency and the Environment Department. Many panelists and residents spoke about the urgency of climate adaptation and mitigation, the need to dramatically increase the scale of our efforts and funding, and the foundational importance of community engagement to the success of our efforts. The matter remains in committee for further action -- most immediately, colleagues and I hope to have more focused conversations on 1) emergency response plans as roads and infrastructure floods with the Office of Emergency Management, 2) our stormwater and wastewater management through Boston Water and Sewer Commission, and 3) preventing further reliance on fossil fuels by carefully examining planned development and limiting or ending new fossil fuel infrastructure expansion.
Ordinance on Increasing Access to Voter Registration: Councilors Flaherty and Zakim reported back on Monday’s hearing on the proposed ordinance to increase access to voter registration in Boston. The ordinance would require the City to make voter registration forms available at libraries, community centers, and school registration, as well as pre-registration forms to eligible students. The ordinance would also allow students to start school a little later on election day if they return to school with an “I voted” sticker. The language would also require the Boston Transportation Department provide registration forms to residents seeking parking permits. Lastly, the ordinance would allow the transportation department and election department to share residents’ address information. The matter remains in committee for further action.
School Repairs: We voted to approve the $9,486,511 funding needed for boiler and roof projects at the following schools: East Boston High School, the Sumner School K-5, the O’Donnell School K-5, the Russell School K-5, and the Tobin K-8. The funds would be executed under the Public Facilities Department on behalf of Boston Public Schools and are eligible for partial reimbursement from the Mass. School Building Authority (MSBA).
Medicare Savings Programs Eligibility: We voted to adopt Councilor Essaibi-George’s resolution to support Massachusetts House Bill H.615 “An Act Regarding Medicare Savings Programs Eligibility.” The bill will increase income eligibility for the Medicare Savings Program in MA from 135% federal poverty line ($15,889) to 300% federal poverty line ($35,010). Councilor Essaibi-George noted that healthcare is the second largest expense for seniors with limited opportunities for assistance. The last census counted over 88,000 residents aged 60 and above in Boston, and that number is expected to increase to approximately 125,000 by 2030. The City of Boston has a responsibility to support the stability and well-being of all seniors.

Stray Voltage in Boston: Councilor Flynn called for a hearing on issues related to stray voltage in the city, including the tragic incidents where pets are electrocuted due to stray voltage underneath the ground. Boston has older electrical utility cabinets and, during the winter months, the infrastructure is weakened due to the grounds being saturated with salt, which can corrode wiring and grounding lugs. Multiple pets have been injured or passed away due to this. This is also a risk for children who may touch the stray voltage. The matter was assigned to the Committee on City, Neighborhood Services and Veterans & Military Affairs for a hearing.
Short Term Rentals: Councilors Edwards and Ciommo called for hearing regarding a review of the city’s proposed developments containing corporate short stay, executive suite, and short term rentals. The councilors noted that the city is undergoing a building boom and surge in population, creating many new challenges, income inequality, displacement and a shortage of affordable and workforce housing. As the Mayor and City Council continue working on an ordinance to regulate short term rental housing, the Boston Planning & Development Agency should enforce transparency from new developments on whether they intend to master-lease housing units to short-term rental companies. This follows a similar hearing order that Councilor Zakim filed last term, and he expressed support for continuing these efforts. The matter was assigned to the Committee on Housing for a hearing.
Youth Jobs: We voted to adopt my resolution urging the state to increase funding for YouthWorks Youth Jobs. Last year, over 3,000 Boston youth were placed in jobs at community and nonprofit groups through the Mayor’s Summer Jobs Program. The YouthWorks budget line has not increased proportionally with increases in the minimum wage since 2014, resulting in losses of several hundreds of summer and year-round jobs for teens. Year-round and summer youth employment provides early opportunities to build important traits and skills such as timeliness, responsibility, interpersonal relations, and personal worth that can be transferred to future positions, as well as the foundations of networking and resume building in a competitive job market. Investing in employment and training programs for youth acknowledges the significant benefits of teen employment in reinforcing long-term thinking about goals and educational prospects while reinforcing our commitment to developing a skilled pipeline of workers who have the experience and skill sets to meet the demands of top employers across the state. Councilor Pressley also stood to emphasize that many of these young people need access to paid employment not just for skills development, but for the income that their families depend on. The Boston City Council urges the Massachusetts Legislature to increase funding for YouthWorks to $14 million dollars and end level funding in favor of yearly increases to keep pace with the graduated increases in the state minimum wage.
2020 Census and Citizenship Status: We voted to adopt Councilor Zakim’s resolution calling on Congress to reject the Trump Administration’s proposal to add a question to the 2020 census survey specifically asking respondents about their citizenship status. The results of the next census will be used to determine Congressional representation, allocation of federal funds, and boundaries of legislative districts, so it’s extremely important that every resident be counted. Including a question on citizenship status could discourage participation of non-citizens and would likely lead to significant undercounting of population in communities like Boston with more residents who are immigrants, both citizens and non-citizens.
Upcoming Hearings (In the City Council Chamber unless otherwise noted. Watch at: https://www.boston.gov/departments/city-council/watch-boston-city-council-tv)
--Tuesday, 4/3 at 1:00PM: Hearing on speculation in the Boston Housing Market (Housing & Community Development)
--Tuesday, 4/3 at 6:00PM: Hearing to conduct a comprehensive review of re-entry resources for incarcerated populations in Boston (Public Safety and Criminal Justice) [off-site at Suffolk County House of Correction at 20 Bradston Street, Boston MA]
--Monday, 4/9 at 10:30AM: Hearing re: Autonomous Vehicles (Planning, Development & Transportation
--Monday, 4/9 at 2:00PM: Hearing re: ordinance regarding the right of free petition (Government Operations)
Hope is having a fantastic week! A reminder that anyone can sign up to receive these notes by email at www.michelleforboston.com/sendmenotes or see the list of all previous notes at www.michelleforboston.com/notes.

School Repairs: The Mayor filed an order seeking Council authorization to fund $9,486,511 for boiler and roof projects at the following schools: East Boston High School, the Sumner School K-5, the O’Donnell School K-5, the Russell School K-5, and the Tobin K-8. The funds would be executed under the Public Facilities Department on behalf of Boston Public Schools and are eligible for partial reimbursement from the Mass. School Building Authority (MSBA). The matters were assigned to the Committee on Ways & Means for a hearing.
Appointments: Mayor Walsh appointed Ann Marie Noonan as the Director of Labor Relations.

Net-zero Carbon Requirements: Councilor O’Malley reported back on the recent working session to discuss how Boston might set policy to encourage net-zero carbon standards for future development as we continue to see increasing harm from climate change. He spoke on the City’s robust construction boom and the significant demand for innovative and modern designs that would be energy independent and not reliant on carbon, especially with the City of Boston’s commitment to making its buildings carbon neutral by 2050. Over half of emissions come from free-standing buildings. We can protect all residents from the impacts of climate change while also saving on costs by improving energy efficiency and increasing access to good jobs. The matter remains in the Committee on Environment, Sustainability & Parks, and Councilor O’Malley plans to reconvene another working session in two months or so.

Short-term Residential Rentals: Mayor Walsh filed a letter withdrawing his proposed ordinance on short-term rentals.Whenever the Mayor files an ordinance, the Council has 60 days to amend, reject, or reject without prejudice, or the language automatically takes effect; that 60 days ran out today. On Monday the Council’s Committee on Government Operations held a working session following our hearing earlier in the month. At that working session, Councilor Edwards and I proposed an amendment to the ordinance that would eliminate the Investor Unit category, create an Owner-Adjacent Unit category that would allow owner-occupants of a 2-family or 3-family home to use one of their extra units for short-term rentals, and an exemption for furnished corporate or institutional stays of ten consecutive nights or more. This would close the loophole on unlimited corporate units, which even with a 90-day cap, could result in tenants being pushed out for short-term rentals. Here’s a summary of the short-term rentals legislative action at the City and the State: https://commonwealthmagazine.org/economy/walsh-pulls-airbnb-proposal. We will work quickly to finalize legislation in the next few weeks.
Collective Bargaining: We voted to authorize the appropriation orders to fund the recently settled collective bargaining contracts with the 250-member Boston Police Superior Officers Federation ($4,824,768.00) and the 27-member Boston Police Detectives Benevolent Society - Forensic Group ($82,323.00). Councilor Ciommo stated that the contracts include paid parental leave benefits, a cap on sick leave redemption upon retirement, gradual increases to the Quinn Bill/Education Incentive Plan so that the City will cover more of what the state has underfunded, and base wage increases of 2% consistent with other previously funded agreements this cycle.

Community Obligations for As-of-Right Projects: Councilor Campbell called for a hearing to discuss the review process for as-of-right zoning projects, particularly with regards to previously rejected applicants. She would also like to explore the tools and ordinances the City and Council may adopt to ensure these projects align with a community’s vision for its residents. Councilor Campbell brought an example of the Popeyes restaurant on Washington Street in Codman Square. The Popeyes restaurant was denied a Conditional Use permit in October 2016 due to community disapproval, but then the applicant re-filed for and was granted an Allowed Use Restaurant permit. Members of the Codman Square community were not informed of the subsequent application and its approval. The matter was assigned to the Committee on Planning, Development & Transportation for a hearing.
English Language Learner Program and Adult Basic Education: Councilor Pressley called for a hearing to discuss access to English Language Learner (ELL) Programs and Adult Basic Education in Boston. She spoke about immigrant communities grappling with language barriers that prevent them from fully contributing their talents and skills to our economy and perpetuates systems that take advantage of both their immigration status and their inability to communicate in the dominant language. Particularly after the recent report highlighting that Latinos in Massachusetts face the greater inequality than Latino residents in any other state. The matter was assigned to the Committee on Education for a hearing.
Home Rule Petition for Additional Licenses for the Sale of Alcoholic Beverages: Councilor Pressley refiled a home-rule petition for a Special Law to authorize additional non-transferable liquor licenses in Boston: 5 citywide all-alcohol licenses, 5 citywide beer & wine licenses, 3 all-alcohol and 2 beer & wine for each of Dorchester, East Boston, Hyde Park, Jamaica Plain, Mattapan, Mission Hill, and Roxbury, 3 all-alcohol and 2 beer & wine licenses for Main Streets Districts, and 1 all-alcohol license each for the Lawn on D at the Boston Convention and Exhibition Center, Boston Center for the Arts, and the Bruce C. Bolling Building. The matter was assigned to the Government Operations Committee for a hearing.
Reentry: Councilor Campbell called for a hearing to conduct a comprehensive review of reentry resources for incarcerated populations in Boston. She noted that according to the MA Department of Correction, 32% of offenders are reincarcerated within three years, and a disproportionate number of individuals caught in the cycles of recidivism are men and women of color. She plans to pick up on the work that former Councilor Tito Jackson had started on the Council of helping review and coordinate resources for reentry. She plans to host the hearing at the South Bay House of Correction. The matter was assigned to the Committee on Public Safety & Criminal Justice for a hearing.
Upcoming Hearings/Working Sessions (In the City Council Chamber unless otherwise noted. Watch at: https://www.boston.gov/departments/city-council/watch-boston-city-council-tv)
Monday, 3/26 at 11:00am: Hearing re: flooding in the City of Boston (Planning, Development, & Transportation) [Iannella Chamber, 5th Floor City Hall]

Monday, 3/26 at 2:00pm: Hearing re: Ordinance increasing access to voter registration (Government Operations) [Iannella Chamber, 5th Floor City Hall]

Happy Pi Day! Please stay warm and safe as everyone digs out from this most recent nor’easter. We started today’s meeting by joining Councilor Essaibi George in honoring Curley School 5th grader Ezeriah for setting local swim records with the Dorchester YMCA swim team and then breaking his own records! Anyone can sign up to receive these notes by email at www.michelleforboston.com/sendmenotes or see the list of all previous notes at www.michelleforboston.com/notes.

Collective Bargaining: The Mayor filed an order seeking Council authorization to fund the recently settled collective bargaining contracts with the Boston Police Superior Officers Federation. This would include base wage increases of 2% effective the first pay period of July of each fiscal year and new steps beginning in July 2018. The contract is from July 1, 2016 to June 30, 2020, and includes increases to existing Quinn Bill/Education benefits (which encourage police officers to earn degrees in law enforcement and criminal justice), modified cumulative risk benefits, and increases to hazardous duty pay. The Mayor also filed orders to fund the Boston Police Detectives Benevolent Society - Forensic Group contract. This would include base wage increases of 2% effective the first pay period of January of each fiscal year and new specialty differentials beginning in 2018. The contract is from October 1, 2016 through September 30, 2020. The matters were assigned to the Committee on Ways & Means for a hearing.

Grants:
  • We voted to authorize the City of Boston to receive $195,500 from Bloomberg Philanthropies. The grant would fund the Innovation Delivery Team’s mission to address data-driven processes to assess problems, generate responsive new interventions, develop partnerships, and deliver measurable results.

  • We also voted to authorize the Police Department to receive $6,200 from the Detective Joe Gallant Memorial Foundation. The grant would fund the purchase of technology for the Cam-Share program at District C-11 and support the BPD’s School Police Unit in purchasing student supplies and to support the unit’s “Lunch with a Cop” program. The matter was assigned to the Committee on Public Safety & Criminal Justice for a hearing.

Compensation Advisory Board Report: We received the report from the Compensation Advisory Board reviewing the salaries of elected officials, department heads and senior leadership positions as required by city ordinance every two years. Their vendor partner, Segal Waters Consulting, found that the City’s salary ranges are lower compared to the public senior market and recommended salary range adjustments for selected titles to attract and retain talent. These recommendations include moving select positions to a different pay category, increasing the salary ranges for four categories of staff, and increasing the Mayor’s and the City Councilors’ salaries by 4.2% to adjust for the change in cost of living from 2015 to 2017. The complete report is available at: http://meetingrecords.cityofboston.gov/sirepub/view.aspx?cabinet=published_meetings&fileid=235959

BPD’s Body-Worn Camera Pilot Program: Councilor McCarthy as Chair of the Public Safety & Criminal Justice committee and Council President Campbell reported back on the hearing held on Monday, March 12th. At the hearing, Commissioner Evans and the Boston Police Department summarized the preliminary study results of the BPD’s Body-Worn Camera Pilot, during which officers wore cameras for one year, starting in September 2017 and following policies drafted with input  from the Social Justice Task Force. 200 videos were collected, and BPD saw a reduction in the number of civilian complaints and the number of excessive force complaints during the time of the study. In 2011, there were 80 complaints of excessive force and in 2017, there were only 21 complaints. The final results will be available in May. The matter remains in committee for further work.

Voter Registration: The hearing on Councilor Zakim’s ordinance reducing barriers for voter registration originally scheduled for yesterday, Tuesday 3/13, was postponed due to snow. We will announce a new date as soon as it becomes available.

Public and Private Sewer Lines and Alleys: Councilor Flynn and I called for working sessions to discuss private alleys and private sewer lines, as well as potential solutions for streamlining and alleviating maintenance burdens on property owners abutting private infrastructure. Some Boston neighborhoods have private alleys that abut commercial and residential properties, where owners of these properties are responsible for the maintenance of the alleys. However, many of these alleys were designated as either private or public as early as the 1850s, and property owners abutting private alleys are often unaware of the ownership status of the alleys, as well as their upkeep responsibilities. The Boston Water and Sewer Commission (BWSC) oversees the City’s public water infrastructure and has an agency policy called the Betterment Program whereby residents of abutting private sewers can petition for their sewer lines to be accepted into the public system through a cost-sharing arrangement, but the requirements to make use of the Betterment Program often do not match the situation of neighbors who need it. Councilor O’Malley also stated that some homes in West Roxbury are still connected to septic tanks and would benefit from a discussion of public and private water infrastructure as well. The matter was assigned to the Committee on City, Neighborhood Services and Veterans & Military Affairs.

Good Food Purchasing Standards: I filed an ordinance for the City to adopt good food purchasing standards for all city agencies. The Good Food Purchasing Program, which was developed in 2012 as a set of national standards for local procurement, emphasizing local economies, environmental sustainability, fair labor practices, animal welfare, and healthy food. The program would support small business owners and employees in Massachusetts food production and processing, as well as help address income inequality in our city. The matter was assigned to the Committee on Government Operations for a hearing.

Federal Interference in Elections: We voted to adopt Councilor Zakim’s resolution for the City Council to call on the U.S. Congress and our Massachusetts federal delegation to reject the current version of the Department of Homeland Security Authorization Act since the current language would allow President Trump to deploy agents of the federal Secret Service to local polling locations across the country. Councilor Zakim spoke about how local elected officials must stand up against unconstitutional interference by the federal government to protect their constituents’ and all Americans’ right to vote free from intimidation.  

Upcoming Hearings/Working Sessions (In the City Council Chamber unless otherwise noted. Watch at: https://www.boston.gov/departments/city-council/watch-boston-city-council-tv)

  • Thursday 3/15 at 1:30PM: Meeting re: sexual harassment policy in the Boston City Council (Civil Rights) [Curley Room, 5th Floor City Hall]
  • Thursday 3/15 at 6:00PM: Hearing re: Redevelopment of One Charlestown Project (Housing & Community Development) [offsite at Knights of Columbus 545 Medford Street, Charlestown]
  • Friday, 3/16 at 2:00PM: Working session re: Implementation of Community Choice Energy in Boston (Environment, Sustainability & Parks)  [Piemonte Room, 5th Floor City Hall]
  • Monday, 3/19 at 10:00AM: Working session re: Ordinance Allowing Short-Term Residential Rentals in Boston (Government Operations) [Piemonte Room, 5th Floor City Hall]
  • Monday, 3/19 at 2:00PM: Hearing re: Benefits of net-zero carbon requirements and incentives for future construction in Boston (Environment, Sustainability & Parks) [Piemonte Room, 5th Floor City Hall]

I'm so incredibly proud of Michelle! As you may have heard, Michelle is one of six finalists across the country for the EMILY’s List 2018 Gabrielle Giffords Rising Star Award.
EMILY’s List is the nation’s largest resource for women in political office. The winner will get to highlight her story and the work she's done in her community at the EMILY's List Gala next month. There is no doubt that Michelle would represent Boston (and New England) well --- and she would have the tremendous opportunity to highlight the work we’ve done together in Boston, from passing paid parental leave to improving transportation access for economic mobility, racial equity, and climate justice.
I hope you'll join me in casting an online ballot for Michelle here: https://secure.emilyslist.org/Vote-For-Michelle. The deadline to cast your ballots is this Wednesday, March 7th at 5PM.

Thank you for your continued support!


Sharon


P.S. Don't forget to spread the word and ask friends and colleagues to vote here: https://secure.emilyslist.org/Vote-For-Michelle
I was surprised to get a phone call from the President of EMILY’s List, the nation’s largest resource for women in political office. I was speechless at what Stephanie Schriock told me next: I’ve been nominated as one of six finalists across the country for the EMILY’s List 2018 Gabrielle Giffords Rising Star Award.


Over the next seven days, anyone can vote online to choose the next Rising Star Award winner, who will get the chance to share her story and priorities at the national EMILY’s List gala next month.


The award honors the commitment to community, dedication to women and families, and determination and civility that have been the hallmarks of former Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords’ career, in and out of office. It’s an opportunity to highlight the work we’ve done together in Boston, from passing paid parental leave to improving transportation access for economic mobility, racial equity, and climate justice. Previous recipients include our very own Councilor Ayanna Pressley, Philadelphia Councilor Helen Gym, Colorado House Speaker Crisanta Duran, and Georgia House Minority Leader Stacey Abrams.


Although I was speechless to hear that I’d be on a list to honor Gabby Giffords alongside five amazing leaders, I’d have a lot to say in DC about our collective leadership in Boston and the urgency of taking action for a more inclusive, equitable and resilient world.


Could you take a minute to VOTE and share the link with your friends and family? Voting is open now and goes until 5pm on Wednesday, March 7th:


I’m grateful as always for your support and more energized than ever to keep pushing for bold, progressive leadership in our city and communities. Thanks for all you do!


Michelle

One of my priorities in politics has been to make sure that young people have opportunities to get involved and share leadership. Empowering our millennial generation is crucial for the health of our democracy — not only are we the largest generation of eligible voters, but new voices and approaches are needed now more than ever to match the urgency of our challenges.

To that end, I’m proud to co-chair an event with Mayor Marty Walsh and a superstar host committee to grow the Massachusetts Democratic Party’s Millennial Engagement Initiative, and we hope you can come. Please save the date to join us on Thursday, April 5th at 6PM at China Pearl Restaurant in Boston’s Chinatown for an 8-course Chinese banquet dinner, drinks, and conversation with Dems from across the Commonwealth.

The MassDems Chinatown Banquet isn’t a new idea. Over many years I’ve heard about the Party’s annual banquets at China Pearl in the ‘70s and ‘80s that brought together friends and activists from every background. I’m excited to help reboot this dinner with a new mission: all proceeds from our banquet will go to fund a full-time organizer for millennial voters and a part-time student organizer this election cycle.

To join the committee of Banquet Influencers and Super Hosts, please RSVP here or reply to this email and let Sharon and me know. Thanks for your help to support and grow the next generation of Democratic leadership.
 
Michelle
Link to RSVP/Contribute here: 
Happy Valentine’s Day! Anyone can sign up to receive these notes by email at www.michelleforboston.com/sendmenotes or see the list of all previous notes at www.michelleforboston.com/notes.

Grants
Mayor Walsh filed authorization orders for Council approval on:
  • The Police Department to receive $1.1M from the MA Executive Office of Public Safety and Security. The Shannon grants will fund regional and multidisciplinary approaches to combat gang violence through coordinated prevention and intervention, law enforcements, prosecution, and reintegration type programs. The matter was assigned to the Committee on Public Safety & Criminal Justice for a hearing.
  • To transfer parcels of vacant land in East Boston, formerly owned by Boston Planning and Development Agency, to the care, custody, management, and control to the Public Facilities Commission. The parcels are located at Candor Street in East Boston. The matter was assigned to the Planning, Development & Transportation Committee for a hearing.

The Council voted to approve:
  • The Office of Immigrant Advancement to receive $250K from a Donor Group. The Immigrant Advancement Initiative grant will fund programs, initiatives, events and small grants that enable immigrants to play an active role in the economic, civic, social and cultural life of the City of Boston.
  • The Parks and Recreation Department to receive $400,000.00 from the MA Office of Environmental Affairs to provide Capital Improvements to Noyes Playground located in East Boston.

City Audit Update: Former Councilor Larry DiCara, in his capacity as Chairman of the Audit Committee, sent an update to the Council on meetings held with independent auditors KPMG. The results state that the City is in strong financial condition for the fiscal 2017 year. Boston continues to be heavily dependent on property taxes for its general fund revenues (about 69%), and new revenue from a robust construction market has resulted in growth exceeding the annual increase limitations of Proposition 2½. Should market growth slow in future years, the City could experience reductions in property taxes and find difficulty funding increases in spending for current service levels. The report suggests the City should continue to explore ways to make service delivery more efficient and effective in an effort to maintain costs while meeting the service needs of the City’s constituency. The Committee also believes that the employee recruitment and retention and succession planning must remain an operation focus of the City, with many employees considering retirement or other opportunities. With regards to the the use of student activity accounts at Boston Public Schools, the Committee believes that BPS should develop and enforce standardized District-wide policies and procedures over the establishment, use, record-keeping, and monitoring of these accounts and any other accounts established for funds received by individual schools. The Committee believes that a level of accountability for such funds needs to be firmly imparted on those responsible for their maintenance and use. The complete report is available here: http://meetingrecords.cityofboston.gov/sirepub/view.aspx?cabinet=published_meetings&fileid=233927.

Short-term Residential Rentals: Councilor Flaherty reported back on yesterday’s 5-hour hearing on short-term rental platforms such as AirBnB. The goal on all sides is to stabilize neighborhoods because unregulated short-term rentals lead to long-term tenants being displaced for corporations to exploit a loophole to operate de facto hotels in our neighborhoods. Chief of Housing Sheila Dillon testified yesterday that the City had identified 2000 high-impact listers, with units listed more than 235 days per year. Even just returning these units to residential housing would significantly increase the vacancy rate to help stabilize or bring down rents. The Association of Downtown Civic Organizations has researched the issue thoroughly, with data showing that our downtown short-term rental offerings are more densely concentrated than in New York City, and developers of new residential buildings are routinely reserving units to lease to companies that operate short-term rentals full-time. This reduces the supply of stable rental units, displaces long-term tenants, and drives up our already-high housing prices. No one is saying that we should ban AirBnB outright, as many homeowners rely on renting out a spare bedroom or their entire unit when on vacation to help pay the mortgage. However, we must act quickly to close corporate loopholes. As a review, the proposed ordinance recognizes three different categories of units:
  • Limited Share Units: a partial residential unit e.g. bedroom or shared space offered for rent while the resident is present (limited to 3 bedrooms or 6 guests, with 1 bedroom occupied by the resident) – no limit on how many days these can be rented out; $25 registration fee
  • Home Share Units: an entire residential unit offered for rent while the primary resident is away (limited to 5 bedrooms or 10 guests) – primary residency is defined as residing there for at least 9-months of the year, effectively putting a 3-month limit on the number of days able to rent; $100 registration fee
  • Investor Units: an entire unit offered by someone who is not primary resident (limited to 5 bedrooms or 10 guests) – limited to 90 days of rental per year; $500 registration fee
Certain types of residential units would NOT be eligible for short-term rentals, including those designated as below-market or income-restricted; those designated as “Problem Properties” by the City; and those with 3+ findings of violations in 6-months of the short-term rental regulations or 3+ violations within 6 months of any city or state law relating to noise, trash, or disorderly conduct. Enforcement would be complaint-based with ISD able to impose fees of $300 per violation per day for offering an ineligible unit, and $100 per violation per day for failure to comply with a notice of violation.
Many residents testified at the hearing that Boston should significantly curtail the “investor unit” category to close a large loophole that companies will use to displace long-term tenants. Even with the 90-day limit, a corporation could buy a building, rent it out 45 weekends of the year (Friday and Saturday nights) and perhaps make enough money to keep it as AirBnB-only. Several residents cautioned against too harsh of a restriction though, citing that AirBnB helped them rent out extra units in their owner-occupied buildings in neighborhoods further from downtown, where otherwise they would have difficulty finding a long-term tenant. ISD Commissioner Buddy Christopher also emphasized that property owners would still be able to seek an occupancy change to Bed and Breakfast or Lodging House through standard processes. The matter remains in the Government Operations Committee for further working sessions. Because this is an ordinance from the Mayor, it is a 60-day order that requires Council action in that timeframe (even if the action is to reject without prejudice for a refiling with a new 60 days). Read the ordinance here. For a good summary of the issue, read this article.
Protecting Local Small Businesses: Councilor Janey gave her first speech on the Council floor today, filing a hearing order to discuss barriers to and opportunities for small businesses in the City of Boston. She described two pathways to chipping away at income inequality by building wealth in communities: home ownership and entrepreneurship. As Boston’s housing crisis means that residents are struggling to afford homes, small businesses are also suffering from quickly increasing rents. Small businesses are critical to the economy, culture, and vibrancy of neighborhoods within the City of Boston. There are 40,000 small businesses in the city, which generate about $15 billion in revenue and create 170,000 jobs. She also noted that people of color make up 53% of the city’s population, yet only 32% of businesses are owned by people of color. These businesses often lack access to capital and face significant barriers to obtain funding. The matter was assigned to the Committee on Small Business and Consumer Affairs.

Flooding: I filed a hearing order to discuss flooding in Boston, and the legislative, funding, and governance structures needed for the city and residents to adapt. Boston is extremely vulnerable to flooding, from sea level rise, from our rivers and brooks swelling in storms, and from increased stormwater runoff overwhelming our drainage system. On January 5, 2018, we experienced a record-breaking flood as the high tide reached its highest level since the National Weather Service began keeping records in 1921, causing damage to roads, public transportation, and many buildings. The City’s Climate Ready Boston initiative estimates that sea levels could rise 10 feet by the end of the century and 37 feet by 2200. But the impact is not limited to neighborhoods and homes on the waterfront; flooding also exacerbates unhealthy living conditions in older housing stock and homes where residents can’t afford to renovate. We will need to fund many infrastructure projects to adapt to climate change and flooding, including the potential for a major seawall in Boston Harbor, reconstruction of roadways, and renovation of many homes where residents can’t afford the entire cost of adaptation. The matter was assigned to the Committee on Planning, Development & Transportation for a hearing.

Resiliency Standards for City-owned property: Councilor O’Malley and I filed a hearing order to discuss standards for energy efficiency and resiliency for development or redevelopment of City-owned buildings or structures on City-owned land. The City Council is currently exploring ways to incentivize net zero carbon standards for new development across the city through discussions about revising state building codes. However, the City could set higher standards for energy efficiency, resiliency, and transportation access for publicly-funded projects and for development or redevelopment of City-owned property without waiting for state or federal standards to change. Last week’s announcement that the Administration released an RFI listing 83 municipal parcels as potential sites for redevelopment to add housing units is an opportunity to build affordable housing to the highest standards of resiliency and efficiency--residents of affordable housing should be in homes that are as resilient, healthy, and efficient as any. Passive house standards would also mean that residents would need to pay little or no costs for electricity and heating, helping with household budgets as well. The matter was assigned to the Committee on Planning, Development & Transportation for a hearing.

Bunker Hill Housing Development: Councilor Edwards filed a hearing order to discuss the redevelopment of the Bunker Hill Housing Development in Charlestown. Built in the 1930s, it is the largest subsidized housing development in New England. Many of the 1100 units and buildings lack hot water, clean hallways, modern sustainability measures and adequate safety for residents. The redevelopment process and overall project could take over 10 years, is expected to cost approximately $1 billion dollars, and will potentially relocate and displace several hundred Charlestown residents. Councilor Edwards stated that she hopes to discuss the past process, specifically the request for proposals, the selection of Corcoran Jennison, the new financial partner, the relationship to and discussion with the residents of the Bunker Hill Housing Development, the funding of the project, the expected project timeline, and the alternative proposal known as the Community Consensus Plan.  She intends to hold this hearing in the neighborhood. The matter was assigned to the Committee on Housing & Community Development for a hearing.

MBTA Local Assessment: I called for a hearing on the City of Boston’s annual assessment to the MBTA, which will be $85.8M in Fiscal Year 2018. The revenue from local assessments levied on the 175 cities and towns in the MBTA’s service area make up the third-largest source of revenue for the agency, after state sales tax and fares paid by MBTA riders. Boston’s contribution makes up over half of the local assessment revenue, and it comprises 4% of the MBTA’s total operating budget. This $85.8M represents taxpayer dollars from all of Boston, and yet the MBTA’s fare pricing structure does not treat all Boston residents equitably. Hyde Park, West Roxbury, and Roslindale residents do not have access to subway service, and are categorized in commuter rail fare zones where it is more than twice as expensive to travel within the city. On Friday, several Councilors and BTD representatives met with a group of about 40 residents to begin mobilizing for commuter rail fare equity. Allowing all Boston residents to pay the Zone 1A fares would not only reduce the financial barrier for certain residents to access public transportation, but it would relieve congestion on the Orange Line and in traffic. Yesterday, the MBTA announced it was considering fare hikes for next fiscal year. This hearing order is meant to discuss any opportunities to leverage Boston’s investment in the MBTA to create more equitable access for our residents. The matter was assigned to the Committee on Planning, Development & Transportation for a hearing. If you are interested in commuter rail fare equity, please fill out and share this brief survey: bit.ly/MBTACRfares.
Upcoming Hearings/Working Sessions (livestream: https://www.boston.gov/departments/city-council/watch-boston-city-council-tv)
  • Tuesday, Feb. 20th at 1:30PM: Tentative Working Session on Community Choice Energy Implementation (Environment, Sustainability & Parks)
  • Thursday, Feb. 22nd at 12:30PM: Hearing on a Proposed Medical Marijuana Dispensary at 1524 VFW Parkway, West Roxbury (Planning, Development & Transportation)
  • Thursday, Feb. 22nd at 2PM: Working Session on Plastic Bags Reduction Ordinance Implementation (Environment, Sustainability & Parks)
  • Tuesday, Feb. 27th at 1PM: Hearing on BPS Transportation Budget (Education)

At the beginning of today’s meeting, we joined Councilor O’Malley in honoring veteran Bud Waite of West Roxbury for his many years of service and leadership in the city, and Councilor Essaibi-George in thanking the founders of the Boston Winter Walk, which will take place this Sunday morning to raise money for organizations supporting the homeless community. Anyone can sign up to receive these notes by email at www.michelleforboston.com/sendmenotes or see the list of all previous notes at www.michelleforboston.com/notes.

Huntington Theatre: The Mayor filed an order to accept the right to enforce a use restriction to ensure that the Huntington Theatre continues to be used as a theatre or similar cultural use. The developer, QMG Huntington, will impose a use restriction on the building, requiring the owner of the property, and any successor, to use it as theatre and performance center for theatrical, cultural, live performance, educational, and ancillary activities. QMG Huntington will give the Huntington Theatre Company a 100-year lease to use the new lobby and will also gift the Huntington Theatre to the Huntington Theatre Company, a nonprofit theatre company that has occupied the theatre since 1982. The matter was assigned to the Committee on Arts, Culture & Special Events for a hearing.

Special Election: William F. Welch, Clerk of the Senate communicated that a Special Election will be held on Tuesday, May 1, 2018 to fill an existing vacancy in the First Suffolk Senatorial District, caused by the resignation of Senator Linda Dorcena Forry.

Appointments
  • Boston Conservation Commission: Mayor Walsh appointed Alice Richmond as member until November 1, 2019
  • Living Wage Advisory Committee: Mayor Walsh appointed Benjamin Stuart as a member until June 11, 2018
Commuter Rail Fare Equity: Tomorrow (Friday, February 9th) at 4pm, I will be hosting a meeting in the Piemonte Room on the 5th floor of City Hall to discuss the issue of Commuter Rail fare inequities with colleagues and transportation advocates. Learn more and RSVP on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/events/1328875667216372/.

Rutherford Ave/Sullivan Sq: I reported back on the Planning, Development & Transportation Committee’s hearing held this past Monday on Mayor Walsh’s request for Council approval and expenditure of two grants from the Massachusetts Gaming Commission in the amount of $250,000 to fund a portion of the City’s cost for the design of the Rutherford Avenue/Sullivan Square Project. Deputy Commissioner of the Transportation Department Jim Gillooly testified about the project’s history and plans. Sullivan Square has been slated for improvements for two decades. In 2010, the City began a community process about designs and in 2013 presented a design that would transform the current Rutherford Avenue underpass into a surface option to include safer pedestrian crossings, a linear park, and infrastructure for other modes of transit. Since then, the Wynn Casino and other developments have changed the projections for traffic volume, and in 2017 the City announced that the design would shift to one restoring the underpass. The total estimated cost of construction is $152M, 80% of which would be funded by the federal government and the rest through state and city funds. Currently, the City is working on the 25% design, with a goal of finalizing that by June. Advocates have expressed concern that the underpass option would be more costly, more vulnerable to flooding with climate change, and less safe for pedestrians. The matter remains in Committee for further action.

Collective Bargaining: We voted unanimously to pass three sets of orders filed by Mayor Walsh to fund the recently settled collective bargaining agreements:
  • Between the City of Boston and the Boston Police Detectives Benevolent Society, Superior Officers Unit: base wage increases of 2% effective the first pay period of July of each fiscal year. The agreements also include increases to existing Quinn Bill/Education benefits, modified cumulative risk benefits beginning in July 2016, and increases to hazardous duty pay beginning in July 2017. The contract is from July 1, 2016 to June 30, 2020.
  • Between the Boston Public Health Commission and the American Federation of State, County, and Municipal  Employees (AFSCME), Council 93, Local 787: base wage increases of 2% effective the first pay period of January of each fiscal year. The contract is from October 1, 2016 to September 30, 2020.
  • Between the Boston School Committee and the Boston School Police Patrolmen’s Association: base wage increases of 2% in October of each fiscal year. The contract is from September 1, 2016 to August 31, 2020.
Net-Zero Carbon Requirements: Councilor O’Malley refiled a hearing order on considering the benefits of developing net-zero carbon requirements and incentives for future construction. He spoke on the City’s robust construction boom and the significant demand for innovative and modern designs that would be energy independent and not reliant on carbon. He reminded us of the City of Boston’s commitment to making its buildings carbon neutral by 2050, and noted that over half of emissions come from free-standing buildings. We can protect all residents from the impacts of climate change while also saving on costs by improving energy efficiency and increasing jobs. The matter was assigned to the Committee on Environment, Sustainability & Parks for a hearing.

Surveillance Technology: I filed a hearing order in partnership with Councilors Campbell and McCarthy to discuss usage of surveillance technology in the City of Boston. Surveillance technology and electronic data gathering can be useful tools for advancing effective delivery and analysis of constituent services, public safety and security. We can act to provide safeguards to protect privacy rights and civil liberties as we see an increasing number of available surveillance and data-gathering technologies. This matter was assigned to the Committee on Public Safety and Criminal Justice for a hearing.

Vocational education: I called for a hearing with Councilors Essaibi-George and Janey to discuss how vocational educational opportunities in Boston can be improved and expanded. Boston currently has only one vocational technical high school, Madison Park High School, and the city is home to a thriving job market with many positions that do not require a post-secondary degree. In today’s world of astronomical college tuitions and student loan debt, plus a quickly changing job market with automation and globalization, vocational education is more relevant than ever and also more flexible than ever, training students not just in alternatives to traditional colleges, but also with technical skills that are a foundation for a post-secondary degree in a technical field. The types of pathways we see include traditional vocational pathways such as construction, carpentry, and culinary arts, as well as information management, health sciences, and advanced manufacturing. In addition to spending time discussing Madison Park, my goal is to visit other successful vocational schools across the Commonwealth to learn about best practices, funding levels, and key industry pathways. The matter was assigned to the Education Committee for a hearing.

Boston Logan Airport Workers’ Strike: We voted to adopt Councilor Edwards’ resolution to support the Boston Logan Airport Workers’ Strike. About 500 Logan Airport workers employed by JetBlue’s subcontractors FSS and ReadyJet have announced their intention to strike due to illegal surveillance, threats and intimidation of workers who are organizing for workplace changes. Several colleagues reinforced that the workers deserve the right to organize for improvements and rights on the job, free from surveillance, and threats or acts of intimidation.

Urban Renewal Updates: I filed an order for the Council’s Committee on Planning, Development and Transportation to hold biannual urban renewal progress update hearings with the Boston Planning and Development Agency, following up on commitments from the last urban renewal approval in 2016. Look out for the next update to be scheduled sometime in early March.

Mandated Reporting of Child Abuse: We voted to adopt my resolution with Councilor Pressley in support of federal legislation on expanding mandated reporting requirements for sexual and physical abuse. As we all saw in the media reports about Larry Nassar and USA Gymnastics, coaches and officials in amateur athletic organizations are not mandated reporters, even though they work with minors on a regular basis. The bill, sponsored by Senator Dianne Feinstein, would expand mandated reporting requirements as well as requiring training, oversight practices, policies and procedures to prevent abuse of amateur athletes and extends the statute of limitations for civil suits filed by minor victims of sexual abuse.
Upcoming Hearings(livestream: https://www.boston.gov/departments/city-council/watch-boston-city-council-tv)
  • Tuesday, February 13th at 10am: Hearing on Short Term Rentals in the City of Boston (Government Operations)
I love so much about my job, but one of my favorite parts is getting to work with and support talented young people. Last summer, we budgeted to offer a paid summer fellowship for a local graduate student interested in working on an initiative within one of my priority areas: economic mobility, racial equity, and climate justice. We received over 70 project proposals and selected Nina Schlegel, a Jamaica Plain resident and Masters student at Tufts University's Urban & Environmental Policy & Planning program, who proposed to analyze the City of Boston's climate resiliency plans from a climate justice and equity perspective.
Nina spent ten weeks in our office, poring over hundreds of pages of city documents, researching other municipal plans, and speaking with City departments, community advocates, and residents. Nina became a beloved member of our team, and she taught us so much about how Boston could continue improving our outreach and planning for the future.
I'm proud to share the final product from Nina's fellowship: a new report titled Climate Justice for the City of Boston: Visioning Policies and Processes. Please take a look and read through her recommendations for the City and the City Council. I will be looking to take action on these important recommendations over this year and beyond.
And please keep an eye out for as we announce the application for this next summer's fellowship program in the next few weeks. Thanks for all you do to support our city and the next generation of leadership.
Michelle

Growing up, my siblings and I always looked forward eagerly to Chinese New Year - colorful lion and dragon dance performances, delicious meals, and time with all our loved ones! Now, it's become a tradition to celebrate with my friends and supporters each year. I hope you can join us next month for our 3rd annual Lunar New Year celebration -- please save the date of February 21st from 5:30 PM - 7:30 PM. I'm honored to be joined again this year by Mayor Martin J. Walsh as our special guest! You can find more details on the invite below. 
We are building a great committee of hosts and sponsors, and it would mean so much if you would consider joining us again. If you would like to be involved or attend, please respond to this email, or to sharon@michelleforboston.com. Thank you for your continued friendship and support! To RSVP or make a contribution towards the event, please click here: Bit.ly/WuLunarNY18.
Wishing you and your family a wonderful new year! 
 Michelle  


As we gather with loved ones to reflect and rejuvenate, I wanted to wish you happy holidays, and a Merry Christmas to those celebrating tomorrow!

Thank you for your partnership and continued advocacy to build a city that includes everyone. Thank you for your generosity and commitment to fighting for the changes that will bring a brighter future for our kids and grandkids. 

I look back on this year with much gratitude, and onward to 2018 with much optimism. 

Happy holidays!
Michelle
Today was also the last meeting of the year, and the final meeting with Councilors Tito Jackson and Sal LaMattina. Everyone stood to thank each of them for their dedication and service to the City of Boston and wished them well on their next adventures.
We began today’s meeting by joining Councilor Essaibi George in honoring Ryan McWade, a senior at Boston College High School, who in August saved the life of a man who was overdosing.
Anyone can sign up to receive these notes by email at www.michelleforboston.com/sendmenotes or see the whole list of notes at www.michelleforboston.com/notes.
Funding Orders from the Mayor: We voted to accept and expend grants that had been previously submitted to the Council. Those include:
  • A roughly $1,257,000 grant from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services passed through the MA Executive Office of Elder Affairs, to be administered by the Elderly Commission, to fund a comprehensive and coordinated health and social service system, which assist elders to maintain independent living in their own communities as long as desired.
  • A $474,000 grant awarded from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services passed through the MA Executive Office of Elder Affairs, to be administered by the Elderly Commission, which would fund administrative expenses of the Elderly Commission Area Agency on Aging.
  • A $200,000 grant for the Beta Blocks grant from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation to be administered by the Mayor’s Office, which will fund experiments that aim to improve civic life by supporting Boston’s efforts to create a process for deploying sensors in urban environments.
Community Preservation Committee: We voted to confirm the Council’s four nominees to the Community Preservation Committee. As previously reported the four individuals are Matthew Kiefer for a term of 1 year, Kannan Thiruvengadam for a term of 2 years, Madeligne Tena for a term of 3 years, and Ying Wang for a term of 3 years. They will join Mayor Walsh’s appointees: Chris Cook (Boston Conservation Commission), William Epperson (Parks and Recreation Commission), Felicia Jacques (Boston Landmarks Commission), Carol Downs (Boston Planning and Development Agency (BPDA) Board), and Kate Bennett (Boston Housing Authority).
Acoustic Live Entertainment:  We voted to remove the sunset clause from the ordinance passed last year that eliminated the permit requirement, hearing, and fees for small businesses in business districts to host acoustic live entertainment acts with up to five performers between the hours of 10AM-10PM. The goal was to formally extend a tool to small business owners throughout the city to increase foot traffic and create more opportunities for artists in Boston, and the ordinance included a provision that it would expire at the end of 2017, in order to require review and discussion. At our hearing last week, small businesses and residents reported overwhelming support for the program, citing that it has helped bring in more customers and community members to their businesses.
Recreational Marijuana Tax: We voted to approve an order submitted by the Mayor to opt into a local recreational marijuana sales tax at the maximum 3%. At the hearing the Committee discussed ways to allocate the funds collected under this ordinance to a specific purpose at a future time, but which at this time will be allocated to general funds. Councilors Pressley and Jackson urged that the funds should be directed to restorative justice, workforce development, and other areas to help those that have been disproportionately impacted by the war on drugs.
Surplus Land Parcels: We voted unanimously to declare various land parcels as surplus and allow their transfer to the Public Facilities Commission: 1 Akron St, 11 Chipman St, 52 Elmont St, 24 Leston St, 97 Marcella St, 93-95 Marcella St, 101 Marcella St, 105 Marcella St, 109 Marcella St, 113 Marcella St, 115 Marcella St, 30 Mildred Ave, 85 Selden St, 0 Tucker St, 436 Warren Ave, 26 West Cottage St, 30 Westville St. Councilor Flaherty reported that at the hearing held on this issue we learned that the parcels will be used for various purposes ranging from mixed-use to residential and affordable housing, homeownership opportunities, and others.
Clapp St Medical Marijuana Dispensary: We voted to grant a standard letter of non-opposition for the proposal from Natural Selections, a medical marijuana company, to open a dispensary at 50 Clapp Street in Dorchester. Councilor Baker, in whose district this dispensary intends to locate, supported the letter because the owner is a Massachusetts resident, not a large out-of-state corporation, and who in his opinion had a solid plan to be a good neighbor in Dorchester.
Net-Zero Carbon: Councilor O’Malley reported back on the hearing held to consider the benefits of net-zero carbon requirements and incentives for future construction in the City of Boston. He noted two major actionable takeaways from this meeting including a need for coordination across initiatives, and the need for more aggressive action to reach the City’s stated goals for 2020 and 2050. The matter was placed on file for more action in the new year.
Procurement Reform: We voted to approve the ordinance that I sponsored in partnership with Councilor Pressley to reform the City’s procurement processes for greater equity in opportunity around city contracting. The ordinance helps align city spending with our goals of addressing income inequality by directing investment into our neighborhoods with greater meaningful engagement of women- and minority-owned business enterprises (WMBEs). The ordinance codifies the City’s responsibility to create a supplier diversity program, conduct active outreach to WMBEs regarding City needs and contracting processes, and requires solicitation of bids from at least one WBE and at least one MBE for contracts under $50,000. It also directs any and all requests for proposal (RFPs) that the City releases, as well as the evaluation process for such RFPs, to include a rating of diversity and inclusion plans, and creates a quarterly reporting obligation. In 2016 the City of Boston spent $378 million on goods and $318 million on services. That’s nearly $700 million annually that we could be directing to our neighborhoods, to historically marginalized communities, and to create opportunity.
Collective Bargaining: We voted to approve two appropriations orders from the Mayor to fund collective bargaining agreement reached by the City of Boston with SENA that would cover about 600 municipal employees. The agreement calls for an additional $2,681,157 in FY18 spending, all of which would come from the Collective Bargaining Reserve. The agreements cover new work rules, increased benefits and wage increases of 2% per year. It also extends the City’s Paid Parental Leave benefits to the employees covered by the union.
Community Preservation Committee Funding: We voted to approve an appropriations order for just over $285,000 for the administrative and operating expenses of the Community Preservation Committee (CPC) for FY 2018 (July 1, 2017 through June 30, 2018). We also voted to appropriate $17.9M from the Community Preservation Fund annual revenues for further appropriation upon the recommendations of the Committee. By statute, the administrative and operating expenses cannot exceed 5% of the CPA funds. This appropriation makes up approximately 1.6% of the current fiscal year funds.
BPS Start Times: Councilors McCarthy, Flaherty, Campbell, and Ciommo introduced a hearing order to discuss the proposed start time changes for the 2018-2019 schoolyear. Several Councilors noted that the lottery begins in January and at the very least, the plan should be pushed back. Councilors noted that the goal of later start times for high schoolers is laudable, and we understand the complexity of the BPS system as a whole, but 7:15am-1:15pm schedules do not work for working families. Many Councilors also emphasized the need for communication with much to be improved. Councilors O’Malley and Essaibi-George noted that they will present a letter the School Committee at their meeting tonight. Councilor Jackson also introduced a resolution expressing disapproval of the new start times and calling for a special meeting of the School Committee to reconsider. Because there was not unanimous consent to act on this matter (Council rules require unanimous consent to act on a matter on the same day on which it was introduced), we did not take a vote.
Boston Arts Academy: We voted unanimously to support a $123M appropriation for the construction of a new facility for the Boston Arts Academy, located on the existing site at 174 Ipswich. Because this is a capital appropriation, there are two votes required at least two weeks apart with a 2/3 majority. Today’s was the second vote, meaning that the matter has been passed and the appropriation has been approved.
Next meeting: The next scheduled Council meeting will be January 1, 2018, right after inauguration!

Today we began our meeting honoring the Home for Little Wanderers, an organization that has been serving vulnerable children and families in Boston for more than 200 years. Councilor Essaibi-George highlighted a critical program that helps support children who have aged out of the foster care system afford and finish college at Bridgewater State University. We thanked Joan Wallace Benjamin, the Home’s CEO, who will be retiring after 15 years in that role. Finally we gave the gifts that the City Council staff had collected to donate to the Home’s annual Big Wishes Gift Drive. The Home is collecting presents at the Toy Room in Roslindale until December 20th. You can get more information here http://www.thehome.org/site/PageServer?pagename=news_events_big_wishes
As always, please reach out with any questions to michelle.wu@boston.gov or 617-635-3115. Anyone can sign up to receive these notes by email at www.michelleforboston.com/sendmenotes or see the whole list of notes at www.michelleforboston.com/notes.
Appointments: Mayor Walsh made the following appointments
  • Joanne Goldstein, reappointed as a member of the Boston Compensation Advisory Board for a term expiring June 30, 2021.
  • Natacha Thomas, appointed as a member of The Living Wage Advisory Committee for a term expiring March 18, 2018.
We also voted to confirm the Mayor’s appointments from last week to the Boston Landmarks Commission and various District Commissions, following a hearing last week and a Committee report offered by Councilor Flaherty:
  • Terri North and Pamela Beale re-appointed as members of the Back bay West/Bay State Road Architectural Conservation Commission, for a term expiring June 30, 2020.
  • Ruth Knopf, Kathleen McDermott, and Stephen Dunwell reappointed as members of the Bay Village Historic District Commission for a term expiring April 1, 2020.
  • Thomas Hotaling, reappointed as an alternate member of the Boston Landmarks Commission for a term expiring June 30, 3030.
  • Lynn Smiledge and David Berarducci, reappointed as members of the Boston Landmarks Commission for a term expiring June 30, 2020.
  • Kirsten Hoffman and Felicia Jacques, reappointed as members of the Boston Landmarks Commission for a term expiring June 30, 2020.
  • Diana Parcon, reappointed as an alternate member of the Boston Landmarks Commission for a term expiring June 30, 2020.
  • Francoise Elise, appointed as member of the Saint Botolph Architectural Conservation District Commission for a term expiring June 30, 2020.
  • John Karoff, reappointed as member of the Fort Point Channel landmark District Commission for a term expiring May 1, 2020.
Funding Orders from the Mayor: We voted to approve the Mayor’s orders authorizing the City to accept and expend the following grants:
  • $17,000 grant from various donors for the Climate Ready Boston Leaders Program. This grant, to be administered by the Environment Department, will fund increased community education, translation of educational materials, and awareness of climate impacts and possible solutions.
  • Nearly $4,000 grant from the U.S. Department of Justice to reimburse four police officers on the Internet Crimes Against Children (ICAC) Task Force who are traveling to the 2017 ICAC Conference in December.
  • $2,000 grant from the MA Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs for the Sustainable Materials Recovery Program. This grant, to be administered by the Environment Department, will fund existing waste reduction program or facilitate new low cost initiatives including purchasing items such as backyard composting bins which are sold to Boston residents at a discounted price.
  • $45,000 grant from Harvard Business School for the Office of Neighborhood Development to shape housing policies and real estate projects that will improve the lives of Bostonians.
  • A $151,100 grant from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, to be administered by the Fair Housing and Equity Commission in order to fund the processing of housing discrimination complaints.
  • $170,000 grant from MassDOT, to be administered by Elderly Commission, to fund mobility management software and hardware to improve efficiency of Boston’s Senior Shuttle operations.
  • $440,000 grant from MassDOT, to be administered by the Boston Fire Department, which would reimburse the BFD for maintenance and upkeep of foam capability for firefighting equipment in the highway tunnels throughout the City.
  • $50,193 grant from the Friends of Puddingstone Park, Inc. (Kevin W. Fitzgerald Park) to be administered by the Boston Police Department to fund an electronic security project to enhance public safety in Mission Hill.
Early Education and Childcare Briefing Series – On-Site Workplace Childcare: I reported out on the hearing we held on Monday 12/4 on the topic of on-site workplace childcare, the 6th in the series of 7 hearings that Councilors Campbell, Essaibi-George, Pressley and I will have convened by the end of the year. We heard from Professor Erin Kelly from the Sloan School of Management at MIT who reports that in the last 20 years the number of employers offering this benefit has remained steady or perhaps even decreased. The employers most likely to offer this benefit are large organizations, primarily non-profits and government agencies. The primary concern for companies looking to offer this benefit is cost. Unfortunately federal and state tax incentives appear to be ineffective at encouraging more employers to offer this benefit. We will continue to reach out to experts and employers around Boston on this issue to determine how else we may be able to encourage employers to adopt on-site childcare. Our final briefing will be hosted by Councilor Campbell on Thursday. This matter remains in Committee for further action.
Safe Disposal of Home Generated Sharps: Councilors Flaherty & Essaibi-George reported back on progress on Councilor Essaibi-George’s proposed ordinance regarding disposal of home-generated sharps that was first introduced in August. More than 20,000 improperly discarded sharps were collected by the City of Boston in 2016. This ordinance would require all retailers and distributors of sharps for home use to collect and properly dispose of used sharps at no additional cost to the consumer. Councilor Essaibi-George stated that as sharps in our community and on our streets remains a serious issue,and the ordinance is still undergoing changes at this time. She intends to re-file the order in the new year. For now, the ordinance remains in the Government Operations Committee.
Student Assignment: Councilor Jackson reported on the hearing the Education Committee held on Boston Public Schools’ Student Assignment Process. In introducing this hearing order earlier in the year, Councilor Jackson noted that when the current assignment process was implemented in the 2013-2014 school year, the External Advisory Committee and School Committee charged BPS to provide annual updates on the assignment process, which we have not yet received. Councilors mentioned other concerns with the process which were all discussed at the hearing. At the hearing we learned that an RFP has been put out and that data will begin to be gathered in 2018, pushing back further sharing data with the Council on this process. Other pieces of data were requested and so the matter remains in committee.
Sexual Harassment Policy In the Boston City Council: Councilors Zakim & Pressley introduced a hearing order to review the existing Boston City Council policies and procedures designed to address sexual harassment and prevent retaliation for our organization; to recommend changes where necessary to ensure the safety of all employees, visitors, and others; and to ensure best practices to properly addressing complaints. In introducing the order Councilor Zakim noted that as revelations around the country multiply, Councilors have been reflecting on their own offices and processes. He noted that this hearing order is not investigatory or accusatory, as no specific complaint has come forward at the City Council. Councilor Zakim also noted, however, that we wouldn’t know if we don’t have systems that allow people to feel safe in coming forward. Councilors Zakim and Pressley both noted that the nationwide conversation has opened up reflection for each Councilor as they run their individual offices, and offers the Boston City Council as a whole the opportunity to be proactive in protecting our employees, visitors, and residents. The matter was assigned jointly to the Committee on Rules & Administration and the Special Committee on Civil Rights.
Executive Session: The Council entered into executive session to discuss internal personnel matters.
Upcoming Hearings/Working Sessions (Watch at www.cityofboston.gov/citycouncil/live.asp)

  • Thursday 12/7 at 10:00AM: Hearing on Docket #0196 - re: the Regulations & Enforcement of the Residency Policy for BPS Students (Education)
  • Thursday 12/7 at 4:00PM: Hearing on Docket #1099, Early Education and Childcare Briefing Series on the topic of expanding childcare access (Healthy Women, Families, and Communities) [Offsite at Codman Square Library, 690 Washington St, Boston, MA 02124]
  • Friday 12/8 at 9:00AM: Hearing on Docket #1488 re: medical marijuana dispensary at 50 Clapp Street (Planning and Development)
  • Friday 12/8 at 10:30AM: Hearing on Docket #1425 re: the local sales tax on recreational marijuana at the maximum-allowed 3 percent rate (Government Operations)
  • Friday 12/8 at 11:30AM: Hearing on Docket #1487, Acoustic Live Entertainment (Government Operations)
  • Monday 12/11 at 10:00AM: Hearing on Docket #1399 – re: the FY18 Boston Public Schools Transportation Budget (Joint: Committee on Ways and Means & Committee on Education)
  • Monday 12/11 at 2:00PM: Hearing on Docket #1062 - re: the benefits of net-zero carbon requirements & incentives for future construction in the City of Boston (Environment & Sustainability)
  • Tuesday 12/12 at 10:00AM: Hearing on Docket #1325 Promoting Equity in City of Boston Contracts (Government Operations)
  • Tuesday 12/12 at 11:30AM: Hearing on Dockets #1459 and 1460 Supplemental appropriation for cost items contained within the Collective Bargaining Agreement between the City of Boston and SENA (Ways and Means)
  • Tuesday 12/12 at 1:00PM: Hearing on Docket #1427 - re: Jitney/Star Shuttle, Inc. (Parks, Recreation & Transportation)

Please join me over the next two Mondays to kick off your holiday season with celebration and conversation! I hope to see you at these three upcoming events:
Monday, December 4thJoin me to celebrate a great year at our Annual Holiday Party from 6-8PM at Canary Square in Jamaica Plain!
Monday, December 11th, 4PMWomen of the Boston City Council Roundtable. Come January the Boston City Council will be the most diverse group in our city's history, and I'm excited to serve alongside my returning and new colleagues! All six of the incoming female City Councilors will sit down together for a conversation at The Modern Theater moderated by Yvonne Abraham of the Boston Globe.
Monday, December 11th, 6PMMonuments and Memorials in Boston Panel. Immediately following our roundtable, I'll be moderating another important discussion on evaluating memorials in Boston through an equity lens at the Boston Public Library in Copley Square. The panel discussion will include representatives of the Boston Women's Heritage Trail, the Museum of African American History, and the Chinese Historical Society of New England. 
I hope you'll be able to make it to one or all of these events!
Michelle

I’m proud to be a working mom, with all the joys and complexities of the role. In raising Blaise and Cass while serving in office, I’m inspired to fight even harder for moms and dads across Boston. It’s not easy for any working parent, but together we can build momentum for change.
That’s why I wrote an op-ed for CNN about bringing my baby to work and the changes needed to support all working families.
I believe it’s my duty not just to be a voice for community, but to take down barriers and empower more community voices. Let’s work to let moms lead and let our families and communities thrive.
I hope you’ll read my op-ed here and share your thoughts.
Thanks so much for all you do.
Michelle
P.S. With three days left until Election Day, I need your help to continue fighting for our shared values. Please consider joining our GOTV volunteer efforts or making a contribution to support our outreach. Every bit makes a big difference!
As always, please reach out with any questions to michelle.wu@boston.gov or 617-635-3115. Anyone can sign up to receive these notes by email at www.michelleforboston.com/sendmenotes or see the whole list of notes at www.michelleforboston.com/notes.
BPS Teachers Contract: Mayor Walsh filed two orders to fund BPS following the collective bargaining agreement reached between the Boston School Committee and Boston Teachers Union, Local 66, AFT-Mass, AFL-CIO. In total the agreement calls for $31,122,743 in increased funding, $20M of which will come from the Collective Bargaining Reserve, a line item already included in the FY18 budget that was approved in June. The remaining $11,122,743 will be supported from other general revenues. The item was assigned to the Ways & Means Committee for a hearing,
Early Education and Childcare Briefing – Transitions from Early Ed to Kindergarten: Councilors Pressley and Essaibi-George reported on our briefing from last Thursday on the topic of transitions for children and families from early education or “daycare” to formal kindergarten programs. We learned that there are about 4,500 Kindergarten seats for 5 year-olds in BPS and currently the district offers 2,800 seats for 4 year-olds and a much smaller amount for 3 year-olds. The goal is to offer universal 4 year-old pre-kindergarten through a “mixed delivery system,” subsidizing community-based providers who adopt a BPS curriculum and hours to be able to pay those teachers the same starting salary as BPS teachers. The matter remains in committee for further sessions.
Voter Registration Changes Hearing: We voted to suspend the rules and allow for the the Special Committee on Civil Rights’ hearing regarding voter registration called for by Councilor Zakim to take place on Thursday, September 28th at 6PM at Boston University. According to Council rules, Committee hearings cannot be held on the same day as full City Council meetings. Because of the renovation of the Ianella Chamber and scheduling conflicts with Fanueil Hall, we are holding next week’s Council meeting on Thursday rather than Wednesday.
NOTE: Our next Council meeting will be held in Fanueil Hall, on Thursday September 28th at 12:00PM.
Upcoming Hearings/Working Sessions (Watch at www.cityofboston.gov/citycouncil/live.asp)

  • Thursday 9/28 at 6:00PM, Docket #1061, order for a hearing regarding voter registration in the City of Boston. (Special Committee on Civil Rights) [Boston University, Sargent College of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences, 635 Commonwealth Ave Room 101 Boston, MA 02215]
  • Tuesday, 10/03 at 2:00PM, hearing on an order authorizing the City of Boston to adopt Community Choice Energy (Environment and Sustainability) [Ianella Chamber, 5th Floor City Hall]

My name is Robert Julien, and I am Michelle Wu's campaign manager. Over the last couple of months I have had the honor to be a part of the #WuTeam. It has been a privilege to work for a young and progressive leader who has a bold vision for the future of Boston.
We are now less than 55 days away from the election and Michelle needs your help. Michelle wants to have a strong presence at polling locations across the city on preliminary day, especially in Districts 1, 2 & 7. We will be passing out literature as voters leave the polling location after voting in the preliminary. Michelle could not do what she does on the City Council without strong grassroots support. Please fill out this form to sign up.

Tuesday, September 26th, 2017 (Time and Locations TBD)
    
Michelle looks forward to seeing you on Preliminary Day! Thank you for the support and let's get Michelle re-elected on November 7th. 
In solidarity,
Robert Julien

In our current political environment, it's more important than ever to recruit and support talented candidates who will stand up for our values and our communities. I've been especially focused on helping Massachusetts millennial Democrats who are smart, progressive, and passionate about public service.
Haverhill City Councilor Andy Vargas represents the best of our Commonwealth's future, and I hope you'll join me in supporting his candidacy for State Representative in the 3rd Essex District's special election. first met Andy through our work organizing and convening millennial electeds. Elected in 2015 at the age of 22, he is the first Latino to serve in Haverhill and has been a strong, courageous, progressive voice on the Council. Andy would be a great partner on issues that matter to Boston.
I'm proud to be hosting a Boston fundraiser for Andy on Monday night with Chairman Jeffrey Sánchez, State Senator Sonia Chang-Díaz, and a great host committee. Please stop by next Monday, September 18th at Market Lounge (21 Broad Street) at 6pm to meet Andy and become a fan. To learn more about Andy, visit his website here: http://www.andyforhaverhill.com/.

Andy is in a tough primary fight and needs our help. Please join me in supporting him next week! Even if you can't make it, please consider making a donation online here: https://secure.actblue.com/donate/vargassanchezwu

See you Monday
Michelle
P.S. View Andy's video introduction here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Olk4tyHBfaE

Congratulations to Councilor Campbell and her husband Matt on the recent birth of their son! And congratulations to Councilor LaMattina and his wife Lisa as they celebrate their 30th wedding anniversary today! Thank you to Chelsy Cartwright of Councilor Pressley’s office, a Houston native, who offered beautiful and touching words on Boston’s role in hurricane relief at the close of our meeting.
As always, please reach out with any questions to michelle.wu@boston.gov or 617-635-3115. Anyone can sign up to receive these notes by email at www.michelleforboston.com/sendmenotes or see the whole list of notes at www.michelleforboston.com/notes.

Appointments: Mayor Walsh made the following appointments:
  • Richard DePiano, Temporary First Assistant Collector-Treasurer and Anthony Dello Iacono, Temporary Second Assistant Collector-Treasurer, for a period of 60 days
  • Board of Appeal: we confirmed the following people
    • Anthony Pisano, Bruce Bickerstaff, Eugene Kelly, reappointed until July 2018
    • Kerry Walsh Logue reappointed until November 2019
    • Tyrone Kindell, Jr., reappointed until October 2018
    •  Mark Fortune, reappointed until June 2018
    • Mark Erlich, reappointed until September 2019
  • Zoning Commission: we voted to confirm David Marr, Jill Hatton, and Elliot Guerreroasas members until May 2020
Boston Boards and Commissions Home Rule Petition: We voted to follow Councilor Flaherty’s recommendation to pass the Mayor’s Home-Rule Petition that would help the Administration fill more board and commission seats. The legislation would allow the Mayor to appoint members to vacant or expired seats on certain city boards and commissions if the relevant nominating entity fails to submit names for the Mayor’s consideration within 90 days after being notified of a vacancy or expiration of a member’s term. The proposed legislation was amended to include a Council confirmation requirement for all boards and commissions, as well as a residency requirement for nominees. A full list of the city boards and commissions to which this would apply can be found here.
National Black Women’s Justice Institute: Councilor Pressley reported on the hearing that took place on Monday on a policy reform and public education project with the National Black Women's Justice Institute (NBWJI) and the Boston City Council, organizing girls of color to participate in policy-making and especially in school discipline policy conversations. The matter remains in committee for further sessions.
City Response to Extreme Weather Events: Councilor O’Malley called for a hearing to examine the City’s responsiveness to extreme weather events, as they are likely to increase in frequency as climate change continues. The goal is to provide a public opportunity to evaluate the City of Boston’s preparation, physical protective infrastructure, and local response for preparing and reacting to a catastrophic weather event. The matter was assigned to the Committee on Environment & Sustainability for a hearing.
Resolution Supporting H.742 For State Burial Fund: We voted to adopt a resolution filed by Councilors Pressley & Campbell urging the State Legislature to pass H.742 An Act Amending Victim Compensation Statute this session. This bill would amend existing law to allow for families to receive compensation from the “Compensation of Victims of Violent Crimes” fund regardless of the circumstances of the loved one’s death. Currently, if the victim “contributed to” their own death, their family is ineligible for funding. The sponsors particularly thanked the Louis D. Brown Peace Institute and its leader Tina Chery for her advocacy for all survivors and families of homicide victims. Several Councilors rose to urge quick passage, stating that no family should be punished for the actions of their deceased relative and the City cannot keep making up for the state’s underfunding of this issue.
Resolution Supporting Congressional Gold Medal For Chinese American WWII Veterans: We voted to adopt my resolution in support of H.R. 2358/S.1050, a federal bill that would convey a group designation of the Congressional Gold Medal to Chinese American World War II Veterans. During WWII, some 20,000 Chinese Americans served in the American armed forces in all theaters of the war, despite there being fewer than 120,000 Chinese American residents in the U.S. at the time. Approximately 40% of the Chinese Americans who served were not American citizens – and in fact weren’t even eligible to become citizens until the war was almost over and the Chinese Exclusion Act was repealed by Congress. This legislation would award the Congressional Gold Medal to the entire group of veterans, an honor that other veteran groups have received. As this year marks the 75thanniversary of the repeal of the Chinese Exclusion Act, passage during this legislative session would be particularly meaningful for the surviving veterans.
Right to Charge Ordinance: filed an ordinance on the “right to charge” for Electric Vehicle owners. This ordinance would codify the rights and responsibilities of residents of Boston who wish to install electric vehicle charging stations on their properties and barring condo or homeowners associations from banning or unreasonably burdening the owner doing so. As I mentioned, this in no way is meant to hold back our advocacy for complete streets and improving other modes of transportation such as cycling, walking, and public transit. We need to make it possible for car owners who are looking to switch to electric vehicles to access the necessary infrastructure to reduce their emissions in this way. The matter was assigned to the Government Operations Committee for a hearing.
Resolution on DACA: We unanimously adopted Councilor Jackson’s resolution opposing the Trump Administration’s decision to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. Boston has a long history as a home to immigrants from hundreds of different countries, and the thousands of DACA recipients living and working in Boston currently. The U.S. Congress has six months to come up with a legislative solution before the Administration fully revokes DACA. Several Councilors spoke eloquently on the importance of protecting these youth who have known no other country as home, and who are our coworkers, friends, students, family and neighbors.

NOTE: Our next two Council meetings will also be held in Fanueil Hall, but due to scheduling conflicts they will not be held on the usual Wednesday. Our next meeting will be 12:00pm on Tuesday September 19th.
Upcoming Hearings/Working Sessions (Watch at www.cityofboston.gov/citycouncil/live.asp)
  • Thursday, 09/14 at 1:30PM, Docket #0199 policy briefing related to a key topic in early education & childcare, specifically transitions from early education to kindergarten. (Healthy Women Families & Communities) [Piemonte room, 5th Floor City Hall]
  • Tuesday, 10/03 at 2:00PM, hearing on an order authorizing the City of Boston to adopt Community Choice Energy (Environment and Sustainability) [Ianella Chamber, 5th Floor City Hall

I'm excited to share that Conor, Blaise, and I welcomed baby brother Cass Wu Pewarski into our family on July 12th at 8:16 AM. Cass weighed in at 8 pounds even and measured 19.5 inches long. We're all home now, happy and healthy.
According to the Chinese zodiac, babies born in the Year of the Rooster tend to be hardworking and punctual. Though mom had been ready and waiting for a while, Cass decided that the time wasn't right until five days past his due date.
This second time around, the frequent feeding and fleeting sleep routine is familiar, but I'm finding the little moments of newborn love all the sweeter in watching Blaise become a big brother. It's clear we're in for a journey together -- I'd love to hear any parenting advice you'd be willing to share! 
From all of us here, hope you are having a wonderful summer so far. Thanks for all that you do.
Michelle

WGBH HOW WE LIVE | COMMENTARY
Climate Justice: Beyond Green Elitism
June 15, 2017

MICHELLE WU

President Trump’s decision to withdraw the United States from the Paris Climate Accord—and by extension, global leadership on climate—makes clear that the fight against climate change will be driven by local action for the foreseeable future. Since the announcement, 298 Climate Mayors across the country, including Boston’s own Mayor Marty Walsh, have come together to set local standards and push ambitious new carbon reduction goals. Any successful effort to mitigate climate change will require major local leadership, as urban areas account for only 1% of the land on earth, yet are responsible for more than 60% of carbon emissions.

But effective local action on climate change will also require changing how we talk about why climate change matters. Too often, the conversation is marked by green elitism, focusing on ways to expand electric vehicles for those who can afford the luxury, or sea-level rise projections based on a 100-year timeframe. These issues are important, but don’t come close to being urgent for families worrying about making the next rent payment or struggling to care for young kids and aging parents. This framing also ignores the reality that climate change is here now and disproportionately impacting underserved communities.

Although unabated climate change will become disastrous in the long term, we don’t need to look to the next decade to see the impacts of climate crisis. The growing global scarcity of clean, safe drinking water is already creating environmental refugees, and droughts have been linked to violence in the Middle East and North Africa. Here in the U.S. coastal cities are already suffering from increased storm water flooding—particularly in low-income neighborhoods—not to mention high profile natural disasters from hurricanes to rampant wildfires out west.

At home and abroad, underserved communities are hit hardest and face the greatest barriers in adapting to climate impacts. For these communities to be heard, we must expand and diversify the ranks of who is involved in climate advocacy.
In other words, cities have a responsibility not just to tackle climate change in the face of federal inaction, but to reframe the need for action under the more urgent and inclusive umbrella of climate justice.

From food justice to healthy housing and work, climate change is impacting America’s poor. Food deserts will only expand as prices rise. More frequent flooding exacerbates waterborne illnesses and mold for families living in poor housing conditions. Extreme heat creates health risks for our elderly, youth, residents with medical conditions, and those who work outdoors.

Tackling these serious challenges from a climate justice perspective will trigger opportunity and economic development in our most underserved communities. Expanding affordable transportation access through public transit, cycling, and pedestrian infrastructure reduces car dependency and emissions while directly improving job prospects and economic mobility. Green jobs are growing twelve times faster than the overall economy; these on-site positions cannot be outsourced and often pay above-average wages.

In Boston, we are taking the lead on building resiliency. Mayor Walsh’s Imagine Boston 2030 plan adds climate action into a citywide strategic vision. Initiatives like Greenovate Boston and the work of Boston’s first Chief Resiliency Officer have brought a data-driven, community-focused approach to climate conversations. On the City Council, we are pushing to exercise bulk purchasing power on behalf of residents and small businesses to set a higher percentage of renewable energy sourcing through Community Choice Energy, working to reduce the carbon footprint of municipal buildings, and more. We will continue our advocacy for concrete and immediate action to fight climate change. But most of all, we must listen.

Progress on civil rights and economic opportunity is inextricably linked with climate change. Addressing the disparate impacts of climate change requires consciously addressing the underlying social, racial and economic inequalities embedded in our city, together as a community.

The call to a new generation of leaders is to listen to communities and work together in linking our resiliency planning to improving opportunities and quality of life for all. My office has begun a new process to understand how Boston can do better, opening a dialogue with climate justice and community-based organizations around the city. We are examining what has been accomplished to date, and are asking what Boston can do to better address the challenges we know are coming. As with everything we do in city government, this must be an open, transparent, and community-led effort.

Cities will be the leaders of this fight for climate justice, and we owe it to our constituents–and the world–to get it right.


Michelle Wu is President of the Boston City Council.

Paid for and Authorized by The Wu Committee
The Wu Committee

P.O. Box 960782
Boston, MA 02196

Congratulations to the Council’s Television & Technology Director Kerry Jordan on being named a 2017 Shattuck Public Service Award winner! We’re so thankful for all you do to support the Council and keep the public informed through open, accessible communications. And on behalf of Councilor Andrea Campbell and myself, thank you to all our colleagues for a lovely surprise baby shower yesterday! As always, please reach out with any questions! Anyone can sign up to receive these notes by email at www.michelleforboston.com/sendmenotes or see the whole list of notes at www.michelleforboston.com/notes.
Transportation Infrastructure Grant: The Mayor filed an order asking for authorization for the Public Works Department to accept and expend a $6M MassDOT grant for pedestrian, bicycle and traffic improvements to be used in the reconstruction of Summer Street in the Waterfront. The matter was sent to the Parks, Recreation & Transportation Committee for a hearing.
Constables: We voted to approve the constable’s bonds of 4 individuals under the usual terms and conditions as approved by the Collector-Treasurer.
FY18 Operating Budget: By City Charter, the Council must act on the budget each year by the 2nd Wednesday of June but our fiscal year ends June 30th, so it is customary that we reject the budget without prejudice, allowing the Administration to resubmit a revised version with changes reflecting feedback from our many Ways & Means Committee hearings (27 to date). We did that today by voting down the General operating budget, BPS operating budget, and other post-employment benefits (OPEB) liability trust fund. The Administration will most likely resubmit the budget at next week’s Council meeting, with a hearing on the changes tentatively scheduled for June 27th at 10AM. If the Council does not approve the budget by the start of FY2018 (meaning a vote at our June 28th meeting), departments will continue on a month-to-month basis with 1/12 of the funding that was allocated in this current fiscal year.
Sanctuary School Act: Councilors Flaherty and Jackson reported back on yesterday’s hearing on Councilor Jackson’s proposed Sanctuary School Act, which would codify practices regarding federal Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) in Boston Public Schools. Under the ordinance, ICE agents would not be allowed to enter BPS sites without a signed warrant from a judge and explicit written permission from the Superintendent and District Attorney; BPS will refuse all voluntary information sharing with ICE; and BPS may not ask for or require proof of legal immigration status upon enrollment. The matter remains in the Government Operations Committee for further work given testimony from Administration officials that some revisions would be needed. Several Councilors urged the city’s law department to act quickly on suggesting those revisions, because students are going into summer school and teachers had testified at the hearing about confusion due to lack of policy at the moment.
Medical Marijuana Dispensary: Councilor Zakim called for a hearing regarding a medical marijuana dispensary at 331 Newbury Street. Compassionate Organics, a non-profit medical marijuana company, is seeking approval to open a dispensary at 331 Newbury Street in the Back Bay. In order to advance in the state’s application process, any petitioner must obtain a letter of support or non-opposition from Mayor Walsh or the City Council. This particular applicant had appeared before the Council in August 2016 when applying for a location on Harvard Ave in Allston, and the Council voted to decline offering a letter of non-opposition for that location. Councilor Zakim stated that he does not have a position on this particular applicant at this location, but wanted to give them a fair and open hearing before the Council to hear from neighbors. The matter was assigned to the Planning & Development Committee for a hearing.
Closed Captioning Transcripts: The Council has now started posting the text transcripts of closed captioning after each live-streamed meeting and hearing, so anyone can go back and read through what is close to a transcript of the discussions. The files are unedited closed captioning transcripts, so they’re not perfect, but I’m thrilled that we’ve finally codified this practice of making a text summary available. You can find them shortly after each meeting/hearing concludes attached to the archived public notice for the event: https://www.boston.gov/public-notices/archive?title=&field_contact_target_id%5B%5D=441.

  • Monday, 6/19 at 2:00PM, Medically Supervised Injection Facilities (Homelessness, Mental Health & Recovery)
  • Tuesday, 6/27 at 10:00AM, [Tentative] FY18 Budget Resubmittal (Ways & Means)

I'm excited to invite you to an event in partnership with a group of young professional leaders who believe there's no better investment in Boston's future than creating opportunity for our youth. 
As millennials and leaders in organizations from the Boston City Councilto the TenPoint Coalition, Urban League, and Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce, we've come together to raise funds to support the expansion of the Boston Centers for Youth and Families (BCYF) SuperTeens Program.
SuperTeens bridges the gap for young people who are too old for traditional summer camps, but not old enough for a formal summer job. Participating teens receive professional development, financial literacy training, and career planning advice -- and earn money in the process. For many it's a summer of "firsts": first paid job responsibility, first time traveling to neighborhoods in Boston they've never been to, and first time visiting some of our city's most treasured cultural institutions. The program traditionally has a long waitlist of applicants.
On June 28th, we're throwing a party at new restaurant Doña Habana with the goal of raising enough to max out the number of SuperTeens slots this summer. Come for great food, music, and to help set up some of our most vulnerable youth for a lifetime of success.
We're calling our effort Raise the Youth, and we'd love for you to join us! You can buy a ticket or become a sponsor at bit.ly/RaiseTheYouth62817. To join the host committee, email Sharon at sharon@michelleforboston.com. Even if you can't make it, please consider sponsoring others to attend and helping us spread the word!
Thanks for your support and investment in our city.
Michelle
 --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Paid for and Authorized by The Wu Committee
The Wu Committee
P.O. Box 960782
Boston, MA 02196
At the beginning of today’s meeting, we joined Councilors Pressley and Jackson in honoring Reverend Miniard Culpepper of Pleasant Hill Baptist Church for 20 years of ministry and his many contributions to the City of Boston. Councilors Essaibi-George and LaMattina celebrated Cristian Figueroa and Kevin Turcios, students from East Boston High School who recently won one of the top honors of the 2017 Intel International Science and Engineering Fair (ISEF). As always, please reach out with any questions! Anyone can sign up to receive these notes by email at www.michelleforboston.com/sendmenotes or see the whole list of notes at www.michelleforboston.com/notes.
Appointments: Mayor Walsh made the following appointments:
  • City of Boston Cultural Scholarship Fund Committee: Wilnelia Rivera, Marty Martinez, Byron Beaman, Carol Lee, Marchelle Raynor until June 2020
  • Fund for Boston Neighborhoods Board Members: Anabela Gomes and Julie Burns
  • City of Boston’s Alternate Representative to the Metropolitan Area Planning Council: Andrew Grace, Director of Economic and Strategic Planning
Truck Side Guard Ordinance Report:  Inspectional Services Department Commissioner William Christopher filed annual reports for the last two years in compliance with requirements from the Truck Side Guard Ordinance about costs and number of vehicles outfitted with safety features. Read the 2015/2016 report here: http://meetingrecords.cityofboston.gov/sirepub/view.aspx?cabinet=published_meetings&fileid=210893. And the 2016/2017 report here: http://meetingrecords.cityofboston.gov/sirepub/view.aspx?cabinet=published_meetings&fileid=210894.
Constables: We voted to approve the constable’s bonds of 29 individuals under the usual terms and conditions as approved by the Collector-Treasurer.
City Council Summer Meetings Location: I filed public notice confirming the location change for our meetings on July 12th, August 2nd, August 23rd, and September 13th – which will be moved to Faneuil Hall while the Council Chamber is under renovations for accessibility improvements. As a reminder, the project will lift the Council floor and make our space fully accessible for those with mobility challenges and/or using wheelchairs. Currently, the Council floor is three steps down from the main floor, and the only way down is from a ramp that requires someone in a wheelchair to go all the way around to the back entrance for access. The new plans will mean that no one will have to go around to the back to access the Council floor, and that the Councilors’ entrance and President’s podium will be fully accessible. We will also change a row of public seating to provide wheelchair-accessible seating (currently nonexistent). The improvements will also include sound treatments on some of the walls to help attendees hear better, LED lights that will save energy and provide adequate lighting on one side of the Chamber that is currently dark, and new carpeting in the form of carpet tiles that are easier to clean and overall more cost-effective to maintain. We are told that renovations are scheduled to be completed by mid-September, so the plan is to be back in City Hall for our Council meetings on September 20th and 27th. If construction runs long, Faneuil Hall is already booked for these dates, but we’ve reserved backup dates in Faneuil Hall on different days of the week for those two weeks. Committee hearings will take place in Room 801 of City Hall during construction. All hearings and meetings will continue to be live-streamed with closed captioning as usual. Thanks to Council Central Staff, Property Management, the City Cable Office, and Boston Neighborhood Network for all your coordination and efforts to plan for this transition.
Urban Renewal: I filed a letter attaching a communication from BPDA Director Brian Golden codifying the agency’s understanding of the City Council’s role in future urban renewal plan extensions within the City of Boston, as a follow up to our most recent City Council Urban Renewal Biannual Update meeting. The letter confirms that the BPDA will seek and obtain Council’s approval for any future extension of the urban renewal plans prior to seeking the MA Department of Housing and Community Development’s (DHCD) approval. Read the letter here: http://meetingrecords.cityofboston.gov/sirepub/view.aspx?cabinet=published_meetings&fileid=210904.
FY18 Capital Budget: The Capital Budget represents the loan orders and appropriations that make up the City’s investments in capital projects. Capital items require two affirmative votes by the Council, at least two weeks apart. Today we took the first of those votes on the capital items sponsored by the Mayor. Each of the five items received a unanimous first reading, except for the $45M Parking Meter fund allocation for transportation and public real improvements, which received a 12-1 vote (Councilor Jackson against). To read details about the Capital Budget, see the committee report: http://meetingrecords.cityofboston.gov/sirepub/view.aspx?cabinet=published_meetings&fileid=210905.
Medically Supervised Injection Facilities: Councilors Essaibi-George and Baker called for a hearing to determine the impacts of medically supervised injection facilities in Boston. The opioid epidemic has had a devastating effect on the Commonwealth of MA, with a 350% increase in overdose deaths since 2000 according to the MA Department of Public Health. Safe injection sites would be legally sanctioned, medically-supervised facilities, where opioid users could consume illicit recreational drugs intravenously under the care of medical experts. Safe injection sites are meant to reduce nuisance from public drug use and provide a hygienic and stress-free environment. The MA Medical Society has adopted a resolution urging the state to launch a pilot program allowing the creation of two safe injection sites, including one in Boston. Councilor Essaibi-George stated that she was undecided about whether safe injection sites should be allowed in Boston, but the Council needed to be part of the conversations that are already taking place. Councilor Baker expressed stronger skepticism about the effectiveness of these sites as well as their impact on surrounding communities, but agreed that we need to take the lead on the policy analysis. Councilor Jackson stood to say that the South End should not be asked to take on yet another services facility. Councilor Flaherty said that he was opposed to safe injection sites and hoped the conversation would lead to an outright ban on such facilities in Boston, because the opiate crisis is a regional issue that needs a regional solution. Safe injection sites would need not only state approval, but federal approval as well. The matter was assigned to the Committee on Homelessness, Mental Health and Recovery for a hearing.
National Black Women’s Justice Institute: Councilor Pressley called for a hearing to convene leading scholar Monique Morris and the National Black Women’s Justice Institute (NBWJI) on the topic of black girls’ experiences with school climate and policies. She detailed how school conduct policies may often be unfairly biased against girls of color and black girls in particular, as black girls are six times more likely to be suspended than any other race or ethnicity. In BPS, black girls make up 28% of all girls, but account for 61% of girls suspended and 63% of girls expelled. She proposed conducting focus groups with black girls and administrators from BPS and BCYF. The matter was assigned to the Committee on Healthy Women, Families, and Communities for a hearing.
Fenway Cultural District: We voted to adopt a resolution I filed in partnership with Councilors Pressley, Jackson, and Zakim to support the renewal of the Fenway Cultural District Designation. Last week, we held a hearing at the Museum of Fine Arts on the district’s reapplication for another 5-year period, where we heard from Chief of Arts and Culture Julie Burros, Fenway Alliance Executive Director Kelly Brilliant, leaders from the MFA, Simmons College, First Church of Christ Scientist, and Berklee College of Music, and many residents in support of renewal. As a reminder, on March 24, 2012, the Fenway Cultural District was officially designated as Boston’s first cultural district by the Massachusetts Cultural Council thanks to a resolution sponsored by Councilors Pressley and Jackson, along with then-Councilor Mike Ross. To maintain this designation, the Massachusetts Cultural Council requires all cultural districts to submit a reapplication every five years and to hold at least one community input meeting. The reapplication includes an expanded map to include Berklee College of Music. My cosponsors emphasized that the renewal would reinforce collaboration among the city’s now three cultural districts (the Literary Cultural District and Roxbury Cultural District in addition), that there are practical benefits to designation (including closer collaboration and cross-promotion), and real economic benefits too.
Boston City Hall Carbon Footprint: I filed a hearing order in partnership with Councilor Flaherty on reducing the carbon footprint of Boston City Hall and other municipal buildings. President Trump’s announcement last week that the United States would withdraw from the Paris Climate Accord was perhaps the clearest marker that the federal government is completely abdicating leadership on fighting climate change. Only two other countries are not part of this historic global agreement to reduce emissions and hold the world accountable: Syria and Nicaragua (and Nigaragua because they believe it does not go far enough). I was proud to stand with Mayor Walsh on behalf of the Council at his press conference announcing that Boston would continue on an ambitious path to address climate change despite federal inaction. Many of our plans and goals require private sector collaboration and changing behavior across our neighborhoods, but one category of tangible, significant action that is entirely within city government control is the operations/maintenance of City Hall and other municipal buildings. This includes adjusting our heating and cooling systems, electricity sourcing, recycling practices, roof usage, water management, etc to capture energy efficiency savings and create a healthier environment for city workers. Councilor Flaherty had introduced a hearing order on greening City Hall back in 2008, with some important results, but he mentioned unfinished work such as the lights in some parts of the Council offices staying on 24 hours a day (the light switches do not work, and mechanically there has been no good explanation as to why they can’t be turned off!). Councilors O’Malley and Ciommo described the resolution they worked on to move all city employees to paperless pay stubs and seconded the need to take action within City Hall. Councilor Linehan spoke to add the possibility that the City should sell City Hall (as an old, energy inefficient building that is costing taxpayers money) and build a new, energy efficient building. I personally believe City Hall is beautiful as perhaps the most striking example of brutalist architecture, and we can balance historic preservation in Boston with fighting climate change by aggressively examining the practices described above. The matter was assigned jointly to the Committee on City, Neighborhood Services, and Veteran Affairs and to the Committee on Environment and Sustainability.  
Upcoming Hearings/Working Sessions: none scheduled



Last night I was honored to receive the Massachusetts Democratic Party's 2017 Eleanor Roosevelt Award. It was a pleasure to celebrate with Franklin Roosevelt award winner Congressman Jim McGovern, as well as activists and elected officials from across the Commonwealth. 
It was also an incredible opportunity to talk with fellow Democrats about our shared future.
We live in uncertain times. We’re grappling with serious matters from health care to affordable housing, immigration to infrastructure, and the urgency of climate change. And we are faced with the misguided policies of a presidential administration that would roll back advances in civil and human rights that generations have fought for.
Rather than letting the fear and confusion in today's rhetoric distract us from who we are as a country, we need to follow the example of Eleanor Roosevelt, who said: “Government exists for one purpose – to make life better for all people.” She was at the forefront of fights for political and economic inclusion that we carry on today. 
Eleanor Roosevelt was an unapologetic liberal who made her vision of a better world a reality through an unassuming, unconditional accessibility to people who don’t usually see politicians in their midst. That is the charge for elected officials and activists today.
It is a charge I am ready to take on in every fight to fund education and transportation, to provide access to early education and affordable housing, and to ensure streets for people and local sustainability. And I am excited about the future of Massachusetts because last night reminded me of how many strong, progressive allies we have in this movement.
         
Thank you for joining me on this journey to build a City of Boston that makes life better for all people. 
Michelle

P.S. Please join me in the march, not just figuratively but literally! Sign up here to walk with us this month at the Dorchester Day, Pride, or Bunker Hill Day parades.

It's official -- we are on the ballot for the fall! Thanks to the work of more than 75 volunteers we collected over 2,700 signatures in just 13 days. I am so grateful to everyone who pitched in time to give me this opportunity to run again. 
I look forward to earning every vote over the course of the campaign, and to working with you all to continue building a brighter future for Boston.
We have a lot to do in the coming weeks and months. Click here to get involved with the Michelle for Boston campaign!

As always, please reach out with any questions! Anyone can sign up to receive these notes by email at www.michelleforboston.com/sendmenotes or see the whole list of notes at www.michelleforboston.com/notes.
Appointments: Mayor Walsh made the following appointments:
  • Associate Commissioner of the Boston Parks and Recreation Commission: William Epperson until January 2021
  • City of Boston Representative to the Metropolitan Area Planning Council: John Barros until May 2020
  • Boston Employment Commission: John Redd until August 2018
Constables: We voted to suspend and confirm the appointments of 52 constables approved by the Boston Police Department. Constables have the authority to oversee evictions and serve civil process, including subpoenas, divorce papers, and modifications; the criminal background check and approval process is conducted by BPD, subject to City Council confirmation. Last fall, this process came under intense scrutiny after the shooting in East Boston that left two Boston Police officers wounded, in which the alleged shooter was a constable confirmed by the Council in April 2016 after having passed all the BPD background checks. It turned out that those background checks had been restricted to Massachusetts, so they did not uncover the suspect’s criminal record from another state. Following a Council hearing called by Councilor McCarthy, the Administration and Boston Police have changed their procedures so that today’s process requires fingerprinting and multistate background checks. Councilors Flaherty and McCarthy noted that this more intensive process resulted in eight applicants withdrawing and two being disqualified from this round of applicants.
Community Preservation Committee: Councilor Flaherty reported back on Monday’s working session on the creation of the Community Preservation Committee. State law requires that after communities opt in to the CPA, the local legislative body passes an ordinance to define the composition and procedures of the committee that will make recommendations on how to allocate CPA funds. This ordinance proposes a committee of 5 members appointed by the Mayor (heads of various agencies/commissions that oversee affordable housing, parks and open space, and historic preservation as statutorily defined) and 4 appointed by the City Council, serving staggered 3 year terms. The group would be responsible for recommending allocations of expenditures from the Community Preservation Fund, which must be appropriated by vote of the City Council. CPA projects must be related to the acquisition, creation, and preservation of open space, historic preservation, and affordable housing. At the working session, we reviewed a revised draft that included more specific language on transparency, committee member expertise, and the selection process. The Yes for a Better Boston (YBB) Coalition which had led the community mobilization efforts pushing for the ballot initiative had requested that all four Council appointments should come from a list of 12 people that YBB would provide. The Administration also drafted an ordinance that would have the Mayor appoint these seats – 1 from a list created by the Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce, and 3 from a list of 9 from YBB. Councilors expressed concern about allocating seats to specific organizations, given that ordinances will be on the books for years to come and the composition and leadership of organizations can change. Our proposal is for the Council to create a subcommittee to oversee the selection process (through an open application portal on the City website that could include support letters from organizations) and hear recommendations from the CPA Committee on allocation. Councilor Flaherty also mentioned that there was some discussion on whether the Council needed to formalize the committee structure by June 1st in order for the City to begin collecting and potentially disbursing the funds in this fiscal year; if that is the case, we would have to vote on the ordinance at next week’s meeting. The matter remains in the Committee on Government Operations.
Temporary Protected Status for Haitian Nationals: We voted to adopt my resolution filed in partnership with Councilors Jackson, McCarthy, and Zakim to urge the extension of Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for Haitian nationals. TPS is an emergency immigration status given when people are temporarily unable to safely return to their home country because of ongoing armed conflict, an environmental disaster, or other extraordinary and temporary conditions. The TPS designation allows eligible Haitian nationals to temporarily continue living and working in the United States, and it was granted to Haitian nationals who were in the US as of January 12, 2010, the date of the devastating earthquake in Haiti. The designation has been renewed multiple times, and the latest extension expires July 22, 2017, with a decision due by May 23rd to leave enough time for a 60-day notice period. Legally, the decision should only be based on current conditions in Haiti, and whether people could safely return. We know that Haiti has not yet recovered from the 2010 earthquake and the nation suffers from economic and political crises, rampant Zika and Chikungunya, the effects of a devastating cholera epidemic, and the destructive effects of Hurricane Matthew. However, there have been recent reports that the Trump administration has requested questionable data regarding TPS beneficiaries’ involvement with the criminal justice system and public benefits system, suggesting that they are looking to build a misleading narrative. Several Councilors rose to support extending TPS for Haitian nationals, citing the strong and thriving Haitian American community in the Greater Boston region, which makes up the country’s third-largest Haitian population; nearly 1 out of 10 Haitians living in this area have TPS. May is Haitian Heritage Month, and the City of Boston is proud to be the first city in the nation to formally celebrate Haitian Heritage Month.
Malcolm X: Councilors Pressley and Jackson rose to highlight their resolution designating May 19th as Malcolm X Day in Boston in perpetuity. Councilor Pressley honored Malcolm X (el-Hajj Malikel-Shabazz) for his numerous contributions to black history, humanity, Boston, and this country. She reminded us that Malcolm X has deep Boston roots, as he came to Boston in 1940 as a teenager and lived with his sister in Roxbury for twelve years. She also emphasized that Malcolm X was a product of Boston and a reminder of the strength of Boston’s black community. Tomorrow, May 18th at noon, there will be a flag-raising over City Hall Plaza in honor of Malcolm X. In addition, the 30th Annual Malcolm X Memorial and Awards Breakfast will take place this Saturday, May 20th at 8:00 AM at the Reggie Lewis Track & Athletic Center.    
Haitian Breakfast and Flag Raising: Councilor McCarthy invited all members of the City Council and the public to attend this Friday’s breakfast and flag-raising in honor of May being Haitian Heritage Month. The breakfast will feature authentic Haitian cuisine and will begin at 10:30 AM in the City Council Curley Room. The flag-raising over City Hall Plaza will begin at noon.  
Council Chamber Accessibility Project: I gave a brief update on the Council Chamber accessibility project, which is proceeding on schedule for renovations this summer beginning in early July and lasting until September. We are finalizing plans to use Faneuil Hall for those summer meetings during construction, except that the space is booked already for the dates of our last two meetings in September, so we may need to adjust those dates or find a different location. As a reminder, the project will lift the Council floor and make our space fully accessible for those with mobility challenges and/or using wheelchairs. Currently, the Council floor is three steps down from the main floor, and the only way down is from a ramp that requires someone in a wheelchair to go all the way around to the back entrance for access. The new plans will mean that no one will have to go around to the back to access the Council floor, and that the Councilors’ entrance and President’s podium will be fully accessible. We will also change a row of public seating to provide wheelchair-accessible seating (currently nonexistent). The improvements will also include sound treatments on some of the walls to help attendees hear better, LED lights that will save energy and provide adequate lighting on one side of the Chamber that is currently dark, and new carpeting in the form of carpet tiles that are easier to clean and overall more cost-effective to maintain.
Upcoming Hearings/Working Sessions (Watch at www.cityofboston.gov/citycouncil/live.asp)
  • Wednesday, 5/31 at 2:00PM, Fenway Cultural District (Arts & Culture)
Upcoming Budget Hearings (Ways & Means):

  • Thursday, 5/18 at 11:00AM, Department of Inspectional Services Overview and Revolving Funds
  • Monday, 5/22 at 2:00PM, Boston Public Library
  • Monday, 5/22 at 6:00PM, BPS: Academics and Student Support Services Part 2
  • Tuesday, 5/23 at 10:00AM, Boston Public Health Commission: Boston EMS and Office of Recovery
  • Tuesday, 5/23 at 2:00PM, Boston Public Health Commission
  • Thursday, 5/25 at 10:00AM, Department of Neighborhood Development: Overview and Office of Housing Stability
  • Thursday, 5/25 at 1:00PM, Boston Planning and Development Association
  • Monday, 6/5 at 11:00AM, BPS: Carryover
  • Tuesday, 6/6 at 11:00AM, Departmental Carryover

I'm excited to share that the Massachusetts Democratic Party will honor me as this year's Eleanor Roosevelt Award recipient, alongside Franklin Roosevelt Award winner Congressman Jim McGovern. 
Together, the Roosevelt awards represent the highest honors presented by the state party each year. I'm deeply humbled by this recognition of our work together in Boston, as well as by the association with one of our country's staunchest advocates for fairness and equality. Our longest-serving First Lady, Eleanor Roosevelt was also a politician, diplomat, and activist. Her work stretched from organized labor to the United Nations Declaration of Human Rights. In this moment in our country's history, Eleanor Roosevelt's legacy is more relevant than ever.
I will be accepting the award at the MassDems Roosevelt Dinner on Wednesday, May 31st, at the Omni Parker House in Boston. If you are interested in supporting the Party by attending the dinner, here's the link for more information and to purchase tickets: https://secure.actblue.com/contribute/page/rd2017Please also email Sharon Durkan at sharon@michelleforboston.com if you are planning to make a contribution towards the event.
Most of all, thank you! An award like this recognizes accomplishments that come from community collaboration, engagement, and support. I look forward to continuing our work together for access to opportunity for all. 
Michelle
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Paid for and Authorized by The Wu Committee
The Wu Committee
P.O. Box 960782
Boston, MA 02196

As always, please reach out with any questions! Anyone can sign up to receive these notes by email at www.michelleforboston.com/sendmenotes or see the whole list of notes at www.michelleforboston.com/notes.
Appointments: Mayor Walsh made the following appointments
  • Temporary First Assistant Collector-Treasurer: Richard DePiano for a period of sixty days, effective May 2, 2017
  • Temporary Second Assistant Collector-Treasurer: Anthony Dello Iacono for a period of sixty days, effective May 2, 2017
Transportation Policy Briefing Report: Councilor LaMattina and I filed a report summarizing the transportation policy briefing series that the Council held over the last few months, including recommendations and graphics. See the full report here: http://meetingrecords.cityofboston.gov/sirepub/view.aspx?cabinet=published_meetings&fileid=208068.
Just Cause Eviction (Jim Brooks Stabilization Act): Councilor Flaherty reported back on Monday’s working session on the Jim Brooks Stabilization Act, a home rule petition filed by Mayor Walsh with a goal of preserving housing stability and maintaining diversity in Boston’s neighborhoods. As a reminder, the proposal would apply to landlords who own seven or more units in Massachusetts and includes two major provisions: 1) requiring notification that any eviction or nonrenewal of a lease must be sent to the City’s Office of Housing Stability within two days after such notice is sent to the tenant, which would give the City important data on evictions and particularly mass emptying of buildings; and 2) replacing “no-fault eviction” with a requirement that the eviction notice specify one of nine just causes for eviction, including nonpayment of rent, violation of terms of the lease, damage to the apartment, illegal activity, recovering the property for personal or family use, etc. He mentioned that there was consensus around the notification and data collection piece, and the Committee would explore whether part of the legislation could be separated out as an ordinance for immediate implementation rather than kept as a home-rule petition that would require state legislative action before implementation. The matter remains in the Committee on Government Operations.
Insurance Benefits for Surviving Spouses: Councilor Flaherty reported back on the home-rule petition he filed to reinstate the ability of spouses of City of Boston employees who died in the line of duty who later remarried to receive City of Boston health insurance. In 2000, the legislature repealed part of the “remarriage penalty” allowing those spouses who remarried to receive pension benefits, but not insurance benefits. This home rule petition would once and for all do away with the “remarriage penalty.” The matter remains in the Committee on Government Operations.
Dyslexia and Special Education: We voted to pass Councilor Pressley’s resolution to support state legislation that would define dyslexia and ensure proper special education support services for diagnosed students across the state. According to the advocacy group Decoding Dyslexia MA, between 10-17% of the general public have dyslexia and 80% of the Commonwealth’s population of students receiving special education services have dyslexia but may not be identified or are miscategorized. The Commonwealth currently has no legal definition of dyslexia, and there are no universal practices to screen early.
Pregnant Workers Fairness Act: We voted to pass Councilor Pressley’s resolution supporting the Pregnant Workers Fairness Act proposed at the state level, which would protect women needing reasonable accommodations during and after pregnancy. The City of Boston already has these protections in place. Councilor Campbell and I, both expecting this summer, were especially eager to support!
National EMS Memorial: We voted 12-0 (Councilor LaMattina absent) to support Councilor McCarthy’s resolution supporting the National Emergency Medical Services Memorial Foundation’s efforts to establish a permanent memorial in DC, as well as Congressman Lynch’s bill to authorize funding. He mentioned that each year over 860,000 EMS providers answer more than 30 million calls to serve over 22 million patients in need of emergency pre-hospital care, and EMS providers die in the line of duty at a rate more than twice the national average for all occupational fatalities. There is currently no national memorial that acknowledges the heroism and dedication to public service of EMS providers.
Upcoming Hearings/Working Sessions (Watch at www.cityofboston.gov/citycouncil/live.asp)
  • Monday, 5/15 at 2:00PM, Working Session, Community Preservation Committee (Government Operations)
  • Wednesday, 5/31 at 2:00PM, Fenway Cultural District (Arts & Culture)
Upcoming Budget Hearings (Ways & Means):
  • Wednesday, 5/10 at 6:00PM, Boston Transportation Department [Note: location changed from off-site to City Council Chamber]
  • Thursday, 5/11 at 11:00AM, BPS: School Operations
  • Monday, 5/15 at 11:00AM, Department of Innovation and Technology
  • Thursday, 5/18 at 11:00AM, Department of Inspectional Services Overview and Revolving Funds
  • Monday, 5/22 at 2:00PM, Boston Public Library
  • Monday, 5/22 at 6:00PM, BPS: Academics and Student Support Services Part 2
  • Tuesday, 5/23 at 10:00AM, Boston Public Health Commission: Boston EMS and Office of Recovery
  • Tuesday, 5/23 at 2:00PM, Boston Public Health Commission
  • Thursday, 5/25 at 10:00AM, Department of Neighborhood Development: Overview and Office of Housing Stability
  • Thursday, 5/25 at 1:00PM, Boston Planning and Development Association
  • Monday, 6/5 at 11:00AM, BPS: Carryover
  • Tuesday, 6/6 at 11:00AM, Departmental Carryover
www.michelleforboston.com / 617.652.0136 / info@michelleforboston.com 
Happy birthday to Councilor Essaibi-George’s triplets, Charlie, Kayden, and Samir, who turn 11 today, and Councilor Flaherty’s son, Michael, who celebrates his 19th birthday today! As always, please reach out with any questions! Anyone can sign up to receive these notes by email at www.michelleforboston.com/sendmenotes or see the whole list of notes at www.michelleforboston.com/notes.
Appointments: Mayor Walsh made the following appointments:
  • Boston Public Library Board of Trustees: Zamawa Arenas and John Hailer until May 2022
  • Boston Groundwater Trust: Angie Liou until March 2019
Boston Fire Prevention Code: Mayor Walsh filed an ordinance to amend the Boston Fire Prevention Code Article 8 on the regulation of Hot Work Operations. The amendment would update the Boston Fire Prevention Code to clarify several provisions, update terminology, and ensure consistency with current practices. The matter was assigned to the Government Operations Committee for a hearing.
Boston Retirement Board: We received notice from the Executive Director of the Boston Retirement Board that the board will receive public comment relative to the additional costs associated with increasing the FY18 retiree Cost-of-Living Adjustment (COLA) base at a public meeting scheduled for May 17th at 10:00am. The current COLA base is set at $13,000 and the proposed estimates would increase the COLA base to $14,000, $15,000 and $16,000 for both the Boston Retirement System excluding teachers as well as the Boston Teachers Union pension system.
Santander Bank Community Reinvestment Act Grade: Councilor Jackson called for a hearing to discuss Santander Bank’s lowered Community Reinvestment Act (CRA) Grade. Santander Bank was recently downgraded to “Need to Improve” status in their CRA evaluation from the Office of Comptroller and Currency. The CRA was created to reduce discriminatory banking practices in low- and middle-income and minority neighborhoods. Councilor Jackson stated that the City Council needs to take a central role in the negotiations and ensuring that communities most affected by this change in status and the required remedy are a part of the ongoing conversations. The matter was assigned to the Jobs, Wages & Workforce Development Committee for a hearing.
Boston Police Department Maximum Age Requirement: We voted to pass Councilor Baker’s home rule petition to direct the Boston Police Department to waive the maximum age requirement for Police Officer James Anthony Verderico, Jr.   
Mother’s Day Walk for Peace: Councilor Pressley reminded us that the 21st Annual Mother’s Day Walk for Peace to benefit the Louis D. Brown Peace Institute will take place Sunday, May 14th. For more information, please visit: http://www.mothersdaywalk4peace.org/.
Upcoming Hearings/Working Sessions (Watch at www.cityofboston.gov/citycouncil/live.asp)
  • Friday, 5/8 at 11:00AM, Working Session, Jim Brooks Stabilization Act (Government Operations)
  • Wednesday, 5/31 at 2:00PM, Tentative, Fenway Cultural District (Arts & Culture)
Upcoming Budget Hearings (Ways & Means):
  • Wednesday, 5/3 at 5:45PM, Parkman Fund (Off-site: Veronica Smith Senior Center, 20 Chestnut Hill Ave, Brighton)
  • Wednesday, 5/3 at 6:00PM, Parks and Recreation Department (Off-site: Veronica Smith Senior Center, 20 Chestnut Hill Ave, Brighton)
  • Thursday, 5/4 at 11:00AM, BCYF Overview and Revolving Fund City Hall Childcare
  • Thursday, 5/4 at 3:00PM, Youth Engagement and Employment
  • Monday, 5/8 at 6:00PM, Public Works Department [Note: location changed from off-site to City Hall]
  • Tuesday, 5/9 at 11:00AM, Boston Fire Department
  • Wednesday, 5/10 at 6:00PM, Boston Transportation Department [Note: location changed from off-site to City Hall]
  • Thursday, 5/11 at 11:00AM, BPS: School Operations
  • Monday, 5/15 at 11:00AM, Department of Innovation and Technology
  • Thursday, 5/18 at 11:00AM, Department of Inspectional Services Overview and Revolving Funds
  • Monday, 5/22 at 2:00PM, Boston Public Library
  • Monday, 5/22 at 6:00PM, BPS: Academics and Student Support Services Part 2
  • Tuesday, 5/23 at 10:00AM, Boston Public Health Commission: Boston EMS and Office of Recovery
  • Tuesday, 5/23 at 2:00PM, Boston Public Health Commission
  • Thursday, 5/25 at 10:00AM, Department of Neighborhood Development: Overview and Office of Housing Stability
  • Thursday, 5/25 at 1:00PM, Boston Planning and Development Association
  • Monday, 6/5 at 11:00AM, BPS: Carryover
  • Tuesday, 6/6 at 11:00AM, Departmental Carryover
As an elected representative, I take very seriously the charge to be a voice for the most pressing needs of the day as well as the long-term stewardship of our city for future generations. 
Former Governor Mike Dukakis and I coauthored an op-ed in today's Boston Globe raising concerns about the proposed redevelopment of Winthrop Square and a process that has put short-term financial gain above transparency and community planning. Please read our thoughts here or below, and let me know what you think.
Today at 1:30PM, the Boston City Council holds a hearing on proposed legislation to exempt this development project from existing state law protecting Boston Common and the Public Garden. The committee will take public testimony at the hearing, or if you can't make it in person, you can submit written testimony by email to ccc.go@boston.gov (please CC me at michelle.wu@boston.gov so I can read your comments too).
Thank you for your advocacy and support.
Michelle
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By Michael Dukakis and Michelle Wu
April 24, 2017
WHEN A NEW building emerges from the regulatory dance that weighs economic growth against loss of open space or increased density, the physical landscape of our city changes forever. Amid pressures facing each generation to grow our tax base and our constricted housing stock, the protection of open space for future residents rests on government’s willingness to take stewardship of public lands seriously and to consider more than short-term financial gain.
The proposed redevelopment of the Winthrop Square Garage site into a 775-foot Millennium Partners skyscraper has been touted as a great deal for Boston: some morning shadow cast on Boston Common and the Public Garden in exchange for a $153 million windfall payout from the developer that has already been promised to various neighborhood parks and affordable housing projects. But this framing trivializes the four centuries of thoughtful caretakers who have carefully guarded the survival of our nation’s oldest city park and our city’s downtown backyard and breathing space.
From setting limits on private cow-grazing on the Common in 1646, to prohibiting building structures or streets through the park in 1877, to securing national landmark protection in 1987, previous generations diligently enacted legislation meant to forever guarantee the rights of future Bostonians to enjoy this historic and sacred space.
Over the last 50 years, advocates and legislators have come together to protect not just the open space but also the sunshine on the Common. In the 1970s, intensive negotiations over the Park Plaza Development brought the acceptable height of buildings close to the Common and Public Garden from a proposed 215 feet down to 90 precisely to keep them out of shadows. Years later, citizens codified what they determined to be an acceptable balance of development and preservation of sunlight with the 1990 state shadow law.
We should be more deliberate when reconsidering their wisdom, and not blinded by a one-time, multimillion dollar payout.
Our conservative columnist offers a weekly take on everything from politics to pet peeves.
The Boston Planning and Development Authority’s process to select a developer willfully ignored that state law in an attempt to maximize profit for the city. Government budgets are perpetually tight and municipal leaders are perennially called on to find the money. But we must not run government as a soulless corporation. Our parks are not profit centers.
A 750-foot skyscraper in Winthrop Square could cast a shade clear across the Common and Public Garden to Arlington Street.
The home-rule legislation now before the Boston City Council attempts a haphazard compromise, proposing to exempt the Millennium Partners tower from the state shadow law, then cap future development to restrict additional shadow on Boston Common and also set shadow protection for Copley Square. But past history tells us something else —that developers will be back with big projects arguing that just one more lifting of the height restrictions won’t make that much difference.
Redevelopment of the Winthrop Square Garage parcel is not a mutually exclusive choice between vitality and shadows, nor between permanent blight and immediate public benefit. The decrepit garage absolutely must be redeveloped to support the neighborhood’s renaissance. And the demand for public resources to support affordable housing and local parks is pressing.
But we don’t have enough information to know if this proposed tower and legislative compromise is the best solution; we have to get the process right first.
Let’s go back to the table and launch a community process in which stakeholders can engage in meaningful discussions on the future of Winthrop Square as part of an evolving residential neighborhood and city. Let’s understand the true trade-offs between height and civic benefit with an open process that acknowledges existing state law. Most of all, let’s consider the silent voices of future residents when discussing changing the Common, as centuries of past administrators have.
It is the responsibility of city officials to see that profit generated from public assets benefits all stakeholders, including future generations who will inherit the city. The best way to weigh these decisions is to yield power to open, transparent public process.
Michael Dukakis was the governor of Massachusetts from 1975 to 1979 and from 1983 to 1991. Michelle Wu is president of the Boston City Council.
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Next Tuesday evening, the City Council will hold a hearing to weigh my proposed Free Petition Ordinance, and I hope you'll consider lending your support.

In today's political environment, we must do all we can to empower grassroots civic participation to shape policy. I'm proposing to create a way for Boston residents to directly shape the City Council agenda, similar to the free petition laws that already exist in nine other MA cities and towns. The ordinance would require the Boston City Council to hold a hearing on the topic of any petition signed by 250 or more residents, within three months after receiving the petition. 
Sharing power to shape the agenda with residents and activists strengthens the Council's role as a platform for community voice, ensures we are responding to the issues most important to residents, and supports the most meaningful type of democracy in Boston--where every person knows they can directly partner with local government and see action on their concerns.
Please help us spread the word about this important hearing at City Hall next Tuesday, April 18th, at 5PM. Public testimony should begin around 5:45PM, and the entire meeting will be live-streamed at www.cityofboston.gov/citycouncil/live.asp. Your voices will make a difference! 
You can read the text of the ordinance and more background in my Facebook post here. For questions, please reply to this email or contact my Policy Director, Annie Qin, at annie.qin@boston.gov. Thanks for all your support and engagement.
Michelle

Happy Passover and Easter! At the start of today’s meeting, we joined Councilor O’Malley in getting ready for Marathon Monday with a celebration of Olympic and Boston Marathon champion runner Joan Benoit Samuelson. As always, please reach out with any questions! Anyone can sign up to receive these notes by email at www.michelleforboston.com/sendmenotes or see the whole list of notes at www.michelleforboston.com/notes.
FY 2018 Budget: Mayor Walsh filed his recommended budget for Fiscal Year 2018. The budget totals $3.14B, including $1.08B for Boston Public Schools. The total operating budget represents an increase of 4.8% ($144M) over FY17. Starting at the end of this month, the Council’s Ways & Means Committee, chaired by Councilor Ciommo, will hold hearings to look into each department’s proposed budgets. The Council will vote on the FY18 budget in June. All of the associated dockets were assigned to the Ways & Means Committee. You can see more detail on the proposed budget in the Mayor’s press release at: https://www.boston.gov/news/mayor-walsh-releases-2018-recommended-budget.
Surplus City Parcels: We voted 12-0 (Councilor Zakim absent) to transfer two parcels of land to the City’s Public Facilities Commission.
  • Northeasterly corner of Richie Street and Columbus Ave in Roxbury: a subdivided 20’ sliver totaling 5,970 square feet from an existing parcel serving as a Public Works facility in Jackson Square with an appraised value of $120K. The abutting property will be developed as a 75,000 square-feet recreational center including an ice rink and indoor turf field, and the developer has expressed interest in this parcel as a potential field house. The parcel would be made available through an RFP to consider uses that increase the public benefits of the proposed rec center.
  • Willow Court in Dorchester: a 10’ sliver totaling 1,140 sf within Public Works custody, with an appraised value of $23K. The current owner of the abutting property at 68 Willow Court is building a 9-unit residential building, and would like to purchase this sliver lot to provide access to the development from the side along Enterprise Street.
Urban Renewal Progress Update: Councilor Linehan reported back on Monday’s meeting with the BPDA, the second of our biannual oversight meetings regarding urban renewal. The BPDA reported that two of the fourteen urban renewal map areas have been inventoried for Land Disposition Agreements—the South End/Lower Roxbury area and the Downtown/Central Business District area. They are now one year into the two-year action plan for inventorying LDAs and stated that they should be close to 50% complete, because the South End and Charlestown map areas were by far the largest maps. The plan is for public access to specific LDAs to be available through the BRA’s zoning viewer tool online, and for there to be significant progress about changing boundaries by the next check-in meeting. The BPDA also committed to codifying through a letter their mutual understanding with the Council that regardless of whether DHCD would consider a temporal extension of urban renewal areas as a minor modification, the Boston City Council will have a controlling vote. The matter remains in the Committee on Planning & Development for the next update meeting in six months.
Immigrant Defense Fund: Councilors Pressley and Jackson reported back on Monday’s hearing on Councilor Jackson’s order to explore an immigrant defense fund to help undocumented immigrants facing deportation or who have been detained to afford a lawyer. Councilor Jackson stated that only 4% of immigrants appealing deportation proceedings without legal representation are successful, yet there are tremendous costs when breadwinners are removed from families, e.g. $28K to put a child in foster care. The likelihood of success rises to 49% in cases with representation. The matter remains in the Committee on Healthy Women, Families & Communities.
Early Education and Childcare: Councilor Essaibi-George reported back on Tuesday’s briefing focused on funding mechanisms and cost barriers for quality early education and childcare in Massachusetts. This was our third briefing in the policy series that Councilors Pressley, Essaibi-George, Campbell and I launched, and we were joined by Ann Bookman, Director of the UMass Boston Center for Women in Politics and Public Policy; Tracy Palandjian, CEO of Social Finance; and Elizabeth Gaines of the Forum for Youth Investment. We heard about the troubling cost landscape in MA, as well as examples of funding mechanisms that other states and municipalities have launched. See the link to slides and video here: https://www.boston.gov/public-notices/22046. The matter remains in the Committee on Healthy Women, Families & Communities.
Shelter Recovery Beds: Councilor Essaibi-George reported back on yesterday’s hearing on the transition of shelter recovery beds at the Southampton Street Shelter as an informative conversation about the shift to rapid rehousing, with a goal of greater long-term stability. Councilor Jackson maintained that the Boston Public Health Department knew about the transition for a year without notifying participants, then placed residents recovering from addiction in the same programs as active users. Councilor Jackson said that since the transition, 7 residents relapsed, and 3 have been incarcerated. The matter remains in the Committee on Homelessness, Mental Health & Recovery.
Winthrop Square Project: Councilor Linehan filed a home-rule petition to amend the state’s shadow laws and allow for an exemption for Millennium Partners’ proposed redevelopment of the Winthrop Square Garage site. The proposal would provide an exemption for this project to cast shadow on Boston Common, as well as eliminating the remaining shadow bank that developments abutting the Common may take from, and extending shadow protections to Copley Square. Councilor Linehan described it as a great deal for the city, trading a little more shadow for $12M in taxes and $153M in public mitigation funds, including $28M for Boston Common, $28M for Franklin Park, $35M for BHA. Councilor Jackson stood to oppose the proposal, stating that the BPDA has tried to usurp City Council power through a process that has not been transparent. He mentioned that Millennium has already been exempted multiple times, that the mitigation funding was conditional on certain sales projections, and that this was set a bad precedent. The matter was assigned to the Committee on Government Operations for a hearing. A home-rule petition would require approval by the Council, signature from the Mayor, and then state legislative approval as well.
Memorial Hero Square: We voted to suspend and adopt Councilor McCarthy’s resolution designating a Memorial Hero Square at 927 Harrison Avenue in honor of Chief Water Tender, Frank Elmer Smith. He mentioned that this was a revision, based on more accurate research identifying where Mr. Smith had grown up.
Announcements: Several Councilors stood in tribute to Councilor LaMattina, who yesterday announced that he will not be seeking reelection this year after over a decade on the Council and three decades working for the City of Boston.
Upcoming Hearings/Working Sessions (Watch at www.cityofboston.gov/citycouncil/live.asp)
  • Thursday, 4/13 at 12:00PM, Ownership and Occupancy Deadline for Residential Property Exemptions (Government Operations)
  • Thursday, 4/13 at 2:00PM, Boston Police Cadet Program (Public Safety & Criminal Justice)
  • Tuesday, 4/18* at 5:00PM, Free Petition Ordinance (Government Operations) *note date change
  • Tuesday, 4/25 at 3:00PM, Community Choice Aggregation (Environment & Sustainability)
Ways & Means hearings on the proposed FY18 budget begin April 24th. The full budget hearing schedule will be published with the next Council Notes!


www.michelleforboston.com / 617.652.0136 / info@michelleforboston.com 

I wouldn't be in office today without having benefited from internships that opened the door to job opportunities and opened my eyes to public service. As someone who grew up with hardly any exposure to government and politics, I was lucky to land paid fellowships to start working for Mayor Menino in City Hall and for then-candidate Elizabeth Warren on her 2012 campaign, giving me hands-on experience and kindling a passion for public service.
Too often, government agencies and political campaigns can only offer unpaid internships, making it hard for young people from diverse backgrounds to get a foot in the door.
That's why I've carved out room in my office budget to offer two paid summer experiences for Boston-area students to contribute their talents to my City Hall team. Could you help me spread the word and encourage anyone who might be interested to apply?
Our Graduate Student Policy Fellowship seeks a grad student to contribute a meaningful policy project in line with my focus areas of climate change, income inequality, and systemic racism. Apply by submitting a resume and project proposal by this Friday, April 14thhttps://city-boston.icims.com/jobs/12783/summer-graduate-student-policy-fellow/job.
Our Undergraduate Diversity & Inclusion Internship seeks a talented undergrad who has contributed to campus or community diversity initiatives and/or demonstrated the ability to overcome adversity. Apply by submitting a resume and personal statement by next Friday, April 21sthttps://city-boston.icims.com/jobs/13108/summer-diversity-and-inclusion-intern-%28temporary-summer-position%29/job.
Because of Boston residency requirements, students must be Boston residents during the term of the internship to receive the stipend. Thanks so much for helping me identify young people who will soon be our elected officials and public servants of tomorrow!
Michelle

As always, please reach out with any questions! Anyone can sign up to receive these notes by email at www.michelleforboston.com/sendmenotes or see the whole list of notes at www.michelleforboston.com/notes.
Boston Police School Traffic Supervisors Association: Mayor Walsh filed an order to approve a supplemental appropriation of $21,200 to provide funding to cover the recently settled collective bargaining agreement for September 2016 - August 2019 between the City of Boston and the Boston Police School Traffic Supervisors Association. The agreement includes annual base wage increases of 1%, 0.5%, and 1.5% and includes an increase in the uniform allowance. The matter was assigned to the Committee on Ways & Means for a hearing.
Housing Data: As required by city ordinance, the Department of Neighborhood Development filed two annual reports updating the Council on recent housing data:
Parking Reserve Fund: We voted to pass Mayor Walsh’s order to accept the provisions of the 2016 Municipal Modernization Act that allows allow for municipalities to deposit parking meter receipts into a separate parking meter fund. This would continue the City’s practice of separating parking meter revenues for maintenance of parking meters and enforcement technology, regulation of parking, salaries of parking management personnel, improvements to the public realm, and transportation improvements.
Overcoming the Odds Program: Councilor Campbell reported back on Monday’s Public Safety & Criminal Justice committee hearing on the Overcoming the Odds program, which is a partnership between the Department of Corrections and the Boston Police Department to provide support to residents returning to the community from incarceration who may need support finding housing, employment, recovery services and mental health treatment and thereby reduce recidivism. Councilor Campbell stated that funding for the program has been cut substantially and recommended the City of Boston invest $250,000 to help the program get back on its feet. She also mentioned that while the program currently only serves men, an investment could help expand the program to support women as well. The matter remains in the Committee on Public Safety & Criminal Justice.
MSBA Facility Upgrade: We voted to follow the recommendation of Ways & Means Chair Councilor Ciommo and pass Mayor Walsh’s order to submit a statement of interest to the Massachusetts School Building Authority (MSBA) for repairs at The Carter School. The Carter School provides services for our district’s most intensive special needs students. The funding is needed for repairs to provide a new therapy pool, gym space, art therapy facility, and family therapy room. If accepted by the MSBA, the project would begin scoping conversations in Fall 2017 with potential construction during Summer 2018. BPS would be eligible for 65% cost reimbursement.
Needle Disposal: Councilor Essaibi-George reported back on yesterday’s Homelessness, Mental Health & Recovery committee hearing to discuss safe and effective needle disposal practices. The opiate crisis has had a disproportionate effect on the City of Boston due to the centralization of recovery services, resulting in an increase in improperly discarded needles littering sidewalks and open spaces in every neighborhood. Councilor Essaibi-George cited the statistic that more than 20,000 improperly discarded needles have been picked up in Boston since the Mobile Sharps Team began their work in 2016. She recommended that the City expand voluntary needle disposal trainings and increase access to safe needle disposal kiosks. Councilor McCarthy also stood to thank BPS Chief of Staff and former City Councilor, Rob Consalvo, for moving forward with a program that Councilors had called for, to educate BPS students on how to handle safe disposal of needles in parks and playgrounds. The matter remains in the Committee on Homelessness, Mental Health & Recovery.
Violence in Boston: Councilor Campbell reported back on last night’s hearing on violence in Boston. The hearing was held in Roxbury, with a packed room of Councilors, panelists, and members of the public. Councilor Campbell spoke about incorporating public testimony before or throughout panel discussions at future hearings, as many members of the public expressed frustration at having to wait until the end of the hearing to share their stories. Councilor Jackson emphasized the need for improved coordination of trauma resources and a more extensive evaluation of existing programs. Several Councilors spoke about the importance of effective trauma response and support services across the city. The matter remains in the Committee on Public Safety & Criminal Justice.
Residential Property Exemptions: Councilor Ciommo filed a home rule petition to amend the current ownership and occupancy deadline for residential property exemptions in the City of Boston. Currently, homeowners must apply by January 1st in order to receive residential exemption for the following fiscal year. That means that homeowners who buy their homes between January 2nd and July 1stdo not receive the benefit for potentially over a year after the purchase of their home. The residential property tax exemption was increased this year to 35% of assessed value up to certain amount, to a little over $2,400, up from around $1,900. The matter was assigned to the Committee on Government Operations for a hearing.
Massachusetts Safe Communities Act: We voted to adopt Councilor Zakim’s resolution in support of the Massachusetts Safe Communities Act (S.1305 and H.3269), which would create statewide protections like those in Boston’s Trust Act, and also prevent state resources from being used to assist the federal government in the creation of any federal “registry” based on religion, ethnicity, etc. The Boston Trust Act, passed unanimously in August 2014, prevents the Boston Police Department from detaining any individual based solely on their immigrations status. Councilor Zakim emphasized that legislation like the Trust Act and Safe Communities Act make communities safer by encouraging open communication and diminishing the culture of suspicion between local law enforcement and immigrant communities. Councilor Baker also stood and said as the son of an immigrant mother who never became a citizen, and as someone who has worked alongside hard-working immigrant neighbors, we need to recognize the economic benefit of immigrant residents and work toward a way for people who want to work hard and pay taxes to come out of the shadows.
Educator of the Year Award: Councilor Essaibi-George encouraged Councilors and community members to participate in her first annual Educator of the Year Awards, honoring Boston’s top educators in celebration of National Teacher Appreciation Month. Councilor Essaibi-George’s office will be accepting nominations until April 28thhttps://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSfCf5uVADp-vCuYw_zWXewaTmMI11eH-wj5ude2ZoahR15htw/viewform?c=0&w=1
Council Chamber Accessibility Project: I gave an update on the Council Chamber accessibility project, which is proceeding on schedule for renovations this summer to lift the Council floor and make our space fully accessible for those with mobility challenges and/or using wheelchairs. Currently, the Council floor is three steps down from the main floor, and the only way down is from a ramp that requires someone in a wheelchair to go all the way around to the back entrance for access. During one of our hearings last year, a resident coming down the ramp fell out of her wheelchair and had to receive medical treatment. Her experience highlighted that our former ramp was badly out of compliance – too steep and also lacking the appropriate handrails. That ramp was replaced immediately with a compliant ramp, while we began conversations on how to provide accessibility overall. The new plans will mean that no one will have to go around to the back to access the Council floor, and that the Councilors’ entrance and President’s podium will be fully accessible. We will also change a row of public seating to provide wheelchair-accessible seating (currently nonexistent). The improvements will also include sound treatments on some of the walls to help attendees hear better, LED lights that will save energy and provide adequate lighting on one side of the Chamber that is currently dark, and new carpeting in the form of carpet tiles that are easier to clean and overall more cost-effective to maintain. Public testimony will likely occur from two sides near the public seating, so that constituents can line up on both sides and speak directly from podiums at the railing in front of the first row of public seating in the center. Construction will likely happen from July – September in the Chamber, so we are looking to accelerate equipment additions that would enable the Council to livestream off-site hearings and meetings.
Upcoming Hearings/Working Sessions (Watch at www.cityofboston.gov/citycouncil/live.asp)
  • Thursday, 4/6 at 1:00PM, Public Works Department Parcels (Planning & Development)
  • Monday, 4/10 at 10:30AM, City Council Biannual Urban Renewal Progress Update (Planning & Development)
  • Monday, 4/10 at 12:00PM, Various Grants (Public Safety & Criminal Justice)
  • Monday, 4/10 at 3:00PM, Tentative: Creation of an Immigrant Defense Fund (Healthy Women, Families & Communities)
  • Tuesday, 4/11 at 10:00AM, Policy Briefing: Childcare Funding Mechanisms (Healthy Women, Families & Communities)
  • Tuesday, 4/11 at 3:00PM, Tentative, Shelter Recovery Beds, (Homelessness, Mental Health & Recovery)
  • Thursday, 4/13 at 2:00PM, Boston Police Cadet Program (Public Safety & Criminal Justice)
  • Wednesday, 4/19 at 5:00PM, Free Petition Ordinance (Government Operations)
www.michelleforboston.com / 617.652.0136 / info@michelleforboston.com 

As always, please reach out with any questions! Anyone can sign up to receive these notes by email at www.michelleforboston.com/sendmenotes or see the whole list of notes at www.michelleforboston.com/notes.
Appointments: Mayor Walsh made the following appointments:
  • Board of Appeal: (all pending Council confirmation) Marie St. Fleur, Anthony Pisani, Bruce Bickerstaff & Eugene Kelly until July 2018, Kerry Walsh until November 2019, Tyrone Kindell Jr. until October 2019, Mark Fortune until June 2018, and Mark Erlich until September 2019
  • Boston Groundwater Trust: Gary L. Saunders, Tim Ian Mitchell, Peter J. Shilland, Aaron Michlewitz, Greg Galer, and Lisa Soli for terms until March 2019
  • Boston Cultural Council: Hanah Fadrigalan and Patricia McSweeney for terms until October 2019
  • Boston Conservation Commission: Anne Herdst for a term until November 2019
MSBA Facility Upgrade: Mayor Walsh filed an order to submit a statement of interest to the Massachusetts School Building Authority (MSBA) for repair of The Carter School. The matter was assigned to the Ways & Means Committee for a hearing. 
Plastic Bag Ban: Councilor O’Malley reported back on Monday’s working session regarding the ordinance he and I filed to reduce plastic bag waste in Boston. We had a robust conversation with many Councilors, advocates, and representatives from the Mayor’s Office of Environment, Energy and Open Space. We watched a video made by the Dorchester Girl Scouts showcasing how many of the flimsy, single-use plastic bags end up tearing and littered on our streets or in our trees. The ordinance would require retail establishments to offer plastic bags of at least 3 mils in thickness (think bookstore bags) that are more reusable and charge a 5-cent fee on these thicker plastic bags, recyclable paper bags, and compostable bags. That fee would go back to the retail establishment to cover the increased cost of thicker bags. The goal of the ordinance is to encourage residents to use reusable bags when shopping and reduce plastic. The matter remains in the Government Operations Committee for further action.
Special Education Equitable Transitions: Councilors Jackson and Pressley reported back on Monday’s hearing to review the FY17 BPS special education budget and identify solutions to ensure equitable transitions of BPS youth as they graduate or age out of BPS. This is the fourth hearing in a larger conversation on this issue led by Councilor Pressley. She noted that although the graduation of BPS special education students has been rising, post-secondary enrollment has remained stagnant, despite an increase of fiscal investment in transition services. The matter remains in the Education Committee.
Early Education and Childcare Policy Briefing—Community-Based Providers: Councilor Pressley reported back on the second briefing in our early education and childcare policy series, focused on community-based providers. Last night’s briefing was hosted by Councilor Pressley and took place at the Catholic Charities Labouré Child Care Center in South Boston. We heard from policy experts and policymakers about the need to invest in the community-based provider workforce and the collection of reliable data if we want to increase the quality of child care. Future sessions will focus on topics including childcare funding mechanisms, childcare for parents with non-traditional work schedules, and more. You can watch the full panel discussion here: https://www.cityofboston.gov/citycouncil/cc_video_library.asp?id=11183.
Shelter Recovery Beds: Councilor Jackson filed a hearing order to address recovery service beds at the Southampton Street Shelter. The Southampton Street Shelter lost 40 recovery service beds focused on HIV-positive men which had been created to address the loss of the Long Island Shelter. Councilor Jackson spoke about the need for our homeless residents to have access to beds and stated that the Administration should spend the money to maintain these beds, rather than repurposing them for supportive services. Councilor Essaibi-George contested this characterization, stating that rapid rehousing is a better model, moving people towards permanent housing for long-term stability rather than keeping them in emergency shelter. The matter was assigned to the Homelessness, Mental Health & Recovery Committee for a hearing.
Fenway Cultural District: I filed a hearing order with Councilors Pressley, Zakim, and Jackson to review the Fenway Cultural District’s reapplication to maintain its designation as a Cultural District. On March 24, 2012, the Fenway was officially designated the Fenway Cultural District—one of the first state-designated cultural districts—by the Massachusetts Cultural Council. To maintain this designation, the Massachusetts Cultural Council requires all cultural districts to submit a reapplication every five years and to hold at least one community input meeting. Several Councilors spoke about the value the Fenway Cultural District has added to the City of Boston as an arts and culture hub. The matter was assigned to the Arts, Culture and Special Events Committee for a hearing.
Urban Renewal Progress Update: I refiled an order for the Council to hold biannual urban renewal progress update hearings until 2022. On March 23, 2016, the Boston City Council approved a six-year extension to fourteen Urban Renewal Zones, on the condition that the Boston Planning and Development Agency commit to providing public updates twice per year to the Council. The second of these updates is due in April. The matter was assigned to the Planning & Development Committee for a hearing.
MSBA Facilities Upgrades: We took the second of two necessary 2/3 votes to fund roof and boiler replacement costs for projects at the following schools: Boston Latin School, Condon Elementary, McCormack Middle School, Dever Elementary, and Channing Elementary. The City has applied for cost reimbursement from the MA School Building Authority and is eligible for up to 65% reimbursement.
Upcoming Hearings/Working Sessions (Watch at www.cityofboston.gov/citycouncil/live.asp)

  • Monday, 4/3 at 9:30AM, Tentative: Parking Meter Fund (Government Operations)
  • Monday, 4/3 at 1:00PM, Overcoming the Odds Program (Public Safety & Criminal Justice)
  • Tuesday, 4/4 at 2:00PM, Safe & Effective Sharps Disposal Practices (Homelessness, Mental Health & Recovery)
  • Tuesday, 4/4 at 6:30PM, Violence in the City of Boston (Public Safety & Criminal Justice) [Offsite at Thelma Burns Building]
  • Monday, 4/10 at 10:30AM, Tentative: Urban Renewal Progress Update (Planning & Development)
  • Monday 4/10 at 3:00PM: Tentative: Immigrant Defense Fund (Healthy Women, Families & Communities)

Before the start of today’s meeting, we joined Councilor Ciommo in celebrating the Brighton High School boys’ basketball team, winners of the Division 2 state championship game earlier this month. Coach Hugh Coleman commended his team on their integrity, discipline, and academic achievements, highlighting that 90% of the team will be attending college next year. Go Bengals! Councilor Campbell then introduced Agnes Ugoji and Topé Sholola, two performers from the Massachusetts Literary Education and Performance Collective (MassLEAP), for a powerful performance showcasing the detrimental effects of solitary confinement on mental health. Councilor Campbell and Prisoners’ Legal Services are hosting a performance of “Mariposa & the Saint,” a play about incarceration and solitary confinement, tomorrow at 12pm in the 5th floor Council Chambers. Julia Steele-Allen performs the play co-created with Sara Fonseca through letters they penned to each other over the course of three years while the latter was incarcerated. The performance is free and open to the public and all City of Boston employees. For more details, please visit https://www.facebook.com/events/408870059460014/.
As always, please reach out with any questions! Anyone can sign up to receive these notes by email at www.michelleforboston.com/sendmenotes or see the whole list of notes at www.michelleforboston.com/notes.
Nomination Papers: We voted to pass Mayor Walsh’s home-rule petition to amend the rules around nomination papers. The home-rule petition would allow registered voters to sign as many candidates’ papers as they wish, rather than limit them to one valid signature for candidates for Mayor and District City Councilor and up to four candidates for City Council At-Large. Councilor Essaibi George opposed the ordinance, citing the large number of candidates that successfully collected enough signatures to make the ballot in 2013 as evidence that the current system is not too burdensome, and stating that having some requirements for potential candidates is a good thing.
Solitary Confinement: We voted to pass Councilor Campbell’s resolution in support of several state bills regarding solitary confinement reform. She described practice of confinement for more than 15 consecutive days to be both ineffective, inhumane, and expensive -- estimating that Massachusetts is spending $100,000-$170,000 per year for each inmate in segregation, compared to $50,000 to house an inmate in a regular cell block. Councilor Campbell also spoke about the negative psychological and behavioral effects—especially for those with pre-existing mental health conditions—caused by solitary confinement. The proposed bills are: S.1306/HD.346, “An Act Reducing Recidivism, Curbing Unnecessary Spending, and Ensuring Appropriate Use of Segregation,” sponsored by Senator Jamie Eldrige and Representative Russell Holmes; S.1296/HD.2337, “An Act to Promote Human Conditions of Confinement and Enable Safe Reentry,” sponsored by Senator Cynthia Creem and Representative Ruth Balser; and S.1286/HD.3368, “An Act to Collect Data Regarding the Use of Solitary Confinement in Massachusetts Prisons and Jails,” sponsored by Senator Sonia Chang-Diaz and Representative Christopher Markey.
Recruiting & Retaining Educators of Color: Councilor Jackson refiled his hearing order to continue the conversation on strategies for recruiting and retaining educators of color in Boston Public Schools. He noted that as of 2016, BPS students of color represented 86% of the total student population while only 36% of BPS teachers were people of color. Moreover, African American and Asian American teachers leave the district in proportionally higher numbers at earlier points in their careers. Finally, Councilor Jackson noted that BPS has spending $8M-$14M per year for the last few years on new hiring methods to recruit teachers of color, but the overall number of teachers of color has declined in that time due to issues of retaining teachers of color. The matter was assigned to the Education Committee for a hearing.
Upcoming Hearings/Working Sessions (Watch at www.cityofboston.gov/citycouncil/live.asp)
  • Thursday, 3/23 at 2:30PM, Community Preservation Committee (Government Operations)
  • Monday, 3/27 at 11:00AM, Tentative: College & University Engagement Office (City, Neighborhood Services & Veteran Affairs)
  • Monday, 3/27 at 3:00PM, Working Session: Plastic Bag Ordinance (Government Operations)
  • Monday, 3/27 at 6:00PM, Special Education and Equitable Transitions (Education)
  • Tuesday, 3/28 at 6:30PM, Tentative: Policy Briefing: Community-Based Providers (Healthy Women, Families & Communities) [Offsite at Catholic Charities Laboure Center)
  • Monday, 4/3 at 1:00PM, Overcoming the Odds Program (Public Safety & Criminal Justice)
  • Tuesday, 4/4 at 6:30PM, Violence in Boston (Public Safety & Criminal Justice) [Offsite at Thelma Burns Building in Roxbury]
  • Thursday, 4/13 at 2PM, Boston Police Cadet Program (Public Safety & Criminal Justice)
  • Wednesday, 4/19 at 5PM, Free Petition Ordinance (Government Operations)
www.michelleforboston.com / 617.652.0136 / info@michelleforboston.com 


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波士頓信任條例:疏散移民執法權力的呼籲
你聽到你的喊叫在街上迴響。你絕望地看著強盜用槍指著你來搶劫。你想求助,可是你不能。你想打911,可是你心裡懷著巨大的恐懼,你的手指不能按電話上的數字。因為你知道如果你打電話,你可能會被驅逐出境。
多數報告證實很多無證移民避免向警察報案,包括很多比偷盜更嚴重的案件,因為他們害怕在聯邦法律中的安全小區(Secure Communities)項目下他們會被扣留和被驅逐出境。當地警察必需把被捕人的指紋送到國家安全部。當指紋被鑑定後,美國移民局與海關執法局(ICE) 會決定當地警察應不應該扣留他們48個小時。 ICE 然後決定被扣留的移民會不會被驅逐出境。可是這個政策威脅很多無證移民的安全,因為這阻礙著他們報案和讓罪犯逃出法網。
波士頓認識這種帶著排外主義的無證移民處理方法是無效的。 據《波士頓環球報》報導,從2008-2012年,在安全小區項目下,在麻州被驅逐出境的移民有大概51%的人是沒有犯罪前科的。近期,波士頓市議會與市長馬蒂•偉殊(Marty Walsh) 支持了一個叫“信任條款”的方案,讓波士頓警察只能扣留有著至少五年徒刑的無證移民。
 “我們的警察有著有限的資源, 市議員約書•扎肯(Josh Zakim)說,他是市議會人權與公民權利委員會的會長和讚助這條方案的議員。 “我不認為賦稅人會想把他們的錢用在[驅逐出境]上。”
驅逐出境高昂費用是不可辯駁的。根據美國前進中心的數據,在2008財政年度中,驅逐出境一個人的費用是$23,482美元,最多時每年會有400,000個人會被驅逐出境。這個費用不只增加了聯邦赤字,政府每年還會損失$200億的稅收,因為無證移民不能做正當工作。如果我們有直接途徑讓這些大部分是工人的1100萬無證移民成為合法移民,這對全國的經濟是有益的。根據美國前進中心的計算,這樣州的稅收會增加大概$7480億,所有美國職工的收入會在下十年增加$4700億。
“大部分的移民是誠實和勤奮的人,”市議員扎肯說。 “我認為無證移民和合法居民中都有同一樣多的罪犯。”事實上,在2010年,多於百分之五的勞動力是無證移民, 和當嬰兒潮那一代的職工在下二十年退休時,只會有5130萬的本地工人去做退休員工留下來的這5860萬份工。這些移民來到美國是為了有更好的生活,他們還可以為社會服務,幫助美國改善經濟。
可是很多人還是對給無證移民有機會得到身份帶著懷疑。他們認為“非法”等於不可信用。可是,很多無證移民還沒有身份是有原因的:在現時的移民法律下,低技能的無證移民非常難得到機會去改變他們的身份,他們的數量大大超過發給低技能移民的簽證。還有,老實說,很多人沒有選擇。他們的國家受到暴力與販毒集團的困擾,他們需要逃離國土。一些人已經有親戚在美國。就算法律現時更加嚴格,無證移民的數量已經上升到了1100萬。這證明著當人們無法安全地留在本土生活和美國的經濟需要工人時,非法移民會繼續地來。
一個經常被提出可以減少非法移民的提案是這樣的:如果我們提供一條直接與合法的道路給無證移民得到身份,這樣低技能工人的需求會降低,同時可以鼓勵著人們合法地進入美國。很多分析人都說了一個對移民友好的方案會有很多好處。那麼,為什麼這些方案沒有被實施呢?
“移民法律是聯邦的政策,”,市議員吳弭(Michelle Wu)解釋,她自己也是移民的女兒。 “我們在城市級別正在因為聯邦僵局而行動,因為我們認識到移民居民對我們社區和城市的貢獻。”
可是,國會沒能通過任何移民改革的方案,這包括S. 744,一條會提供W簽證給低技能職工的方案,一條“夢想”法案,和其它可以給無證移民身份而減少非法移民進入的方案。眾議院連考慮都沒有考慮參議院的改革法案。那麼,聯邦有著所有的權利,可是他們什麼都沒幹?
也許,聯邦應該把一些移民法律的權力給州和本地政府。當然,聯邦政府需要製定標準來防止一些移民條例的通過,如亞利桑那州的SB 1070 法例。可是移民法律現在已經成為一個有著不同地區需要的全國性的問題。在麻省,一個遠離南方邊境的地方,現時也因為帕特里克州長願意幫助聯邦政府暫時收容無證進美國的孩子而被牽涉到了移民問題中。在《波士頓環球報》的一個調查里,43% 的人不同意帕特里克州長的計劃,和他們很可能不會支持未來對移民友好的法律,除非他們跟負責移民執法的人有溝通和理解。如果我們把移民執法的權力分到地區政府,這樣我們可以改善居民和移民執法人的關係。在教育系統中,這種方法已經是有效地讓每個州結合自己的課程而同時滿足聯邦標準。
當然,不管誰負責執行移民法律,總會有人反對對移民友好的方案。可是這種盲目的反對不是碰撞著我們國家的基本信仰嗎?難道美國不是民主和自由的象徵?不是一處有著多種機會給來至不同國家人民的“文化熔爐”嗎?根據皮爾研究中心的數據統計,麻省幾百萬的合法移民中就有大概12-20萬的無證移民。無證移民們已經融入了我們的勞動人力和社區中。
在一個破碎的移民系統中,只是強制執行法律是無效和昂貴的。波士頓信任條款顯示著本地政府有著可以成功執行移民法律的潛力,和它挑戰著一個無功能聯邦項目的合理性。這是走向正確方向的一步。可是有人一定要行動,因為那些有權力的人失敗地實施任何改革。如果州政府有一些執行移民法律的權力,我們會更有可能有一個可用的系統。我們應該一起推動一個大大的變化在國會。這樣,我們至少可以希望,我們不會辜負擁有一個真正自由社會的美國理想。
戴佳是一個準備上高中四年級的聯盟學校(Commonwealth School)學生,也是波士頓市議員吳弭辦公室裡的一位實習生。

You hear your screams echo down the street. You stare helplessly down the barrel of a gun as a robber demands your money. You want to call for help, but you can’t. You want to dial 911, but a terrifying fear is nestled in your heart, and your fingers won’t punch in the numbers on the phone. Because you know that if you do, you might be deported.

Numerous reports have corroborated the fact that unauthorized immigrants have refrained from reporting crimes to local police, many of which are more severe than theft, due to fear of detainment and deportation under the federal program Secure Communities. Local police are required to send fingerprints of those arrested to Department of Homeland Security officials, and once identified the US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) decides whether or not local police should detain them for 48 hours. ICE then proceeds to determine if the detained immigrants should be deported. But this policy threatens unauthorized immigrants’ safety, discouraging them from reporting criminals who will cause more damage in the future.

Boston recognized the ineffectiveness of this xenophobic treatment of unauthorized immigrants—around 51% of those deported from Massachusetts through Secure Communities from 2008-2012 had no criminal record, according to the Boston Globe— recently, the Boston Trust Act was proposed with support from the City Council and Mayor Marty Walsh under the ordinance Boston police would only detain unauthorized immigrants who have had a sentence of at least five years.

“Our police force has limited resources,” stated Councilor Josh Zakim, head of the Committee on Human Rights and Civil Rights and sponsor of the legislation. “I don’t think taxpayers want their money to be used for this.”

The financial burden of deportation is irrefutable. In the 2008 fiscal year, it cost $23,482 to deport one individual, according to the Center for American Progress, and deportation rates have peaked at 400,000 per year. Not only has the cost of deportation deepened the federal deficit, but we also lose $20 billion in payroll tax revenue each year from undocumented immigrants who can’t participate in the formal economy. A direct path to citizenship for these 11 million people, mostly workers, would benefit the entire country economically, such as increasing state tax revenue by about $748 billion and the earnings of all American workers by $470 billion over the next decade, according to the Immigration Policy Center.

“Most of the immigrants are honest, working people,” Councilor Zakim said. “I think there are the same number of criminals who are undocumented immigrants as there are amongst legal residents.” In fact, over five percent of the labor force was made up of undocumented workers in 2010, and as baby boomers retire over the next twenty years, 58.6 million jobs will need to be filled with only 51.3 million native-born workers projected to enter the work force. These workers come to the United States to start a life, to add value to society, and help expand America’s economy.

Yet people remain skeptical of legalizing immigrants. They jump on the word “illegal” as justification for distrust, but there’s a reason immigrants haven’t gained legal status yet: under current immigration policy, it’s extremely difficult and unlikely for low-skilled immigrant workers to have an opportunity to do so. Their numbers far outweigh the number of visas issued for low-skilled workers. And frankly, many don’t have a choice. Their native countries suffer from drug trafficking and violence. Some have family members who live in the US. Even with stricter rules, the population of undocumented immigrants has risen to 11 million, which reveals that there will always be illegal immigration as long as native countries are unsafe to live in and America’s economy grows, requiring more low-skilled workers.

One proposal to curb illegal immigration has been suggested repeatedly: providing a direct, legal path to citizenship would lower demand for low-skilled jobs and encourage people to enter legally. Many analysts have articulated the potential benefits of an immigrant-friendly approach. So why hasn’t anything been done?

“Immigration law is a federal issue,” explains City Councilor Michelle Wu, herself the daughter of immigrants. “We at the city level are acting in response to federal gridlock, recognizing the contributions that immigrant residents make to our neighborhoods and city.”

However, Congress has been unable to pass any immigration reform bills, including S. 744, which included W visas for low-skilled workers, a progressive DREAM act, and other paths to citizenship that would reduce illegal immigration. The House of Representatives didn’t even consider the Senate bill. So the feds have all the power, and do nothing with it?

Perhaps then, they should yield a certain amount of that power to states and local authority. Of course, the federal government would need to set some standards to prevent laws such as Arizona’s S.B. 1070 from passing, but immigration has become a nationwide problem that demands different local needs. Even Massachusetts, over a thousand miles away from the southern border, has recently become involved in the debate as Governor Patrick has expressed willingness to help the federal government handle the sudden influx of unauthorized children. A recent poll from the Boston Globe shows 43% of responders oppose his plan, and they will likely resist future immigrant-friendly approaches unless there’s more communication and understanding between them and those in charge of immigration. Decentralizing power to local governments would improve that relationship, and has already proven effective in the education system where states structure their curriculums independently while meeting certain federal criteria.

Naturally, though, there are people who oppose immigrant-friendly approaches regardless of who’s in charge, whether it be federal or local government. But doesn’t that chauvinism contradict the fundamental beliefs of our country? Is America not the embodiment of democracy and freedom, where opportunity opens its doors for everyone, where people from around the world constitute the famous “Melting Pot?” Unauthorized immigrants are already integrated into our work force and our communities, as data from the Pew Research Center shows Massachusetts has an estimated 120,000-200,000 undocumented immigrants amongst its one million immigrants.

Enforcement-only policies have proven ineffective and costly with a broken immigration system. The Boston Trust Act illustrates the potential success of local authority on immigration and challenges the legitimacy of a nonfunctional federal program. It’s one step forward in the right direction. But someone needs to act, and the only ones with power have failed to implement any reform. If states got some authority in immigration policy, we could get closer to a functioning system. We could collectively push for a drastic change in Congress. Then, at least we have hope to live up to the ideals of a truly free, American society.


Amanda Dai is a rising senior at the Commonwealth School and an intern in Boston City Councilor Michelle Wu’s office.
In case you missed it, I wanted to pass along the Boston Globe's take on my 25 recommendations to streamline Boston's permitting and licensing process (which you can read here), reflecting hours of conversations with city agencies and small business owners throughout the city. 
Permitting reform doesn't sound glamorous, but it is at the heart of what makes a neighborhood flourish--and with the support of the Mayor and my colleagues on the Council, we will be able to make it easier for entrepreneurs in every neighborhood to open their small businesses and restaurants.
Have feedback on the report? Ideas you think we missed? Please reply to this email. I look forward to hearing from you.
Michelle

------波士頓市不分區市議員吳弭( Michelle Wu),藉由自己曾是小企業商家的經驗,最近提出更新波士頓市政府發放牌照,許可的25點建議。

            波士頓環球報日前刊出一篇專欄,聲稱吳弭的這些建議,有望為波士頓市奠定基礎,簡化,加快牌照,許可的申辦過程與速度。
            該文指出,從今年三月起,吳弭巡迴全市,和商家,波市各機關單位晤談,為提建議做功課。
            她提出的有些建議,很顯而易見。例如,按照波市府現行規定,企業商家要申請安裝防火警報器許可,得填報兩份不同的申請表,一份來自檢查局(ISD),另一份來自消防局。同樣的情況也發生在商業垃圾桶上。吳弭建議制定一份跨機構的單一申請表,以整合這重疊的過程。
另一項建議是排定政府各單位的客戶服務先後順序。有些創業者沒有勇氣創辦企業,因為申請牌照時,還不知道要通過申請,有哪些步驟,得等多久,就先得到一個否定答案。吳弭建議政府單位要提供明確的處理時間估計。吳弭也建議聘用小企業聯絡員來協助企業商家。
            查詢詳情,可上吳弭的網站, www.michelleforboston.com 電洽她的辦公室,617.652.0136,或發電郵 info@michelleforboston.com 

BOSTON CITY COUNCILOR MICHELLE WU FILES OPEN DATA ORDINANCE

BOSTON – Michelle Wu, Boston City Councilor At-Large, today filed an open data ordinance to be proposed at the April 9th meeting of the Boston City Council.

Following up on Wu’s 50 Ideas for Boston Families from the campaign trail (“Idea #41: Leverage data using hackathons and availability of sanitized information”), the proposed ordinance would require Boston’s city agencies and departments to make data available online using open standards developed in collaboration with the public, promoting opportunities for civic innovation.

“Government today should center on making data-driven decisions and inviting in the public to collaborate around new ideas and solutions,” said Wu.  “The goal of this ordinance is greater transparency, access, and innovation.  We need a proactive, not a reactive, approach to information accessibility and open government.”

An open data ordinance would codify open government policies and create consistency among Boston’s city departments by developing uniform technical standards.  It would institutionalize a culture of open government while simultaneously requiring city departments to balance transparency with privacy.

According to the Sunlight Foundation, 21 cities, three states, and six counties have passed open data laws.  The City of Boston maintains a data portal to make certain datasets accessible to the public at data.cityofboston.gov but does not currently have a formal requirement to make data available beyond federal Freedom of Information Act obligations.  A municipal open data ordinance would mandate that agencies and departments across the board contribute to these publicly available datasets in accordance with technical standards that ensure privacy and public safety.  Boston currently has 46 datasets available on its portal; New York City, which passed an open data law in 2012, has over 1,100 datasets at data.cityofnewyork.us.

Wu cited San Francisco and New York City as municipalities where open data laws have been particularly effective.  In San Francisco, the open data ordinance has provided opportunities to develop innovative partnerships with citizens and companies, e.g. partnering with Yelp, a business review website, to display the City’s publicly available health inspection scores on each restaurant’s Yelp profile.  New York City’s open data law required soliciting public input in developing technical standards, and the city continues to host regular competitions and challenges to invite public analysis and participation in developing new civic innovation tools.

“Boston is a world-class city full of energy and talent,” said Wu. “In addition to promoting open government, making information available to the fullest extent possible will help leverage Boston’s energy and talent for civic innovation. From public hackathons to breaking down silos between city departments, putting more data online can help us govern smarter for residents in every neighborhood.”

As Chair of the Committee on Small Business, Entrepreneurship and Innovation, and Chair of the Committee on Arts and Culture, Wu has prioritized strengthening Boston's innovation economy, creative economy, and neighborhood small businesses.
 

吳弭首召公聽會談企業問題

2014-03-26 15:09 [ 打印 ] [ ]

本報記者菊子波士頓報導:波士頓市首名華裔市議員吳弭(Michelle Wu)昨(25)日下午首度以小企業,創業及創新小組委員會主席身分召開公聽會,約九名市府部會首長出席報告。吳弭稍後將進社區舉辦十場聆聽民意之旅,預定四月底做總結。
吳弭與第五區市議員Timothy McCarthy,第八區市議員Josh Zakim等三人,昨日在市府大樓五樓的市議會Iannella會議廳主持會議。
波士頓市長新設的「做吧(DoIT)」部門幕僚長Matt Mayrl;上任才九個月,年僅31歲的鄰里發展部(DND)營運長Devin Quirk,企業發展組John Lynch,波士頓市長辦公室消費者事務及牌照主任Patricia Malone,市府牌照局理事Jean Lorizio,檢查局(ISD)局長Bryan Glasscock,新任消防局長等人,都出席公了聽會,分別說明各機構在處理市民申請牌照,許可上的目前做法,改善計劃等。
Matt Mayril指出,波士頓市長馬丁華殊(Martin Walsh)上任以來,積極的想為小企業出力,已指示市府各部門應用科技,簡化作業程序,修訂區域規劃規定,方便市民。
Devin Quirk表示,DND麾下有小企業發展組,與波士頓市內的20個主街機構合作,為企業主提供包括申請牌照許可,了解政府運作,發給改善營運補助等的各種協助。
在回應市議員普斯莉的認為該部門應以多種語言進社區宣傳時,Devin Quirk表示,該部門已儘量做到以多種語言為市民提供資訊,許多文件都已譯成多種語言,在民眾提出要求時,該部門也儘量配合。
檢查局(ISD)局長Bryan Glasscock表示,該局一年約需處理四萬四千份牌照,許可申請,每月有不下一千人造訪,辦理各種事務,有時的確忙不過來。不過該局已從一年半前起,啟動追蹤系統,以及網上申辦服務,應可逐步進行改善。
昨日出席會議的第一區市議員Salvatore LaMattina在離席前表示,他轄區內的一家企業,在申請牌照許可時,曾經遭遇鄰里發展部和檢查局之間不協調,令人生氣情況,找他幫忙,他才親自體會 到小企業在牌照,許可上的申請手續,有各部會疊床架屋,不必要的繁瑣現象。
昨日聆訊的主題有二:一為編號0386,有關小企業許可及牌照改革議案;一為編號0439。關於改善政府發放小企業牌照的內部處理問題。
吳弭辦公室表示,吳弭將針對創業者,擁有企業者,在未來數周舉行跨越全市的「聆聽之旅」,從經營企業者的角度,深入了解在申請牌照、許可上,關鍵問題有哪些。
吳弭辦公室歡迎有話要說者,有意見者打電話到1(617)635-3115,或發電郵到ccc.sbei@cityofboston.gov。

You may have seen the recent Globe article about my first hearing as chair of the Small Business, Entrepreneurship and Innovation Committee, focused on finding ways to streamline the city's permitting process and make it easier for business owners of all backgrounds to succeed in Boston's neighborhoods. For entrepreneurs just starting out--especially those who can't afford to hire outside help to navigate through the complicated and often drawn-out process--the time lost chasing permits means losing out on rent, resources, and sometimes opening their business altogether.

The hearing is this Tuesday, March 25th at 2:00 PM in the City Council Chamber (City Hall, 5th Floor), and is open to the public.  This hearing will be one step in a larger process, in collaboration with Mayor Walsh's administration, to make small business permits easier for everyone to access.  Tomorrow, we'll focus on city agencies involved in the permitting process - the work already in progress, plans for the future, and potential challenges.  In the weeks to come, we'll convene a neighborhood listening tour to hear from business owners directly about the challenges they've faced and opportunities they see.

Access to small business permits may not be the most glamorous issue, but it affects the culture and vibrancy of all our neighborhoods. I am looking forward to tomorrow's hearing to hear how government processes can be condensed and streamlined, and in the next few weeks look forward to meeting with business owners across the city to hear feedback directly from those who have had the most experience.

If you are interested in attending the hearing, it is open to the public and will be held in the Council Chamber tomorrow at 2:00 PM. Interested members of the public will be invited to testify after government officials give their updates.  If you can't make it, but would like to submit testimony, participate in one of our neighborhood listening stops, or want to know more--please call my office at 617-635-3115.   To watch tomorrow's hearing online, tune in at www.cityofboston.gov/ citycouncil/live.asp at 2:00 PM tomorrow.  
Thank you very much!
Michelle

BOSTON CITY COUNCILOR MICHELLE WU FILES HEARING ORDERS ON SMALL BUSINESS PERMITTING, ARTS FUNDING; FILES RESOLUTION SUPPORTING DOMESTIC WORKERS

BOSTON – Michelle Wu, Boston City Councilor At-Large, filed her first agenda items as Councilor at the Boston City Council meeting on Wednesday, February 26th. A brief overview of each is below.

Streamlining business permitting: In her first speech on the Council Floor, Councilor Wu called for a hearing to address the permitting process through consolidation of certain permits, licenses and fees in order to support small business owners and entrepreneurs.

“Streamlining the permitting process will empower Boston’s small businesses to create more economic opportunity in our neighborhoods,” said Wu. “From licensing milk to eggs to fortune-telling, it’s time to revisit our regulatory structure and think about how to streamline through consolidation or elimination of certain permits and licenses.”

Councilor Wu called the consolidation and elimination of some permits, licenses and fees “the first of multiple fronts” to streamline the permitting process.  The hearing order was referred to the Special Committee on Small Business, Entrepreneurship and Innovation, which Councilor Wu chairs.

Evaluating the distribution of arts and culture funding: With budget season approaching, Councilor Wu called a hearing to examine how best to utilize and distribute arts funding from the City of Boston to maximize impact for the arts, cultural and creative community.

Wu cited creative examples employed by other cities, the Mayor's strong commitment to supporting the arts and culture community and creative economy through the creation of a Cabinet-level Arts Commissioner, and the Administration's plans for a designated arts and culture line-item in the budget. 

“With Mayor Walsh already having shown himself to be a champion of the creative community, including committing to an additional line-item for arts and culture in the city budget, the hearing will prepare us to make every additional dollar stretch,” said Wu. “We’ll consider examples from other cities that offer multi-year grant opportunities, individual artist grants, and other funding structures, and I hope we will have a strong showing of ideas from the arts and culture community.”

The matter was referred to the Committee on Arts and Culture, which Councilor Wu chairs.

Supporting Domestic Workers' Bill of Rights: Councilor Wu introduced a resolution in support of Domestic Workers, calling on the Massachusetts legislature to pass the “Domestic Workers' Bill of Rights” (H. 3884) sponsored by Representative Michael Moran and Senator Anthony Petruccelli.

“The legislation would provide protections to ensure safe and dignified working conditions for domestic workers such as house cleaners, nannies, and personal care attendants,” said Wu. “Domestic workers have historically been excluded from basic state and federal labor rights. This bill would offer 24 hours off per seven-day calendar week, parental leave, protection from discrimination and sexual harassment, and termination rights for live-in nannies so they would not become immediately homeless if fired.”

The Council voted unanimously to pass the resolution.

As Chair of the Committee on Small Business, Entrepreneurship and Innovation, and Chair of the Committee on Arts and Culture, Wu has prioritized strengthening Boston's innovation economy, creative economy, and small businesses.

On these cold winter mornings, I think back to the many early hours we spent on the campaign trail outside T stations and transit hubs across the city. While shaking hands and asking for votes, I heard the stories of Bostonians from every neighborhood. Many of these conversations were with homeless women and men who wanted to tell me about their experiences at shelters, the resources they needed but couldn't find, and the ways in which the city could do better. 
These men and women included parents, veterans, LGBT youth, survivors of domestic violence. Some struggled with substance abuse or mental illness. Especially as winter brings dangerously cold conditions, access to Boston's resources--through government, nonprofits and community organizations--is especially important.
Starting next week, I'll be visiting homeless shelters across the city to understand the needs and resources available to shelter guests and staff. I want to find out how best to support the good work already happening, make improvements where more help is needed, and streamline resources to make services accessible for people who may not know where to look. 
Boston is a city of resources. When we connect those resources to families across all walks of life, it strengthens our commitment to each other and to being the best city we can be.
As always, please send me your ideas and feedback. Whether on homelessness, small business, education, or any other issue facing our neighborhoods--I want to hear from you. As your Councilor, I'll be attending as many neighborhood meetings and events as possible to introduce myself and my staff. If you have an event you'd like us to attend, please let us know by emailingevents@michelleforboston.com.
Together, we can make a difference for this city. I am excited to get started, and with your help, maximize our city's resources to support everyone.
Michelle


Michelle Wu, Candidate for Boston City Council At-Large
About Michelle Wu
Michelle, 28, is an attorney and community advocate. Most recently, she worked full-time on
U.S. Senator Elizabeth Warren’s campaign, where she directed statewide outreach to
communities of color. Prior to the Warren campaign, Michelle worked for Mayor Thomas M.
Menino in the Mayor’s Office as a Rappaport Fellow in Law and Public Policy. At City Hall,
she created the Restaurant Roadmap guide (available on the City of Boston website), which for
the first time outlined in one place the city’s restaurant permitting process from start to finish.
Michelle was also a driving force behind the Food Truck Challenge, which launched three new
food trucks on City Hall Plaza.
Michelle has a background in community advocacy, having worked at the WilmerHale Legal
Services Center in Jamaica Plain, providing legal advice to low-income small business owners.
She also worked at the Medical-Legal Partnership at Boston Medical Center on immigration
cases for survivors of domestic violence. Michelle has served on the boards of the Kwong Kow
Chinese School in Chinatown, the Puerto Rican Veterans Monument Square Association, and the
RoxVote coalition in Roxbury.
Michelle graduated from Harvard College and Harvard Law School. She lives in the South End
with her husband Conor and her two sisters – Sherelle, a student at Suffolk University, and
Victoria, a student at Boston Latin School.
Check out Adrian Walker’s article in the Boston Globe about Michelle Wu, Candidate for
Boston City Council At-Large.
For more information go to: www.Michelleforboston.com



BOSTON CITY COUNCIL CANDIDATE MICHELLE WU ANNOUNCES NEW HIRES
Campaign Manager and Finance Director Join Growing Team

Michelle Wu announced today that she has hired Dan Murphy, a veteran of several Massachusetts campaigns, as her Campaign Manager.  Additionally, Rachel Schwarzman joins the staff as Finance Director.
 “I’m thrilled to have Dan and Rachel join the campaign,” said Wu, a candidate for Boston City Councilor At-Large.  “They bring energy, talent and fresh perspectives to the quest of involving more people in city government and the task of organizing an inclusive, grassroots campaign.”
 Murphy has worked most recently on Senator Elizabeth Warren’s campaign as a political consultant and organizer, and on Congressman Michael Capuano’s bid for Senate as Deputy Press Secretary in 2009.  He has also worked for the Massachusetts House of Representatives and Ireland’s Department of Foreign Affairs.  He was born in Boston and earned his bachelor’s degree from Emerson College.
Rachel Schwarzman joins the Wu campaign after having served as Finance Director for Joseph Kearns Goodwin’s recent bid for State Senate in the Third Middlesex District.  Schwarzman is a graduate of Boston University, and lives in the South End.  
“This is going to be an exciting campaign,” Murphy said. “We have a dynamic candidate with original ideas, a skilled Finance Director with eager donors, and a group of committed volunteers ready to take Michelle’s progressive message and pragmatic approach directly to the voters, neighborhood by neighborhood, door to door.”
 “We are proud that we have raised more than $48,000, but more importantly, that our donor list reflects a diverse coalition of support,” stated Schwarzman.  “We're confident that we will have the resources to compete in a city-wide campaign.”
The campaign’s strong fundraising effort complements growing support from volunteers in what will be a robust, grassroots endeavor.
About Michelle Wu
Michelle, 28, is an attorney and community advocate.  Most recently, she worked full-time on U.S. Senator Elizabeth Warren’s campaign, where she directed statewide outreach to communities of color.  Prior to the Warren campaign, Michelle worked for Mayor Thomas M. Menino in the Mayor’s Office as a Rappaport Fellow in Law and Public Policy.  At City Hall, she created the Restaurant Roadmap guide (available on the City of Boston website), which for the first time outlined in one place the city’s restaurant permitting process from start to finish.  Michelle was also a driving force behind the Food Truck Challenge, which launched three new food trucks on City Hall Plaza.  

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