網頁

波士頓市議會議長吳弭 (Michelle Wu ) - meeting notes 3/23




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 

Happy early Evacuation Day & St. Patrick’s Day, and Happy belated Pi Day! 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.
Hubway: The Mayor sent over an order for Council authorization to accept and expend a $50,000 grant to add one Hubway station in North Allston, to be matched with a second Hubway station to be funded from other sources. The matter was assigned to the Committee on Parks, Recreation & Transportation for a hearing.
Surplus City Parcels: The Mayor filed two orders to declare City-owned former Public Works Department parcels as surplus and transfer them to the Public Facilities Commission, which could dispose of the parcels. One is located at the northeasterly corner of Ritchie Street and Columbus Ave in Roxbury, and the other is at Willow Court in Dorchester. Both items were assigned to the Planning & Development Committee for a hearing.
Urban Renewal Minor Modifications: The Boston Planning & Development Authority gave notice of minor modifications to the Charlestown Urban Renewal Plan. The matter was placed on file. On the topic of Urban Renewal, the Council will be holding the second of our six-month oversight hearings with the BPDA, tentatively Monday, April 10th, at 10:30AM in City Hall.
MSBA Facilities Upgrade: We voted to pass Mayor Walsh’s order to submit statements of interest to the Massachusetts School Building Authority (MSBA) for their Accelerated Repair Program for the following schools: Chittick Elementary School, East Boston High School, James Curley K-8, Joyce Kilmer K-8, Marshall/Up-Academy K-8, O’Donnell School K-5, Oliver Perry K-8, Russell School K-5, Sumner School K-5, Timilty Middle School, and Tobin School K-8. We also took the first 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 will be eligible for a 65% cost reimbursement from the MSBA.
Childcare Assistance to Homeless Families: We voted to pass a resolution filed by Councilors Essaibi-George, Pressley, Campbell, and myself in support of S257/HD3564, a bill proposed by Sen. Linda Dorcena-Forry and Rep. Marjorie Decker at the State House, which would provide immediate child care assistance to homeless families. The bill would reinstate a previous policy from 2007 allowing families living in any and all types of homeless shelters to access subsidized full-time childcare for a minimum of 6 months. The need for this type of legislation came out at the first of our Early Education & Childcare Policy Briefings last month, as we heard from families experiencing homelessness about how much of a barrier it was to need to secure childcare while also pursuing job applications, housing search, and education.
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 in the COB (City, Neighborhood Services & Veteran Affairs)
  • Monday, 3/27 at 3:00PM, Working Session: Plastic Bag Ordinance (Government Operations)
  • Monday, 3/27 at 6:00PM, Tentative: 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) 
www.michelleforboston.com / 617.652.0136 / info@michelleforboston.com 

I wanted to share some of the most humbling news I've ever received: The Boston Pride Committee let me know that I've been nominated for Boston Pride Marshal for the 2017 Pride Parade, alongside an amazing group of advocates and leaders. I'm particularly honored to be considered for this as someone from outside the community who is inspired everyday by LGBTQ leaders in Boston and Massachusetts who have pushed for decades to make the Commonwealth a nationwide leader in equality and inclusion. You can read about all the nominees and cast your vote here through Wednesday, March 15th.

I believe my most important job in City Hall is to fight for a fully inclusive Boston and to make sure all voices have a seat at the table. The recent resurfacing of the South Boston St. Patrick's Day Parade's ugly exclusion shows that our fight continues, even in this great city. I've been clear in my position on the parade: I've never marched and as long as the current leadership continues to run the event, with a vetting process including ridiculous rules to limit rainbows etc., I never will. But the most frustrating part of the controversy is the level of attention and coverage that this one-day event receives compared to the ongoing issues that LGBTQ individuals face and the visionary work that our community organizations provide. 
To that end, I'm particularly proud of leading the charge and partnering with community leaders to push progress on equality and inclusion for people of all identities in my time on the Council:
  • Equality Act: In January 2017, the Council passed a resolution I co-sponsored with Councilor Josh Zakim in support of amending the Civil Rights Act to include gender identity and sexual orientation under its protections.
  • Trans Pride Flag Raising: It was an honor to help facilitate the Commonwealth's first ever raising of the transgender pride flag in May 2016, right on Boston City Hall Plaza. I was proud to issue a joint statement with Mayor Walsh through Freedom Mass immediately afterwards calling on the State Legislature to pass the statewide public accommodations law that had been stalled. Coverage from the Rainbow Times here.
  • Statewide Public Accommodations Protections: In March 2016, I was proud to introduce a resolution co-sponsored by Councilor Michael Flaherty calling on the State Legislature to pass statewide public accommodations protections. Not only did the resolution pass unanimously, but every member of the Council spoke in support.
  • Banning LGBTQ Conversion Therapy: In July 2015, the City Council unanimously passed the resolution I sponsored calling on the State Legislature to bans the abusive practices aiming to change sexual orientation and gender identity for minors.
  • Gender Neutral Birth Certificate Forms: In May 2015, I learned from a constituent that she'd had a bad experience with the birth certificate request process in City Hall as a new mom in a two-mom household, facing confusion from City staff telling her she'd filled out the Mother/Father spaces wrong. Within 24 hours, I got these forms replaced with new, gender neutral forms.
  • Fully Inclusive Paid Parental Leave: I was proud to be the lead sponsor partnering with Councilors Tim McCarthy & Tito Jackson on an ordinance providing six weeks of paid leave for new parents in City Hall, inclusive of all families and covering not just birth but adoption too. We passed the law unanimously in April 2015 and Mayor Walsh signed it into law.
  • Health Care Equity: Boston received national attention in June 2014 when the City Council unanimously passed the ordinance I introduced in partnership with Councilor Ayanna Pressley, MassEquality and GLAD, prohibiting discrimination based on gender identity in healthcare coverage for city workers. This corrected a glaring disparity for trans employees needing medical treatments or surgery.
  • LGBTQ Youth Homelessness: One of my very first missions as a Councilor was to visit every emergency shelter in the city, then sponsored a hearing order in June 2014 to convene experts, providers, and community on solutions for LGBTQ youth homelessness.
Working together, we've been able to accomplish much and build on the legacy of leadership for inclusion in the Commonwealth. That's why I’m so honored and humbled to be nominated for Pride Marshal, alongside changemakers Jason Hayes, The Imperial Court of MA, Kristen Porter, and my incredible colleague City Councilor Ayanna Pressley. Thanks to the Boston Pride Committee for all their work to make Pride a success every year. Again, please take part in the Pride Marshal community voting process online through Wednesday, March 15th. 
Thank you for all that you do!
Michelle
P.S. To march with me in the Pride Parade on Saturday, June 10th and join us for the fun, sign up here. This year I'll be nearly nine months pregnant by parade time, but odds are I'll still be in my heels!

Paid for and Authorized by The Wu Committee
The Wu Committee
P.O. Box 960782
Boston, MA 02196

All Councilors wore red today in solidarity with International Women’s Day and the “A Day Without Women” action!  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.
We started today’s meeting by honoring Officer Matt Morris for his service with the Boston Police Department and his dedication to the City of Boston. Officer Morris was one of the police officers seriously injured in a shootout with a suspect, after responding to a domestic disturbance call in East Boston last October. We were happy to see him in good health today and thank him for his service.
Appointments: Mayor Walsh appointed Richard DePiano as Temporary First Assistant Collector-Treasurer and Anthony Dello Iacono as Temporary Second Assistant Collector-Treasurer.
Parking Receipts: Mayor Walsh filed an order to accept the provisions of the 2016 Municipal Modernization Act that 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. The matter was sent to the Government Operations Committee for a hearing.    
Just Cause Eviction: Councilor Flaherty reported back on Monday’s hearing 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. The petition 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. Monday’s six-hour hearing featured testimony from a variety of viewpoints, from the Small Property Owners Association, to Vida Urbana, to individuals on all sides. The matter remains in the Government Operations Committee for further work. You can read the proposed legislation here: http://meetingrecords.cityofboston.gov/sirepub/view.aspx?cabinet=published_meetings&fileid=196808.
Boston Patrolmen’s Association Contract: We voted unanimously to pass Mayor Walsh’s order to approve and appropriate the FY17 cost items contained within the collective bargaining agreements recently settled between the City of Boston and the Boston Police Patrolmen’s Association for July 1, 2016 – July 30, 2020. The provisions include base wage increases of 2% each year, increases to existing Quinn Bill/Education benefits, modified steps, and increase to hazardous duty pay. Several Councilors praised the Mayor and the union for settling this contract through collective bargaining and avoiding binding arbitration. One other issue mentioned at yesterday’s hearing involved two placeholder provisions in the contract, about body-worn cameras and dashboard cameras. The contract does not directly address the question of compensation and working conditions around these two technologies, but says that the City and union may reopen the contract to continue bargaining around them. Several of us asked for assurances that the current body camera pilot program would be expanded and not held up due to timing of continued bargaining, and we heard from the Administration and BPD leadership that this was indeed a priority.
FY2016 Budget Review: Councilor Ciommo reported back on yesterday’s hearing on a post audit review of the FY2016 Budget. The hearing aimed for a broad look at city departments’ actual spending relative to the approved budget and honed in on specific successes and areas of improvement. Councilor Ciommo noted the majority of surplus funds in the FY2016 Budget went toward capital projects. The matter remains in the Ways & Means Committee.
Sanctuary Schools: We voted unanimously to pass Councilor Jackson’s resolution to affirm Boston Public Schools as sanctuary schools, where Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents must not be allowed to enter BPS sites without the explicit permission of the Superintendent and District Attorney. Councilor Jackson reported back on last night’s well-attended offsite hearing held at St. Stephen’s Church in the South End. He spoke about the powerful testimonies students shared expressing their fear and anxiety given recent federal Executive Orders. Many colleagues strongly emphasized how important it is for government and the Council to stand up for students and families in this uncertain environment, and along those lines, several Councilors expressed disappointment in BPS’s hesitancy at the hearing to support the use of the term “sanctuary schools.”
Liquor Licenses: Councilor Pressley filed a home rule petition to add up to 152 new non-transferable liquor licenses within the City of Boston. The proposal would grant 105 alcohol licenses to seven neighborhoods—Dorchester, East Boston, Hyde Park, Jamaica Plain, Mattapan, Mission Hill, and Roxbury—with each neighborhood receiving five licenses over the next three years. It would also create 15 licenses for Main Streets districts and 30 citywide licenses over the next three years, along with licenses specifically for the Lawn on D and the Boston Center for the Arts. The non-transferable licenses cannot be resold on the open market and must revert back to the City, and the designated neighborhood, if a restaurant goes out of business. Councilor Pressley emphasized the importance of reducing competition between neighborhoods for licenses and reducing the barrier to entry for new restaurants to open in all neighborhoods. The legislation would also create umbrella licenses, which would cover large developments with a single liquor license. Many Councilors rose to express their support and to commend Councilor Pressley for her hard work on this matter. There were a few calls for additional neighborhoods or subneighborhoods to be added in the legislation, which do not have formalized Main Streets programs but do have the potential to benefit from sit-down restaurants. The matter was sent to the Government Operations Committee for a hearing.
Needle Disposal: Councilors Essaibi-George, McCarthy, and Baker filed for a 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 sharps litter affecting every neighborhood in the city. Councilor Essaibi-George cited that Boston 311 has received approximately 3,000 calls flagging needles in city neighborhoods within the past year. Currently, the City has many tools to manage sharps litter, including disposal kiosks and sharps collection teams coordinated by AHOPE and 311. Councilor McCarthy spoke about the need to educate and train students, residents, and city employees in how to handle safe disposal of needles. The matter was sent to the Homeless, Mental Health & Recovery Committee for a hearing.
Upcoming Hearings (Watch at www.cityofboston.gov/citycouncil/live.asp)
  • Thursday, 3/9 at 2:00PM, Procurement & Purchasing (Jobs, Wages & Workforce Development)
  • Thursday, 3/23 at 2:30PM, Community Preservation Committee (Government Operations)
  • Monday, 3/27 at 11:00AM, Tentative: College & University Engagement Office in the COB (City, Neighborhood Services & Veteran Affairs)
  • Tuesday, 3/28 at 6:30PM, Tentative: Policy Briefing: Community-Based Providers (Healthy Women, Families & Communities) [Offsite at Catholic Charities Laboure Center)

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.
MSBA Facilities Upgrades: Mayor Walsh filed an order to submit statements of interest to the Massachusetts School Building Authority (MSBA) for their Accelerated Repair Program for the following schools: Chittick Elementary School, East Boston High School, James Curley K-8, Joyce Kilmer K-8, Marshall/Up-Academy K-8, O’Donnell School K-5, Oliver Perry K-8, Russell School K-5, Sumner School K-5, Timilty Middle School, and Tobin School K-8. The matter was assigned to the Ways & Means Committee for a hearing.
Raymond Flynn Marine Park Energy Saving Services: Mayor Walsh filed a home rule petition to allow the procurement of an energy service company to provide energy project services to all public and private property owners and tenants within the Raymond L. Flynn Marine Park. The matter was sent to the Government Operations Committee for a hearing.
Boston Patrolmen’s Association Contract: Mayor Walsh filed an order for the Council to approve and appropriate the FY17 cost items contained within the collective bargaining agreements recently settled between the City of Boston and the Boston Patrolmen’s Association for July 1, 2016 – June 30, 2020. The provisions include base wage increases of 2% each year, increases to existing Quinn Bill/Education benefits, modified steps, and increase to hazardous duty pay. The matter was sent to the Ways & Means Committee for a hearing.
Affordable Housing Projects: We voted to pass Mayor Walsh’s home rule petitions to exempt the Boston Housing Authority from having to meet certain contracting and procurement requirements at the state for the Clippership Wharf development in East Boston and the West Newton development in the South End. The exemption would streamline the sub-bid process, and the BHA has been granted this exemption on ten other redevelopment projects.
Reprecincting: We voted to pass the home rule petition that Councilor Linehan & I co-authored to add additional polling locations in the six largest precincts in Boston. The recommendations came out of two public hearings with the Elections Department and community members, pointing out that these largest precincts create significant voter access challenges. In the decades since Boston last made major adjustments to equalize precinct sizes, the city’s population has shifted such that today our biggest precinct (Ward 3, Precinct 8 in Chinatown) has over 6,000 registered voters, while the smallest (Ward 8, Precinct 6 near South Bay) has just under 500 voters. That means very long lines at certain polling locations and difficulty with voter access. For my detailed summary of the first hearing on reprecincting, see https://www.facebook.com/michelleforboston/posts/1288342527925669. The home rule petition would allow the City to subdivide these largest precincts in time for the upcoming municipal elections, without changing political district lines or ward lines. The affected precincts are: Ward 3, Precinct 6 (Downtown); Ward 3, Precinct 7 (South End); Ward 3, Precinct 8 (Chinatown); Ward 5, Precinct 1 (Bay Village, Chinatown); Ward 6, Precinct 1 (Seaport, Fort Point, South Boston); Ward 9, Precinct 3 (South End/Lower Roxbury). The changes would need to be approved by the state legislature by June at the latest to implement in time for the September 2017 Preliminary election. If approved, the home rule petition would allow for voter registration locations to be changed in the statewide system.
Boston Art Commission: We voted to pass Mayor Walsh’s home rule petition to give the Institute of Contemporary Art (ICA) one seat on the Boston Art Commission. With this petition, the ICA would join the Museum of Fine Arts, Isabella Stuart Gardener Museum, Boston Public Library, Boston Society of Architects and Mass College of Art in having a seat on the commission.
Universal Pre-K: We voted to pass Mayor Walsh’s home rule petition to redirect revenue generated in Boston by surcharges on sightseeing tours and rental car transactions from the Boston Convention Center and Exhibition Fund to the City’s general fund to pay for Universal Pre-K for all four year olds in the City of Boston. Currently, the revenue coming in is earmarked toward paying off the Convention Center costs, but often generates a surplus. With the Convention Center expansion on hold, the Mayor is proposing that the revenue generated in Boston come back to the City for this targeted purpose.
Boston Garden Development: We voted to approve the application of Podium Developer to participate in the “I-Cubed” (Infrastructure Investment Incentive) program. I-Cubed allows certified economic development projects that would not otherwise be economically feasible and that will create jobs to participate in a cost and risk sharing arrangement with the Commonwealth. In this arrangement, specificed public infrastructure improvements are funded by MassDevelopment bonds. During construction and until a commercial component of the development comes online with a tenant, the developer pays the debt service on bonds funding the public infrastructure. Once the development is occupied and generating new state tax revenue, the debt service on the bonds are payable by the Commonwealth. If the new state tax revenues are insufficient to cover the related debt service, the City must reimburse the Commonwealth for the shortfall, but cities are allowed to sign agreements with developers that the City may assess the property for reimbursement of these shortfall payments to the Commonwealth, which is the case here. The infrastructure improvements include major renovations to North Station to connect the commuter rail and subway entrances, covered walkways for pedestrians, and more. Councilor Zakim also pointed out that the project itself carries tremendous additional benefit for neighbors too, because it will include a supermarket that the neighborhood has been waiting a very long time to see open. Learn more about I-Cubed here: http://www.mass.gov/anf/budget-taxes-and-procurement/cap-finance/i-cubed/overview-of-i-cubed.html.
Early Education and Childcare Policy Briefing—Childcare for Homeless Families: Councilor Pressley reported back on the first of our early education and childcare policy briefing series, starting with the topic of access to childcare for homeless families and hosted by Councilor Essaibi-George. Monday’s briefing took place at Horizons for Homeless Children’s Early Education Center in Roxbury. Modeled after our very successful transportation briefings, the goal of the series is to bring in policy experts to share thoughts and policy recommendations separate from any specific votes. Future sessions will focus on topics including community-based providers, childcare funding mechanisms, and more. You can watch the full presentation and panel discussion here: http://www.cityofboston.gov/citycouncil/cc_video_library.asp?id=11167.
Boston Fire Department Cadet Program: Councilors Campbell & Linehan filed a hearing order to discuss the feasibility and implementation of a Boston Fire Department cadet training program. In an effort to recruit firefighters who reflect the racial and socioeconomic diversity of the City of Boston, the Boston Fire Department has made recent investments including hiring a Diversity Officer and launching a Teen Academy aimed at providing summer job training for high school students interested in careers as firefighters. The Councilors spoke about modeling the Boston Fire Department cadet program after the recently reinstated Boston Police cadet program, an on-the-job training program for Boston residents ages 18-24 seeking a career in law enforcement. Several Councilors emphasized that this is not a conversation about pitting veterans against communities of color or Boston residents, but should be a data-driven approach about how best to strengthen our law enforcement agencies while creating economic opportunity for the city. The matter was sent to the Public Safety & Criminal Justice Committee for a hearing.
Biosafety Level 4 Research: Councilor Jackson filed an ordinance to prohibit research designated as Biosafety Level 4 (BSL 4) in the City of Boston. Biosafety Level 4 is a level of security designed for research on the most dangerous and exotic categories of disease-causing organisms. Boston University Medical Center has built a biological research facility known as the National Emerging Infectious Diseases Laboratory (the “NEIDL”) on Albany Street in the South End/Roxbury, which recently received its federal approval to house research at BSL 4. Councilor Jackson emphasized the risk of exposing a very dense residential area to these pathogens, as well as many of our most vulnerable residents in the area receiving treatment at Boston Medical Center across the street. The matter was sent to the Government Operations Committee for a hearing.
Free Petition: I filed an ordinance to codify the right of free petition at the municipal level in Boston. The right of free petition is unique to Massachusetts, found in Article XIX of the state constitution and dating back to colonial times. At the Massachusetts State House, the right of free petition guarantees that any citizen may file a bill through his or her state legislator. Several cities and towns have laws codifying free petition at the municipal level in place already, including Chelsea, Lawrence, Winthrop and Newton. The free petition ordinance would require the Boston City Council to hold a public hearing on the subject of any group petition signed by 250 or more residents, within three months of filing the petition. The goal is to provide another outlet for residents to get involved in influencing policy and public discourse in Boston, regardless of voter registration and immigration status. The proposal received a mixed reaction on the floor: some colleagues spoke about the importance of civic engagement and the need to continually strengthen democracy, but others stated that the Council is already accessible and responsive, expressing concern that this mechanism would give voice to opportunists or strain Councilors’ schedules by pulling time away from constituent services in having to chair required hearings. The matter was sent to the Government Operations Committee for a hearing.
White Ribbon Day: After we wrapped up our legislative business, we joined Councilor Pressley in taking a pledge to be part of the solution against violence against women, in solidarity with the worldwide White Ribbon Day movement.
Upcoming Hearings (Watch at www.cityofboston.gov/citycouncil/live.asp)

  • Thursday, 3/2 at 4:00PM, Policy Briefing on Parking Management (Parks, Recreation & Transportation). Join us after at 5:30PM for a Boston T(ransit) Party to thank all our presenters and to network with other transit aficionados (City Hall Curley Room)
  • Monday, 3/6 at 10:00AM, Jim Brooks Stabilization Act (Government Operations)
  • Tuesday, 3/7 at 5:30PM, Resolution to Affirm Sanctuary Schools in the Boston Public School System (Education) [Offsite at St. Stephen’s Church]
  • Thursday, 3/9 at 2:00PM: Procurement & Purchasing (Jobs, Wages & Workforce Development)
www.michelleforboston.com / 617.652.0136 / info@michelleforboston.com 

With the dawn of the Age of Trump, we've seen a surge of interest from residents asking, "What can I do to protect and improve my city, state, and country?"*
Legislatively on the City Council, we've reinstated a Civil Rights committee and are working on topics from early education and childcare, to workforce development and renewable energy. But I believe we can go even further. It's more important now than ever that local government is responsive to community needs and serves as a platform for civic engagement. No one should feel that the only chance to make your voice heard is on Election Day. 
Yesterday I filed an ordinance to give residents a direct way to shape the City Council agenda, through the Right of Free Petition. My proposal would require the Council to hold a hearing on the topic of any petition signed by at least 250 residents. It's not only squarely within the historical tradition of the Commonwealth, but also what we need in today's political environment.
I hope to make the case that sharing power to shape the agenda with residents and activists only strengthens the Council's role as a platform for community voice, ensures we are responding to the issues most important to residents, and supports truly meaningful democracy in Boston -- where every person knows they can directly partner with local government and see action on their concerns. Read the ordinance and more details here, and please send your feedback!   
Thank you for your continued engagement and activism.
Michelle 
*As mentioned in previous emails, there are many paths for civic engagement, from volunteering and getting active with churches, neighborhood associations, non-profit and activist groups, and of course advocating at all levels of government. I'm still taking suggestions for my civic engagement guide!

BOSTON CITY COUNCIL PRESIDENT MICHELLE WU FILES FREE PETITION ORDINANCE
Proposal would require action in response to petitions signed by 250 or more residents


BOSTON – February 27, 2017 – Today Boston City Council President Michelle Wu filed an ordinance to codify the right of free petition at the municipal level in Boston. The proposed legislation would require the Council to hold a public hearing on the subject of any group petition signed by 250 or more residents.

“Good government thrives on civic engagement,” said Wu. “This ordinance will provide another outlet for residents to get involved in influencing policy and public discourse in Boston. One of the Council’s most important duties is to provide a platform for community voice. Codifying the right of free petition will ensure that the City Council is as responsive as possible to the issues facing families across the city.”

Council President Wu also gave special thanks to Boston activist and civic leader Jamarhl Crawford for sparking the idea of exploring free petition at the local level in Boston. “This proposal itself is an example of how conversation and partnership with community leads to new ideas,” said Wu.

Jamarhl Crawford said, "The Right of Free Petition Ordinance is a simple and logical step to encourage civic participation in all neighborhoods and will provide residents with a voice on issues that affect their quality of life in the City of Boston. My hope is that the residents of Boston will use this new ordinance as a tool to bring their long neglected issues and innovative ideas to the forefront."

The right of free petition is unique to Massachusetts, found in Article XIX of the state constitution and dating back to colonial times. At the Massachusetts State House, the right of free petition guarantees that any citizen may file a bill through his or her state legislator. Several cities and towns have laws codifying free petition at the municipal level in place already, including Chelsea, Lawrence, Winthrop, and Newton.

Councilor Wu will formally introduce the proposed ordinance at this week’s City Council meeting on Wednesday, March 1st, and it will be assigned to the Council’s Government Operations Committee to schedule a public hearing.

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.
Audit Committee Reporting: The Council received a filing from Chairman DiCara of the Audit Committee with an annual report of their meetings held with the City’s independent auditor, KPMG LLP, and the City Auditor. In 2016, four meetings were held to discuss various aspects of the City’s audit. You can read more in the report: http://meetingrecords.cityofboston.gov/sirepub/view.aspx?cabinet=published_meetings&fileid=198856.
Investing in Mental Health Supports: Councilors Pressley & Essaibi-George reported back on yesterday’s hearing to explore additional investments in mental health resources for city departments. Councilor Essaibi-George highlighted the need for additional clinicians and social workers to accompany Boston Police in ridealongs, ensuring mental health patients receive proper support during encounters with police. Currently, there are two clinicians funded by Boston Medical Center’s BEST program to accompany police officers, and there are eight social workers (five at district stations and one each assigned to the school police, gang unit and domestic violence unit). The matter remains in the Homelessness, Mental Health & Recovery Committee.
Reprecincting: Councilor Linehan & I filed a home rule petition to add additional polling locations in the six largest precincts in Boston. The recommendations came out of a public hearing with the Elections Department and community members, pointing out that these largest precincts create significant voter access challenges. In the decades since Boston last made major adjustments to equalize precinct sizes, the city's population has shifted such that today our biggest precinct (Ward 3, Precinct 8 in Chinatown) has over 6,000 registered voters, while the smallest (Ward 8, Precinct 6 near South Bay) has just under 500 voters. That means very long lines at certain polling locations and difficulty with voter access. For my detailed summary of that hearing on reprecincting, see https://www.facebook.com/michelleforboston/posts/1288342527925669. This home rule petition would allow the City to subdivide these largest precincts in time for the upcoming municipal elections, without changing political district lines or ward lines. We are proposing to subdivide the 6 largest precincts—which are much larger than the rest—to reduce voter wait times and increase access to polling locations:

Ward 3, Precinct 6: Downtown
Ward 3, Precinct 7: South End
Ward 3, Precinct 8: Chinatown
Ward 5, Precinct 1: Bay Village, Chinatown
Ward 6, Precinct 1: Seaport, Fort Point, South Boston
Ward 9, Precinct 3: South End/Lower Roxbury
The changes would need to be approved by the City Council and state legislature by June at the latest to implement in time for the September 2017 Preliminary election. If passed, the home rule petition would allow for voter registration locations to be changed in the statewide system. The matter was sent to the Government Operations Committee for a hearing.
Sex Offender Registration: Councilor Flaherty filed a hearing order to discuss policies and procedures for the registration and tracking of sex offenders in Boston. Currently, the Commonwealth of Massachusetts operates the Sex Offender Registry Board (“SORB”) to protect residents and prevent further victimization. Offenders who have a residential address must register every year with their local police department, and homeless offenders are required to register every 30 days. According to recent statistics, at least 200 sex offenders with a last known address in Boston are in violation of not updating their registration with the Boston Police Department. Additionally, a total of at least 150 offenders have listed shelters or public spaces as their last known address, raising public safety concerns. Councilor Flaherty noted two loopholes in the current system: 1) sex offenders who are homeless may be registering without a verifiable address (South Station, Franklin Park, etc.) and 2) offenders who do not want to reveal their own address may be listing a neighbor’s address or another community member’s address. The matter was sent to the Public Safety & Criminal Justice Committee for a hearing.
Affordable Housing: Councilor Essaibi-George filed a hearing order to determine strategies for streamlining the process to apply for affordable housing. According to the Boston 2030 Housing Plan 3rd Quarter Report of 2016, there are currently 18,786 affordable housing units permitted or completed and 21,270 units of affordable housing in the City’s development pipeline. Additionally, the City is at 108% of the Boston 2030 target pace needed to create 1,500 new units for extremely low income households. Councilor Essaibi-George applauded this rapid increase in affordable housing units, but emphasized the need to ensure the affordable housing application process is easy for all residents to access and navigate. Councilors Jackson and Campbell spoke about the importance of adjusting the current application process so that it also becomes less daunting for small developers to provide affordable housing units. The matter was sent to the Housing & Community Development Committee for a hearing.
*Please note that next Wednesday February 22nd, there is no Council meeting due to the Presidents Day holiday. The following week’s meeting on Wednesday March 1st has been rescheduled from the regular 12:00PM start time to a 2:00PM start time in order to accommodate the Boston Municipal Research luncheon featuring Mayor Walsh’s major policy speech, an event that the entire City Council traditionally attends.
Upcoming Hearings/Working Sessions (Watch at www.cityofboston.gov/citycouncil/live.asp)
Thursday, 2/16 at 10:00AM, Surcharge to Finance the Boston Convention and Exhibition Center (Government Operations)
Thursday, 2/16 at 11:00AM, Affordable Housing in East Boston/South End (Government Operations)
Thursday, 2/16 at 12:00PM, Composition of the Boston Arts Commission (Government Operations)
Monday, 2/27 at 10:00AM, Barr Foundation Grant (Environment & Sustainability)
Monday, 2/27 at 1:00PM, Boston Garden Economic Development (Planning & Development)
Monday, 2/27 at 6:00PM, Policy Briefing: Childcare for Homeless Families (Healthy Women, Families & Communities) [Offsite at Horizons for Homeless Children]
Suggestions for Civic Engagement: In response to many, many recent questions on how to get involved and make a difference in policy-making and community engagement, I'm working on putting together a guide with suggestions and concrete steps that people could take to have an impact. Please send along any groups, programs, or ideas that I could include and highlight!
www.michelleforboston.com / 617.652.0136 / info@michelleforboston.com Every day the national news reminds me of our charge: we must take action locally to shape an inclusive, sustainable future. 


It's an urgent mandate, so in addition to pushing progressive legislation at the City Council, I'm working to create opportunities for activists and neighbors to connect, learn, and join forces. Here are two upcoming events I hope you'll consider:

1) Come Watch & Discuss: "Merchants of Doubt" Film Screening & Discussion in Roslindale 
     Saturday, Feb. 25th, 6:30PM
     Roslindale Congregational Church, 25 Cummins Hwy

Join us for this must-see documentary that exposes the forces behind organized denial of climate change. Following the film, we will have a brief presentation and discussion about Community Choice Aggregation, an initiative that could dramatically accelerate Boston's path to full renewable energy. Please RSVP here!

2) Join Our T.Party: Mingle & Plan with Transit Advocates
    Thursday, March 2nd, 5:30PM
    Boston City Hall, 5th Floor Curley Room

Over the last 5 months, the City Council has been hosting an innovative transportation policy briefing series to advise us on transit equity and sustainable mobility. Immediately following the final briefing (on Parking Management), join us for a post-briefing "Boston T(ransit) Party" with appetizers and refreshments to thank all presenters and the larger sustainable transit community. You can RSVP here for the briefing and here for the T.Party.

Finally, I'm working on a Boston guide to civic engagement with suggestions and concrete steps to influence policy-making and community action. Please send along any groups, programs, or ideas that I could include and highlight!

Thanks for all that you do.

Michelle


http://michelleforboston.com

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 ] [ ]
BO140326002-1.
吳弭(中)與第五區市議員Timothy McCarthy(右),第八區市議員Josh Zakim(左)等三人,昨日在市府大樓五樓的市議會 Iannella會議廳主持會議。菊子攝
BO140326002-2
吳弭昨日主持公聽會,條理分明。菊子攝
BO140326002-3
波士頓市長新設的「做吧(DoIT)」部門幕僚長Matt Mayrl; 鄰里發展部(DND)營運長Devin Quirk,昨日在市議會作報告。菊子攝
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



LGBT & Allies: We continued celebrating Pride with our LGBT & Allies Reception at Cinquecento restaurant in the South End

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.