Thursday, August 31, 2017

Boston City Council Looks At Overdose Awareness Day (8/31), Guns, CPA & More

City Council President Michelle Wu publishes notes from Boston City Council meetings. The Boston City Council considered the following items and more at their August 23, 2017 meeting*:

Appointments: Mayor Walsh made the following appointments:
  • Jesse Jeter, reappointed to the Boston Employment Commission until July 2019.
  • Anne Connolly, reappointed as Associate Commissioner to the Parks and Recreation Commission until January 2021.
  • Boston Fair Housing Commission: Onyen Yong, Egobudike Ezedi Jr., Michele Feliz-Rosario, reappointed as members of the Commission until July 2020.
Overdose Awareness Day: The Council voted to adopt Councilor Essaibi-George’s resolution desgnating August 31, 2017 as Overdose Awareness Day in the City of Boston. Councilor Essaibi-George noted that 4 in 10 MA residents know someone who has misused prescription painkillers in the last 5 years. Stigma may prevent someone from reaching out for help, or getting support, and this awareness day is one way of breaking down stigma around our city. There are several events happening in Boston on August 31, including on City Hall Plaza where an interfaith ceremony will occur from 5-6:30pm.

Gun Control Legislation: The Council voted 11-0 (Councilors Campbell and LaMattina absent) to adopt Councilor Flaherty’s resolution in support of H.3081, a bill under consideration at the State House to create a process for temporarily removing firearms from the possession of at-risk individuals. Individuals including mental health workers, family members, and caregivers would be able to petition a judge to issue an extreme risk protective order when someone poses a significant danger to themselves or others were they to maintain possession of a firearm.

Community Preservation Act: The Council took two actions following up on last meeting’s passage of the ordinance setting up Boston’s procedures for its Community Preservation Committee:
  • First, the Council voted to pass my order creating a Special Committee on the Community Preservation Act (CPA), which will help guide our process to nominate four members to the Community Preservation Committee and then ensure that the City Council remains an engaged and active partner in CPA actions. The Special Committee will accept applications from interested residents of Boston, evaluate candidates, hold public hearings for input from residents, and nominate four individuals for a vote from the full Council. After all the Community Preservation Committee members are in place, the Council’s Special Committee will continue to exist as a mechanism for transparency and open public process in the allocation of CPA funds.
  • Secondly, the Council voted to pass my order creating a 90-day Working Group to support the Special Committee for this first round of nominations. This first round of nominations requires the start-up work of creating an application form and process, setting evaluation criteria, and choosing four members at once; with staggered terms, future openings will likely follow the same process and come up one by one. As described in my order, this Working Group will include representatives of the Yes for a Better Boston Coalition, as well as representatives from the business community and other stakeholders as determined by the Chair of the Special Committee.
     
Sandwich Board Signs: The Council voted to reject without prejudice the Mayor’s proposal to make permanent the regulations instituted in 2015 as a pilot program for advertising on free-standing signs (sandwich boards). Because this proposal was delivered from the Mayor as a 60-day order, the Council needed to take action procedurally, but the Government Operations Committee plans to hold a working session to review the ordinance as well as proposals from Councilor Zakim to amend the regulations regarding concerns about too many signs on Newbury Street. In rejecting the proposal without prejudice at this time, the Committee can continue to study the issue and the Mayor can reintroduce the matter at a later date.

MBTA Green Line Extension: The Council voted to support a resolution offered by Councilor O’Malley and me in support of extending Green Line streetcar service on South Huntington Avenue from Heath Street to Hyde Square in Jamaica Plain. Such an extension would support local businesses in the Hyde Square neighborhood by attracting more visitors to the area, and would be a much needed public transit improvement for those living in the hundreds of new units of housing that has been constructed along this corridor in recent years. Thousands of new units are planned for this corridor, and residents would be almost entirely reliant on the 39 bus for public transportation without a Green Line extension.

Upcoming Hearings/Working Sessions (Watch Live )
  • Monday, Sept. 11th at 4:30PM: project with the National Black Women’s Justice Institute (NBWJI) and the Boston City Council on disciplinary policies’ impact on girls of color (Healthy Women, Families, and Communities) [Offsite at Bolling Building, 2300 Washington St.]

*Please note that August 23d was the final August City Council meeting. City Council meetings will resume September 13, 2017.

For complete notes on Boston City Council meetings, visit MichelleForBoston.com or sign up to receive these notes automatically each week by email. 

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