Tuesday, November 20, 2018

Boston City Council Looks At Artist Work Spaces, Early Voting, Civic Engagement & More

City Councilor-At-Large Michelle Wu publishes notes from Boston City Council meetings. The Boston City Council considered the following items and more at their October 24 and October 31 and November 7, 2018 meetings:

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]
  • Darlene Lombos was appointed as a member of the Living Wage Advisory Committee until March 2021
  • Bridget Brown was appointed as a member of the Boston Cultural Council for a term until October 2021
  • The Mayor appointed Jeffery Gonyeau as an alternate member of the Boston Landmarks Commission until June 2021, subject to Council confirmation. The matter was assigned to the Planning, Development & Transportation Committee for a hearing.
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.

Early Voting: Councilors Zakim and Janey filed a Home Rule Petition to authorize the City of Boston to offer early voting in municipal elections. Currently, the state legislation for early voting only applies to state general elections, and we should have the same level of access in city elections. They noted that voter turnout was less than 28% during the 2017 Boston Municipal election, and an expanded voting window would increase access to the polls. The matter was assigned to the Government Operations Committee for a hearing.

Workspace for Artists: Councilors Essaibi-George and O’Malley filed a hearing order to discuss improving access to workspace for artists. Artists are an important part of the City’s economy, as there are 36,254 workers in the creative economy and jobs within the creative economy will expand in the next decade. However, artists need affordable workspaces to showcase their work and develop their careers, and currently there is no structure in place for artists to rent affordable workspaces. Artists have already displaced from Jamaica Plain’s Brookside Avenue, the Piano Factory in the South End, and several other locations. The matter was assigned to Arts, Culture, and Special Events Committee for a hearing.

Net Zero Carbon Requirements:  Councilor O’Malley filed a hearing order on the feasibility of requiring all new municipal buildings to be carbon neutral. Buildings contribute to over half of the greenhouse gas emissions, and the Council has already had several working sessions on the benefit of having net carbon zero requirements. Cities such as Cambridge, Portland, OR, and Santa Monica already established roadmaps to achieving net zero carbon in their municipal buildings. The matter was assigned to the Committee on Environment, Sustainability and Parks for a hearing.

Upcoming hearings (In the City Council Chamber unless otherwise noted.) Watch:

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

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