Wednesday, February 03, 2021

Boston City Council Waives Special Election, Declares Transit Equity Month, Introduces Conservation Corps & Much More

City Councilor-At-Large Michelle Wu publishes notes from Boston City Council meetings. Below are a few highlights from February 3, 2021 City Council meeting


Waiving a Potential Special Election for Mayor: The Council voted 12-0 (Councilor Essaibi George abstaining) to advance an amended version of the home-rule petition filed by Councilor Arroyo to waive any potential special election to fill a vacancy in the office of Mayor. According to the City Charter, if a vacancy in the office of Mayor takes place before March 5, 2021, the City of Boston should fill this vacancy through a special election scheduled 120-140 days later, with the winner of that election sworn in immediately to serve the rest of the term, keeping the regularly scheduled election to choose a Mayor for a full four-year term. Given the public health risks and costs of administering an election during the ongoing pandemic, the legislation would waive the special election, with the newly elected Mayor sworn in immediately after the November results are certified. The home-rule petition now advances to the Mayor’s desk, then state legislature and Governor’s desk for approval.

Vaccinating Early Education, Childcare, and K-12 Educators Resolution: The Council voted to adopt my resolution with Councilor Essaibi George urging the Baker administration to make childcare providers, early educators and K-12 educators eligible for the current phase of COVID-19 vaccine distribution. The updated vaccination plan unveiled by Massachusetts officials last week moves educators down in the vaccine prioritization schedule, contrary to the guidance of the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices COVID-19 Vaccines Work Group. Establishing a clear, transparent, and specific plan for vaccinating childcare and public school staff members is essential to rebuilding trust among educators, communities, and public officials and working towards the collective goal of improving and protecting our school communities and city. 

Transit Equity Month Resolution: The Council voted to adopt my resolution with Council President Janey to declare the month of February 2021 as Transit Equity month in the City of Boston. February 4th is the birthday of civil rights activist Rosa Parks, whose role in the Montgomery, Alabama bus boycott, which brought national attention to the Civil Rights Movement. Transit equity is intrinsically linked to racial justice, and the expansion of safe, reliable, convenient and affordable public transportation is imperative to the fight against climate change, improving air quality and public health, and alleviating inequities within the City of Boston. 

Winter Walk Day Resolution: The Council voted to adopt a resolution from Councilor Essaibi George recognizing February 7, 2021 as winter walk day in the City of Boston, raising awareness and funds to help end homelessness.


Good Food Purchasing: I called for a hearing regarding good food purchasing at the City of Boston and at Boston’s anchor institutions, including hospitals and universities. Food is intrinsically linked to public health, racial equity, economic stability, and community wellbeing. In March 2019, the Boston City Council passed the Good Food Purchasing ordinance to bring public food procurement in alignment with our values of racial equity, nutritional quality, environmental sustainability, a valued workforce, and local economies. This hearing will discuss progress implementing the ordinance at Boston Public Schools, AgeStrong, the BCYF, and other City agencies, as well as partnering with hospitals and universities with large food procurement budgets. This matter was assigned to the Committee on Post Audit and Oversight. 

City-level Conservation Corps: Councilor Bok and I introduced her refiled hearing order regarding a city-level conservation corps for Boston. A conservation corps workforce could partner with city workers and trade unions to accelerate Boston’s climate goals, including improved stormwater management through green infrastructure, retrofitting buildings to meet net zero carbon standards, increasing solar power, maintaining and planting trees, preparing our waterfront communities for storms and sea-level rise, and expanding the curbside composting pilot into a city-wide program. This program has also been included in our Boston Green New Deal & Just Recovery plan. The matter was assigned to the Committee on Environment, Resiliency, and Parks.

Cooperative Housing: Councilor Bok called for a hearing regarding the current state of cooperative housing in Boston and strategies for its further expansion. Cooperative housing arrangements, including limited-equity cooperatives, serve as a mechanism for people with modest capital holdings to build equity, promoting a more democratic economy and countering the deepening economic inequality in our city. This matter was assigned to the Committee on Housing and Community Development. 

The Boston Landmarks Commission: Councilors Bok and Breadon filed a home-rule petition to amend the state law to allow the Boston Landmark Commission to designate sites particularly important to Boston’s history to more fully preserve and honor a history that includes all Bostonians, not only white, affluent, and well-known historical figures. This matter was assigned to the Committee on Government Operations. 

Police Reform Task Force: Councilors Campbell, Mejia, and Arroyo called for a hearing regarding implementation of the Boston Police Reform Task Force’s recommendations and the state police reform bill. This hearing will provide a space to discuss progress implementing the Task Force’s recommendations, including the establishment of the Office of Police Accountability and Transparency, and the implementation of the State’s Police Reform Bill. This matter was assigned to the Committee on Public Safety and Criminal Justice.

311 Services:  Councilor Essaibi George called for a hearing regarding expanding the services available on 311, including online voter registration, online SNAP applications, locations of sharps collection kiosks, locations of open detox and recovery beds and substance use disorder resources, and resources to handle domestic violence or mental health crises. This matter was assigned to the Committee on City and Neighborhood Services.

Elder Scamming Protections: Councilors Essaibi George, Breadon, and Flaherty called for a hearing regarding elder scamming protections. Seniors are particularly vulnerable to scamming and predatory sales techniques due to language barriers, social isolation, and other reasons. This matter was assigned to the Committee on Small Business and Workforce Development

SNAP Gap: Councilors Essaibi George and Bok called for a hearing regarding the SNAP gap in Boston. Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, there were approximately 70,000 people who were eligible for SNAP but not enrolled, threatening their food security, health and wellbeing. In July 2020, the Council voted to adopt my resolution urging the Baker Administration to implement the steps authorized in the state’s IT Bond Bill to allow residents to apply for MassHealth and SNAP at the same time, but this universal application has not yet been implemented. This matter was assigned to the Committee on Strong Women, Families and Communities.

Main Streets Organizations: Councilor Essaibi George called for a hearing regarding the impact of Main Streets organizations on small businesses during the COVID-19 pandemic. Last year, the City of Boston began the Reimagine Boston Main Streets program to explore the impact of COVID-19 on our small businesses and to explore commercial areas that currently do not have a Main Streets organization. This matter was assigned to the Committee on Small Business and Workforce Development.


  • Boston Landmarks Commission: Kristen Hoffman was nominated as an alternate member, for a term expiring June 30, 2023

  • City of Boston Scholarship Fund Committee: Adesuwa Igbineweka, Kathryn Preskenis, and Micah Rosegrant were reappointed, and Daniel Passacantille and Meghan Towie were appointed, for terms expiring June 1, 2023

  • Boston Fair Housing Commission: Onyen Yong, Javier Flores, and Egobudike Ezedi Jr. were reappointed for a term expiring June 1, 2023

  • Boston Parks and Recreation Commission: Anne Connolly and David Queeley were reappointed as Associate Commissioners and William Epperson was appointed as Associate Commissioner, for a term expiring January 25, 2025 

  • Boston Cultural Council: Jennifer Falk, Alexander Speir, Catherine O’Neill, Shauan Helton and Marie Tai were appointed, for a term expiring October 1, 2023

  • Boston Human Rights Commission: Leonard Lee, Robert MacEachern, Reyes Coll-Tellechea were reappointed for a term expiring on December 1, 2023

  • Boston Public Library Board of Trustees: Joyce Linehan was appointed for a term expiring April 1, 2021, and Senator Michael Rush, Navjeet Bal, Joseph Berman, and Christian Westra were appointed for a term expiring May 1, 2025

  • Make Boston Shine Trust Fund: Aisha Miller was appointed as a Trustee for a term expiring January 14, 2022

  • Boston Retirement Board: Daniel Greene was reappointed as a Trustee for a term expiring March 13, 2023

  • Boston Groundwater Trust: Edward McGuire was appointed as Trustee, as a representative

  • Municipal Lobbying Compliance Commission: Linda Champion was appointed for a term expiring January 3, 2022

  • Boston Election Commission: Alexis Tkachuk was appointed for a term expiring March 31, 2024

  • Internal Affairs Oversight Panel: Zouk Mo was appointed for a term expiring March 14, 2021

  • Zoning Board of Appeals: We voted to confirm the appointments of Sherry Dong and Bethany Patten, for a term expiring July 1, 2021.

  • Boston Industrial Development Finance Authority: We voted to confirm the appointment of Mayra Negron-Roche for a term expiring April 1, 2024

  • Boston Planning & Development Agency: We voted to confirm the appointment of Michael P. Monahan for a term expiring August 23, 2023 


  • $20,670,810 Emergency Rental Assistance grant, awarded by the U.S. Department of the Treasury, to be administered by the Department of NEighborhood Development, to fund assistance to households that are unable to pay rent and utilities due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

  • $80,000 FY21 Sustainable Materials Recovery Program/Recycle Dividend grant, awarded by the MA Department of Environmental Protection, to be administered by the Public Works Department, to fund a cost-benefit analysis of programs that utilized economic incentive to increase residential waste diversion in Boston

UPCOMING HEARINGS (Streaming online at

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