Boston City Council meeting Dec. 11, 2019

Joseph Handel

The meeting opened with the City Council welcoming Kim Yonghyon, the Consul General of the Republic of Korea, to Boston.
 
Mayor Martin Walsh was present as this was the final meeting for departing councilors. Walsh gave a speech commending departing councilors, Althea Garrison, Mark Ciommo, Josh Zakim, and Tim McCarthy for their work on the City Council. 
 
Mayor Martin Walsh and councilors in attendance at the Wednesday meeting welcomed Kim Yonghyon, the consul general of the Republic of Korea, to Boston. Photo by Joseph Handel.

Mayor Martin Walsh and councilors in attendance at the Wednesday meeting welcomed Kim Yonghyon, the consul general of the Republic of Korea, to Boston. Photo by Joseph Handel.

Dockets #1404, #1520 and #1588

To accept and spend grants of $570,000, $400,000, and $170,000 on various environmental initiatives.
 
Councilor Matt O’Malley urged their passage. “Every fiscal conservative should be an environmentalist because it saves money,” he said. All three dockets passed unanimously.

Dockets #1267, #1268, #1269, #1270, #1271 and #1272

To accept and expend grants to fund federal and state elderly assistance programs.
 
All dockets passed unanimously. 

Docket #1373

To accept and spend a grant of $150,000 for the City’s CANShare program.
 
This municipal campaign raises money to allow people in the city to have greater access to fresh food. 
 
The docket was passed unanimously.
 

Docket #1452

An act enabling the construction of affordable housing in Charlestown.
 
Councilor Michael Flaherty said that the docket “pertains to child housing development,” and that “the Charlestown development will maintain 1100 affordable units.”
 
The docket passed unanimously.

Docket #1453

Also related to affordable housing, but this docket was related to Brighton.
 
Councilor Flaherty said that the docket “pertains to the JJ Carroll public housing.”  The docket passed unanimously.

Docket #0250

An ordinance to protect local wetlands and promote adaptation to climate change.
 
“The bottom line is that this is one of the biggest steps taken for green infrastructure across the city,” said Councilor Michelle Wu, “because it affects every City Council district [and] recognizes that natural areas are important not just for resiliency but for climate justice as well.”
 
The docket passed unanimously.

Docket #0187

Established a 2 percent fee for real estate transfers on properties worth over $2 million to fund affordable housing.
 
“If we do not step up here in the city of Boston, we become easy prey for those who use our housing market in such a way that they want to take all of our resources out of our community on the backs of people that were just trying to stay and raise their families,” said Councilor Kim Janey.
 
Councilor Wu said that “it’s powerful that the City Council is stepping up to do something about [the housing crisis] in a way that is progressive.”
 
Councilor Frank Baker expressed opposition. He said that “Two percent is two percent of someone’s money,” and that “if this money was going to build buildings that we could look at, I’d be in. It’s not going to. It’s going to a housing trust.”
 
Silent protestors in the crowd held signs that said "Fund Affordable Housing NOW!" Photo by Joseph Handel.

Silent protestors in the crowd held signs that said “Fund Affordable Housing NOW!” Photo by Joseph Handel.

 
The docket passed with only Councilors Baker, Garrison, and Ciommo voting no. Upon the docket’s passage, the protestors clapped and left. 
 

Docket #0975

Amendments to the Boston Trust Act.
 
The Boston Trust Act ensures that law enforcement in Boston cannot detain or refer somebody to federal authorities due to immigration status-related circumstances.
 
Councilor Edwards said that the docket is about recognizing “history and truly understanding we are freer, we are more patriotic, more American, by making sure that everybody feels they’re valued and can go to law enforcement.”
 
The docket passed unanimously.

Docket #1337

To establish an Office of Inspector General in the City of Boston.
 
Councilors Andrea Campbell and Edwards expressed support for the measure. Councilor Wu had reservations, saying that “this is a position that is directly appointed by the Mayor and I worry about independence in that model.”
 
The docket did not pass, with Councilors Baker, Ciommo, Annissa Essaibi-George, Ed Flynn, Flaherty, Garrison, McCarthy, Wu, and Zakim voting no and Councilors Campbell, Edwards, Janey, and O’Malley voting yes.

Dockets #0664, #1108, #1184, #1186, #1266, #1403, #1454, #1586, #1587, #1664 and #1665

These dockets authorized the City to accept and spend grants on public safety measures.
 
These included increased police funding, anti-violence initiatives, and counter-terrorism.
 
All 11 dockets passed unanimously. 
 

Docket #1424

Authorization for the City to accept and spend a $236,400 grant for the Local Cultural Council Program.
 
The grant is matched by the state government, so it amounts to almost half of a million dollars. Janey said that “this could help fund up to 150 organizations and their work in the arts.”
 
The docket passed unanimously.

Docket #1273

Authorization for the City to accept a $106,250 grant from Boston College and spend it on two Blue Bike stations in Brighton.
 
The docket passed unanimously.

Docket #1521

Authorization for the City to accept and spend a $300,000 grant to fund the transparent tracking of the City’s progress on Go Boston 2030 projects,
 
Go Boston is the Mayor’s long-term transportation improvement plan.
 
The docket passed unanimously. 

Docket #1663

Granted the City a $970,000 fund to pay for the construction and redesign of the apartment complex at 1350 Boylston Street.
 
The docket passed unanimously.

Docket #0549

Asks that that landlords be mandated to provide voter registration forms when giving tenants a new lease.
 
The docket was placed on file.

Docket #1288

To establish a Little Saigon Cultural District.
 
Councilors Baker and Wu gave credit to the advocates who have been trying to establish a Little Saigon Cultural Center for years. Baker also mentioned that Boston has the “first Vietnamese cultural center in the country.” The docket passed unanimously.
 

Other business

Councilor Flynn offered a resolution that condemned the Trump Administration for adding work requirements so that those in need can receive support from the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). He said that there is “no doubt this recent rule change would affect some of the most vulnerable in our city.”
 
Councilor Essaibi-George said that these measures “don’t help people and instead lead to more financial instability for people already struggling.”
 
All present Councilors requested that their name be added to the resolution (Councilor Campbell had left early to care for her 3-day old son).
 
The docket passed unanimously.