Integrity. Impact. Independence.

City Council Weekly Meeting - Special Laws on Elections

Wednesday, February 13, 2019

The Councilor expressed her sentiments on precedures when a vacany opens in City Council and City Council term lengths. She feels that the default position of going to the person who placed fifth as a fill-in when a vacancy opens in City Council is essentially having ranked-choice voting without explicitly having voters vote in that way. Due to the fact, that the way we operate in that matter is so similar to ranked-choice voting, the Councilor suggested moving to ranked-choice voting for all At-Large and even potentially all City Council races. The Councilor also spoke to the criticisms she has heard regarding changes the terms from two years to four. A common criticism she heard is the concern on concentration of power with a four year term. However, she countered this by stating that the Mayor has a four [ more ]

City Council Weekly Meeting -  Corporate Tax Break Transparency in the City of Boston

Wednesday, February 13, 2019

Councilor Edwards spoke on Docket 0349, an ordinance presented by Councilor Wu regarding Corporate Tax Break Transparency in the City of Boston. The Councilor thanked the sponsor of the ordinance and appreciated this effort as it is consistent with the push for transparency. The Councilor stated that she feels the theme of this year will be transparency. Part of transparency is knowing where money is going and holding ourselves accountable, when voting on items that may be counterintuitive. The Councilor provided an example regarding retirement funds and climate change, where environmental policy is voted on but retirement funds remain dependent on fossil fuels.The Councilor believes that companies that have gotten benefits from the City must rise up, as people forget about the contracts  and tax breaks made. Even beyond contracts made, the City must hold companies accountable for laws, [ more ]

City Council Weekly Meeting -  Equity in City of Boston Procurement and Purchasing

Wednesday, February 13, 2019

Councilor Edwards spoke to a hearing order filed by Councilor Edwards regarding Equity in City of Boston Procurement and Purchasing. The Councilor stated that this is an example of when the City needs to lead and set an example of what it means to be equitable when working with private individuals or private companies. In the same way the City is responsible for ensuring diversity in their boardrooms and in management positions, they should hold companies responsible when investing in equitable contracts. In this way the City will be putting its money where its mouth is and invest in equity. [ more ]

City Council Weekly Meeting - Review of Precincts

Wednesday, February 6, 2019

Council President Andrea Campbell filed an ordinance on the review of precincts so that they are updated every five years, rather than the current ten year span between re-precincting. Councilor Edwards rose to speak on the matter. She support the makers of this ordinance. Councilor Edwards agrees that the review of precincts should occur more frequently, especially as large developments take place in Boston. In District 1, the Councilor highlighted the Suffolk Downs development, which essentially creates a new neighborhood, and the Charlestown housing re-development, which is the largest development in New England. Such project will create large growths in population, generally, and growth in voting populations, more specifically. Thus, Councilor Edwards feels that it is important to review precincts on a more frequent basis to create election systems that better serve growing voter populations with voting sites closer [ more ]

City Council Weekly Meeting - Utilizing Vacant Properties

Wednesday, February 6, 2019

Council President Andrea Campbell and Councilor Matt O'Malley filed a hearing order to discuss strategies to use reduce and use vacant residential properies. Councilor Edwards spoke to support the hearing order and speak to its relevance in District 1. She specifically cited a case study in East Boston on its Loft Hotels, a larger scenario. The "hollow hotel" is essentially an empty concrete building that has been sitting for 10 years. The owners live in Sudbury and do not take care of the property, something the Councilor feels should be looked into on a broad scale. She stated that the permits to correct the problems with the property have expired due to the process of changing ownership being drawn out. As a result, the permit process needs to be done all over again. It is such examples that push [ more ]

City Council Weekly Meeting - Cannabis Regulations

Wednesday, February 6, 2019

On February 6, 2019, Councilor Kim Janey filed an ordinance establishing equitable regulations on the cannabis industry. Councilor Edwards spoke in support of Councilor Janey's ordinance, stating that she is with her every step of the way as they make history ensuring there shall be equity from the very beginning. Councilor Edwards expressed how this ordinance learns from the inequitable liquor licensing regulations that the City is still trying to fix 100 years later. Councilor Edwards emphasized how this policy is implemented to support communities and teach the city how to talk to companies and speak for communities. In this way it will make sure that Boston sets a true standard for what it means to be a good neighbor. Even further, this sends a message and a standard for how to set up future similar development, such as [ more ]

City Council Weekly Meeting - Senior Home Repair Program

Wednesday, February 6, 2019

City Council Edwards, with City Council President Andrea Campbell, filed Docket 0318, a hearing order to discuss the Senior Home Repair Program and other housing programs. Councilor Edwards is working on this as someone who has worked with the Boston Homes Center and has been called to testify in City Council on the work done by the Boston Homes Center. The Office of Housing Stability works very hard on the housing crisis, and in many cases their job is to act as a bridge between constituents and contractors. The Councilor stated this to recognize that while they should be held accountable for conecting a constituent with a bad contractor, they also work hard to do right by their neighborhoods and neighbors. Councilor Edwards also highlighted the "Mentor Guarentee" program that provides security and services to someone who is renting [ more ]

City Council Weekly Meeting - Payment in Lieu of Taxes

Wednesday, January 30, 2019

Councilor Edwards with Councilor Essaibi-George offered an order for a working session regarding Payment in Lieu of Taxes Agreements with the City of Boston. This working session continues the conversation on the pilot program of payments instead of taxes by some of Boston's richest neighbors, as it is not reaching the goals that the City set for it in 2012. The Councilors are pushing forward to say we must do better to esnure these neighbors are contributing to Boston by more than teaching our children and the future of the City. They should contribute and take, as well, with the pilot program acting as the measure to engage these rich neighbors in this way.Councilor Edwards did recognize the growth in the payment program contributions from 65% to 81% in 2018. However, that is not 100%, nor is it based [ more ]

City Council Weekly Meeting - Inquiry on Special Law Regarding Appointments at BPD and BFD

Wednesday, January 30, 2019

During Councilor Flaherty's offer for a petition for a special law regarding an act providing for residency preference for appointment at the Boston Police and Fire Departments Councilor Edwards asked who in the MA State House is waiting for this ordinance. Councilor Edwards asked just to clarify what committee will be working on this at the state level. Councilor Flaherty stated that it will likely head to the Committee on Public Safety or join the bills being read to the Senate if they are in reading period. [ more ]

City Council Weekly Meeting - Investor and Commercial Properties Transfer Fee

Wednesday, January 16, 2019

Speaking on the subject almost a year to the date since she first spoke about housing speculation, Councilor Edwards, with Councilor Janey, offered a Home Rule Petition to authorize Boston to establish an investor and commercial properties transfer fee. The transfer fee would exempt owner-occupants and family transfers. To Councilor Edwards, this is about stopping speculation and saying that Boston's housing market is for families and workers. The goal is to prevent property owners that own property to own it, not to live in it and live in the community. She believes that property owners should live in their property and give back to the community. She mentioned that in some ways this replicates the actions of Newton and Somerville, with their push to ensure people come to their town to live. The Mayor's State of the City Address [ more ]

City Council Weekly Meeting - Special Presentation

Wednesday, January 16, 2019

Today the City Council meeting began with a special presentation from Councilor Edwards made to recognize Chris Lovell, Arthur Colpack, Pippa Nava, and Christina Mulé, four volunteers from Charlestown that have been taking the time to clean the Bunker Hill Monument, a national park, during this shutdown. Even as the shutdown continues it is constituents like these four volunteers that ensure that Boston shines brightest. [ more ]

City Council Weekly Meeting - Reauthorizing Condominium Conversion Protections

Wednesday, January 16, 2019

Councilor Edwards, with Councilor Zakim, proposed a reauthorizing of the Condominium Conversion Protections in the City of Boston as it is set to expire later this year. They are offering the reauthorization of condominium conversion protections to renew protections for tenants, provide notice periods, provide relocation assistance for the elderly, and limit rent increases. This was last authorized in Boston in 2014. As it has already gone through the State House to become state law, the action needed is solely about approving it as continued law in Boston. This proposal was assigned to the Committee on Government Operations. [ more ]

City Council Weekly Meeting - Commission on Equal Opportunity and the Elimination of Systemic Bias

Wednesday, January 16, 2019

Councilor Edwards, with Council President Campbell and Councilor Zakim, offered an ordinance relative to the establishment of an independent commission on equal opportunity and the elimination of systemic bias in the workplace. Councilor Edwards began by recognizing the statements that the Mayor made on diversity and discrimination during his State of the City Address. Councilor Edwards wants to take this further to make the ordinance an act against systemic discrimination that has been ingrained into our systems. She expressed frustrations with the investigation into the Boston Fire Department stating that she found it "lacking." She wants to restore meaning behind independent investigations that the Mayor or City Council call for. The commission proposed would be an independent commission that has funding from the City of Boston and has individuals appointed to the commission by the City Council and Mayor [ more ]

Weekly City Council Meeting - Recognition of Mary Mahoney and the Great Molasses Flood

Wednesday, January 16, 2019

This week Councilor Edwards, extends her deepest condolences to the sister of Father Mahoney, Mary Mahoney. Councilor Edwards recognized that Father Mahoney is an important city figure who has had an impact on the whole of the City Council. She, along with all of City Council, extend their support to him and his family if they need support.This week is also the 100 year anniversary of the Great Molasses Floor in the North End. The Councilor recognized the 21 people who passed away as a result of the flood, but also that because of them Boston now has zoning laws to protect residents. In fact, that may have been one of the first class action lawsuits. [ more ]

City Council Weekly Meeting - Veterans Affairs

Wednesday, January 9, 2019

Councilor Edwards filed Docket 0132 with Councilor Flynn to order a hearing to discuss the impact of the partial Federal Government Shutdown on Boston Veterans’ Services and challenges facing Veterans and Military Families in the City of Boston. Councilor Edwards requested that regardless of action in D.C. that Boston function in the most efficient, transparent, and equitable way possible, in this case in support of veterans and military families, who have fought hard to earn these services and have them readily available. Docket 0132 is assigned to the Committee on City and Neighborhood Services and Veterans and military Affairs. [ more ]

City Council Weekly Meeting - Affordable Housing

Wednesday, January 9, 2019

Councilor Edwards filed Docket 0134, a Home Rule Petition regarding An Act Relative to Affordable Housing and Workforce Development in the City of Boston. This petition seeks to update the linkage so that the funds generated from development are used for mitigation on negative impacts luxury and unit developments have on neighborhoods. If passed, the City of Boston would adopt the recommendations of the linkage Nexus group, including updating linkage to $24 per sq. ft., connecting it to consumer index, and having the finances and value of land is updated automatically. Docket 0134 is assigned to the Committee of Government Operations. [ more ]

City Council Weekly Meeting - Transportation to BPS

Wednesday, January 9, 2019

Councilor Edwards filed Docket 0135 with Councilor Essaibi-George to order a hearing regarding student transportation to Boston Public Schools. This was re-filed as Councilor Edwards wants to extend the discussion and action on equity in school transportation, ensuring that services for those with the hardest commute are accounted for. Docket 0135 is assigned to the Committee on Education. [ more ]

City Council Weekly Meeting - Pension Fund Disclosure

Wednesday, January 9, 2019

Councilor Edwards filed Docket 0136 with Councilor Wu to order for a hearing regarding pension fund disclosure, socially responsible investment, and reinvestment. This was re-filed to continue the conversation on where retirement funds are going to ensure that the city is invested in a sustainable future. Docket 0136 is assigned to the Committee on Ways and Means. [ more ]

City Council Weekly Meeting - BuildBPS

Wednesday, January 9, 2019

Councilor Edwards spoke regarding Docket 0141 on an order for a hearing regarding BuildBPS. The Councilor expressed the wanting act of transparency and deep analysis from her district. She also expressed frustrations with BPS’ and its leadership’s, or lack thereof, perspective that due to funding in one area of her district BPS views her district as overfunded, providing no growth or development in her district. She also specified that her district is undergoing massive growth in the next 10-20 years and that the BuildBPS plan, as it stands, does not develop her district based on the future needs of her constituents. Councilor Edwards also found it not democratic that the one dissenting voice on the school committee is no longer present. Councilor Edwards also referenced the standing question of whether the school committee members will be elected or appointed. [ more ]

City Council Weekly Meeting - Traffic Enforcement

Wednesday, January 9, 2019

Councilor Edwards spoke to Docket 0143 proposal to create traffic enforcement unit in the Boston Police Department. Councilor Edwards recognized that this is a life or death situation. She also recognized that charging for parking and decreasing speed limits do help, but the one thing that has helped is police detail. As the City of Boston builds and causes traffic, Councilor Edwards finds, specifically in Sullivan Square in Charlestown and before the Sumner Tunnel in East Boston, having police detail and teams to quell traffic. [ more ]

City Council Weekly Meeting - Affordable Housing and Inclusionary Development Policy

Wednesday, January 9, 2019

Councilor Edwards filed Docket 0144 with Councilors Flaherty and Flynn to order a hearing to discuss the inclusionary development policy (IDP) and affordable housing. The councilor specified the difference between IDP and linkage. The Councilor stated that linkage is about leveraging private dollars of commercial investments and bringing those funds to pay for affordable housing. Inclusionary development policy is when representatives fo to plan for housing developments and make it clear to developers what the expected number of affordable units are to ensure that development is made in a way that makes Boston an affordable city. She also emphasized the voices of advocates who want the discussions on developments between the Mayor’s administration and the Boston Planning and Development Agency to take place in a setting where community advocates can state their goals for the neighborhoods. She also emphasized [ more ]

2018 Budget Meeting - Parks

Thursday, May 24, 2018

Asked questions about whether the budget accounts for possible CPA funds, how the department ensures equity in park funding, what the timeline is for Noyes Park to get upgraded, and what the best option is for Langone Park (turf vs. grass). [ more ]

2018 Budget Meeting - Parks

Thursday, May 24, 2018

Asked questions about getting some shade on the field at Charlestown High School, what the timeline is for capital improvements at Ryan Playground, what the timeline is for the Paul Revere Mall renovations, urged support for urban wilds, and expressed hope for the future of the Greenway with the grant received from the BAR Foundation. [ more ]

2018 Budget Meeting - BPD

Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Asked questions about whether the new station in East Boston would result in more officers in East Boston, whether there's a mutual response program/procedure in place with neighboring municipalities, about where the large increase in budget year over year goes, future surveillance technologies (drones) and the impacts they would have on the community, regional intelligence sharing and whether immigration status could be shared and then misused, and what the plans are for the gun buyback program. [ more ]

2018 Budget Meeting - BPD

Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Asked questions about Sullivan Square and the requests for increased police presence there due to the casino, issues related to human trafficking, and whether there are any leadership opportunities available for people in recovery. [ more ]

2018 Budget Meeting - BPDA

Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Asked questions about current staffing numbers, the racial diversity of the staff, the racial and gender makeup of top 10% of wage earners, whether there is a residency requirement for BPDA employees, how many BPDA employees don't live in Boston, expressed concern about the fact that the people planning the city don't reflect the population of the city, what the plan is to make sure the agency looks more like the population of the city, what the goals are in terms of recruitment or numbers for the next year to increase diversity, what the income was last year for the agency and where it comes from, how much of the land the agency owns was purchased and how much of it came from agency mergers and/or eminent domain, whether the agency negotiates PILOT payments, and whether the agency has [ more ]

2018 Budget Meeting - BPDA

Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Asked whether the BPDA would make a commitment to looking at planning and development in the future through a racial equity lens, the possibility of increasing the 13% IDP requirement, whether a higher IDP requirement in neighboring municipalities has disincentivized development, whether displacement is considered in lotteries, the future of Little Mystic and if the public will be a part of the conversation regarding the future of the Little Mystic. [ more ]

2018 Budget Meeting - BTD

Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Asked questions about teachers getting parking tickets during the school day, what BTD's plans are for East Boston moving forward, what additional plans there are to get people into and out of East Boston without necessarily having to rely on cars, and what the plan is to reduce traffic on Sullivan Square. [ more ]

2018 Budget Meeting - EMS

Monday, May 21, 2018

Asked questions about how much the second ambulance in East Boston will cost, the reduction in ambulance response times as a result, the possibility of a second ambulance in Charlestown, and what resources are available to staff for PTSD and second hand PTSD. [ more ]

2018 Budget Meeting - BFD

Monday, May 21, 2018

Asked questions about the number of women in the department and what barriers there are to getting more women in the department, how to go about getting more women in the department, whether the department is partnering with outside organizations to increase the number of women in the department, what the goals are and what accountability measures will be in place if they're not met, and what happens with implicit bias data. [ more ]

2018 Budget Meeting - BFD

Monday, May 21, 2018

Asked whether they would consider having new recruits take implicit bias tests/training, whether they are recruiting women collegiate athletes, when the women's liaison position was created, what the goals are for the next year, the safety of basement apartments, issues presented by vacant buildings, and mutual response procedures with neighboring municipalities. [ more ]

2018 Budget Meeting - Public Works

Tuesday, May 15, 2018

Asked questions about what's happening with the Alford St bridge, the time frame for the reconstruction of the bridge into Chelsea, and whether the left turn coming off the N Washington St bridge will still be available during construction. [ more ]

2018 Budget Meeting - Public works

Tuesday, May 15, 2018

Asked questions about the North End trash hokies, the possibility of snow melters, the need for more trash cans in East Boston, the sidewalk outside of Bova's, the antenna boxes in the North End and how much sidewalk space they take up, the Prado and Revere parks in the North End, the paving on Hanover, thanked them for the work on Geneva St, asked about Rutherford Ave and contractor diversity. [ more ]

BCYF

Monday, May 14, 2018

Thanked them for working towards ensuring equal access to centers. Asked questions about when MOUs will be signed, what percentage of BCYF funds are privately funded, what work is being done towards preventing street violence and addiction, what relationships they have with non-profits to prevent duplication of services, and the future of the tennis bubble in Charlestown. [ more ]

ISD

Monday, May 7, 2018

subtitle of test note two

Asked questions about possibility of citywide dry ice program to reduce rodent population, if/how pop-up restaurants and food trucks are involved in inspections, whether goal of 4800 unit goal for rental inspection was met, if ISD enforces accessibility law and which buildings that applies to, how many inspectors are assigned to each district, the building collapse on Maverick Square and the results of the ensuing investigation and what the impacts of the collapse were on the developer and its other projects, and call response rates. [ more ]

DND

Monday, April 30, 2018

subtitle test note one

Asked questions about eviction data collection, section 3 hiring (and the audit that showed over-reported numbers on both dollars and jobs created), how many of the properties they plan on selling are from tax foreclosures, and what happens to tax foreclosure properties after the city takes them over. [ more ]

DND pt 2

Monday, April 30, 2018

Asked questions about funding sources (possibly including bonding for housing), possibly changing IDP requirements (getting rid of waivers, lowering number where requirement kicks in, increasing percentage), if IDP requirements are increased what the impact would be on development, a possible increase of the 53,000 unit increase goal, economic and racial diversity in IDP units, and asked of houses that go into pre-foreclosure how many are foreclosed on. [ more ]

BPS Overview

Tuesday, April 24, 2018

Asked questions about how decreasing student population will affect schools like EBHS, school discretionary budgets, and bilingual ed programs. [ more ]

BPS Overview

Tuesday, April 24, 2018

Asked questions about how decreasing students populations will affect schools like EBHS,school discretionary budgets, and bilingual ed programs. [ more ]

Order for Hearing on Housing Speculation

Wednesday, January 24, 2018

Docket - 0178

*Page is under construction* [ more ]