The City Council today unanimously called on the Boston Public Health Commission to study the possible ramifications of a proposed gas pipeline down Grove Street in West Roxbury and a proposed "metering and regulating station" for the pipeline right across the street from the West Roxbury Crushed Stone quarry, which still uses dynamite to dislodge the boulders it crushes.
The vote was unanimous. Councilors said they hope they can soon extend the benefit to all unionized workers as well.
City Councilor Charles Yancey (Dorchester) wonders if the project to replace the Casey Overpass with surface roads will cause problems for people heading to lifesaving medical treatment in the Longwood Medical Area or to soul-saving worship services at area churches, so he's seeking "a series of hearings" on the demolition plans - three years after state officials announced the plans.
The City Council yesterday approved proposals by Mayor Walsh, that, if they actually go through this time, could lead to major renovations to the Boston Arts Academy, now housed in an old, formerly condemned post-office warehouse in the Fenway and the Josiah Quincy Upper School, housed in a 19th-century former elementary school.
City Councilor Michelle Wu breaks the news: On April 6, the City Council moves from RealPlayer streaming to YouTube streaming - and closed captioning - for its meetings and committee hearings.
At-large City Councilor Steve Murphy says Boston could solve a key gap in its recycling program by partnering with companies that say they can now recycle the polystyrene coffee cups that Dunkin' Donuts and their ilk still use.
City Councilor Josh Zakim (Back Bay, Beacon Hill, Fenway, Mission Hill) said today he is continuing to work towards putting four ballot questions before Boston voters this fall on whether they want the city to host the 2024 Olympics and whether taxpayers should pay for anything related to the games or use eminent domain to take any property Olympics organizers think they need.
Zakim said recent pronouncements by Boston 2024 that it wants a statewide referendum is "very encouraging."
City Councilor Tito Jackson (Roxbury) holds a hearing Monday on his proposal to add a second student representative to the School Committee - and to give both votes on committee business.
The committee currently has a single non-voting student member - Ayomide Olumuyiwa, a junior at the O'Bryant School. Although he took an active role in the committee's questioning of superintendent candidates recently, when the time came to actually vote on a new superintendent, only the adults voted.
City officials said today they are pouring extra manpower into cleaning up city streets and sidewalks as the snow melts, but say making Boston shine again is going to take help from residents.
City Councilor Sal LaMattina (North End, East Boston, Charlestown) said he hopes residents put as much effort into cleaning the curbs and sidewalks in front of their homes as they put into helping neighbors shovel out their cars.
"We're all in this together," he said at a hearing called by Councilor Matt O'Malley (West Roxbury, Jamaica Plain) to look at city plans for post-snowpocalypse cleanup.
The City Council today unanimously approved a formal request to the MBTA to make its Friday and Saturday late-night service permanent.
Councilors Josh Zakim (Back Bay, Beacon Hill, Fenway, Mission Hill) and Michelle Wu (at large), who proposed the motion, acknowledged that keeping the service running will require what Zakim called "very creative and thoughtful" ways to pay for it, including possibly a surcharge for the service.
Boston City Council meetings usually conclude with a recitation of recently deceased Bostonians whom councilors wish to remember with a moment of silence. Today's meeting, though, had an added ending: City Council Bill Linehan singing "Danny Boy."
Linehan started the meeting by giving councilors shamrock pins. As the normal council business wound down, an aide brought a guitar up to Linehan's podium at the front of the council chambers and he said he wanted to send his fellow councilors into "the high holidays" with an appropriate song.
After he was done, the council and staffers rose as one to applaud.
At a City Council hearing today, Boston 2024 Richard Davey said he has finally begun talking to the owners of the food-processing businesses in Widett Circle, which would have to leave to make room for the "Midtown" stadium that would be one of the focal points of a 2024 Olympics in Boston.
Davey also told City Councilor Charles Yancey, who sees pretty much every public event as an opportunity to push for a high school in Mattapan, that, sure, maybe Boston 2024 could help him with that.
City Council President Bill Linehan said today he'll chair a special committee to look at how Boston can host the 2024 Summer Olympics.
To join him, Linehan chose councilors Mark Ciommo (Allston/Brighton), Frank Baker (Dorchester), Tito Jackson (Roxbury), Tim McCarthy (Hyde Park, Roslindale, Mattapan), Michelle Wu (at large), and Matt O’Malley (West Roxbury, Jamaica Plain).
City councilors Bill Linehan (South Boston, South End, Chinatown) and Frank Baker (Dorchester) will try for legislative approval to let Boston charge up to a 2% tax on sales of alcohol in local liquor stores and restaurants as a way to curb substance abuse in the city.
The two will ask the council tomorrow to start the ball rolling on their proposal, which they say would not only help alcoholics and addicts but the city as a whole by reducing the amount of crime related to substance abuse.
If the rest of the council agrees, a council committee will hold a hearing on the proposal, after which the council would vote on it.
City Councilors Tim McCarthy (Hyde Park, Roslindale, Mattapan) and Mark Ciommo (Allston/Brighton) say the past month suggests the city needs better equipment for clearing city streets in the winter.
The two say that despite valiant efforts of city DPW workers, all the snow led to "gridlock and dangerous conditions" across the city and that residents continue to struggle just to get up and down their own streets.
City Councilors Ayanna Pressley (at large) and Bill Linehan (South Boston, South End, Chinatown) both say they love the idea of increasing the number of restaurants that can serve alcohol in Boston, but both are saying they have major concerns about a proposal by Councilors Michelle Wu and Steve Murphy to let smaller eateries offer BYOB service.
At-large City Councilors Michelle Wu and Steve Murphy are proposing a change in city ordinances to let smaller restaurants offer BYOB service.
In a proposal to go before the council tomorrow - assuming the council meets - the councilors will propose ending the city's current BYOB ban for restaurants that cannot afford one of the city's pricey liquor licenses or which are not located in the areas for which the state legislature gave the city new licenses. State law prohibits BYOB for restaurants with liquor licenses, but leaves the issue up to local authorities for restaurants without them.
City Councilor Tito Jackson (Roxbury) is calling for regulations to require stores that buy second-hand cell phones to take steps to help cut down on the trade in stolen phones and give police access to their sales records.
At today's council meeting, Jackson said the theft of fancier phones - and headphones - is no laughing matter: "It's not only electronics, not only petty theft, but people are actually getting hurt." He said BPD statistics show a 207% increase in iPhone thefts between 2010 and 2013.
With parking-lot fees around Fenway Park continuing to rise, out-of-towners increasingly see a $40 fine for parking in resident-only spots in the Fenway as a bargain.
City Councilor Josh Zakim (Fenway, Mission Hill, Back Bay, Beacon Hill) wants to put a stop to that - by increasing the fine for parking in a resident-only space on the streets around the ballpark to $100.
Zakim said it's unfair that Fenway residents with parking permits have to compete for spaces with out of towners in for a game.
The council agreed today to send Zakim's idea to a committee for a hearing.
Several city councilors say new flight paths out of Logan Airport have shifted early morning flights over neighborhoods not used to being awoken at 5:15 a.m. by low-flying jets - and they want the FAA and Massport to explain what they're going to do about that.
"It's really impacting heavily the quality of life of constituents in my area, who are not as familiar with low flying airplanes as they are now," City Councilor Tim McCarthy (Hyde Park, Roslindale, Mattapan) said, adding he has also heard complaints from neighboring West Roxbury and Jamaica Plain.