The City Council today approved a hearing on BPL finances to rein in what at-large City Councilor Steve Murphy called an apparent "shadow government" overseeing Boston libraries
UPDATE: The Dorchester Reporter reports Baker doesn't want to rent out space in libraries but instead wants to look at how to include libraries in new mixed-use developments, such as the one that will eventually replace the Globe complex on Morrissey Boulevard.
City Councilor Frank Baker (Dorchester) will ask his fellow counselors tomorrow to consider the idea of turning some branch libraries into revenue generators by renting out space in them.
The City Council voted 9-4 today to increase councilors' wages from $87,500 to $107,500 a year, starting in 2016.
The delay in raises means councilors won't have to face potential fines and jail time for possible violations of state ethics laws because the raises will only apply to councilors elected in the 2015 city elections.
City councilors said today they're not going to stand for being disrespected by the Zoning Board of Appeals. So they're calling a hearing.
Councilors Steve Murphy (at large) and Councilor Josh Zakim (Fenway, Mission Hill, Back Bay, Beacon Hill) say they were infuriated and aghast at a Sept. 23 zoning hearing on a project on Hereford Street. The two councilors and Mayor Walsh asked the board to defer any action on the proposal, in part because not all nearby residents had been notified of the hearing. Murphy said the board acknowledged the requests and yet still voted 5-2 to approve the work.
City Council President Bill Linehan today announced he's keeping the proposed 29% wage hike for councilors in a committee for now, rather than letting councilors vote.
Linehan has vociferously backed increasing councilor pay to $112,500, saying councilors are well worth it, have not gotten raises in eight years and cost city residents less than $9 apiece a year. But at a hearing on Monday, a city attorney warned councilors could be risking fines and prison time if they gave themselves pay hikes under state conflict-of-interest laws.
A roving UHub reporter went to City Hall around 4:30 p.m. yesterday to see which of the 13 councilors was burning the (figurative) midnight oil doing the hard work they say they do on behalf of their constituents that warrants a 29% raise - possibly even if that means risking fines and imprisonment. He found several completely empty offices - not even staffers were around. Only one city councilor was actually in his or her office. Guess which one.
Henry Luthin, assistant corporation counsel, had some bad news today for city councilors fretting they're falling behind their counterparts in other cities and the local police and fire commissioners: They can't increase their pay without breaking state law.
The City Council's Committee on Government Operations holds a hearing on proposed council raises on Monday, Sept. 29.
The session begins at 10 a.m. in the council's fifth-floor chambers in City Hall.
The committee, chaired by Councilor Michael Flaherty (at large), will take testimony from councilors and the public on Council President Bill Linehan's proposal to give the council a 29% raise, to $108,500.
It costs the average Bostonian just $8.60 a year to enjoy all the amenities of its current City Council, Linehan (South Boston, South End, Chinatown, downtown) said today, urging his fellow councilors to support raising their salaries to $108,500 - which would be the first raise since 2006.
The council agreed today to have its committee on government operations hold a hearing on the proposed pay increase before the council votes on it.
The City Council today passed an ordinance requiring local colleges to develop medical plans for dealing with athletes who are hit in the head during sporting events.
The measure, proposed by Councilor Josh Zakim (Back Bay, Beacon Hill, Fenway, Mission Hill), will require colleges to have a doctor trained in head injuries on duty during football, hockey and men's lacrosse.
City Councilors Michelle Wu (at large) and Josh Zakim (Back Bay, Beacon Hill, Fenway, Mission Hill) want to create an independent commission to consider future raises for city councilors.
The two plan to ask for consideration of their plan this afternoon, at the same meeting at which councilors will consider raising their salaries 29%, an amount Council President Bill Linehan proposed and said was fair, and that's that.
Councilor Bill Linehan (South Boston, South End, Chinatown) tomorrow asks the City Council to consider a proposal that would let people over 55 who have lived in their homes at least ten years defer payment of their city property tax until they sell the property or die.
In his request for a hearing on the matter, Linehan says the measure would let longtime residents stay in their homes even as their property taxes skyrocket due to the effect of the well off snapping up all the properties around them at ever escalating prices.
The Globe reports on Council President Bill Linehan's proposal to increase councilor salaries about 29% - to $108,500.
City Councilor Tito Jackson had some bad news today for Roxbury residents who want to preserve the historic Dearborn school building and move its science-based classes to another location in the neighborhood: State officials told him they would rescind the $36 million grant it awarded Boston for a new school because it's based on a plan calling for tearing down the old building.
The City Council today approved a "trust act" under which Boston Police would be barred from holding people on "civil detainer" requests from ICE.
The measure now goes to Mayor Walsh, who has said he would sign it.
Councilor Sal LaMattina (North End, Charlestown, East Boston) said the measure would prove welcome relief to many people in his district who today do not report crimes for fear of being held for ICE
"My poor residents are getting robbed, they're getting assaulted, they're getting beaten and raped, and they don't report it," for fear of being turned over to the federal government, he said.
City Councilor Tito Jackson (Roxbury) says he will fight efforts by BPS to turn the impending brand-new Dearborn STEM School into a charter school when that would open it up to students across the city, rather than giving Roxbury students preference.
Jackson rejected a request from school officials to lobby state officials to change state charter laws to allow for charters that are not open to kids across the city, not after the council voted to approve seeking and spending money to completely rebuild the school on the assumption it would remain a district school.
An angry Councilor Tito Jackson (Roxbury) today demanded an in-depth audit of finances at the city's only vocational high school.
BPS "should be absolutely ashamed" that the school has 62 staff vacancies just two weeks before school opens, Jackson said today, calling for a hearing to consider the issue.
Councilor Charles Yancey (Dorchester) agreed. "The situation at Madison is really at a crisis level," he said.
"The school is failing because we have failed these kids," at-large Councilor Ayanna Pressley said. "If the school is being set up to fail, the students are being set up to fail. Enough is enough."
The City Council today voted to ban a phone app that lets users notify other users of impending open parking spaces in Boston - and to back it up with fines of up to $250 per instance.
City Councilor Frank Baker (Dorchester), who proposed the ordinance, admitted that he doesn't understand "all apps," but he understands this one just fine. "They were trying to buy and sell city property, which isn't there's to buy and sell," he said.