I love my house. It’s a wonderful spot in a wonderful neighborhood. My neighbors and I watch out for one another. We bring over cookies and attend on another’s parties. We have neighborhood gatherings. We decorate for Halloween. We all vote. In droves. We take our community and our civic responsibilities seriously. It’s a fantastic neighborhood.
While we view ourselves as one neighborhood — our elected officials do not. They continue to “redraw” us into new political districts every opportunity they get. And they do it with an eye toward their own interests — not to the interests of this amazing neighborhood.
The Boston City Council will be voting on a final redistricting map this Wednesday October 31st. The latest proposal gaining momentum would remove two precincts Ward 19 Precinct 7 (Forest Hills, Arboretum, Bourne area) and Precinct 12 (another large section of the Bourne area) out of Jamaica Plain and that is one precinct too many!
Please contact your district Councilor and 4 at-Large Councilors to make sure that they will vote against such a plan.
As someone who lives in Ward 19/precinct 12, I’m personally incredibly upset that our precinct continues to be “traded” around as if there were no impact on my neighbors’ lives.
The Herald reports City Councilor Mike Ross will return $2,000 in donations from executives of the company that wants to build a $195-million luxury housing project on South Huntington Avenue.
The Herald started nosing around yesterday after organizers of a campaign against the project released details of campaign contributions from developers and their lawyers to Mayor Menino, Ross, state Rep. Jeffrey Sanchez and City Councilors Matt O'Malley, Felix Arroyo and John Connolly from people associated with either that project or another luxury-housing plan to replace the old Home for Little Wanderers on South Huntington.
The Daily Free Press reports.
Groups representing blacks, Hispanics and Asian-Americans are calling on Mayor Menino to veto - again - a City Council redistricting plan they say unfairly packs too many minority residents into a single council district - the one currently represented by Charles Yancy (Dorchester, Mattapan):
The City Council was supposed to vote on a proposal by Council President Steve Murphy today to allocate money to study how to redraw district council lines after Mayor Menino vetoed their earlier effort as shoehorning too many minority voters into too few districts.
Instead, the council voted 7-6 to pass a proposal by councilors Matt O'Malley (West Roxbury, Jamaica Plain) and Tito Jackson (Roxbury) that critics said was pretty much the same thing.
City Councilor Matt O'Malley (Jamaica Plain, West Roxbury) wants more signs and enforcement against double plarkers and people who park in bike lanes. And channeling his inner Larry David, he wants to crack down on pig parkers - people who don't care they've parked outside the lines of a parking space.
Cracking down on these behaviors could also help drivers by improving traffic flow, he says.
The Globe reports the city Parks and Recreation Department has ordered the 200-person Emerson quidditch club to quit the Common because it doesn't have a permit.
The move sparked a war of words on Twitter today. Our own John Keith was aghast and blamed City Councilor Mike Ross and Mayor Menino for turning the Common into a carnival, a private carnival - in a reference to the carousel by the Frog Pond and the impending Pink Palace sandwich bar.
Outrageous. The Common is open to everyone. What's happening there is a catastrophe.
1st, Emerson already has use of field through Boston Parks; 2nd like everyone else apply for use.
The Dorchester Reporter updates us on the latest action over the city council's new map for the nine district seats, approved today in a 7-6 vote. At issue: Whether the plan packs too many minority voters in too few districts.
The Globe reports that City Councilor Matt O'Malley (West Roxbury, Jamaica Plain) is going to hold jogging treks that double as office hours - lace up and put your questions to him as you jog around one of the neighborhoods. He says he's willing to consider "brisk walks" as well.
At-large Councilors Ayanna Pressley and Felix Arroyo say that rather than just let old payphones collect trash and rust, the city should use them to set up free wireless zones.
The councilors say Boston could use more places where people could get online for free:
There is a digital divide between different demographics and socioeconomic levels and such a program would expand access to the internet for more Boston residents.
The two will ask the full council tomorrow to approve a hearing on whether Boston could follow New York with a pilot of free, anonymous WiFi.
Think the mayor would WiFi this WiFi idea?
The Dorchester Reporter talks to at-large Councilor John Connolly, who says the Rodney Peterson case - especially the revelation that Johnson did nothing to discipline him even after he pleaded guilty - is just the latest in a string of "bad decisions," and proof she needs to go.
Earlier today, Johnson said she now regrets not taking action against Peterson, at the time co-headmaster of the O'Bryant School.
Connolly is chairman of the council's education committee.
The City Council today approved an ordinance that will ban the installation of satellite dishes on the fronts of houses, on historic buildings and on fire escapes or other areas that could pose a public-safety risk.
Existing owners won't have to remove any offending dishes - unless they cancel their satellite-TV service.
City Councilors Sal LaMattina (East Boston, North End), who sponsored the measure, and Matt O'Malley (Jamaica Plain, West Roxbury) said the measure will improve neighborhood esthetics by reducing the number of mushroom-like dishes visible from the street and improve public safety by reducing the number of fire escapes and windows blocked by the devices.
The measure requires dish installers to file installation applications with the city Inspectional Services Department. Would-be dish owners petition ISD for permission to install a dish within public sight if they can prove that's the only location where their dishes would work.
It's time to cast off the decades-old "Prohibition frenzy" and anti-Irish bigotry that's turning Boston into the staid preserve of large national and regional restaurant chains clustered in just one small part of the city, City Councilor Ayanna Pressley says.
The City Council tomorrow considers a request from the at-large councilor for a hearing on ways to convince the legislature to increase the number of liquor licenses that can be doled out in Boston.
A divided City Council today approved a plan that moves seven schools around and creates two new schools, but even councilors who voted in favor told School Superintendent Carol Johnson and School Committee Chairman Gregory Groover they're skating on thin ice.
Councilor Ayanna Pressley (at large) said the $20-million plan, which will mean 1,400 new seats in what BPS says are high-performing schools, forced her to vote for a plan that moves the Mission Hill K-8 School to Jamaica Plain. But she said she will never again vote for a BPS capital request unless officials pair it with a comprehensive five or ten-year plan. The council has final say over borrowing for large-scale capital projects.
Councilor: BPS could build a brand-new school with all the money it wants to spend to move several schools aroundBy adamg - 5/17/12 - 8:19 pm
A skeptical group of city councilors urged school officials today to reconsider a school-moving plan that would send a Mission Hill elementary school to Jamaica Plain. The full council could vote on the issue at its regular meeting next week.
At a hearing on the proposal today, City Councilor Tito Jackson (Roxbury) said the $19 million school BPS wants the city council to approve for loans - down from an earlier $21-million estimate - could be used to leverage additional state school construction money to simply build a brand-new school, reducing the number of students in 19th and early 20th-century buildings. State officials are currently sitting on payments for the renovation of Hyde Park High School, because BPS shut the school not long after renovating it.
"It really makes me angry that we've been given miserable choices amongst horrible options," Jackson said of the plan, in which Fenway High School would move to the Mission Hill K-8 building, the Boston Arts Academy would take over the Ipswich Street space it now shares with Fenway, the New Mission High School and Boston Community Leadership Academy would move to Hyde Park and a new Margarita Muniz Academy would move into the Agassiz School in JP along with Mission Hill.
BPS officials are scheduled to explain a proposed $21-million school relocation plan to a skeptical City Council committee at a hearing that starts at 11 a.m. in the council's fifth-floor chambers in City Hall.
Under the proposal, two high schools, including New Mission High School, would be moved to the closed Hyde Park High School - for which state officials are now withholding renovation funds because the money was supposed to be spent only for schools that are open and Fenway High School would be moved into the building that now houses New Mission and the Mission Hill K-8 School, which would be moved into the mold-infested Agassiz School, along with a new high school BPS is opening in the fall.
Councilor wonders: If the T lets you pay for parking with your phone, why not Boston parking meters?By adamg - 5/15/12 - 8:11 am
City Councilor Tito Jackson (Roxbury) says it's time for the city to look at installing parking meters that let motorists pay via their smart phones.
At its regular weekly meeting tomorrow,the council will vote on a request from Jackson for a hearing into technology to enable phone-loving meters, similar to the phone payment system now in place at MBTA commuter-rail parking lots. He notes Boston already has meters that accept credit cards and CharlieCard-like smart cards.
Meter maids might not like Jackson's proposal, however - he says the meters could be set up to send text alerts to parkers when their time is almost up.
WBUR reports BPS could face a federal probe into the racial makeup of its teaching staff because it's failing to meet diversity standards set in the court order that desegregated schools in the 1970s.
The City Council takes up the issue tomorrow, when Councilor Ayanna Pressley (at large) makes a formal request for a hearing into diversity in a system where 85% of students are black, Hispanic and Asian, but 62% of teachers are white - and the vast majority are women.
Pressley says the percentage of black teachers has not increased from 23% since 2007, even with a black superintendent and black School Committee chairman. BPS is still under a federal court order to increase that number to at least 35%; Pressley says she also wants to see the percentages of Latino and male teachers get closer to their numbers in the student population.
The council's weekly meeting begins at noon in its fifth-floor chambers at City Hall.
At a hearing next week, Boston councilors will demand answers from NStar on two recent transformer problems in the Back Bay, one of which left much of the neighborhood without power for several days.
Council President Steve Murphy says he wants more than just soothing words from the utility - he wants somebody independent of the company to start monitoring the way it delivers power in Boston.
City Councilor Mike Ross (Beacon Hill, Back Bay) wants to make it tougher for banks to open along Beacon Hill's main shopping street.
The City Council tomorrow considers a request from Ross for a hearing on a measure that would require banks to go before the zoning board for permission to open new branches. Currently, any bank can just waltz right in, sign a lease and open up, which created a neighborhood brouhaha recently when a Charles Street landlord proposed kicking out a beloved convenience store for a Capital One branch. Under Ross's plan, banking would become a "conditional use" along the five blocks of Charles Street through the heart of Beacon Hill, which would require banks to explain themselves to the zoning board.
In his hearing request, Ross said Beacon Hill is "a vibrant neighborhood with a diverse business community consisting of non-franchised, locally owned businesses that meet the needs of residents" and that "the proliferation of many large banking institutions that would replace small retail stores threatens to erode the character of Charles Street."
City Councilor Felix Arroyo (at large) says now that residents have recycling bins, it's time to extend the idea to streets and parks.
Arroyo is proposing a meeting with Free Green Can, a company that makes money by selling advertising on the sides of its recycling bins, Arroyo said, adding the ads would be "family friendly."
City councilors balk at BPS school-move plan; want to look at moving Fenway High to JP, not Mission HillBy adamg - 4/24/12 - 4:00 pm
Four city councilors told Boston school officials today they're not liking plans to spend $12 million to move Fenway High School to the building that now houses the Mission Hill K-8 School and New Mission High School - and another $3.5 million to get the moldy, shuttered Agassiz School in Jamaica Plain ready for the K-8 School and a brand-new high school.
Instead, Councilors Mike Ross, Steve Murphy, Mark Ciommo and Charles Yancey said, they want BPS officials to report back on the challenges of leaving the Mission Hill school where it is and moving Fenway to the Agassiz.