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Council passes ban on targeted residential picketing before 9 a.m.

The Boston City Council today passed an ordinance that would ban people from regularly swarming a particular person's house to scream and make noise between the hours of 9 p.m. and 9 a.m. by a 9-4 vote.

Councilors who voted for the proposal said the goal is to provide neighbors and families of public officials some measure of peace from protests they didn't sign up for. The measure now goes to Mayor Wu, who will likely sign it, since it was her office that proposed it - based on ten weeks of early morning protesting outside her Roslindale house, initially over Covid-19 issues, more recently over outdoor dining in the North End.

Councilor Ricardo Arroyo called the measure very narrowly targeted, that it still lets protesters and screamers and bucket bangers do their thing 12 hours of the day, just not first thing in the morning.

"I don't think this is just about the mayor," supporter Tania Fernandes Anderson (Roxbury) said. She and Councilors Ricardo Arroyo and Ed Flynn pointed to similar protests outside Arroyo's mother's house and Flynn's house.

Fernandes Anderson was, however, responding directly to Frank Baker (Dorchester) who went on a verbal rampage about what he claimed was harassment outside his house for months in 2020 and who then attempted to compare the protests outside Wu's house with what rioting in the Back Bay after one particular George Floyd protest in 2020.

Baker said the measure came about only because "the Left" is now in charge and doesn't like protests against them. He said he had fireworks thrown at his house and people calling him at all hours to scream at him that he was a "scumbag" in 2020 and yet, nobody on the council rose to his defense.

"Nobody gave two shits about me and my family!" he said. And when "the Left" ran amok after that George Floyd protest, nobody was arrested even as Newbury Street was destroyed, he said, pointing at Councilor Kenzie Bok, who represents that street as if it were somehow her fault. And Boston had like 20 sports-championship victory celebrations without problems, but now "the Left" is outraged about one woman, he continued. And yet that one woman "is still twitting around and everything else" and fully protected by Boston Police. But "now that it's happening to the Left, we're going to change the rules."

Kendra Lara (West Roxbury, Jamaica Plain) rebutted that, in fact, 53 people were arrested that night. None of the councilors noted the death of Victoria Snelgrove during one of those victory celebrations. Bok rose to say she was, in fact, quite upset by what happened on Newbury Street, but that what happened after the George Floyd is "quite distinct" from the activities that would be covered by the ordinance.

Fernandes Anderson said what happened to Baker was terrible, but that it just shows the need for efforts to protect officials, their families and neighbors, not a reason to lash out against such efforts. She paraphrased James Baldwin that "they come for you in the night, they'll come for us in the morning."

In addition to Baker, Councilors Erin Murphy (at large), Julia Mejia (at large) and Lara voted against. Mejia and Lara had previously expressed concern that the measure could be used against Black and Brown protesters even if they have not targeted specific houses in the past.

Under the proposed ordinance, violators would be fined $50 for the first occurrence, $150 for the second and $300 for the third and subsequent offenses. The clock would reset after 12 months for individuals, Arroyo said, adding that the measure would prohibit police from adding the names of any people cited under the measure to the BPD database used to track gang members.

Flynn called two brief recesses during the discussion on the proposal to have two people ejected for starting to yell at councilors.

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Comments

And she was shot by a cop so how that would be favorable to police enforcing a new ordinance is beyond me.

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Fixed.

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Shouldn't Wu recuse herself from signing this, given that it's basically about shutting down just the protesters targeting her?

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Because it's not just about her.

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Stop it Adam. It’s 1000% about her. Big picture it’s the right thing to do provided it’s enforced across the board.

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Pretty sure we went through the whole "the acting mayor does not have the full powers of the mayor" thing last year.

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I know he is not as "LEFT" as me, and we may disagree, but I don't think people should have been allowed to harass him either. I am perplexed to why he was targeted, actually.

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I sincerely wish him well, he seems like a nice guy when he is not playing for a specific crowd. I do think that maybe he is confusing things a little. Having people harass you is horrible but it is very hard to enforce. It is much easier when they are in a crowd in front of your house and will not disperse. I do not recall Baker ever having large crowds in front of his house for days on end protesting. The bank has a security guard even though I got robbed once in 1982 because I did not have a full time security guard for my personal safety, what makes the bank so special?

He also misses the point that the protests that took place happened in the commercial areas in zones that are more set up for this sort of thing. Very different.

I would say that I do think the protests were a little much during BLM. It is not a direct correlation though.

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Baker voted against it because it had as much teeth as a 86 year old meth head farmer legally. He said it during the debates about a rent freeze but people got mad at him for pointing out the truth anyway.

A person on Twitter named "Salem Heretic" who now has a deleted account threatened him with "a visit". Other people agreed with him including someone who comments on this board from time to time with a twitter like. That person denies it but still whines and whines and whines about Baker. It is really pathetic.

I was called a narc for pointing a threat against a public official.

Funny how things work. Threats against some public officials in people's minds - bad, threats against other public officials in people's minds - good.

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little bit of a cliffhanger. did the person go through with the threat? did people protest at Baker’s house for weeks?

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I did a quick google search for people carrying out a sustained campaign of "protest" or harassment against Frank Baker. I found nothing. I would think throwing fireworks at somebody's house is already covered by criminal statutes.

*Could be a left-wing media conspiracy keeping it quiet. Like that well-known leftie rag, the Herald.

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I don't make it my life's work to keep 24/7 tabs on the Boston City Council.

Nevertheless, threatening a public official whether you Josh Hawley or AOC, isn't right.

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What does that have to do with this bill?

Also, I'll bet you an off-street parking spot in Back Bay that Wu has received 10x the amount of serious threats of Frank Baker.

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Funny how things work. Threats against some public officials in people's minds - bad, threats against other public officials in people's minds - good.

I disagree and I think most everyone else does as well. Frank Baker sounds like a real jerk, but if people were doing the crap at his house that he describes, then they should be arrested. This new law is simply a commonsense codification that even people in public life - no matter what their stands are on the issues - should have 12 hours of refuge in their own homes each day.

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It's really their neighbors and family that don't deserve constant protest.

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Baker said the measure came about only because "the Left" is now in charge and doesn't like protests against them.

(it isn’t, in the same way that a banana isn’t a lemon just because they’re both yellow)

elections have consequences, right?

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You are also saying this when you say elections have consequences, right?

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Without googling we'd never know what really happened the night of the 2004 Patriots Super Bowl win but I guess Frank's memory doesn't travel that far back. Maybe he can ask the family of James Grabowski if nothing happened.

Having lived in the Fenway during those heady, early championship years I can attest without a doubt that busloads of riot police weren't standing by all night because The Left planned to do something.

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Anyone referring to people doing things they don't like as "The Left" can be safely ignored.

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There are many important reasons to oppose this ordinance. Frank Baker inexplicably missed them all.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LFlZtkVpEWA&t=38230s&ab_channel=BostonCi...

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Inquiring minds want to know.

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Politics makes strange bedfellows

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An interesting coalition of dissent. I may disagree with them, but I appreciate their takes.

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I know I wrote a paragraph about it, but must've deleted it by mistake.

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But blocking roads is still good right? Like major thruways. As long as its for something that is historically associated with your political bent

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Seems like a once every few years for a few hours type of thing. And the people who do it all get arrested. So I'm going to suggest that your comment isn't relevant.

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n/t

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You might want to do a little reading

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this is an incredibly smarmy way of saying you don’t know what you’re talking about.

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