Boston City Council News and Notes

August 30, 2017
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HEALTHCARE PROVIDER PARKING PERMITS ON HOLD

In order to learn more behind the problems that home health care workers are facing while trying to find parking in order to provide in home care, the Boston City Council headed by City Councilors Josh Zakim and Michael McCarthy held a hearing on Tuesday, August 22.

At the hearing they learned that there are many issues currently facing hospice workers, physical therapy, and other home care workers while they try to provide care in areas with residential parking.

The fine for parking in resident-only spaces without a permit is $40 and parking garage rates can reach up to $35 per hour. Boston’s home-care workforce is primarily comprised of women and people of color with an average salary of $14.22 per hour.

Flaherty said that although the hearing went well, he believes they still need to do more research to figure out how to bring this to reality.

“I think we got a lot of the hearing in a general sense of information,” said Zakim. “I am looking forward to the future working sessions to figure out the next best steps.”

The matter will remain in the committee of City and Neighborhood Services and Veteran Affairs.

EXTENSION OF TEMPORARY PROTECTED STATUS

The Boston City Council adopted a resolution urging the extension of Temporary Protected Status (TPS), a form of immigration status that provides employment authorization and protection from deportation for foreign nationals who cannot safely return to their home countries.

Councilor Josh Zakim pointed out that the City Council extended this for Haitian nationals a few months ago and that this will continue for folks under consideration from other countries.

The Department of Homeland Security will consider whether to extend designations of TPS for all nationals that currently hold TPS, including over 300,000 Salvadoran, Honduran, Nicaraguan and Haitian immigrants – thousands of who live and work in the Great Boston area.

It is estimated that ending TPS for these immigrants would result in a $6.9 billion reduction to Social Security and Medicare contributions over a decade, and the deportation of these individuals would cost taxpayers about $3.1 billion.

“This adds the voice of the Boston City Council,” said Zakim. “It’s a silly policy…deportations will remove people forcibly in many cases in communities people have lived in for decades.”

He continued, “This will send a message to Washington and representatives in Congress to apply the rule of the law. It is quite clear this President doesn’t care about that and we need to add our voice.”

CONDEMNATION OF HATEFUL THOUGHTS

The Boston City Council on August 23, voted to pass a resolution that calls for public officials to condemn pro-Nazi, white nationalist, and white supremacist ideologies.

Both Governor Charlie Baker and Mayor Martin Walsh have partnered with an aim to offer a similar resolution.

Over a week ago, Charlottesville has the largest gathering of white supremacists of its kind that the country has seen in two decades. Councilor Ayanna Pressely said, “It’s important we continue to fight white supremacy and fight back.”

She pointed to the Special Committee of Civil Rights run by Councilor Josh Zakim that was brought back as a way to stand up against these things. Pressley said that government officials at every level should not attack a person because of their color, who they love, or where and how they worship.

“Today we are doing work to denounce white supremacy through the policies and conversations we are a part of,” said Pressley. “We will be united in solidarity in this work.”

This will pass on to the Massachusetts State House to sign on.

SPECIAL COMMITTEE CPA CREATED

The Boston City Council voted to create the Special Committee on the Community Preservation Act that will receive application from interested persons for the Community Preservation Committee.

The City Council voted on May 11, 2016 to adopt the Community Preservation Act and the voters adopted it on the November 8, 2016 election. On August 2, the City Council voted to amend the Boston Code to create a Community Preservation Committee to make recommendations regarding the use of the funds generated by the provisions of the CPA.

The Boston City Council will nominate four of those seats.

In addition, a working group made up of activists and community members will help assist the council committee on selecting the members within a 90- day working period.

FREE STANDING SIGNS ON HOLD

The Boston City Council voted to reject the Mayor’s Ordinance regarding Sandwich boards without prejudice to allow amendments to be considered for the law.

The matter was first referred to a committee on July 12. The Ordinance if it was passed would have removed the pilot program language and make it permanent by September 11, 2017.

The pilot program began in 2015 and outlines consistent rules across all neighborhoods regarding what kind of signs can be placed in front of businesses. But, some streets in Boston such as Newbury St., in the Back Bay and Charles St., in Beacon Hill have presented problems with them overcrowding the sidewalk.

City Councilor Josh Zakim is offering an amendment that is currently under consideration. This matter needed to be voted on within 60-days and by rejecting it now, will extend to allow more work to be done. The matter will have to be refilled by the Mayor Martin Walsh.

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