The Boston City Council Impact On Our Issues

There are a number of ways that Boston City Councilors are making a difference in our city, and so many more ways in which they could. On issues we as progressives care about, here’s just a few ways the Elected Officials most accountable to us can make an impact.

Affordable Housing

  • For almost all private development, the developer is required to build at least 13% of units that are considered permanently affordable. There are Boston City Councilors working to increase that number to 25%.
  • City Councilors can work with the Mayor for the Community Preservation Act and city “linkage funds” needed to build affordable units.

Displacement

  • City Councilors are in the best position to advocate for community interests with the Mayor and the BRA, including the increase of available affordable housing.
  • A powerful tool for staving off displacement is with local jobs. Councilors can play the role of champion for local small businesses that are critical drivers for good, stable, living wage jobs.
  • Several Boston City Councilors have endorsed Just Cause Eviction legislation. This measure would allow for a mediation mechanism to slow down eviction proceedings in cases when good tenants face rent increases of more than 5%.

Diversity

  • The Boston City Council regularly questions department heads about hiring practices, and holds them accountable at hearings to ensure their department looks much like our city.
  • The City Council has been the biggest champion of the Boston Residents Jobs Policy, which ensures that adequate construction jobs are provided for Boston residents, people of color and women.

Economic Development

  • City Councilors have the power to vote on certain tax benefits that developers may ask for. This gives them the ability to work with the Mayor’s office on prioritizing which projects are the beneficiaries.
  • City Councilors can advocate for important projects in their districts, to ensure local development is taking place that benefit the neighborhoods, not just downtown.

Education

  • Councilors are a critical source of accountability for the superintendent and the school committee. On issues ranging from school quality to special ed access to the accessibility to good food City Councilors have always played an important role in Boston’s education system.

Government Responsiveness

  • For city issues such as missed trash pickup, snow plowing, potholes and unsafe roads, unclean parks, needle cleanups and broken street lights, your city councilor can make sure the city fixes the problem.

Jobs

  • City Councilors are critical advocates for the Boston Resident Jobs Policy and diversity in our city government.
  • City Councilors play an important role in advocating for youth jobs.

Racial Injustice

  • The Boston City Council has played an important role in pushing for body cameras on our city’s police officers.
  • Councilors play an important role in ensuring that community development happens in all neighborhoods. This means ending neighborhood disparities for such things as liquor licenses, educational and municipal resources.

Transportation

  • As state transportation officials hold hearing on issues ranging from T access to fare increases to major roadway changes, the City Council has an important role in standing up for the rights of Boston residents who are most impacted by these issues on a daily basis.

Violence

  • City Councilors know the neighborhoods most racked by violence, and can work with the police to target police resources and the right approach for best handling neighborhood concerns.
  • City Councilors are one of the most important parties in bringing together all the community resources needed to respond to incidents of violence. Someone needs to bring together trauma, social work, religious, public safety, community, nonprofit, and educational resources to work together on each incident.
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