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Friends of District One,

I hope this message finds you settling nicely into the New Year and thriving despite frigid temperatures! It's been over a year since I've had the privilege to represent you at the Boston City Council and I'm pleased to have kicked off 2019 with a robust community engagement and legislative agenda.


I started this year by tackling Boston's housing affordability crisis. Councilor Kim Janey and I proposed a plan to increase affordable housing funds in the city by installing a high-end real estate transfer fee that could generate funds upwards of $175 million to $350 million a year for the City of Boston.

This fee would set a tax of up to six percent on commercial and residential sales over $2 million and establish a “flipping” tax of up to 25 percent on properties that are sold twice within two years. It's important to note that this would exempt residents and owner-occupants.

In addition to this proposal, I've called a hearing on inclusionary development with Councilors Flynn and Flaherty, am working to renew condominium conversion protections with Councilor Zakim, and the Mayor and I separately filed legislation to update the city's linkage program. I've also partnered on several state legislative proposals and will be sharing more in the coming weeks. I look forward working with all stakeholders to advance housing solutions for our communities.

 


Out in the district, Boston's first snowstorm provided an opportunity for our snow angels to help our elderly and disabled residents. Thank you again to our volunteers who went above and beyond to serve our neighbors in need! I made it a priority to visit one of our district's public works yard to thank our essential city workers for their round-the-clock efforts to ensure our streets were plowed following an icy evening. Fingers crossed for a light winter..

I was happy to attend two important community meetings held in East Boston this month. Thank you to Senator Joseph Boncore and State Representative Adrian Madaro for their partnership in sponsoring a MassDOT public meeting to address the toll plaza demolition and Sumner Tunnel traffic reconstruction and reconfiguration. We're looking forward to working with both MassDOT and the Massachusetts Port Authority in coming up with some solutions to alleviate the paralyzing traffic residents are experiencing. There was also a great discussion at the PLAN: East Boston open space meeting sponsored by the BPDA and I'm thankful for the thoughtful particularization and input provided by all those who came.

Although the government shutdown may be over, the effects of a national issue have reverberated locally here across the district. Charlestown residents rallied and led when leadership was missing in Washington D.C to help clean around the Bunker Hill Monument, under the jurisdiction of the National Parks Service. I was proud to recognize those residents for their efforts as well as delivering lunch to TSA workers at Logan International Airport.

Upcoming of-interest community events include: a meeting regarding the brand-new North End Clean Streets Initiative, an effort spearheaded by this office in conjunction with State Representative Aaron Michlewitz, Ward 1 East Boston Progressive Democrats meet up, and a number of BPDA sponsored meetings on development projects across the district. Be sure to check out your respective neighborhood's meeting schedule in the BPDA links provided below.



Onward and upwards,
Lydia
NEWS CLIPS FROM JANUARY
Boston officials propose new taxes on some real estate deals to pay for more housing
From The Boston Globe:

In the thick of an affordable housing crisis that has taken hold across Greater Boston, city councilors have proposed levying fees on high-end real estate deals to help pay for more housing — part of a bold and controversial movement across the region to tax developers who have been profiting off of a historic building boom.

The proposal would set a tax of up to 6 percent on many commercial and residential sales over $2 million and establish a “flipping” tax of up to 25 percent on some properties that are sold twice within two years. It’s a bid to stem speculation and profiteering in Boston’s red-hot real estate market, the councilors say, and could raise anywhere from $175 million to $350 million a year.

“We are in a crisis,” said City Councilor Lydia Edwards, the plan’s lead sponsor along with Councilor Kim Janey. “That we are suffering in one of the biggest booms in the history of our city is unacceptable.”

Click Here to Read More

Boston City Councilors Propose Taxes To Alleviate Housing Crisis
From WBUR:

It's no secret that housing is expensive in Boston — such that some residents are being driven out of their neighborhoods.

That's why Boston City Councilor Lydia Edwards — along with Councilor Kim Janey — has proposed a plan to generate funding for more affordable housing in the city and curb high end developers' appetite for feeding off Boston's building boom.

The proposal would levy a tax of up to 6 percent on commercial and residential real estate deals over $2 million, and a 25 percent "flipping" tax on properties that are bought and resold twice within two years.

Click Here to Hear the Interview

Gender problems at the Boston Fire Department run deeper than just talk

From The Boston Globe:

To summarize the gender woes of the Boston Fire Department as so much “locker room talk,” you have to ignore a lot of terrible behavior.

Not only that, you would have to be blind or ignorant about the problems faced by employees trying to shoehorn themselves into a culture that makes a point of refusing to be more inclusive, that finds the whole concept embarrassing and soft.

A city-ordered report issued this week on gender issues in the Fire Department found that, well, things could be better. It offers a handful of common-sense solutions, such as hiring more women. But it stops well short of demanding any real accountability or pushing for change.

Next week, three city councilors — President Andrea Campbell, Lydia Edwards, and Josh Zakim — plan to file legislation calling for a commission to regularly monitor issues of racism and sexism in city government. Edwards said they envision reviews that are truly independent, unlike the latest report, which she termed “cowardly.”

Edwards said firefighters must be held to a higher standard of behavior at work. “They are already superheroes,” Edwards said. “I’m just asking them to continue to hold that standard for being the great employees they are, and maybe not (watch) porn on the job. Is that really too much to ask?”


Click Here to Read More

Cannabis entrepreneurs should come from Boston’s neighborhoods

From CommonWealth:

The Boston City Council  recently called several hearings to explore the city’s licensing and regulation of the cannabis industry. Whether would-be retailers want to admit it or not, we have a messaging problem and real hesitancy on the part of many communities, include those who voted for legalization, to open retail cannabis shops. At the same time, even as officials in Boston’s municipal government are seeking to promote equity across industries and our city, the local process around the cannabis industry is felt to be inadequate by many stakeholders and difficult to access for those without abundant capital.

I voted in favor of the ballot initiative to legalize cannabis in order to help bring an end to the war on drugs, and I stand by that decision at the ballot box. It’s now the responsibility of government to implement the will of the voters in a way that that is restorative to communities while also well-informed by medical science. This means advancing equity in our treatment of the industry, acknowledging the legitimate concerns of residents and neighborhoods grappling with substance abuse, and offering reasonable regulation while avoiding stigma.


Click Here to Read More


I was happy to join Neighborhood Network News to discuss housing issues, most notably including the HOMES Act, a bill I've co-sponsored with Senator Joe Boncore in the State Legislature to seal eviction records.

Other topics include a home rule petition filed with Councilor Kim Janey to discourage housing speculation and generate revenue through a transfer fee, the government shutdown's impact on HUD assisted tenants here in Boston, as well as diversity and inclusion at the Boston Fire Department.
East Boston Public Works Visit
Shout out to Eastie Public Works Department! These guys are out there every day in the cold, heat, and the elements making sure our public spaces are maintained. Their jobs are not easy and do it without many thanks so if you see them around the neighborhood try to let them know their work is recognized. Stay tuned for Charlestown and North End...
North End Clean Streets Meeting
The Clean Streets Committee is part of District One City Councilor Lydia Edwards’ proposal in partnership with State Rep. Aaron Michlewitz to tackle the neighborhood’s persistent trash issues with a new non-profit structure similar to a BID. The committee will determine a voluntary residential and business pay-in rate in a certain geographic area to hire hokeys to clean that area.
Ward 1 East Boston Progressive Democrats Meeting

Join the Ward 1 East Boston Progressive Democrats a week from today, Wednesday, February 6th to hear from myself, @State Senator Joe Boncore, and State Rep Adrian Madaro. Learn about new initiatives and meet other progressive voices in our neighborhood. Heavy snacks, childcare and Spanish translation provided.

¡Listos para activar a los demócratas progresistas! Únase a nosotros el 6 de Febrero para escuchar a nuestros políticos locales. Conozca otras voces y sea parte de la conversasion pregresista en nuestro vecindario. Se ofrecen refrigerios, cuidado de niños y traducción al Español.

100th Anniversary of the Great Molasses Flood
 
A great turn out on the frigid morning of January 15th to commemorate the 100th Anniversary of the Great Molasses Flood in the North End. As always, a huge thank you to the Boston Parks Dept. Local legend goes that even 100 years later, if you rub your nose on the granite wall of Langone & Puopolo Park, you can still smell the molasses.
Bunker Hill Monument Clean Up
 
I had the honor to recognize some Charlestown residents that have taken it upon themselves to organize and help clean up the Bunker Hill Monument during the federal government shutdown. Thanks again to Chris Lovell, Arthur Colpack, Pippa Nava, and Christina Mule for stepping up like this!
Take a look at the City's guide to Winter in Boston for all your need-to-know winter resources. Click Here for more info on Parking Bans, Space Savers and Fuel Assistance. 
Upcoming Council Hearings and Meetings
 
Wednesday, February 6th, 2019, at 12:00 PM 
City Council Meeting. Iannella Chamber, 5th floor, Boston City Hall

Friday, February 8th, 2019, at 11:00 AM 
Committee on City, Neighborhood Services and Veterans and Military Affairs RE: Stray Voltage in the City of Boston, Curly Room, 5th floor, Boston City Hall

Wednesday, February 13th, 2019, at 12:00 PM 
City Council Meeting. Iannella Chamber, 5th floor, Boston City Hall

Thursday, February 28th, 2019, at 2:00 PM 
City Council Committee hearing on Ways and Means RE: Pension Fund Disclosure, Socially Responsible Investment and Reinvestment, Iannella Chamber, 5th floor, Boston City Hall

Sponsored by Councilor Edwards and Councilor Wu
February Community Meetings in District One
East Boston:
  • Harbor View Neighborhood Association - First Monday of every month 6:30 p.m.at the Edward Brooke Charter School, 145 Byron St. 
  • Jeffries Point Neighborhood Association - Second Monday of every month. 6:30 p.m. at the Jeffries Point Yacht Club, 565 Sumner St.
  • Orient Heights Neighborhood Association - Third Monday of every month. 6:30 p.m. at Ashley Street YMCA, 54 Ashley St.
  • Maverick Central Civic Association - Third Wednesday of every month 7 p.m. at Paris Street Community Center, 112 Paris St.
  • Friends of the East Boston Greenway - Fourth Thursday of every month. 6:30 p.m. at the Anna DeFronzo Center, 395 Maverick St
  • Gove Street Citizens Association - Fourth Monday of every month 6:30 p.m. at the Noddle Island Community Room, Logan Rental Car Center
  • Eagle Hill Civic Association - Last Wednesday of every month 7 p.m., July Meeting will take place at the East Boston Social Center 
Charlestown:
  • Charlestown Neighborhood Council - First Tuesday of Every Month 7:00pm, Knights of Columbus, 595 Medford Street
  • Friends of the Charlestown Navy Yard - September 20th at 7:00PM, Building 125, DC Beane's Conference Room
  • Public Safety Meeting - Last Wednesday of Every Month, 6:00pm, Boston Police, 2nd floor mtg room, 20 Vine St. 02129
North End:
  • Public Safety Meeting - First Thursday of Every Month @ 6:00PM, Nazzaro Community Center, 30 N. Bennet Street.
  • NEWRA Monthly Meeting - Second Thursday of Every Month @ 7:00PM, Nazzaro Community Center, 30 N. Bennet Street.
  • NEWNC Monthly Meeting - Second Monday of Every Month @ 7:00PM, Nazarro Community Center, 30 N. Bennet Street 
Photo from bostonplans.org
SUGGESTION BOX
Copyright © 2019 Boston City Councilor Lydia Edwards, All rights reserved.


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