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City Councilors continue redistricting conversation, BPD and BTU funding

Boston City Hall
Boston City Hall. On Oct. 26, the Boston City Council met to discuss concerns about the Boston Teachers Union, the Boston Police Department and other issues. SOPHIE PARK/DFP FILE

Criticism on redistricting dominated the Oct. 26 city council meeting – with Council President Ed Flynn ordering for the adoption of new redistricting criteria, claiming it would center around matters such as minority enfranchisement, compactness and population equality. 

Councilor Kenzie Bok cited Rule 5 — which focuses on map guidelines — of the redistricting principles resolution, also referred to as docket 1098, and said that it would be more appropriate to propose an amendment to last week’s motion. 

“To me reading the docket, it was substantially similar to the docket that we already passed, 1098, last week,” Bok said of Flynn’s ideas. 

Councilor Julia Mejia questioned the delay of this order. 

“Why are we having this conversation today?” Mejia asked. “And why didn’t we take the moment when it was presented and passed previously?” 

Councilor Gabriela Coletta ordered for a hearing on the review of the city’s zoning board, which was referred to the Committee on Planning, Development and Transportation. Coletta also worked with Councilor Kendra Lara to offer a text amendment to the zoning code. 

“The City of Boston right now is facing a massive gentrification issue throughout every neighborhood that ultimately changes the identity of our city,” said Lara. “I think that at this point, if we do not take action, the regular family in the City of Boston is not going to be able to afford to stay here.”

The text amendment, referred to the Housing and Community Development Committee, would implement transit-oriented, anti-displacement and protection zones throughout the city. 

Aside from redistricting debates, four major orders were passed regarding the Boston Teachers Union and the Boston Police Department, along with the scheduling of a hearing to further discuss trash and containerization in Boston. 

The Boston Teachers Union will receive over $68 million in funding from the Reserves for Collective Bargaining as well as supplemental appropriations to fulfill teacher contracts. 

“I’d say it’s one of the more significant policy contracts we’ve had in a long time,” Bok said at the meeting. 

The Boston Police Department received two grants totaling $165,000 to fund human trafficking investigations and provide peer support services for their department. Councilor Michael Flaherty highlighted the work of 911 operators in particular as a section in need of support.

“They are our unsung heroes, are undervalued, short-staffed, underpaid,” Flaherty said. “This is just a little bit but continues to make steps in the right direction.” 

Bok raised the issue of trash and containerization in the city, and pointed to the idea that dealing with this problem would help combat the city’s rodent issue, which has continued to rise considerably since the pandemic. 

“Trash and rodent issues are directly related,” said Bok. 

In the final proposal, Lara presented an unanimously passed resolution to recognize November as national youth and young adult homeless awareness month.

“I know as a BPS (Boston Public School) student who was struggling with homelessness myself, the only thing that saw me through was my community showing up for me and making sure that I had a roof over my head,” Lara said. 

The next city council meeting will be held at Council Chambers on Wednesday Nov. 2 at 12 p.m.


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One Comment

  1. Stop talking and take action against these problems. Redistricting will not cure it. Politicians talking with no action will not cure it. Make a plan, instead of just talking, then implement it! A simple thing. How is Redistricting hitting to help with the homelessness, drugs, killings, lawlessness,etc???The city councilors just want Redistricting for votes, for themselves! The Boston Redevelopment people are starting to expand their building approval to other parts of the city .The population will increase there too so hold off on trying to break up South Boston. We are a town that does not need outsiders- arroyo&such- to step on us anymore