Connect with us

Boston, MA

Boston City Council eying charter change to avoid another New Year’s Day inauguration

Published

on

Boston City Council eying charter change to avoid another New Year’s Day inauguration


Boston city councilors unhappy with having to work this past New Year’s Day are seeking a change in the city charter that would prevent mayoral and council inaugurations from being held on a federal holiday.

Councilor Gabriela Coletta, chair of the government operations committee, is recommending that the body vote favorably Wednesday on a home rule petition that would amend the city charter by moving the inauguration date from the first Monday of January to the first weekday after Jan. 2.

If approved, Mayor Michelle Wu would need to sign off on the petition before it could be pitched to state lawmakers on Beacon Hill, who would also have to approve a charter change moving the end of mayoral and council terms in the same way.

“The purpose of this docket is to ensure that City of Boston employees will not be required to work on the federally observed holiday for Jan. 1 New Year’s Day solely to participate in and facilitate city council and mayoral inaugurations (and) the commencement of the municipal year,” Coletta wrote in a committee report.

Advertisement

The docket for the petition, filed by Council Vice President Brian Worrell, drew laughter when it was read into the record by City Clerk Alex Geourntas at a Jan. 24 City Council meeting.

“Lots of snickering, I wonder why,” Council President Ruthzee Louijeune said at the time, perhaps alluding to the late-night celebrations that occurred on New Year’s Eve followed by the quick turnaround of a 10 a.m. inauguration, where the 13 councilors elected in November were required to take the oath of office.

A brief City Council meeting was also held at noon on New Year’s Day, where a vote was taken to select Louijeune as the body’s new president.

Worrell, in a Monday statement to the Herald, spoke to the strain that quick turnaround placed on the city’s public safety employees.

“This year, our first responders had to staff our inauguration 10 hours after First Night and New Year’s Eve,” Worrell said. “That’s too great a strain to put on our public safety officers. Other years, we wait till Jan. 7 to have an inauguration.

Advertisement

“I’d rather get to work earlier,” he added. “This solution solves for both problems, updating a centuries-old document with an easy fix that will ensure inauguration is Jan. 3-5, which is more in line with federal standards and should increase civic engagement.”

In January, he said the home rule petition “follows Congress’ rule for the most part, which has its inauguration Jan. 3 so it would never fall on either New Year’s Day or its observed holiday.”

Louijeune also spoke favorably of the measure in January, saying that many council staff members had to work on the holiday this year as well, and were given the Friday before Martin Luther King Jr. Day weekend off to make up for it.

The tradition of swearing in on New Year’s Day is nothing unique to Boston. Media reports indicate that a number of mayors and city councilors were sworn into office in other Massachusetts municipalities this year on Jan. 1.

Under the city charter, the inauguration date, municipal years, and elected terms can fall from Jan. 1-7 as the “first Monday in January.” The petition seeks to change those dates to between Jan. 3-5, as the first weekday after Jan. 2.

Advertisement

The act, if passed locally and by the state, would take effect starting with the elected terms and the municipal year that begins Jan. 5, 2026.

While 10 councilors signed onto Worrell’s petition after it was introduced in late January, two others didn’t: Ed Flynn, who was absent, and Erin Murphy. Both say they plan to vote ‘no’ if it is brought to a vote on Wednesday.

“As elected officials, I believe we have the obligation to serve the public at all times, even during a holiday,” Flynn said on Monday. “I’m honored to serve as a city councilor, and I will continue to work hard for my constituents day and night.”

Murphy said “winning an election and representing the City Council is an honor,” and that she doesn’t think working on a federal holiday for the inauguration is a “sacrifice.”

In terms of civic engagement, she said, having the ceremony on a federal holiday is “actually more convenient that family and others don’t have to take the day off work to join.”

Advertisement

Murphy said there isn’t a need, in her opinion, to change the city charter, established in 1822, pointing to the lack of frequency with which the inauguration falls on a federal holiday.

It wouldn’t occur again until 2040, when the first Monday of the month is Jan. 2, the observed date. The inauguration would next fall on New Year’s Day, Jan. 1, in 2046.

If the proposed charter change is because an inauguration “falls after people going out on New Year’s Eve,” Murphy said, “then I’m 100% against it.”

City Councilor Brian Worrell (Herald file)



Source link

Advertisement
Continue Reading
Advertisement
Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Boston, MA

Climate activists block rush-hour traffic in Boston – Boston News, Weather, Sports | WHDH 7News

Published

on

Climate activists block rush-hour traffic in Boston – Boston News, Weather, Sports | WHDH 7News


BOSTON (WHDH) – Climate protesters blocked rush hour traffic in Boston on Friday as they marched toward South Station as part of a demonstration aimed at raising awareness about the impact fossil fuels have on the environment.

Dozens of protesters blocked traffic on Seaport Boulevard while carrying a banner that read “No New Fossil Fuel Infrastructure.”

Video from Sky7-HD showed the 50 or 60 protesters crowding into the right lane of the roadway.

No additional information was immediately available.

Advertisement

This is a developing news story; stay with 7NEWS on-air and online for the latest details.

(Copyright (c) 2024 Sunbeam Television. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

Join our Newsletter for the latest news right to your inbox



Source link

Advertisement
Continue Reading

Boston, MA

Boston has one of the best riverwalks in America, according to USA Today readers

Published

on

Boston has one of the best riverwalks in America, according to USA Today readers


Entertainment

The Charles River Esplanade was named among the 10 best riverwalks in America.

Terry Goguen and Annaclare Smith enjoying the weather and view from a dock on the Charles River Esplanade. John Tlumacki / Globe Staff

There’s nothing quite like the combination of nature and city life, and a Boston riverwalk does both extremely well, according to USA Today readers.


  • 4 of the world’s best new hotels are in New England, according to Travel + Leisure

    Advertisement

The Charles River Esplanade was named among the 10 best riverwalks in America by USA Today readers on Friday, part of its 2024 10Best Readers’ Choice Awards. It ranked No. 9 on the list.

Here’s what USA Today wrote about the Charles River Esplanade:

“The Charles River Esplanade in downtown Boston features a 64-acre park and 17 miles of running trails along the waterfront. The riverfront is also home to a community boat launch, a small cafe that’s open during the warm seasons, and an outdoor amphitheater for summer concerts.”

— USA Today’s 10Best

The Esplanade’s fourth annual Community Day will take place on May 19, a free outdoor event featuring local music, vendors, and food trucks.

The No. 1 riverwalk in America is Smale Riverfront Park in Cincinnati.

Advertisement

For the 10Best Readers’ Choice Awards lists, USA Today travel experts select 20 nominees in topics from food to lodging, destinations to things to do. Then the publication asks readers to cast votes to determine the top 10.

Check out the 10 best riverwalks in America.





Source link

Continue Reading

Boston, MA

How Boston Democrats adopted Mecklenburg County

Published

on

How Boston Democrats adopted Mecklenburg County


When Drew Kromer became chair of the Mecklenburg Democratic Party last year, he had ambitious goals.

Raise more money. Register more voters. Increase turnout.

Soon after, Kromer, who is 27, found an unlikely benefactor: Jeff Blum, a 77-year-old New Yorker with Massachusetts ties who is a longtime Democratic Party organizer.

Blum can’t make a difference in the Northeast, where President Biden will win easily. So he looked elsewhere.

Advertisement

In 2020, he did some voter outreach work in North Carolina, such as phone banking. He did that again in 2022.

But Blum said he wanted to zero in on one place in North Carolina instead of spreading his efforts across the state.

“Pretty consistently everyone told me the problem area is Mecklenburg,” he said.

By “problem,” he means low turnout in the county with the state’s most registered Democrats.

In the 2022 U.S. Senate race, for instance, only seven North Carolina counties had lower turnout than Mecklenburg. The state’s second-largest county produces huge margins for Democrats, but there is a belief that Mecklenburg could do even better and that Democrats are leaving 20,000 or so votes on the table.

Advertisement

“We’ve looked at the data: Meck versus the rest of the state, Meck versus Wake,” Blum said. “We had seen all of those numbers. So we said: ‘Let’s create activists on the ground.’ ”

Blum was impressed with North Carolina’s new, young Democratic leaders, such as Kromer and state party chair Anderson Clayton, who is 26.

He decided to, in his words, “adopt” Mecklenburg County.

Volunteers and $$

Blum has helped in two key ways. One is phone banking. The other is money.

Twice a month, Blum’s group — called All In for NC — has volunteers who meet in Cambridge, Massachusetts, for a phone bank. They call Democratic voters in Mecklenburg and ask if they want to get engaged. They direct the voters to social events and other meet-ups, hoping they will have fun and want to volunteer in September and October.

Advertisement

Kromer said Blum is responsible for 90% of the new people he’s enlisted in 2024.

“We’re flinging the doors wide open,” Kromer said. “Come see what we are building. Jeff is helping us with that message. The work that Jeff and his team have done has been the jump-start for this.”

He added: “I can have the best turn-out strategy, and if I don’t have the volunteers it will fail.”

When it comes to money, Blum has also helped Kromer raise lots of it.

In the last six months of 2023 — just after Kromer became chair, and connected with Blum — the Mecklenburg Democratic Party raised nearly $431,000 from individuals.

Advertisement

For a county political party, that’s a huge number. (The Wake County Democratic Party raised $64,000 during the same time period.)

A significant number of donors are from New England — part of Blum’s network. And Kromer said that many other out-of-state donors are also connected to Blum.

In fundraising emails to county party members, the Mecklenburg Democratic Party is urging locals to give — in part because it impresses the out-of-state donors.

“Robust fundraising from the base of the party helps us convince major donors from in and out of Mecklenburg to invest in our program,” a February fundraising email said. “If we can show these folks that we, the grassroots, are investing in our plans and programs, it’ll move them to invest as well.”

Compare that $431,000 to what the county party raised during the same six months the year before the 2020 election. Jane Whitley was the chair then, and she didn’t have access to national donors.

Advertisement

In a grassroots effort, she raised a little under $24,000 from individuals.

Blum said he also plans to raise money to help outside groups do work in Mecklenburg County, for things like voter registration.

And he’s tried to get his volunteers to follow North Carolina and Mecklenburg politics so they are invested.

Later this month, for instance, All In for NC is hosting a Zoom virtual call with Democratic legislative candidates, including Nicole Sidman, who is running against Republican Tricia Cotham for a southeast Mecklenburg seat.

“We’re hundreds of people,” Blum said. “We like the sense of being tied to the place and knowing the place.”

Advertisement

How much can money do?

The question, of course, is how important will all the Massachusetts love — and cash — be?

If Democrats are lukewarm about President Biden, can any amount of money overcome that?

The county Democratic Party points to its success in Huntersville, when it ran an extensive voter outreach operation last November. Democrats won every seat on the town council, flipping it from red to blue. (The Huntersville election is officially nonpartisan, meaning political parties do not appear on the ballot next to a candidate’s name.)

But there are signs it’s going to be tough to turn the Mecklenburg aircraft carrier around.

While turnout was low for the 2022 midterms, it was even lower for the March primary. Only three North Carolina counties had a lower percentage of people vote than Mecklenburg.

Advertisement

(Part of that is because this is a heavily Democratic county and Biden was running unopposed. But other Democratic counties like Durham still had higher turnout.)

And there is another factor: voter registration has lagged.

Inside Politics has written about this before, but immediately after the 2020 election, Mecklenburg had just under 798,000 registered voters and Wake County had 766,000.

Today, despite population growth, Mecklenburg has 788,600 and Wake has nearly 822,000.

Someone — the Mecklenburg Democratic Party, the North Carolina Democratic Party, the Biden campaign — needs to scramble and register about 20,000 people just to catch up to where they should be.

Advertisement





Source link

Continue Reading
Advertisement

Trending