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The Berkeley Beacon

Emerson College’s only independent, student-run newspaper since 1947

The Berkeley Beacon

Emerson College’s only independent, student-run newspaper since 1947

The Berkeley Beacon

City Council floats creation of committee on domestic violence

City+Council+floats+creation+of+committee+on+domestic+violence
Kellyn Taylor

The Boston City Council discussed several topics at its meeting on Nov. 29, ranging from updating the ordinance on non-motorized street food carts to creating a Committee on the Prevention of Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault. Councilors also continued their conversation on implementing a guaranteed basic income program for low-income families. 

Docket 1384 focuses on creating an ordinance “establishing street food enterprises” in the City of Boston Municipal Code surrounding non-motorized food carts. 

Councilor Ruthzee Louijeune summarized the Committee on Government Relations’ meeting held on Nov. 28 on this item, sponsored by Councilors Gabriela Coletta, Julia Mejia, and Brian Worrell. 

“The overarching goal is to create more opportunities for more entrepreneurs, enhance cultural food accessibility, and contribute to economic mobility,” Louijeune said. 

She added that there was robust attendance from the Mayor’s administration, and was encouraged by their willingness to revise and create a new street cart program. 

Coletta, one of the lead sponsors of this docket, was also pleased with the administration’s response to this issue, citing it as “an opportunity to unlock an economic mobility tool for entrepreneurs across the city.” 

The docket will remain in the Committee on Government Relations, where a working session will be held to flesh out language and further deliberate on the issue. Coletta hopes to refile the issue in the coming year with amended language. 

Docket 1772, filed by Council President Ed Flynn, would amend the City Council Rules to create the Committee on the Prevention of Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault and address the issues within the City of Boston.  

“It was clear then [and] it is clear now that survivors need more support and resources,” Flynn said. “I would also like to continue the work of my mother, Kathy Flynn, who worked to support victims of domestic violence during her time as First Lady of Boston.” 

Flynn noted that it was late in the city council term, but emphasized his belief that domestic violence and sexual assault are critical issues to address as a council. 

Councilor Erin Murphy spoke in support of the resolution and highlighted that the proposed committee should not overlook domestic violence experienced by senior citizens across the city. 

Councilor Tania Fernandes Anderson spoke in favor of reducing the number of committees under the council’s purview and asked Flynn why there should be another standalone committee. 

In response, Flynn noted that issues of domestic violence are addressed in three separate committees. 

“When [we] have three committees that are responsible for domestic violence, it does not get the priority it needs and deserves,” Flynn said. “Having a standalone committee on domestic violence will be a clear message the Boston City Council takes this issue very seriously.” 

Mejia mentioned that this docket allows the council to think about how committees are assigned. 

“If there are going to be committees, [assignments] should be based on one’s skill set,” said Mejia. “Assigning committees to people based on politics is not a good practice, and is one I don’t want to be a part of.” 

Councilor Liz Breadon, who serves as chair of the Committee on Strong Women, Families, and Communities, noted her respect for Flynn’s advocacy, but believes the council already possesses the mechanisms necessary to address issues of domestic violence and sexual assault. 

Louijeune noted her longtime advocacy on the issues of domestic violence and sexual assault, but believes that with such a limited legislative calendar, establishing a new committee is not the most effective way to address these issues. 

“Myself, [and] other people here who have been victims of sexual assault, we care about these issues,” Loiujeune said. “As a matter of process, this is not the best way to [address these issues].” 

The docket establishing this committee received five votes in the affirmative (Councilors Baker, Breadon, Flaherty, Flynn, and Murphy), two votes in the negative (Durkan and Louijeune), and three present votes (Councilors Coletta, Fernandes Anderson, and Worrell). Without a two-thirds majority in the affirmative, the docket did not pass. 

The council also revisited its conversation on creating a guaranteed basic income program for low-income families in the City of Boston. 

Fernandes Anderson, chair of the Committee on Ways and Means, summarized the committee’s hearing on this matter and later deferred to Councolor Kendra Lara for further comment as the docket’s lead sponsor. 

Lara noted that this hearing was the beginning of a conversation on the issue of a guaranteed basic income program, but conceded that the city is not ready to move forward. 

“The City of Boston is in no way prepared to move forward with a GBI pilot,” Lara said. “But I was encouraged by the administration’s commitment to continue looking at a wraparound approach to poverty in the City of Boston.”

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