Fresh local meals come to BPS kids with new vendor Revolution Foods
Boston Public Schools’ new food vendor promises fresh, culturally-relevant, preservative-free meals that include local ingredients. The vendor switch is expected to woo more students to school lunch and breakfast options and provide them with healthier fare.
Tito Jackson, Marty Walsh talk community relations, public safety
Walsh says his administration has reduced arrests, improved relations between police and community residents and diversified the department’s ranks. Jackson slams Walsh for his administration’s responses to an increase in murders and claims the department is becoming less, not more diverse.
To prevent displacement, city eyes tenant legal aid and developer, landlord
The Imagine Boston report acknowledges that gaining and holding on to housing is a severe issue. Boston’s median household incomes mirror the national median, but when it comes to homes, Boston is two and a half times more expensive.
Bill Oranczak, president of the Mass Pike Towers Association, said that while tenants are not at near-term risk of removal, transferring the site to community control will ensure that as development pressures continue to rise, a piece of the neighborhood remains with current residents. For Trinity Financial to insist on reaping such high profit is unethical, he said.
Zeroes in on housing, education, jobs, transit
The Resilient Boston plan explores how decades of policies have created racial gaps in wealth and health, with focus on gaps in access to housing, education, jobs, transit and other stability factors. Outline in the document are visions, goals and actions to build resilience in the city by ensuring the most vulnerable residents are better able to cope with climate change and other threats to the wellbeing of the city.
Since catching the urban beekeeping bug seven years ago, Leonard Lee’s been spreading the word, and he’s on a mission to get 10,000 people each to own one hive.
Late-in-the-game proposals from Charlie Baker’s administration attempted to rein in state budget costs by reducing MassHealth enrollment eligibility.On Friday July 7, state lawmakers voted against the proposals reducing MassHealth eligibility for many families (as well as a proposal that would establish a new dental provider type), but supported a fee on employers to help pay for state health care costs. The budget now goes to Gov. Baker to sign or send back.
Development firm Kensington Investment Co. seeks to turn an unused parcel in Roxbury into a mixed-used residential building with hundreds of rental apartments. According to Jed Hresko, a Townsend Street resident who has helped organize community discussion, neighbors have mixed responses to the proposal. Many praise the diversity of the development team and the provision of affordable home-ownership opportunities, but many also express concern that the influx of new residents could disrupt the neighborhood and further strain an already-challenging parking and traffic situation.
Jackson, Walsh take different tacks on budgeting, closures
Education is emerging as a flash point in the 2017 mayoral race, with challenger Tito Jackson building on tensions over school funding, school closures and what some see as a lack of support for Boston’s district schools in his bid to unseat Mayor Martin Walsh. The Banner interviewed Walsh and Jackson over their views on education.
The LOOK bill would let schools deviate from the one-size-fits-all approach to educating English language learners. This is year features a repeat attempt at passing such a bill, after the House and Senate passed it last year but then failed to reconcile their different versions before the legislative session ended.
Bills would move the state facility out of Roxbury Community College oversight and into the hands of a to-be-established independent board of directors. Advocate alleged RCC mismanagement and scheduling bias and said independent control would preserve the center’s mission. Opponents said any problems can be resolved simply, without such drastic restructuring.
Adjunct higher education instructors say they come highly qualified, with master’s and doctoral degrees, and are asked to perform to the same teaching standards as tenured peers. But they receive vastly less pay, no benefits and no guarantee that a class they signed on to teach actually will be held — and thus no guarantee that they will be paid, despite having completed all the curricular planning.
Clip suggests black people are police’s enemy
A Roxbury-based police officer was suspended for six months for creating a video that appears to suggest that all black people are criminals.
Programmatic changes taking effect at the United South End Settlements this Friday have alarmed seniors, who no longer will be served. Citing financial strain, USES leadership announced it will realign its mission to focus on children and families living in poverty, discontinuing a number of other long-standing programs, including services for seniors.
Civil rights lawyers: Racial harassment rampant; few women of color employed
Reports roll in of frequent workplace racial harassment and mockery occurring in the state’s Trial Court system. The courts also fail to reflect the communities, to the extent that some court houses have few to no women of color employed in their entire security department, states a letter from the Lawyer’s Committee for Civil RIghts and Economic Justice.
Six-figure-salary public jobs remain primarily with whites
Community members, elected officials, current and former officers and others gathered at Massachusetts Association of Minority Law Enforcement Officers’ offices last week to discuss strategies to diversify the police and fire forces, which remain largely white. Proposals included hiring preferences for multilingual skills and Boston residents, a fire cadet program, increased recruitment to veterans of color and re-assessment of civil service laws regarded as the primary driver of the disparity.
Francisco Rodriguez Guardado is a small business owner, MIT janitor, and involved community member with two children and a third on the way, and has lived in the U.S. for over a decade. He also is a native of El Salvador. Next month, federal immigration agents will decide whether to renew his permission to remain in the U.S.
Some educators, parents and students said the current system for ranking schools can misjudge school performance and prompt reform interventions that are counterproductive.
Barring legal challenges, Fair Share Amendment to hit ballot Nov. 2018
During last week’s constitutional convention, an amendment that would apply a surtax on income over $1 million and direct revenue to public education and public infrastructure won the necessary approval to appear on statewide ballot.
Bills debated in State House hearing would reform sentencing
During a State House hearing on criminal justice reforms, proposals to repeal mandatory minimum sentencing for drug offenses took a strong focus.
The Safe Community Act is a proposed effort to protect otherwise law-abiding undocumented immigrants from deportation and prevent creation of a Muslim registry or similar entity. In a State House hearing, advocates said the measure protects civil rights, improves policing effectiveness and benefits the economy, public health and community fabric. Opponents said it hamstrings law enforcement by restricting communication with federal agencies, and that only allowing cooperation with ICE in cases of serious violent crimes is too limiting.
Latinos are Boston’s fastest-growing sector, Boston Foundation and BPDA report says
Latinos represent a large portion of the city’s youth and have been driving much of Boston’s population growth. As baby boomer retire, Latinos will be the ones driving the economy as well. Ensuring Boston’s continued economic growth means ensuring this sector’s talent is fully utilized by facilitating higher educational achievement and improving access to jobs and career and business growth opportunities, said panelists commenting on a new report.
Boston Education Action Network expands its presence in Boston’s education policy scene, seeking to bring together voices of all education stakeholders. The organization recently convened a panel of leaders from charter and pilot schools and Boston Public Schools to talk on socioemotional learning efforts and strategies for recruiting and retaining people of color. Some people are wary of the young organization, based on BEAN’s sources of organizational and financial support.
The Boston Bridge, a joint collaboration pilot program from the city and state, pays for the tuition and mandatory fees for eligible students to attain a bachelor's degree. However some say that limitations around eligibility, degree completion timeline, choice of major and other aspects restricts the program to serving a very small pool of students.
Member of BostonBRT hoped to demonstrate the benefits of implementing bus rapid transit on the Silver Line by piloting one BRT element — boarding without having to line up and wait to pay fares.
Students testified before city councilors that they believe this year’s proposed school budget will harm their education during a hearing that also showcased a level of wariness and animosity felt between students and some in City Hall.
Proposed bills affect sentencing, records
Among those giving testimony were Sen. Sonia Chang-Diaz and Rep. Mary Keefe, who called for passage of an omnibus bill whose elements would repeal mandatory minimum sentencing for nonviolent drug offenses, reduce some felonies to misdemeanors, raise the felony threshold for larceny, create a medical parole pathway for inmates who are terminally ill or dying and implement CORI reforms. Any criminal justice system savings would go into a fund for investment into education and workforce development programs.
The developer designated to rehabilitate the 375-unit public housing site continues to meet with resident, assess building conditions, and plan out the full scope of upgrades to be made, as the project advances.
During a hearing on BPS’s funding allocations to serve special education and English language learners, members of the public pushed back, saying they believe the budget will only widen equity gaps.
Some see money, politics the driving decisions
To turnaround Brighton High, the school superintendent chose to ask all educators to reapply for their jobs. But with most of the teachers of color not rehired, and highly-rated teachers of various races not returning, many are asking questions about how well the so-called “excessing” policy works to improve academics.
Guscott’s towering aspiration: 25-story Dudley Square tower to bring nightlife, business opportunities
25-story Dudley Square tower to bring nightlife, biz opportunities
The 25-story tower in Dudley Square is expected to enliven the area with nightlife, new shops and commercial space. Its creation also expands the capacity of black businesses and opens doors to other such sizeable projects. The development team sat down the Banner last week.
Space limits, health turn eyes to other modes, but some say the need for cars won’t vanish
To avoid serious traffic snarls, as well as the pollution generated by idling vehicles as Boston’s population grows , officials are honing in on ways to make alternatives to driving more appealing. One prong or byproduct of that strategy may be making, or allowing, driving to become less attractive. In Dudley Square, parking already is a headache and the main street executive director Joyce Stanley says local businesses are feeling the pain.
Report calls for aiding Fairmount corridor via better transit, links to jobs, school investments
The city’s plans for tackling equity problems include connecting many low-income and minority residents along the Fairmount Line with more frequent service, “equitable fares,” and better transit links to areas to areas with high concentrations of jobs with advancement opportunities.
Status puts attention on arts, may boost economy
The cultural district status recognizes a walkable section of Roxbury as a hub of art and cultural assets. This designation is expected to highlight local offerings and history, put forth a new neighborhood narrative and attract visitors, generating more economic activity and social connectivity across the city.
Under peculiar election system, city council, school committee are all-white
By electing all school committee and city council members at-large, Lowell’s election system nearly guarantees that the white voting bloc will determine who gets into office. As such minorities have little to no voice in affairs of these bodies. Asian and Latino residents have who are plaintiffs in a federal suit against the city say that the result is that their communities receive less attention and fewer public resources and that they and their concerns are often left out of city decision making.
Steep price tag for school choice, charters, special education door-to-door pick up
A small portion of students account for the majority of the expenses in a transit department that has struggled to limit costs. Meanwhile, the school' s food department aims to increase the per-meal food expensive reimbursement it receives by improving entrees' appeal.
Hub image hinders recruitment; business community sees role to play in reform
A pervasive image of Boston as unwelcoming to minorities has long presented a hurdle to recruiting talent and attracting minority businesses and business organizations, said James Rooney, president and CEO of the Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce. Many now are looking to what role the business sector can play in helping the city reform.
Latina Circle aims to up business and political representation
In Boston, Latinos comprise 20 percent of the population, but only 7 percent of those appointed to executive positions and city and state commissions and boards. The presidential election brought a new call to action for Latina Circle co-founders Francisco and Roman. It was no longer enough to focus on improving the lives of Latinas and their communities through advancement in the business world; they also had to tackle the political one.
Schools nationwide punish black kids for natural and common hair styles
Civil rights groups have decried the Mystic Valley Regional Charter school's dress code policies as racially discriminatory and said they may represent another piece of an all-too frequent trend of criminalization of blackness.
Boston Public Schools officials took time during the hearings to outline their efforts to support low performing schools, through measures such as visiting assistant teams, continued funding support for schools exiting turnaround and a fund for extra supports. Not all councilors seemed to agree that the measures go far enough to mitigate impact of cuts hitting some of these schools.
Sen. Markey: health care bill “dead on arrival” in Senate; Political pain promised for House’s yes-voters
Many speakers at a health care panel said legislation could bring drastic consequences to them or members of their families. Sen. Markey offered a spot of hope, predicting the bill would fail in the Senate.
Jessica Tang, the union's director of organizing, runs unopposed for BTU presidency. She has earned a reputation for advocating on issues within and outside the classroom.
Events recall team’s troubled past, raise questions on city’s present
Reports of racial slurs hurled during recent Red Sox games turned a national eye to the team’s troubled history with discrimination. The Red Sox was the last league in the nation to integrate and its many years of rejection of black talent has been regarded as a factor in the perceived "curse of the Bambino."
Plans call for sit-down restaurant, 21 condos; developer, community groups outlined benefits
A $12 million Mattapan development could turn several blighted lots into housing, retail space, and a sit-down restaurant.
Promised better education, some families facing administrative assignment still are wary
As their school closes and converts into an early education center, displaced Mattahunt children are learning where they will attend next school next year. Some families did not receive placement in any of the schools they chose.
Some protesters flex economic power, others call for legislation
David Cheltenham, an Excel Academy freshman, was among approximately 80 people who took off from school and work to instead turn out for an immigrant rights breakfast event hosted by the Cosecha movement. The morning action, at East Boston’s Maverick Landing, is followed by several events throughout the day.
New data shows rates for 2015 to early 2016; reflects little change over 2011 to 2015 rates
Data analyzed by the Associated Press suggests that there remains a striking disparity in the frequency with which police officers stop people of color in general, and black residents in particular. The latest data lacks information on the percentage of stops that actually led to arrests or seizures.
Minority activists leaders of movement
Left often in the shadows is the story of black activists who jumpstarted Boston’s urban agriculture movement more than four decades ago.
Cosecha members staged correction center sit-in and march from Roxbury’s Dudley Square
On Monday, dozens of marchers — including youth, religious community members and other activists — led the way from Orchard Gardens Park near Roxbury’s Dudley Square to the Suffolk County Correction Center, calling for an end to detentions of immigrants.
District, at-large competition kicks off
With city council applications for nomination papers made available Wednesday, a spread of challengers are emerging, causing the list of competitors for the District 7 seat being vacated by Tito Jackson to grow increasingly long. The departures of Councilors Sal LaMattina of District 1 and Bill Linehan of District 2 also have opened the field for several candidates. The at-large councilors, District 8’s Josh Zakim and District 9’s Mark Ciommo, face fights for re-election.