It is a busy time for Michelle Wu. Celebrating her 30th birthday this week, Wu also marks one year on the Boston City Council as one of the four “at-large”(citywide) councilors. On top of that, she is a proud new mother and getting used to her new routine with a 1-month old baby at home. On Monday night, the Councilor made time to talk to the North End / Waterfront Neighborhood Council (NEWNC) covering a wide range of topics.
In her first year, Wu focused on simplifying small business permitting and licensing at City Hall. Working with Mayor Walsh, some of the short-term results include faster hearing turnarounds out of the Zoning Board of Appeal and a reduced burden for owner occupied projects. Within City Hall and 1010 Massachusetts Avenue, Wu has supported more centralized help for residents and neighborhood businesses to navigate getting the proper permits. She continues to work on eliminating the need for some licenses such as TVs and radios at bars and restaurants, all of which are generally approved.
Working on the homeless situation is a priority for Wu, especially with the closing of the Long Island bridge. She said the relocation process is moving along well so that city can ensure people will have a warm place to stay as the winter progresses.
Increasing access is one of the councilor’s focus areas, including sponsoring an ordinance regarding health care for transgender city employees. In addition, she has worked on getting city documents translated into different languages. Releasing government data to citizens and companies is one area where Councilor Wu sees more opportunities, such as around traffic and parking.
This year, Wu plans to get more licensing and permitting online, reducing small business regulation as well as increasing maternity/paternity leaves for city employees and eventually for all Boston citizens. Separately, she is looking at fossil fuel divestment with regards to city investments.
Councilor Wu writes up her own timely City Council hearing minutes, covering what is going on at City Hall. Anyone can sign up to receive these notes automatically each week by email at www.michelleforboston.com/