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From the Councilor: School Funding, Suffolk Downs Development, Cannabis Industry and More

March Newsletter from Lydia Edwards, City Councilor for District One (North End, Charlestown and East Boston):

Before I update you on what our office has been up to these past few weeks, I want to acknowledge the passing of a titan for social justice. Mary Ellen Welch‘s impact can be felt in the open spaces she fought to maintain, the affordable housing units she advocated to protect, and even in the very air we breathe. I’m grateful for her decades of activism and for every individual who worked alongside or has followed in her footsteps.

As we engage on the review of Suffolk Downs – which, I contend, is akin to our generation’s airport struggle – I have Mary Ellen in mind. We’ve also launched a scholarship fund to honor the Maverick Street Mothers and promote educational advancement for parents.

In other news, I’ve called a hearing on wage theft at Logan Airport, and you can check out my recent piece in Commonwealth Magazine on the issue. Wage theft is a chronic problem in Massachusetts and particularly affects immigrant workers and workers in low-wage industries. The City of Boston has taken steps to address wage theft in industries licensed by the city, but these do not cover quasi-public entities such as the Massachusetts Port Authority or the airlines and airline contractors who work at Logan. 

Last week, I was proud to join students, parents and teachers in calling for greater school funding. You can watch my remarks here. As the School Committee recently voted to advance the proposed budget, it now moves to the city council. I’m amazed by the level of community activism on education and I will be fighting to reverse funding cuts that disproportionately impact District One schools. Please stay tuned for upcoming budget hearings.

With regards to the nascent cannabis industry, I’m deeply disappointed by the process thus far. Lack of clarity in the city’s workflow and standards for approval have added to division within our communities and put equity applicants at a disadvantage. I’m supporting an ordinance filed by my colleague Councilor Kim Janey to create an independent board to oversee the cannabis industry in Boston. I believe this ordinance will ensure our city is more transparent, efficient, equitable and better able to respond to community feedback. 

Check out more news coverage below and as always, reach out to our office to engage or ask questions!

Topics in this month’s newsletter include:

  • Real estate transfer tax
  • School committee budget vote
  • Marijuana dispensary locations
  • Suffolk Downs development
  • Airport workers rally
  • Municipal pension fund investments

Read more about these topics and see upcoming community meetings in the full newsletter.