Boston Mayor Martin Walsh said that the city has hired a law firm to review how the Zoning Board of Appeals conducts business after a city employee pleaded guilty to accepting bribes to influence the ZBA. On August 30, the U.S. Attorney's Office announced that John M. Lynch, 66, a former Assistant Director of Real Estate at theEconomic Development Industrial Corporation (EDIC), a division of the Boston Planning and Development Agency (BPDA), pled guilty to accepting $50,000 in bribes from a Boston real estate developer. Lynch was supposed to use his official influence to secure a ZBA vote that favored the real estate developer on his federal tax return. The real estate development project was not in Jamaica Plain. Sullivan & Worcester LLP, a law firm outside of Boston, will conduct the review of the ZBA, starting with the rules and regulations in place that dictate how the board conducts business on behalf of residents, and those with matters before the board.
At-Large Boston City Councilor Michelle Wu regularly takes public transportation (often with kids in tow). So the MBTA's proposed fare hikes really strike a personal chord with her -- and she has created a petition asking for people to oppose the fare increases. "We oppose the proposal to raise MBTA fares. The proposed 6% fare hike would place an undue burden on residents already struggling to meet transportation-related costs, totaling an unaffordable 41% increase in MBTA fares since 2012. The increased costs would push more commuters to drive, undercutting our most urgent goal of increasing transit ridership to ease congestion, limit air pollution, and reduce greenhouse gas emissions," wrote Wu in the petition.
Stop us if you've heard this before. The Boston City Council voted to change the length of their terms from two to four years. Back in 2016, the council voted 12-1 to change term limits, with only At-Large City Councilor Michelle Wu voting against it. On Wednesday, the council voted 11-2 in favor of changing their own term limits, with Wu once again voting against it, as did District 7 City Councilor Josh Zakim. Councilor Wu regularly provides recap notes on all Boston City Council meetings and provided insight into why her colleagues supported extending terms, as well as why she and Zakim voted against it. "Several councilors had stated at the working session on Monday and on the council floor today that having a longer term would strengthen the council as a counterweight to the mayor’s office, and it would save the city money by eliminating the need to run a citywide election in the non-mayoral odd year," wrote Wu.
Boston is taking a big step this week to be more environmentally friendly as the city's plastic bag ordinance goes into effect on Dec. 14. The ordinance is intended to lessen the use of disposable checkout bags by retail stores. The ordinance requires any bag provided by a retail business to a customer must be either a reusable bag, a recyclable paper bag or a compostable plastic bag. The retail business that provides the bag for no less than five cents per bag will keep the the money generated by the fee.
Jamaica Plain News easily could've asked our own questions to the five candidates vying to be the next Suffolk County District Attorney. But instead we asked four elected officials to provide questions. Their questions are based on their own experiences and elected positions: State Sen. Sonia Chang-Díaz, District 6 City Councilor Matt O'Malley, Suffolk County Sheriff Steven Tompkins and At-Large Boston City Councilor Michelle Wu. The five candidates are Evandro Carvalho, Linda Champion, Greg Henning, Shannon McAuliffe and Rachael Rollins. Today's questions are from Suffolk County Sheriff Steven Tompkins and At-Large Boston City Councilor Michelle Wu.