News Briefs

Mayor Walsh Appoints Aisha Miller as Chief of Civic Engagement

Long-time Chief of Civic Engagement Jerome Smith has left his position with the City, and has taken a job with Amazon.

Now, Mayor Martin J. Walsh announced the appointment of Aisha Miller as the Chief of Civic Engagement for the City of Boston, effective Monday, December 7. The Civic Engagement Cabinet is composed of the Mayor’s Office of Neighborhood Services, the Mayor’s Office of Public Service and Community Outreach, Boston 311, and SPARK Boston and is dedicated to the efficient and effective delivery of City services, as well as creating opportunities for Boston residents to participate with local government. Miller was the Assistant Commissioner of Constituent Services for the Boston Inspectional Service Department (ISD).

Councilor Edwards’ Fair Housing Amendment to be Voted at Council

On Wednesday, Boston City council was expected to pass Councilor Lydia Edwards’ fair housing zoning amendment.

The amendment will be the first example in the country of zoning requiring an equity lens in urban planning and development review.

“This is a historic moment for Boston and the country. I want to thank the advocates, the activists, the generations of people who have been displaced and took to the streets knowing we could be and do better,” said Councilor Edwards. “With this amendment Boston is setting a standard for cities throughout the country to follow. For too long, zoning has played a role in causing a lot of harm. Wednesday’s vote is a bold and historic step towards zoning playing a role in healing.”

In 2017, the Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing Community Advisory Committee was established to examine the city’s efforts to further fair housing opportunities. On June 6, 2020 the committee held a town hall during which it released its report after three years of research.

One of the group’s recommendations was codifying equity into the zoning code.

“This is a momentous day for the City of Boston to begin to reconcile one of the central civil rights challenges of our time: fair housing,” said Lincoln Larmond, a member of the committee and a member of the Boston Tenant Coalition. “With the inequities and disparities COVID-19 has exposed coupled with history and recent studies regarding discrimination and evictions in Boston the need for this amendment could not be more timely. The passing of this amendment, which would be the first in the nation to include fair housing in a zoning ordinance, is a testament to Councilor Edwards’ leadership and vision.”

Councilor Edwards first introduced such an amendment in April 2019. The amendment is expected to be voted on by the BPDA Board of Directors at their December meeting and by the Zoning Commission in January.

Warren Prescott Students Place in MWRA Poster Contest

The Warren Prescott School in Charlestown had four students win or place honorable mention in the Massachusetts Water Resources Authority (MWRA) annual system-wide poster and poem contest – with second grader Luca Guadagno Kaluski taking first place in his division.

The annual contest focused on the subject of ‘Don’t Flush That,’ developing a poster to encourage people not to flush excluded items down the toilet – as they damage and clog pipes and disrupt the infrastructure.

Kaluski’s take on it was a mixed-media poster with two toilets – one with the proper items flushed that felt great. The second didn’t feel so good and had things flushed down it like underwear, a purse, fish and even a strawberry Starburst.

Other winners from the W-P included:

•Austin Ortiz, grade 2, Honorable Mention.

•Annabel MacLetchie, grade 3, Third Place

•Lincoln Collier, grade 5, Honorable Mention Poetry

The winning posters and writing entries for the MWRA’s 2019/2020 Contest are being displayed at the Metropolitan Waterworks Museum (located at 2450 Beacon St., Boston, MA 02467) from October 14, 2020 – January 14, 2021. Check out for museum hours. 

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