Friday, April 1, 1:15 p.m.
Voters in Massachusetts may see a ballot question about the employment and benefit status of gig drivers during this November’s elections. Senator Elizabeth Warren and a coalition of labor groups have vehemently opposed the ballot question, while rideshare companies like Uber, Lyft, Doordash and Instacart have backed the initiative. There is a possibility that the state legislature intervenes before then, eliminating the need for a ballot question.
Mayors Katjana Ballantyne of Somerville, Breanna Lungo-Koehn of Medford and Michelle Wu of Boston came together for a virtual discussion on March 22 in the latest installment of the Jonathan M. Tisch College of Civic Lifes Solomont Speaker Series. They discussed the challenges they face as women in politics as well as their plans to transform their communities.
The Medford Public School District was recently awarded a competitive Hate Crime Prevention Grant by the State of Massachusetts. Medford Public Schools plans to use the $50,000 award, the maximum amount of funding available under the grant, to integrate restorative justice practices into the classroom.
Somerville Mayor Katjana Ballantyne recently launched an initiative to diversify city boards and commissions in the Somerville city government. In an effort to make them more inclusive, the city will reevaluate the selection and application process for positions on boards and commissions.
Tufts will continue its mask mandate despite the state of Massachusetts dropping its mandate for K-12 schools and Medford and Somerville eschewing their mandates entirely.
A group of at least a dozen protesters staged a sit-in protest at Aeronaut Brewing Company, a brewery in Somerville, on Feb. 20. The unmasked protesters refused to show proof of COVID-19 vaccination, violating the business’s COVID-19 policies.
The Somerville Board of Health voted unanimously on Thursday to end requirements for masking indoors, propelling the city into the next phase of the pandemic and aligning its policy with Medford, Cambridge and other municipalities in the Greater Boston area.
The Medford Board of Health voted unanimously to lift the city's indoor mask mandate for private businesses, effective Feb. 16.The decision comes in light of falling COVID-19 positivity rates in the community.
Somerville introduced its new Child Care Access and Affordability Program on Feb. 3. The program will provide families with financial assistance to send their children to daycare and preschool.
The Massachusetts House of Representativesapproved a bill on Feb. 16 that would allow undocumented residents to obtain driver’s licenses.The Work and Family Mobility Act, or H.4461,passed with 120 votes in favor of the bill and 36 against.
A team of Tufts students and faculty members is working with Communities Responding to Extreme Weather (CREW), a Cambridge-based grassroots organization that helps communities prepare for climate change-induced severe weather, to survey Chinatown and Roxbury residents on their level of preparedness for extreme weather events. The aim of the survey is to examine how social connectedness within communities can help build climate resilience.
The City of Somerville awarded $2.7 million in Community Preservation Act (CPA) funding to various organizations in the area. This funding is funneled annually to organizations that work to preserve historic sites, maintain open spaces, develop outdoor recreation facilities or create affordable housing. Funding recipients include the Elizabeth Peabody House, the Somerville Affordable Housing Trust Fund, the Somerville Hispanic Association for Community Development and the Somerville Museum.
The City of Somerville is moving forward with plans to build a new public safety complex at 90 Washington St. in East Somerville after stalling for more than three years. A virtual meeting was held on Feb. 16 to gather input on the project from members of the Somerville community.
As the world enters a second year of the pandemic, immunocompromised people and individuals with disabilities continue to face systemic and social detriments to their health and well-being. While many able-bodied individuals are lowering their risk potentials, people with disabilities often have little choice but to remain vigilant. This is not unfamiliar to residents of Somerville, who have expressed frustration over the difficulties that individuals with disabilities continue to experience even as the pandemic wanes.
Proposed legislation to reform the Payment in Lieu of Taxes (PILOT) program is currently under review in the Massachusetts state legislature by the Joint Committee on Revenue. Bill H.3080, which was filed in February 2021 by State Representative Erika Uyterhoeven of Somerville, would give municipalities the option to opt into a PILOT payment program requiring property tax-exempt organizations with more than $15 million in property holdings, such as Tufts University, to pay the city or town the equivalent of 25% of what their property tax would be were they not tax exempt.
As COVID-19 infection rates start to decline in Massachusetts, Tufts and other Boston-area universities have seen a relaxation of restrictions to academic and social activities.
A group of 20 tenants, organizers and local supporters holding signs reading “Somervillain” and “LaCourt Lies” marched from the Davis Square T stop to the office of Mouhab Rizkallah, owner of LaCourt Realty and The Braces Place in Somerville, on Feb. 3. The protesters, organized by the LaCourt Tenants Union, demanded Rizkallah withdraw his lawsuit against former LaCourt tenant Alona Brosh, whom he has sued for $28,875 of “unpaid rent,” according to a demand letter to LaCourt Realty. Brosh was not present at the protest and did not respond immediately to a request for comment.
Somerville residents are fighting for a new Davis Square, disagreement persists on what it should look likeBy Aaron Gruen | February 11
For at least three years, concerned Somerville residents have urged city hall to repair and restore damaged walkways in Davis Square. The walkways, which are primarily made of brick, are rife with missing bricks, potholes and uneven ground.
A bill proposed last year in the Massachusetts state legislature would enact a five-year moratorium on the design and construction of prisons and jails in Massachusetts. The bill was reported out favorably from the Joint Committee on State Administration and Regulatory Oversight on Jan. 24 and is now being considered by the Senate Committee on Ways and Means, bringing it one step closer to Governor Charlie Baker's desk.