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Boston City Council decides it doesn't want to deal with people with petitions

The City Council today rejected a proposal that would have required hearings on any petitions signed by at least 500 Boston voters.

At-large Councilor Michelle Wu (at large), acting on a proposal by Roxbury activist Jamarhl Crawford, had proposed giving residents the right to "free petition" as a way to increase citizen involvement in government, by getting the council to at least consider ideas important enough to residents to warrant going out and getting 500 people to sign petitions.

She said that officials in other communities in the state that already have such a program do not actually get a lot of such petitions.

But district councilors said they don't want anybody bypassing them in a rush to get something before the council. Councilor Frank Baker (Dorchester) said he was actually "apathetic" towards the general idea but then said it "cheapens us and it weakens us" because district councilors work hard to stay in touch with their constituents, including getting them hearings on matters of concern to them and that the measure would prove an end run around them.

Councilor Lydia Edwards (East Boston, North End, Charlestown) also opposed the idea but said she would be willing to give it a chance because "this city was born as an experiment in democracy" and that she would not oppose a measure that "opens up the tent" to citizens.

But she added, "I am sure I will be quoted - and it's Lydia with a Y - that the crazies will be let in," should the measure pass.

The council defeated the measure on a voice vote. Council President Andrea Campbell (Dorchester), who also opposed the idea, did not call for a roll-call vote, and Wu did not request one.

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Comments

How would you compare civility at Boston City Council with Charlottesville?...

"The biggest fear I have for our local community is that this environment is now just inviting a small faction to come in and speak," Hill says. "It's going to continue to turn away others from sharing their voice." https://www.npr.org/2019/03/20/704902802/hear-me-by-any-means-necessary-...

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Why not Medford?

In any case, being very parochial, I have no clue how they compare, but in general Boston city-council meetings have always been pretty darn civil, at least the ones I've been to or watched.

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How would Medford City Council be compared with Boston City Council? https://library.municode.com/ma/medford/munidocs/munidocs?nodeId=1152163...

Comparing North American City Councils... a good idea!

It's access for The People to the City Council that's the main point. City Council Offices deflect more often than are welcoming.

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Boston City Council is much, much better in every way.

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Terrible mayor

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I love Lydia <3

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Not at Wu, but at the "crazies." She didn't specify who she meant, but I wonder if it was the Faneuil Hall name-change people.

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U Hub commenter.

If she is referring to constituents as "crazies" and she was reportedly "pissed" then I wonder if she has the temperament to serve on City Council.

YOU'RE AT WORK, LYDIA. GET TF OUT OF YOUR FEELINGS AND SHOW YOUR CONSTITUENTS SOME RESPECT.

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She was probably referring to a specific incident in which a council presentation to honor some kids was disrupted by protesters trying to get the name of Faneuil Hall changed.

And despite that, she did say she'd be willing to give the petition idea a shot.

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Can you ask her who she was referring to when she (reportedly) said "crazies?"

Also, does she ever "Parent Trap" City Council and have her twin show up instead of her?

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I'm going to take a break from reading/youtubing about the legislatative experiment named Brexit and explore the idea that anyone in Boston who can summon 500 signatures from anywhere in the world should have the sovereign right to a hearing on the topic of their choice, bypassing our democratically elected executive and legislative branches while possibly advancing personal agendas to satisfy the itches of a few at the expense of the sanity of the many.

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President Obama, who won a Nobel Prize, started a federal level petition system with what looks to me like a relatively much lower threshold for a response.

25,000 people petitioned to build a death star. They got a logistically honest response.

Lydia Edwards is probably right that the crazies would be let in... but it would be a nice caliber of crazies, IMHO.

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25,000 signatures for something ridiculous (some might argue that building a Death Star could qualify as such) gets you a response from a low level staffer, not an invitation to take the Senate floor.

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I'd ask if Lydia has tattoos, but most people would get the wrong idea.

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I recall he's posted on here before, mostly to tell anyone not from his neighborhood not to ever comment on it I think.

My man should run for office if he's got good ideas not try to change access.

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Tried to oust Tito Jackson in City Council District 7 in 2013. Didn't get far.

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Sitting at home with no insider pot shop gig lined up, like a sucker. Tito, he's cashed in his chips and be living in Milton within a few years I'd guess.

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He’s relentless.

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Rare to see a councilor shot down this hard by her/his colleagues like this. It's not like Baker and Edwards are really allies on most things either. Dunno what else is going on behind the scenes here.

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And it happened last week when three district councilors told an at-large councilor what she could do with her proposal to block the re-do of the Alexandra Hotel.

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I'm sure somebody will remind her of her characterization of "crazies" at future City Council hearings about mental health/recovery...and that upcoming hearing on Individualized Education Plans (IEP) in schools.

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From time to time I’ll see people canvassing a crowded T platform with a petition and will get many dozens of people to sign within minutes without even explaining what it’s for, likely because people would rather give a quick signature than be trapped talking to the person with the petition.

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I’d up the signatures to about 1,000, and only from registered voters.

Holding a hearing does not guarantee action. For example, if someone gets the signatures for the City Council to post the verbatim transcripts of their hearings online, they would hold a hearing where we would be told that it is currently against the law for the City to publish said things. Hearing over.

The City Council holds a lot of hearings. As long as the threshold isn’t too low, things shouldn’t get out of hand.

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And now you know all you need to know about Lydia Edwards.

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