June 20, 2014
Reducing Gun Violence in Boston

Boston Gun Buyback Program

On March 24, 2014, Mayor Martin J. Walsh announced the Boston Gun Buyback program, also known as ”Your Piece for Peace,” managed by the Boston Police Department in partnership with the Black Ministerial Alliance of Greater Boston

Mayor Walsh was joined by Boston Police Commissioner William Evans, community advocates including Pastor Liz Walker and other clergy, and representatives from community and advocacy organizations addressing violence.

"What you see before you today is that our community is united. And we are united with them, in the goal of making our neighborhoods, our homes, and our children safe," said Mayor Walsh at today’s announcement. "We’re here to do much more than launch a single program. This is the first step in a long-term, city-wide mission to prevent violence. The people standing with me today have come together to support each other and better their communities. We are calling on everyone in the City of Boston to join us as we move forward, because everyone has a responsibility in this mission."

"This program is about empowering our community, and bringing everyone to work together to get illegal guns off our streets," said Commissioner Evans. "Every gun turned in is a life potentially saved. If you have access to a gun, here is your opportunity to turn it in and help us break the cycle of violence."

The Boston Gun Buyback program is a proactive campaign to take guns off our streets. The program asks city residents to turn-in their gun(s) and in return receive a $200.00 Visa® gift card at designated drop-off locations citywide. The “no questions asked” program will allow individuals to anonymously dispose of firearms without fear of charges for illegal possession when turning in the weapon at one of the more than 20 designated drop-off locations

This program is a citywide community effort led by neighbors who have been impacted by an increase in gun violence. Taking guns off the street is at the heart of violence prevention and we must do everything we can to put an end to the senseless violence. Every gun turned in to the program is a life potentially saved.

Since the Boston Gun Buyback program began 340 guns have been removed from the streets of Boston. An additional 291 guns and 10,000 rounds of ammunition have been seized during traffic stops. In 2013, the total number of seized guns was 667. 

The following presentation shows some of the guns that have been turned in to the Boston Gun Buyback program or seized during traffic stops since the start of 2014. 

Mayor Walsh Convenes Mayors, Municipal Leaders, Law Enforcement for New England’s First Regional Gun Trafficking Summit

On April 24, 2014, Mayor Walsh hosted the first-ever New England regional summit to address gun trafficking, bringing together mayors, municipal officials, law enforcement, subject matter experts, and community partners to discuss leadership commitments to combat gun trafficking through regional partnerships.

The summit addressed three major areas:

• The need for full and effective law enforcement investigations

• The kickoff of important research on illegal gun trafficking and drug patterns in Boston that will lay the groundwork for future action

• The proposed creation of a New England Regional Crime Gun Center

“Today we’re establishing a bold and united new front in the battle against gun violence in Boston and across New England,” Mayor Walsh said.  “We are all here—together—because we understand that the illegal trafficking of crime guns is a regional problem that demands a regional solution. Lawbreakers don’t respect borders. And more than that, they take advantage of our different jurisdictions to move the guns, the money, and the drugs that are involved in violent crime.”

Summit Attendees included: 

  • Attleboro Mayor Kevin Dumas  
  • Attleboro Police Chief Kyle P. Heagney  
  • Beverly Mayor Michael P. Cahill  
  • Braintree Mayor Joseph Sullivan  
  • Brockton Mayor Bill Carpenter  
  • Chelsea City Manager Jay Ash  
  • Everett Mayor Carlo DeMaria  
  • Fall River Police Chief Daniel Racine  
  • Gardner Mayor Mark Hawke  
  • Lawrence Mayor Daniel Rivera  
  • Malden Mayor Gary Christenson  
  • New Bedford Police Chief Daniel Provencher
  • Newburyport Mayor Donna Holaday  
  • Revere Mayor Daniel Rizzo  
  • Peabody Mayor Ted Bettencourt  
  • Salem Police Captain Thomas Griffin  
  • Springfield Mayor Domenic J. Sarno  
  • Springfield Police Commissioner William Fitchet  
  • Providence, RI, Public Safety Commissioner Steven M. Paré  
  • Milford, NH, Police Chief Michael Viola  
  • Milford, NH, Town Administrator Guy Scaife  
  • Manchester, NH, At-Large Alderman Daniel O’Neil  
  • Bridgeport, CT, Police Chief Joseph L. Gaudett, Jr.  
  • Hartford, CT, Police Chief James Rovella  
  • Hartford, CT, Sgt. John O’Hare  
  • Portland, ME, Police Chief Michael Sauschuck  
  • Village of Essex Junction, VT, Vice President of the Board of Trustees of the Village of Essex Junction, Dan Kerin  

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The day-long summit included a wide range of sessions: a panel discussion with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) and the United States Attorney’s Office; research presentations on Boston’s illegal gun markets and online gun sales; a roundtable discussion on gun trafficking with city and town officials; a legislation update; and an hour-long discussion with community partners.

“Day in and day out, we see too many illegal guns on our streets, not just in Boston but across the region,” said Police Commissioner William Evans. “It is very important for us to come together to adopt a regional approach.  Everyone must do their part to keep guns out of the wrong hands and continue the conversations that will help suppress gun violence.”

Study of Illegal Gun Trafficking in Boston

Mayor Walsh is  continuing Boston’s work with Mayors Against Illegal Guns (now known as Everytown for Gun Safety), founded by Mayor Thomas M. Menino and Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg. 

Mayor Walsh also announced a study where the Program in Criminal Justice at Harvard University to examine illegal gun trafficking in Boston. The study will be led by Professor Anthony Braga, who has worked for more than 20 years on violent crime issues in Boston, and will be supported by a $214,000 grant including funding from Everytown for Gun SafetyThe Joyce Foundation's Fund for a Safer Future, and the Rappaport Institute for Greater Boston.

“Understanding the nature of a problem is critical for developing appropriate responses to it,” Professor Anthony Braga said. “The little we know about how illegal guns end up in the wrong hands in Boston is dated and anecdotal. Effective crime gun policy needs to be informed by timely and accurate scientific evidence, and this study aims to provide that.”

Braga will work in close partnership with the Boston Police Department and in consultation with the US Attorney’s Office and ATF. He will work in the Boston neighborhoods most affected by gun violence to better understand how criminals, juveniles, and other high-risk people acquire illegal guns on our streets.  

“There is only so much that mayors and other local officials can do to protect their cities from  guns trafficked across state lines – in fact, 90 percent of the guns found at crime scenes in New York City were originally bought out of state and brought to the city illegally,” said John Feinblatt, president of Everytown for Gun Safety and policy advisor to former New York City Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg. “Everytown is proud to support research that will help us understand how guns are being trafficked in New England so we can crack down on this activity across the country and keep our communities safe.” 

The study will use a variety of data and methods to answer questions such as where illegal guns come from and how illegal guns are acquired on Boston’s streets. The study is intentionally designed to make concrete policy recommendations on how the City can reduce the flow of illegal guns to high-risk individuals. A number of legislative, regulatory, enforcement, and community-based interventions will be identified and considered as a result of the study.

The Boston study will also provide a roadmap to help other jurisdictions in New England understand the nature of their illegal gun problems. Much of the Boston work will be used to inform a regional approach to shutting down cross-jurisdictional pipelines of drugs and guns. Professor Braga and his team will also be part of this regional effort and will provide analytical guidance to participating cities.

Proposed Creation of New England Regional Crime Gun Center  

Mayor Walsh called on summit attendees to create a working group to support planning for a New England Regional Crime Gun Center. The center will be a centralized location for tracing and analyzing crime guns to disrupt regional gun trafficking networks and better position law enforcement to hold violent gun criminals accountable. Centralizing this information increases efficiencies, overcomes statutory restrictions, and ensures that trafficking leads are directed to the appropriate investigators.

The members of the Working Group will be tasked with outlining and establishing the New England Regional Crime Gun Center and formalizing policy for the sharing and distribution of data and data analysis amongst regional stakeholders.

“We understand the illegal trafficking of crime guns is a regional problem that demands regional solutions,” Mayor Walsh said. “This is a problem that demands concrete, collaborative action.”

What can you do to help Mayor Walsh and the Boston Police Department reduce gun violence?

• Encourage your friends, family, neighbors, and co-workers to participate in the Boston Gun Buyback program. Let’s help reduce gun violence across the City of Boston. 

June 13, 2014
Safety and Health for Boston’s Women and Girls

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Jack Connors, Elizabeth Nabel, Senate President Therese Murray, Dr. Paula Johnson, Senator Elizabeth Warren, and Mayor Martin J. Walsh are shown at the National Women’s Health Policy Summit at the Mandarin Oriental Hotel in Boston. Photo by Don Harney. 

National Policy Summit on the Future of Women’s Heath

On March 3, 2014, Mayor Martin J. Walsh spoke at the National Policy Summit on the Future of Women’s Heath, hosted by the Connors Center for Women’s Health and Gender Biology at Brigham and Women’s Hospital.

This groundbreaking national policy summit was dedicated to addressing gender equity in biomedical science. The summit also commemorated the 20th anniversary of the NIH Revitalization Act of 1993, a landmark law that required all NIH-funded biomedical research to include women and minorities. Despite progress, there is still much to be done if we are to achieve health equity for men and women.

"Boston is the right place for this work," said Mayor Walsh. "Our city is home to a higher percentage of young, educated women than any other major city in the country. And we have the finest medical, scientific, and academic institutions in the world. The future of women’s health is right here.

"Our Women’s Commission is dedicated to achieving equal opportunity for the women of Boston, under the leadership of our new commissioner, Megan Costello. The Commission supports the Women’s Workforce Council, whose mission is to make Boston the premier place for working women in America. We are fortunate to have Dr. Paula Johnson on this task force. Their work is delivering strategies for closing the wage gap.

"And let me be clear: disparity in medical research is also a mark of inequality in society. It’s a form of discrimination, like any other. That’s something I take very seriously. I’ve been saying since day one of my term that all of us in Boston are in this together. And we can’t work together if we’re not living by the same rules; or, the same quality of data."

WBUR Commonhealth interview with Dr. Paula Johnson: 

White Ribbon Day Celebration

On March 26, 2014 at City Hall, Mayor Walsh attended the White Ribbon Day Celebration, a Men’s Initiative of the Jane Doe Project from the Massachusetts Coalition Against Sexual Abuse and Domestic Violence. 

"No woman should have to live in fear of violence. And no man should believe that violence against women is someone else’s concern," Mayor Walsh stated. "As men, we have a responsibility to stand up for the women in our community. And we have a duty to teach the young men in our community that being a man means treating women with respect. 

"Accepting responsibility for the entire community’s well-being is the value that informs our commitment to public safety. It goes beyond any single program. The city is coming together as one, to unite our voices and to work together to stop violence. Whether this violence is in the streets, at work, or in the home, every one of us has a role to play in ending it." 

L.I.P.S.T.I.C.K.

Operation L.I.P.S.T.I.C.K. is a coalition of faith and civic leaders, elected officials, social service, and law enforcement professionals working to keep guns out of the hands of criminals and youth without abridging the freedoms of law-abiding Americans. 

L.I.P.S.T.I.C.K., based in Jamaica Plain, is the women’s leadership project developed in response to the question: Where do crime guns come from? The answer, sadly, is women. Emerging research shows women and girls enable gun traffickers by buying, concealing, storing, and holding guns for felons who can’t get guns legally.

"The L.I.P.S.T.I.C.K. campaign is going to let women know that buying a gun or holding a gun for someone involved in criminal activity is a terrible decision with devastating consequences," said Mayor Walsh on February 24, 2014.

"Gun trafficking and straw purchases are crimes in their own rights. They also make women complicit in the violent crimes being committed with these guns, bringing down the full weight of the law on them. They make women a party to their own exploitation. No relationship is worth that." 

LIPSTICK on the subway from LIPSTICK on Vimeo.

Mothers Day Walk for Peace

On Mothers Day, May 11, 2014, Mayor Walsh took part in the Mothers Day Walk for Peace

"We’re here because 20 years ago Tina Chery raised herself up from grief by holding onto the values that her son Louis stood for. The Louis D. Brown Peace Institute was born, and two years later, the Mothers Day Walk began,” Mayor Walsh said. “Since then it has become a touchstone for everything that is good in Dorchester. 

"Today is a day we give thanks for the love of our mothers, and all the women who care for us. And I want to recognize all the survivors who are here, because all of you inspire us. Mothers and fathers, wives and girlfriends, uncles and aunts, sons and daughters. You keep the light of your loved ones shining, and you share it with all of us. You bring this light to the darkness caused by violence in our streets. You give us courage and you give us hope.

"It’s your spirit that we have tried to adopt in all our public safety work. We have realized that no single program will solve this problem. Instead, it will require a new way of relating to each other, breaking down all the barriers that divide us."

The City of Boston is starting every phase of its work from these relationships. Whether it is:

  • Stopping the flow of guns and getting them off our streets
  • Providing trauma treatment in our health clinics
  • Providing opportunities for our youth to learn, grow, and work

"The entire city has a stake in our young people’s safety, so the entire city must be involved in this effort," stated Mayor Walsh. 

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Mayor’s Youth Council

On May 16, 2014, Mayor Martin J. Walsh announced that his newly-redesigned Mayor’s Youth Council accepted applications for neighborhood representative positions.The Mayor’s Youth Council (MYC) has been tasked with creating and implementing sustainable initiatives to engage young people in local government. 

“Young people in the City not only deserve to have their voices heard, but also be a part of the government process,” said Mayor Walsh. “I have seen the positive results that come from having youth present at the table when decisions are being made—not just in the decision process, but also in their strengthened involvement and sense of responsibility to our city and their neighborhoods.”

Mayor’s Office of Women’s Advancement

On June 11, 2014, Mayor Martin J. Walsh announced the creation of the Mayor’s Office of Women’s Advancement, a department which will oversee and coordinate the Mayor’s initiatives to promote equal rights and equal economic, social, political and educational opportunities for all women and girls throughout Boston. In addition, Mayor Walsh announced the revitalization of the Boston Women’s Commission, which will advise the Mayor on issues pertaining to women in Boston and work closely with the Office of Women’s Advancement to fulfill its mission of attaining full equity for women in all areas of life. 

“I am thrilled to have the Office of Women’s Advancement and the Boston Women’s Commission in place to help make Boston America’s premier city for women. I strongly believe that when women succeed, Boston succeeds,” said Mayor Walsh. “I am particularly excited to have such a diverse and experienced Women’s Commission to work with me on this important issue. The equal treatment of the people of Boston impacts all of us - women and men alike - and with the new Commission, we are bringing all these voices to the table.”

What can you do to help Mayor Walsh increase safety for women and girls in Boston? 

• Encourage the men and boys in your life to learn more about White Ribbon Day and for them to take the pledge to be allies against male violence against women or organize a proclamation event in your community

• Tell your friends, family, and neighbors about Operation L.I.P.S.T.I.C.K. and find out how to bring its ideas to your neighborhood and ask the women and girls in your life to take the L.I.P.S.T.I.C.K. pledge 

• Encourage the girls in your life to get involved with the Mayor’s Youth Council and help shape our lives in Boston. 

June 6, 2014
Fetch Your Dog a License—Online

Boston’s Animal Care and Control unit offers a variety of services to Boston residents. Its mission is to provide responsive, efficient animal control services, and provide a high quality of animal care and to promote responsible pet ownership. Its officers travel over 100,000 miles each year in Boston to fulfill its public safety and service mission.

The City of Boston estimates that only 30% of the city’s dogs are currently registered, leaving 70% without licenses. 

Why license your dog? Here are three great reasons from Boston’s Animal Care & Control unit: 

1) Pet licensing ensures that every pet is traceable to its owner in order to foster pet-owner accounts. A Boston city dog license provides an excellent form of identification for your dog. Licensing increases the numbers of lost pets reunited with their owners. If your dog is lost, a license provides means of notification if your dog is found or taken to the animal shelter

2) A City of Boston dog license provides rabies identification. Every year, hundreds of people in The City Of Boston are bitten by dogs. Treatment for rabies can be avoided when the dog is displaying a current license. When proof of rabies vaccination is required to purchase an animal license, licensing provides a means to control and monitor rabies with office records of rabies vaccination. This in turn helps sever the link between wild animals with rabies and domestic animals from which humans are most likely to contract the disease.

3) Unlicensed dog owners may be cited for violation of city and state dog licensing laws (16-1.9D) in the amount of $50.00.

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Making Getting a Dog License Easier Than Ever

On March 14, 2014, Mayor Martin J. Walsh announced an easy and secure way for Boston pet owners to apply for dog licenses online.

The online application process makes registration much easier, and the review process more manageable for Animal Care and Control personnel. Owners can apply for a dog license and access more information on-line at cityofboston.gov/animals.

“Not only does this protect the health of our local pets, owners, and neighbors, it’s also a great step toward streamlining the way we do business here in Boston,” Mayor Walsh said.

The City of Boston is working with a third-party vendor, Invoice Cloud (headquartered in Braintree, MA), to provide online pay services for pet licenses. There will be an online credit and debit card service charge of 2.95% associated with each transaction ($1.00 minimum).

In its first 40 days, more than 1,000 dogs have already been registered using the City of Boston’s new online process! 

You can also apply for a dog license through our City Hall to Go mobile unit and you can still get a dog license at Boston City Hall, at the Animal Shelter in Roslindale, or by mail. 

What can you do to help Mayor Walsh help Boston dog owners with getting a license?

• Let your friends, family, neighbors, and co-workers know they can now register their dogs online—and let them know about the upcoming licensing and rabies vaccine clinics across Boston! 

• Love animals and have some time to donate to the City of Boston? Volunteer!

• Want to give an animal a new home? Visit cityofboston.gov/animals/adopt to find the pet that’s just right for you…and don’t forget to register them if it’s a dog!  

June 4, 2014
The Mayor’s Office of New Bostonians’ Capacity-Building Initiative

The purpose of the Mayor’s Office of New Bostonians (MONB) is to strengthen the ability of diverse cultural and linguistic communities to play an active role in the economic, civic, social, and cultural life in the city of Boston.

MONB acts as a catalyst for providing opportunity, access, and equality for immigrants. It highlights the contributions and the essential role that immigrants have played and continue to play in making Boston the world class city that it is.

Based on a 2012 report from the Mayor’s Office of New Bostonians, immigrants account for more than 1 in 7 residents (12.8%), the highest percentage since 1930 (12%).

The office has produced online resources including a variety of publicationsdirectory of English classesimmigration advice, and a community resource directory and co-founded English for New Bostonians

The Mayor’s Office of New Bostonians is currently led by Alejandra St. Guillen, who currently serves as the interim Executive Director and previously the Executive Director of Oiste, the Latino civic and political organization. 

As Oiste’s Executive Director, St. Guillen  collaborated with elected officials in the development and promotion of public policy initiatives that have directly impacted the Latino community in Massachusetts, including education reform, economic justice policy, and electoral reform. St. Guillen has been honored by a number of organizations for her work in the Latino community, including El Planeta, Somos Latinos, and the Hispanic Heritage Foundation. 

Capacity-Building Initiative

On March 12, 2014, on behalf of Mayor Martin J. Walsh, Felix G. Arroyo, Chief of Health and Human Services, today joined the Mayor’s Office of New Bostonians and the Haiti Fund at the Boston Foundation to launch the Capacity-Building Initiative (CBI). The initiative was created to strengthen and increase sustainability among nine under-funded, immigrant-led, not-for-profit organizations that provide critical services to the immigrant community. 

The goal of the CBI to strengthen and increase the sustainability of these nine organizations. The approach is to help them build more efficient organizational systems and not a “band-aid” approach. Funds are used for the main consultant, Navin Associates, to conduct Phase 1, the Assessment Phase, with each of the nine organizations, and for Phase 2, the Implementation Phase, in which the Mayor’s Office of New Bostonians is currently embarking on. In this stage, Navin Associates and individual consultants are providing technical assistance and training to address each organization’s top capacity-building priorities (e.g., board development, grant writing, fundraising, program evaluation, etc.). The total budget for the CBI is $37,560. 

“These organizations work tirelessly on a daily-basis to provide educational, workforce and legal services to nearly 16,000 youth and families from diverse populations.” said Mayor Walsh. “It’s important that they are able to continue this work for years to come. As footholds in the communities they serve, they work across cultural groups to ensure that all immigrants are able to fully participate in the civic and economic life of their neighborhood.”

“Through this partnership we will be able to allow the organizations to pull through for the long haul and be able to do more,” said Pierre-André Noel, Director of the Haiti Fund at the Boston Foundation. “By strengthening immigrant organizations, the City of Boston and The Boston Foundation are making the whole city stronger.”

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The nine participating organizations are: 

How can you help Mayor Walsh make Boston be a more welcoming place for New Bostonians? 

• Let a new Bostonian you know know about the Mayor’s Office of New Bostonians to take advantage of their resources and services! 

• See the "City of Neighborhoods" exhibit at the Boston Public Library Central Library’s Norman B. Leventhal Map Center, now through August 22, 2014 to better understand how Boston’s changing. 

June 2, 2014
Bostonians with Disabilities

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On February 4, 2014, Mayor Martin J. Walsh announced the City of Boston was accepting applications for the Mayor’s Commission for Persons with Disabilities. The Commission facilitates full and equal participation in all aspects of life by persons with disabilities in the City of Boston. They strive to reduce architectural, procedural, attitudinal, and communication barriers that affect persons with disabilities. 

The commission is made up of nine members who work to help the City of Boston meet the needs of persons with disabilities who live, work and visit Boston. The Commission informs and advises the City on policies and procedures affecting the disability community.

"As Mayor of the City of Boston, I represent all our residents, and ensuring the voice of our disability community is heard is a priority for me," Mayor Walsh said. "I’m looking forward to working with the Commission on new ideas that will make the City of Boston more accessible and welcoming to all."

The City is currently seeking applications from people with disabilities that reflect the diverse needs of Boston’s neighborhoods and communities. Members will be appointed by the Mayor and serve in a volunteer capacity for a term of three years. Applicants must be residents of the City of Boston.

In March, Mayor Walsh also announced the Mobility Action Plan. ”A city on the move needs to be forward-thinking about transportation. Our streets are historic, but we are moving into the future: on foot and in wheelchairs, on bikes and in buses, in cars and on trains. Therefore, I’m pleased to announce the Boston Mobility Action Plan, a public process to guide and envision our transportation future. We will cut travel times, help the environment, and make Boston a better place to live and work.”

What are some other ways the City of Boston is helping Bostonians with disabilities and their families? 

• Celebrate the 24th Anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act on Thursday, July 24th, 2014 from 12 to 3 PM on Boston City Hall Plaza

• See films at the "Disability Reframed: A Community Film Series" taking place in Boston and Cambridge throughout the year. 

• Camp Joy for Boston residents ages 3 to 22 with disabilities and their siblings. The four-week summer camp provides structured, daily opportunities for participants to make new friends, have fun, learn, and grow during the summer months.

May 30, 2014
Preparing for Climate Change and How to Greenovate Your Life

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On March 7, 2014, at the Council of State Governments Eastern Regional Conference, “Weathering the Storm: Moving Forward on Regional Resilience,” Mayor Martin J. Walsh said, “As one of America’s oldest seaports, Boston has seen many a coastal storm. But past experience is not enough to prepare us for the future. As we’ve seen up and down the East Coast in recent years, severe storms are having ever more damaging effects. And communities that thought they were prepared are being devastated. Boston only avoided these kinds of impacts by sheer luck. It is not a time for complacency. We need to take action, and that’s what we’ve been doing.

"In late 2013, the City of Boston completed a climate vulnerability assessment. This report took input from every department, detailing the threat to all of our programs, populations, and infrastructure. We are now working diligently to mitigate these risks.

"Climate preparedness is a top priority of mine. We are currently updating our Climate Action Plan, to prepare for the effects of global warming and to meet our greenhouse gas reduction goals. We’ve brought in a top-notch consultant team to help us make Boston the most prepared city in the U.S. It’s also a value of my administration to include the people of Boston in everything we do. We have a community engagement plan in place to make sure everyone’s voice is heard." 

Boston Joins 10-City Effort to Cut Carbon Emissions

On January 30, 2014, Mayor Martin J. Walsh announced that Boston will join the City Energy Project (CEP), a new joint initiative of the Institute for Market Transformation (IMT), the National Resources Defense Council (NRDC) and select cities with ambitious strategies to save energy and reduce their buildings’ greenhouse gas emissions. The CEP will help 10 cities develop their locally tailored plans to advance energy efficiency and reduce waste in their largest buildings. 

In Boston, the City Energy Project will support the outreach and implementation around the city’s Building Energy Reporting and Disclosure Ordinance (BERDO) and its Renew Boston energy program’s large-building strategy, efforts which could save the commercial sector hundreds of millions of dollars in energy costs in the next 10 years.

“We are proud to partner with the City Energy Project as well as the other world-class cities participating in this important initiative,” Mayor Walsh said. “Last year, Boston was ranked the most energy-efficient city in the United States, and we know that through collaborations like this one, we’ll continue our progress towards being an even greener, healthier city with a growing economy.”

Boston vs. New York: The Climate Game from City of Boston on Vimeo.

Mayor Walsh announces Renew Boston Solarize Sign-ups

On March 3, 2014, Mayor Martin J. Walsh  announced that 106 Boston homeowners have signed contracts to install solar power through the 2013 Renew Boston Solarize program, a community bulk pricing program. A high rate of participation helped Renew Boston Solarize achieve its goal of 500 kilowatts (kW) of solar power and qualify for the lowest costs in the tiered pricing structure.

“Hundreds of Boston residents are now choosing to save money on their energy bills by taking advantage of this great program and going solar,” Mayor Walsh said. “At the same time, we’re adding to the clean energy economy in the city of Boston.”

The deadline for sign-ups has also been extended to December 31, 2014. 

Mayor Walsh Opens Up the 8th Annual Mayor‘s Greenovate Awards

On March 25, 2014, Mayor Martin J. Walsh announced that he is now accepting applications for the 2014 Mayor’s Greenovate Boston Awards, which recognizes sustainability leadership across the city of Boston, including businesses, community organizations, non-profits, residents and institutions. Nominations were due April 18th, 2014, and the awards ceremony will take place on May 31, 2014 at the Greenovate Boston Community Summit.

"The City of Boston continues to work closely with our residents, business and institutions to make Boston the greenest city in the country," Mayor Walsh said. 

Boston to Join C40 Global Climate Leadership Group

On April 4, 2014, Mayor Martin J. Walsh announced that Boston will be joining the C40 Cities Climate Leadership Group (C40), an invitation-only global network of cities on the front line of preparing for and helping prevent climate change. The Mayor also announced the creation of the 2014 Climate Action Plan Steering Committee, which will help guide the update of Boston’s Climate Action Plan.

“The City of Boston is proud to join the C40 and be recognized as a global leader on climate action,” said Mayor of Boston Martin J. Walsh. “Boston must take a proactive position on the global stage on a variety of issues, and climate change is chief among them. Through the 2014 Climate Action Plan Update, Boston will continue its leadership tradition, ensuring that Boston stays on track to meeting its aggressive climate goals.”

Race to Solar launches in Boston

On April 10, 2014, Mayor Martin J. Walsh of Boston and Mayor David P. Maher of Cambridge launched the Race to Solar,a program for local non-profits and small businesses to increase the adoption of solar power installations and energy efficiency measures. Race to Solar is a partnership with Renew Boston, NStar, National Grid, and Home Energy Efficiency Team (HEET) to promote energy efficiency upgrades and make solar power more affordable and accessible for non-profits, including houses of worship and schools, and small businesses that own their buildings.

“Solar has been taking off in Boston and I am pleased to work with the City of Cambridge to bring solar to organizations that serve and do business right in our neighborhoods,” said Mayor Walsh. “Boston is a leader in providing its non-profits and businesses the tools to be sustainable and we must continue to ‘greenovate’ our city.”

What can you do to reduce our energy usage and help prevent climate change?

• Attend the Greenovate Community Summit on May 31, 2014. 

3 ways to improve your workday from City of Boston on Vimeo.

3, 2, 1….chaching from City of Boston on Vimeo.

All About Recycling in the City of Boston from City of Boston on Vimeo.

April 30, 2014
Welcome to Boston (City Hall)!

At the January 11th Public Hearing on Human Services at the Haitian Multi-Service in Dorchester, with more than 150 people in attendance, one man asked the Human Services Working Group for Mayor Martin J. Walsh’s Transition Team, ”I don’t understand why when I go to Wal-Mart I am greeted, but at City Hall I am not. I’d like someone to welcome me there, too.” 

It was an idea that we heard many times during the transition.  So, on April 11th, Mayor Walsh launched the Boston City Hall Greeter Program, helping make City Hall a more welcoming, helpful, and accessible place. 

The program is run by the Mayor’s 24 Hour Constituent Service Department.  Greeters can be easily identified by their red vests, with iPads in hand to direct visitors and answer questions that will help visitors and residents accomplish their goals more easily and quickly.

The greeters also have maps on their iPad to direct visitors, making their visit as smooth as possible. 

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The greeters are students at Northeastern University’s Cooperative Education and Career Development program. 

The City Hall Greeters will be available from 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM each weekday.  They are stationed near the main entrance to Boston City Hall. 

Boston residents can also access city services through its City Hall To Go program, our mobile unit that visits neighborhoods across Boston every week. Check here for this month’s schedule.

The City Hall To Go mobile unit can help with myriad services, including  licensing your dog, getting a resident parking sticker, registering to vote, paying excise bills, buying Boston Meter Cards, or getting an e-library card. 

You can also follow City Hall To Go on Twitter, where you can even request them to come to your neighborhood! 

What can you do to help City Hall a better place? 

• Tell your friends, family, neighbors, and colleagues about the City Hall Greeters and City Hall To Go and help Boston get things done! 

April 29, 2014
Improving Addiction and Recovery Services

Substance abuse and addiction is a national issue that must be addressed through a mix of education and social and medical support services. We must both help reduce substance abuse and help Bostonians find the best ways for them to recover so they can live their lives free of addiction. 

The Boston Public Health Commission reports that between 2010 and 2012, unintentional drug overdoses increased by 39 percent in our city. Heroin and prescription drug overdoses are on the rise among White, Black, and Latino residents. There was a 76 percent increase in the rate of heroin overdoses between 2010 and 2012 — higher than the rate of increase for other substances. The rate of prescription drug overdoses, meanwhile, rose by 38 percent from 2009 to 2012. As of last week, Boston EMS had administered Narcan 52 times since the beginning of the year, compared to 41 times between the same time period in 2013. 

Nationally, heroin use rose 50 percent from 2002 to 2010 and deaths from overdoses have tripled since 1990.

Massachusetts Department of Public Health report helps us better understand Bostonians currently facing addiction and substance abuse issues:

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At an April 9, 2014 event with the Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts Foundation for Partnership/Recovery Services, Mayor Walsh spoke about how his administration is addressing these problems for many Bostonians. 

“There’s a stigma around drug and alcohol addiction that keeps too many people from getting the help they desperately need, and that has to change,” Mayor Walsh said. “I know the battle against addiction can’t be won alone. Increasing access to education and treatment options is one of the best things we can do to combat the stigma and give people a fighting chance at recovery.

"I know first-hand how recovery services like these can help turn around a life. I believe it can happen for everyone. With the right support and services, we can help our neighbors facing addiction get into recovery and rebuild their lives.

"I’m grateful to be joined by Audrey Shelto, President of the Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts Foundation, to announce a partnership with the Foundation to study the current capacity of addiction and recovery services in the city of Boston. By the end of the year, we’ll have a set of recommendations that will better align our services with the very best practices in the field. Our goal is to provide a continuum of high quality services that meet the needs of those suffering with addiction. This report will show us how to get there.

"Today I also presented my Fiscal Year 2015 budget to the City Council. In my budget is funding to create an Office of Recovery Services within the Boston Public Health Commission. It will help those fighting addiction better navigate the system of services in our city. This Blue Cross Blue Shield report will be fundamental to the development of that office, in its mission and its functions. My administration is committed to bringing new support to the recovery community, as part of our public health and public safety plans. We’re connecting the dots to make sure people get access to treatment. And we’re reaching out to our partners, so we can have the biggest impact and share the best ideas.” 

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Mayor Martin J. Walsh announcing a City of Boston partnership with the Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts Foundation.

Preventing Heroin Overdoses in Boston

On February 11, 2014, Mayor Walsh spoke at the Overdose Prevention Community Workshop for Narcan for First Responders in South Boston. 

"We talk about making a difference in city government. The programs we’re talking about today make the difference between life and death," said Mayor Walsh. "We know that overdoses have been rising in the City of Boston over the past few years, and new reports indicate a spike across the state and the region. We know the abuse of prescription opiates plays a role here. And there’s been talk about more potent strains of heroin, or batches cut with other chemicals. Let’s be clear, though: there is no safe batch of heroin. It’s a killer drug, and addiction is a deadly disease. 

"We are losing daughters and sons, sisters and brothers, mothers and fathers. These losses tear holes in our families and in our community, leaving deep trauma in their wake. We will only stop this epidemic if we act together as a community. To educate. To intervene. To provide treatment. And ultimately to welcome people back into our community as fully functioning citizens.

"This month we will hold community health fairs in South Boston, East Boston, the South End, Dorchester, and Allston-Brighton. These will provide training in overdose prevention and treatment. They will teach people how to find and access services. And just as important, they will connect people with the substance abuse coalitions in their own neighborhoods. Bringing people into these committed and caring communities and expanding their reach is one of the most important things we can do. It’s how we overcome the stigma that prevents people and their loved ones from seeking help before it is too late.

"I am also announcing today that all first responders in the City of Boston will begin to carry an overdose medication commonly known as Narcan. Our City EMTs and paramedics already carry it and have used it to save many lives. Going forward, first responders in the Police and Fire Departments will also carry Narcan. Research has shown that making Narcan available does not encourage people to use opiates more. It simply interrupts the course of an overdose. It saves lives and gives people a shot at getting into treatment. Its use is supported by the American Medical Association, the American Public Health Association, and the World Health Organization. It’s a proven tool.

"We fight drug abuse on many fronts. Overdose prevention might look like just one tool.  But it’s a life-saving tool.  And saving lives is the point here. It’s what makes everything else possible. Everyone we lose to an overdose, whatever walk of life they come from, is someone who could have found a new life in recovery. Someone who could have lived to inspire their families and enrich our community in ways we can only imagine. We owe it to them and to our city to get them the treatment they need."

Drug Take Back Kiosks

The Overdose Prevention Community Workshop was held at the South Boston district police station, one of eleven police stations around the city that are equipped with MedReturn drug collection kiosks.

The kiosks, a partnership between the Boston Public Health Commission, Boston Police, and the Massachusetts Department of Public Health, allow residents to anonymously dispose of unused or expired medication that could be misused or abused. Disposal of medications is free, confidential and accessible 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Visit bphc.org for more information and a map of kiosk locations

What can you do to help the City of Boston with helping Bostonians with substance abuse and recovery services?

• The Commonwealth of Massachusetts Department of Health and Human Services can help you or a loved one locate services that are most convenient. 

• The Helpline, Massachusetts Substance Abuse Information and Education, can also help you find local services. Helpline is funded by The Massachusetts Department of Public Health and Bureau of Substance Abuse Services. 

• Encourage your family members, friends, or colleagues who have substance abuse issues to seek help. Addiction is an issue many families deal with and there is no shame in admitting substance abuse or seeking help from others to recover. 

• Bring your unused or expired medication that can be misused or abused to a local kiosk near you today. 

April 29, 2014
Summer Jobs for Boston’s Teens

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Every summer thousands of teens finish their school year and find themselves with a lot of free time on their hands and, most likely, a desire to make some extra spending money. 

Creating summer jobs tackles our most pressing community priorities today, and at the same time, addresses employer needs by preparing a skilled and motivated workforce for the very near future.

Summer jobs are critical for teens’ development and success. Jobs teach students the habits of paid work, attendance, and punctuality; speaking and listening; accepting direction and criticism; and problem solving and taking initiative.

They are often motivated to pursue their education with newfound career aspirations, which, in many cases, leads to a permanent position with the same company or industry.

On Friday, March 7, 2014, Mayor Martin J. Walsh addressed the Boston Municipal Research Bureau at their annual meeting about economic issues, including the Boston Summer Jobs program. 

"I want you to commit with me to making our young people a part of that future," said Mayor Walsh. "Unfortunately, most of our largest employers don’t participate. But look at John Hancock: They hire hundreds of young people every summer. The young men and women they mentor do real and productive work. They gain meaningful experience, and they earn good money. If you haven’t made summer job hires before, consider it today. We make it very easy for you. Just go to bostonsummerjobs.org. Remember, it’s not just good for our young people, it’s good for our city; and it’s good for your business.”

For decades, the City of Boston and the Boston Private Industry Council have worked to organize private sector employers, from the region’s leading companies to neighborhood small businesses to participate in the Mayor’s Summer Jobs Initiative.

More than 300 Boston companies have committed to the Mayor’s 2014 Summer Jobs Program to date. 

Exceptional companies on the “honor roll” include: Aramark, Bank of America, Best Buy, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, BlueCross BlueShield, Boston Bar Association, Boston College, Boston Red Sox, Boston University, Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Children’s Hospital Boston, Citizens Bank, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, Dunkin’ Donuts, Faulkner Hospital, Federal Reserve Bank of Boston, Gillette, John Hancock, Liberty Mutual, Massachusetts General Hospital, MBTA, McDonald’s, Northeastern University, Partners Healthcare, Shaw’s, Sovereign Bank, St. Elizabeth’s Medical Center, State Street, Stop & Shop, Suffolk University, T.J. Maxx, Tufts Medical Center, University of Massachusetts Boston, Walgreens, Wentworth Institute of Technology, and youthdesign. 

On April 28th, Mayor Walsh and members of his cabinet cold-called companies that are not currently participating in the summer jobs program, asking them to hire youth, and earning him the title of "Telemarketer-in-Chief."

And in this morning’s speech to the Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce, Mayor Walsh again encouraged companies to hire students:

"Our young people need opportunities to get into the workplace, if they are to build the next Boston.  And we need the next generation of Boston’s leaders to reflect the full diversity of our city…youth employment transforms neighborhoods.  And it is how we nurture the spirit of Boston."

Why should you hire a Boston Public School (BPS) student? 

1) BPS students are prepared. Working with PIC Career Specialists, BPS students develop skills and participate in individual and group training, including resume writing, interview skills, professionalism, teamwork, and appropriate workplace behavior.

2) PIC Staff support both employers and students. The PIC can help employers craft job descriptions and coordinate the interview process. Career Specialists provide summertime support to both supervisors and students. If you have any questions, you can reach the Boston Private Industry Council at 617-423-3755.

3) BPS students can provide vacation coverage during busy summer months. Summer vacations may lead to staffing gaps. Student hires can fill those holes, helping businesses run more efficiently through July and August.

4) BPS students are the workforce of the future. Many students return to their summer employers after graduation, already familiar with work processes and corporate culture, and with a new interest in the range of careers that industry holds for their future. Students bring the diversity of Boston’s neighborhoods into the workplace — an important objective for many companies.

5) BPS students who work summer jobs perform better in school and attend college at higher rates than their peers. In many cases, the skills learned on the job translate back into the classroom, bringing context to academics and making them more purposeful in their pursuit of graduation and post-secondary plans. A summer job broadens horizons, connects youth to successful adults, and opens up the world of work as no other experience can.

What can you do to help make the Mayor’s Summer Jobs Program even more successful this year? 

• Do you work for a Boston area company that would like to hire a Boston teen and help better prepare them for the future? Visit bostonsummerjobs.org/employers to learn how to get started. 

• Do you know a Boston teen who is would like to put their smarts to work this summer? Ask them to visit bostonsummerjobs.org/students to learn how to get started. 

• Tell your friends, family, neighbors, and colleagues about the Mayor’s Summer Jobs Program and let’s make Boston work. 

April 29, 2014
Elevating Arts and Culture in Boston

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A Wordle from the job description for the new Arts and Cultural Affairs Commissioner

During the 2013 mayoral campaign, candidate Marty Walsh said that one of the main issues he heard about from Boston residents was how to improve how arts and culture are integrated into our residents’ lives. The topics ranged from how to offer more arts in the Boston Public School system to how to make it easier for arts organizations to start up and thrive to how to make the arts more accessible to residents of all neighborhoods. 

As a result, Mayor Martin J. Walsh is making the arts a priority in his administration, as outlined in the mayor’s First 101 Days report.

During the campaign, Marty Walsh promised that as mayor he would create a cabinet-level position for arts and culture for the first time in 20 years. On January 29, 2014, Mayor Walsh announced a new cabinet structure, which included a new position for arts and culture.

The arts and culture chief will oversee the Boston Public Library, the Arts Commission, and Boston Cultural Council. The move splits apart the job of arts, tourism and special events director. Tourism and special events will be moved under the Department of Economic Development. 

On March 13th, the City of Boston posted the position for an Arts and Cultural Affairs Commissioner and is currently conducting a national search for candidates. 

Late Night Task Force

Mayor Walsh also appointed a diverse group of stakeholders to his Late Night Task Force, to look at how the City of Boston can foster a safe and vibrant late-night culture and create the kind of nightlife that visitors expect in a world-class city.

"Those international students who flock to Boston colleges, we want them to stay here, start their businesses, and tell their friends back home that Boston is the place to be," said Mayor Walsh. 

Immediate Steps to Elevate Arts and Culture

On March 24, 2014 at a reception for the Boston Cultural Council’s grant recipients, Mayor Walsh said, “The arts are essential to everything we want to achieve as a city. We want students in our schools to develop creativity, so they can be leaders in the innovation economy. We want talented people from all over the world to see Boston as a culturally exciting place to come and work. And we want all of our residents to be able to envision new possibilities and enhance their neighborhoods.

"These are the reasons I am dedicated to supporting and elevating our arts community. I’ll just touch on some of the steps we’re taking.

"One of the first things I did after taking office was to convene a meeting with the heads of Boston’s largest museums. I wanted to start the conversation right away about what we need to do to make Boston a leader in arts and culture.

"We elevated the arts to a cabinet-level position and we moved tourism under economic development. The two will still enjoy a close relationship, but the arts will have its own seat at the table. And we have begun the search for a Chief of Arts & Culture. This appointment will put culture in the conversation at the highest level of decision-making.

"We’re reviving the city’s Poet Laureate program, just in time for National Poetry Month in April. We’re forming a search committee to find a new Poet Laureate and to discuss the possibilities for this position.

"We are embracing public art and design as a key component of how we envision and develop space in Boston. This includes holding a Public Space Invitational. We’re taking submissions and we’ll implement the best ones to enhance our streets, sidewalks, and even City Hall.

"And for the first time we are directly commissioning new public art, starting with three major installations by local artists at the city’s Ferdinand Building in Dudley Square. As the new headquarters of the Boston Public Schools, the Ferdinand Building will be an economic engine for Roxbury. This public art will help define it as a civic space. And we are setting aside money for maintenance and conservatorship.

"We’ve added new members to the Boston Arts Commission, and we’re appointing new members to the Boston Cultural Council. We’re ensuring that every sector of our arts community and our entire city are represented.

"Finally, I’m pleased to announce that the City can commit to matching the Massachusetts Cultural Council’s contribution to the Boston Cultural Council. This will double the amount of money the Boston Cultural Council can grant to arts organizations.

"Long term, we are working to find a dedicated, robust, and stable revenue source for the arts. This year’s budget is tight, so we can’t make all of the investments in the arts that we know are needed. But this is an important step. When I think about all the great work being done by people in this room, I know that this new funding will have a profound impact across the city. It will enrich and strengthen our civic fabric as only the arts can."

On April 9, 2014, as Mayor Walsh presented his recommended budget for fiscal year 2015, he said, “In addition to driving our economy, the arts enhance everything we do. They provide a way for us to tell our city’s story and envision its next chapter.”

How can you help Mayor Walsh make Boston a municipal arts leader?

• Help us spread the word about the new Arts and Cultural Affairs Commissioner position

• Read more about the City of Boston’s Arts and Cultural Affairs department, Boston Public Librarythe Arts Commission, and Boston Cultural Council

Apply to have your visual art displayed at Boston City Hall.