City Council Check in

Dear Friends,

I hope you are enjoying a relaxing and healthy summer with family and friends and looking forward to the Labor Day Weekend.
 
As the summer winds down, the work continues at City Hall and in District 6.  I would like to update you on some of the issues I have been working on over the past several months and what I will be focusing on this fall.

As chair of the City Council’s Environment and Sustainability Committee, much of my work is dedicated to making sure Boston continues to be a leading green city.  We continue to work toward this goal through initiatives I have championed including increasing access to water bottle filling stations and sun screen dispensers in public spaces, creating a paperless pay stub option for city employees, initiating a new litter reduction measures and joining with At Large Councilor Ayanna Pressley in calling for citywide curbside composting.  I am also working with At Large Councilor Michael Flaherty and an active coalition of stakeholders to address gas leaks in our communities and pass legislation that would establish an accelerated timeline for those leaks to be fixed by utility companies.  My bill would both accelerate the plug of all gas leaks and better coordinate road work with public and private utilities. 
 
Currently I am collaborating with City Council President Michelle Wu to examine the possibility of enacting measures to reduce single-use plastic bags in Boston. We have scheduled three public meetings and to discuss the issue.  To be part of the conversation, please contact my office at the number or email address below for more information.
 
In the coming months I will also be looking at ways to motivate businesses and building owners to utilize the many benefits of green roofs and other incentives to encourage and incentivize developers and property owners to make their buildings more environmentally friendly.
 
And, as you may know, I remain fully committed to fighting the ill-conceived West Roxbury Lateral Pipeline and stand with Congressman Stephen Lynch, Mayor Marty Walsh, State Senator Mike Rush, State Representative Ed Coppinger, my colleagues on the Council, and many other dedicated opponents to pursue every legal avenue possible to halt its construction next to the city’s only active quarry.
 
As we welcome the city’s students back to school, I will continue to work toward making the Boston Public Schools among the best in the nation.  I will continue to work with the Boston Latin School Alumni Association and Headmaster ad interim Michael Contompasis in supporting and strengthening my alma mater.  Additionally, I am working with At Large Councilor Annissa Essaibi-George to consider the benefits of later school start times for our city’s high school students.  I will also visit more of the city’s schools this fall to learn about the innovative and creative efforts going on in the city’s classrooms and meet the people who champion Boston’s kids every day.
 
Among my proudest moment this year was the unanimous passage of Boston’s Puppy Mill Bill, which prohibits Boston pet stores from selling dogs, cats, and rabbits purchased from commercial breeders.  These unethical breeders often raise their animals under inhumane conditions.  This law not only protects animals, but it also protects Boston’s consumers from being sold unhealthy or sick pets.  Another highlight of the year was officially naming the Hyde/Jackson corridor as Boston's Latin Quarter.  Working with the talented youth of the Hyde Square Task Force, I led the effort on the Council to help promote a vibrant business district. 
 
In the spring, during the city’s annual budget process, I attended dozens of City Council hearings and consistently advocated for funding to support projects in the neighborhoods of my district. Work is currently underway on a $12 million renovation of the Jamaica Plain Branch Library that will increase its space by over 20 percent and add an elevator to improve accessibility for elderly and disabled visitors. The library is scheduled to reopen in the winter of 2017.
 
Over the past few years I have advocated for funds for renovations to both Millennium Park Phase II and Billings Field in West Roxbury as well as the new playground at the Beethoven Elementary School. Millennium Park Phase II, which was completed in the fall of 2015, includes new artificial turf athletic fields, a 6-lane running track, courts for both tennis and basketball, and an energy-efficient lighting system. 

Today we're renewing our focus on supporting the establishment of two off-leash dog parks: one in conjunction with the Dog Park Association of Southwest Boston, and the other along the Southwest corridor as a result of the closure of the Beecher Street lot in Jamaica Plain.  In the meantime, I have worked with the MSPCA to allow public access of their off-leash dog run adjacent to the Angell Memorial Hospital. 
 
The best part of my job is getting to know the people I represent and helping to make District 6 a better place to live, work, and raise a family.  I want to hear from you.  Please feel free to reach out to me anytime at the office (617-635-4220) or my personal cell phone (617-935-9752) or by emailing matthew.omalley@boston.gov.  

Thank you, as always, for giving me the opportunity to work for the people and the neighborhoods that I know and love.

I look forward to hearing from you.

All my best,
Matt