Category: Beacon Hill

Esplanade Association Board says ‘Thank You’ to Rep Livingstone

November 9, 2018

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The board of the Esplanade Association hosted a reception to thank State Rep. Jay Livingstone for his contributions to the Charles River Esplanade, and to the neighborhoods of Back Bay and Beacon Hill on Thursday, Oct. 25, at the home of T.K. and Lianne Ankner.

At this intimate gathering, Livingstone met with EA supporters and spoke of some of his proudest moments while in the Legislature. He was acknowledged for his contributions to public access to the Charles River Esplanade, including advocacy for the completion of the Fanny Appleton Footbridge, inclusion of Commissioner’s Landing for funding in the Governor’s 2018 Environmental Bond Bill and his active role in planning for the future of the former Lee Pool site.

“As a Friends group to a state park, it is invaluable to have allies in the State House to help secure funding for major improvements to the park or advocate for the removal of impediments to public access,” said Michael Nichols, executive director of the Esplanade Association. “Rep. Livingstone understands the role the Esplanade plays in improving the quality of life for the people in his District and beyond and he has been a strong supporter of the park throughout his years in office. We were thankful for this opportunity to express our gratitude.”

Hill Voters Still Have Early Voting Option

November 2, 2018

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Beacon Hill voters can cast their ballots in the Commonwealth’s general election at their assigned polling locations on Election Day, Tuesday, Nov. 6, or take advantage of early voting ending on Nov. 2.

Republican Charlie Baker will be seeking a second term as governor in the race against Democratic candidate Jay Gonzales, who served as the state’s secretary of administration and finance under Gov. Deval Patrick from 2009 to 2013, while KarynPolito, Baker’s Republican running mate in the reelection bid, is vying for her second term against Democratic challenger Quentin Palfrey, an attorney who worked as senior advisor for jobs and competitiveness in the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy during President Barack Obama’s first term.

In the race for U.S. senator, incumbent Democrat Elizabeth Warren is running for a second term against Geoff Diehl, a Republican who represents the 7th Plymouth District in the Massachusetts House of Representatives, and Shiva Ayyadurai, a scientist and entrepreneur running as an Independent.

 

Incumbent Democrat Maura Healy will face GOP challenger Jay McMahon, a Cape Cod attorney, in her bid for second term as attorney general, while Democrat Bill Galvin is seeking his sixth term as secretary of state against Republican Anthony Amore, director of security at the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, and Green-Rainbow candidate Juan Sanchez.

In the race for state treasurer. Democrat Deborah Goldberg is running for a second term against Keiko Orral, a Republican who serves in the Massachusetts House of Representatives and currently represents the 12th Bristol District in the General Court, and Green-Rainbow nominee Jamie Guerin.

Incumbent Democrat Suzanne Bump is seeking a third term as state auditor running against Republican Helen Brady, Libertarian Daniel Fishman and Green-Rainbow candidate Edward Stamas.

In the race for Suffolk County district attorney, Democratic candidate Rachael Rollins, former general counsel of the MBTA, will face Independent candidate Michael Maloney, a criminal defense attorney. Rollins has made waves during her campaign by vowing not to prosecute a list of 15 crimes if elected.

Meanwhile, the general election ballot also includes Question 1  – a proposed law that would limit the number of patients who could be assigned to each registered nurse in Massachusetts hospitals and other healthcare facilities; Question 2, which the secretary of the state’s website describes as a “proposed law would create a citizens commission to consider and recommend potential amendments to the [U.S.] Constitution to establish that corporations do not have the same Constitutional rights as human beings and that campaign contributions and expenditures may be regulated’; and Question 3, a “law [that] adds gender identity to the list of prohibited grounds for discrimination in places of public accommodation, resort or amusement.”

On November 6, Election Day, the polling location for voters for voters in Ward 3, Precinct 6 is Boston City Hall, 1 City Hall Square; for voters in Ward 5, Precinct 3 – the State House, 24 Beacon St.; Ward 5, Precinct 4 – the West End Branch of the Boston Public Library, 151 Cambridge St.; and Ward 5, Precincts 5 and 11 – Hill House Community Center, 127 Mt. Vernon St. All polling locations will be open from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m.

The state’s early voting period runs from Monday, Oct. 22, to Friday, Nov. 2. A Massachusetts state law passed in 2014 requires that cities and towns offer early voting for the general election every two years. The first early voting period was in 2016, so this year is only the second time the City is offering early voting.  Anyone who is registered to vote in Boston can take advantage of early voting in the city at any of the polling locations.

The main polling place in Boston is City Hall, though there are a number of pop-up locations throughout the city to make it more convenient for people to cast their ballot. This year, the city offered a full weekend of early voting on Saturday, Oct. 27, and Sunday, Oct. 28.

The most successful polling place over the weekend was the Copley branch of the Boston Public Library, bringing in 1339 voters on Saturday. Overall, there have been 15,603 early voters as of Oct. 29, according to the Election Department—and there are still two more days to go.

City Hall remains the main polling place, and will be open for voting from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Thursday, Nov. 1, and 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Friday, Nov. 2, but there are also a few remaining pop-up locations. On Thursday, Nov. 1, polls will be open from noon-8 p.m. at: The Salvation Army Ray and Joan Kroc Community Center, the ABCD Thelma D. Burns Building, and The Blue Hills Collaborative.

State Rep. Jay Livingstone, who also supports early voting, said he hopes that the initiative makes it easier for people to access their right to vote and subsequently leads to higher voter turnout.

As for the ballot questions, Livingstone expects Question 3 will do “overwhelmingly well.” He added, “I’m pleased that the voters have upheld civil rights granted to transgender people in 2016 with the legislation that I actively supported.”

Also, Livingstone applauded Rachael Rollins as candidate for Suffolk County district attorney, adding that he “look[s] forward to the benefits to our criminal justice system and society as we encourage treatment and rehabilitation over incarceration.”

Livingstone also predicts that Elizabeth Warren and Maura Healy will “blow it out of the water” in their respective races for reelection as state senator and district attorney.

“It’s great working with Elizabeth Warren and Maura Healy, and I’m pleased that voters are returning them to office,” Livingstone said. “I’m grateful for people’s continued faith in me to serve them in the House of Representatives, and I look forward to this new term.”

Kenzie Bok, chair of the Boston Ward 5 Democratic Committee, also expects that Warren will handily win her bid for a new term while adding that she is encouraged by Jay Gonzales’ and Quentin Palfrey’s hard work on the campaign trail.

“Jay Gonzales and Quentin Palfrey are really doing a great job raising important issues and challenges in Massachusetts and… by not giving Charlie Baker a free pass,” Bok s aid. “The overall direction that the Republican party is taking the county in is disturbing and worrisome… so we still hope on Tuesday, the people will send [Baker] a message.”

Bok said the Ward 5 Dems are pleased with the return of early voting, which they hope will be available in all elections going forward.

“As far as increasing participation, early voting really moves the needle forward the most when combined with same-day registration, so that is hopefully something we can get in next election cycle,” Bok added.

Bok is also encouraged by the many people in their 20s and 30s who were engaged politically for the first time during this election, volunteering for campaigns and taking an active part in the process.

“It’s exciting…and this activation will matter a lot for future elections,” Bok said.

Frances Appleton Pedestrian Bridge Across Storrow Opens to the Public

 

The $12.5 million Frances Appleton Pedestrian Bridge – a 230-foot-long, steel arch span that links Beacon Hill/Charles Circle to the Charles River Esplanade – is now open to the public.

The 14-foot-wide, 750-foot-long, multi-use bridge was constructed as part of the Massachusetts Department of Transportation’s (MassDOT) $300-million renovation of the Longfellow Bridge, which links Charles Circle in Boston to Central Square in Cambridge via the Charles Circle. The Appleton is a signature bridge in the City of Boston with its elegant steel arch span, as well as the first fully accessible, ADA pedestrian bridge over Storrow Drive.

The old, existing footbridge is slated for demolition within the next two weeks, according to Miguel Rosales, the architect for both the Appleton and Longfellow bridges, as well as president and founder of Boston-based Rosales  Partners.

 

“As the designer of the Appleton Pedestrian Bridge, I was thrilled to recently cross it for the first time,” Rosales wrote. “The beautiful bridge floats over the park with stunning views of the Charles River.   It is very light, visually pleasing and the first ADA accessible 14-feet wide link in the area.  The main arch soars over Storrow Drive with a single, elegant gesture, which is inspired by the historic arches of the adjacent Longfellow Bridge.

“I am looking forward to having the bridge fully completed including walking surface treatments, hardscape elements and landscaping including the addition of new shade trees in the next few months.  I am confident that Bostonians and visitors alike will enjoy using the innovative bridge for generations to come,” Rosales wrote.

Michael Nichols, executive director of the Esplanade Association, said, “We are excited that this breathtaking new footbridge has opened to make the Esplanade more accessible to visitors. Representatives from our organization advocated for this vital new connection from the early stages of the Longfellow Bridge restoration and we are so grateful to MassDOT, the Department of Conservation and Recreation, former State Rep. Marty Walz, current Rep. Jay Livingstone, Miguel Rosales of Rosales + Partners, and many other partners for their hard work to finally make the Fanny Appleton bridge a reality.”

DCR Commissioner Leo Roy said, “The Baker-Polito administration remains committed to providing residents and visitors with opportunities to safely visit the Commonwealth’s state parks system. With the completion of the Frances Appleton Bridge, [DCR] is thrilled that pedestrians and bicyclists will have increased access to the Charles River Esplanade. Furthermore, the completion of the Frances Appleton Bridge serves as a major accomplishment, and is a welcome addition to the metro Boston area.”

The bridge is named after the wife of Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, one of the most widely known and best-loved American poets of his lifetime. He used to cross the Charles River from Cambridge to Beacon Hill in the 1840s while he was courting “Fanny” Appleton, and the new bridge complements the historic Longfellow Bridge as a symbol of their union.

Boston Voters Back Pressley; Hill Voters Support Zakim

Like voters throughout the Commonwealth, Boston showed its support for Ayanna Pressley who unseated 10-term incumbent U.S. Rep. Michael Capuano to represent the 7th Congressional District in an upset victory in Tuesday’s Democratic primary.

According to the city’s unofficial election results, 64 percent of Boston voters cast their ballots for Pressley, compared with Capuano’s 36 percent. Throughout the district, Pressley captured 59 percent of the ballots cast while Capuano garnered 41 percent, according to AP Data.

Pressley, age 44, will become the first woman of color to represent Massachusetts in the U.S. House. In 2010, she made history when she was elected as the first woman of color to the Boston City Council, where she continues to serve as an at-large representative.

 

Meanwhile, long-serving Secretary of State Bill Galvin defeated Boston City Councilor Josh Zakim by a margin of 36 percent throughout the Commonwealth. (Galvin captured 68 percent of the ballot statewide, compared with Zakim at 32 percent, according to AP data).

In contrast, around 52 percent of Beacon Hill voters Ward 3, Precinct 6 and Ward 5, Precincts 3, 4, 5 and 11 supported Zakim in the election as opposed to Galvin, who garnered 48 percent of the ballots cast.

Throughout Boston, 57 percent of voters supported Galvin, compared with Zakim at 42 percent, according to the city’s unofficial election results.

Upon learning the results of the Democratic primary, State Rep. Jay Livingstone wrote, “Ayanna Pressley and Josh Zakim ran great races, and their challenges brought issues to the forefront of political discussion. I look forward to Ayanna Pressley serving in her new role. I’m disappointed Josh Zakim did not succeed, but am pleased I can continue to work with him in his current role.”

Kenzie Bok, chair of the Boston Ward 5 Democratic Committee, wrote, “I’m thrilled Ayanna is going to be our next congresswoman – she is a role model to so many, ran an amazing campaign, and has already changed local politics just by running.

“Even though Josh lost, he and Ayanna both achieved a major shift: they showed that we can have a contest of ideas to choose the best candidate every cycle here in Massachusetts, regardless of incumbency.

“In an overwhelmingly Democratic state like ours, having real primary races like this is key to making our government the best it can be.

“I’m disappointed Josh won’t be our Secretary of State, but I’m proud of him for throwing his hat in the ring, and I think his candidacy alone has been good for voter access in Massachusetts.”

Rachael Rollins wins Suffolk County D.A. Rachael Rollins won the election for Suffolk County District Attorney Tuesday in the five person race to fill the seat left by outgoing D.A. Dan Conley. Rollins defeated Greg Henning, Shannon McAuliffe, Evandro Carvalho and Linda Champion. With her win Rollins will be the first female-candidate of color to hold the position in the history of the Commonwealth.

“I am honored and humbled.  But I also need to say – for all of us – that this is earned. As a 47-year old Black Woman, I have earned this,” she said Tuesday night. :We have earned this.  This is the time for us to claim our power and make good on our promises to make true criminal justice reform for the people in Suffolk County.  Reform that is progressive – that decriminalizes poverty, substance use disorder, and mental illness.  This is the time to create a system that puts fairness and equity first – as a model for the Commonwealth and the nation.”

In Boston Rollins received just over 40 percent of the vote followed by Henning who finished the night with 22 percent of the vote. Carvalho finished with 17 percent followed by McAuliffe who got 10 percent and Champion who ended the night with 9 percent.

In Beacon Hill Rollins received 633 votes and topped the ticket in the D.A. race here.

The district also includes Winthrop, Chelsea and Revere.

Shaw 54th Regiment Memorial to be Restored through Unique Partnership

Mayor Martin J. Walsh joined representatives from National Park Service, Friends of the Public Garden and the Museum of African American History on the Boston Common Friday to sign a Memorandum of Understanding committing to jointly restore the Shaw 54th Regiment Memorial.

Situated inside the Common on the corner of Beacon and Park streets, the bas-relief memorial created by venerable American sculptor Augustus Saint-Gaudens will undergo a $2.8 million restoration in 2019, including a complete rehabilitation of its bronze sculpture. Portions of the park will be cordoned off and closed to the public during the five- to six-month construction period, officials said.

The memorial was installed in 1897 to commemorate Robert Gould Shaw and the 54th – the first regiment of black troops recruited from the North to fight for their freedom in the Civil War.  On May 28, 1863, the 54th Massachusetts infantry made its way for Beaufort, S.C., where it became part of the X Corps commanded by Major General David Hunter. Afterwards, the 54th took part in operations in Charleston, S.C. including the Battle of Grimball’s Landing on July 16, 1863 and the Second Battle of Fort Wagner on July 18, 1863.

 

During the latter battle, the 54th and other Union regiments waged a frontal assault against Fort Wager, which resulted in the death of Shaw and 20 other members of the infantry while 125 were injured and another 102 reported missing (and presumed dead). And upon returning home, members of the 54th faced racial intolerance despite having served their country so valiantly.

Marita Rivero, the museum’s executive director, recalled how Harriet Tubman, a leading abolitionist who escaped slavery to become the most celebrated “conductor” of the Underground Railroad, met troops from the 54th when their steamship landed in South Carolina and served them breakfast.

Michael Creasey, NPS superintendent, said the Shaw Monument is widely regarded as not only one of Saint-Gauden’s masterpieces, but also as one of the most important monuments in the U.S.

Mayor Martin J. Walsh, who has announced plans to devise a new Master Plan for the Common, juxtaposed the State House, located directly behind the monument, where he began his political career as a state representative as the son of immigrants in 1997, with the infantryman represented in the monument marching down Beacon Street, whom he credits for paving his eventual path to City Hall.

Besides restoring this monument, Walsh announced plans for memorials to Martin Luther King Jr. and his wife Coretta Scott on the Common and in Roxbury, a memorial to victims of the slave trade in Faneuil Hall and monuments honoring African-American culture in Dorchester and Roxbury.

Other elected officials on hand for the document signing included State Reps. Jay Livingstone, Byron Rushing and Chynah Tyler, as well as City Councilors Ed Flynn and Josh Zakim.

Meanwhile, Liz Vizza, executive director of the Friends, said the group plans to use the monument restoration to launch programming and a community dialogue and programming surrounding race relations in the city set to launch this fall.

“The project is an opportunity to engage the community through programming that will explore race, freedom and justice,” Vizza said, “and it couldn’t come at a more tumultuous time in our country’s history.”