My 2016

Dear Boston,

It's been an eventful 2016 for us all.
Please take a moment to review my year
as a Boston City Councillor.

Tito Jackson
District 7 Boston City Councillor
Chair, Committee on Education

2016 Budget Priorities

After extensive community consultation, including eleven Town Halls for every neighborhood of Boston this spring, I advocated strongly for these four budget priorities:

Read my 2016 Budget Priorities Letter to the Mayor for the full details.


As Chair of the Boston City Council's Committee on Education, I spent 2016 advocating for all our students on many fronts:

Read my Budget Testimony to the Boston School Committee

Read my Testimony to the Boston School Committee on the Mattahunt, the O'Bryant's music program, and my proposal to provide free M7 MBTA passes to all Boston high school students

Protected Our Schools

I proudly stood with students, parents, teachers, and community members to protect our Commonwealth's public schools, our existing charter schools, and our parochial schools by fighting the irresponsible Massachusetts Ballot Question 2.

I opposed Question 2 on many fronts. I participated in ten debates, I spoke at rallies, I door knocked, I made the case on social media, I held signs, I made the No On 2 case widely in the press. Together with my colleague and co-sponsor Matt O'Malley, I wrote the Boston City Council Resolution opposing Ballot Question 2, a Resolution that passed overwhelmingly. Ballot Question 2 was rejected by the voters of Massachusetts.

Boston City Council Resolution Opposing Question 2 (August 3, 2016)

Harvard University Graduate School of Education Askwith Forum

WBUR/The Boston Globe Debate at UMass Boston

Advocacy to the State

I have repeatedly asked the Governor, State Legislature, and State Board of Education for increased funding for our schools, and for a reconsideration of charter seat expansions because of their impact on public schools and existing charters. I fought MBTA cuts to our students (and am happy to note some of the cuts were offset), and opposed against cuts to the UMass system, and I will continue in 2017 to support the Mattahunt community in their continuing fight against closure.

A Letter to the MBTA from your Best Customer - Opposition to MBTA Student T-pass Hikes (February 10, 2016)

Testimony to the State's Joint Committee on Education in Opposition of H.3928 (March 7, 2016)

Testimony to DESE opposing charter seat expansion (March 23, 2016)

Helping Working Families

I stood this year with the hardworking men and women of the SEIU, in hospitality, in the MBTA, at Verizon, at Harvard, at Boston Water and Sewer, Boston parking attendants, and all who work in our Commonwealth's schools.

I was also proud to introduce a City Council Resolution (which passed unanimously) supporting the passage of Massachusetts Senate Bill 2323 to create a maximum allowable check cashing rate. Our working families should not be faced with exorbitant fees from lending institutions, further undermining their financial health.

Read the Resolution in Support of Senate Bill 2323 to create a maximum allowable check cashing rate.

Read the Resolution Calling on the Boston Redevelopment Authority, Real Estate Developers, Building Owners, and Building Managers to Support Community Standards in the Parking Industry.

Reclaim Roxbury

2016 was a pivotal year for Reclaim Roxbury - an ongoing community-driven effort I convened with the community, MIT, and RCC. Reclaim Roxbury is working to revive a community-based structure and process to oversee Roxbury neighborhood development.

Though housing development is of course important, we must ensure that those who live in Boston have the means to stay in Boston.

Reclaim grew by leaps and bounds, convened Roxbury-wide monthly meetings, elected a leadership team, and established Governance, Information Strategy, Organizing, and Development Standards sub-committees. On Reclaim's behalf, I successfully petitioned the BPDA (the rebranded BRA) to place a 6-month moratorium on their Plan:Dudley initiative, and to conduct a housing and displacement analysis of the plan because surprisingly, they had not done so.

Letter to the BRA for a moratorium on Plan Dudley

Reclaim Roxbury on Facebook

City officials, residents debate BPDA Plan Dudley goals - Bay State Banner

Plan:Dudley and Plan JP/Rox Opposition - Bay State Banner

Housing and Development

In addition to Reclaim Roxbury, 2016 was again a busy year for development projects in my district. While I continue to believe we need to pursue thoughtful and creative policies promoting development, we must first place current residents' needs at the center of Boston's approach.

To that end, I have followed the wishes of the community during development planning processes in District 7. I am grateful to the community for their continued vital advocacy, and to the many developers and property owners who have in turn honored community needs.

Helped Constituents

I have a busy office that gets thousands of phone calls. letters, and visits a year from constituents who need help with a variety of things.

My office tries our best to help all our constituents both inside and outside my District. This year, we helped my constituents resolve employment, housing, school, food, crime, health, transportation, and neighborhood issues.

If you have a constituent issue, please call my office at 617-635-3510.

Safe Communities

One of the toughest issues of 2016 has been the sad increase in violent offenses compared to 2015. One of my duties is to visit the families often immediately after they are affected by violence. It remains one of the hardest duties for me to fulfill because the senselessness of so many of the circumstances these families face is truly heartbreaking. We must as a city do better. In 2017, I will continue to do all I can to support the work of the community, the City, and the Police.

As part of this effort, I recently filed for a Hearing Order to address violence in Boston, and look forward to a Hearing at the earliest opportunity in 2017.

As the Chair of the Boston City Council Special Committee on the Status of Black and Latino Men and Boys, I introduced a Hearing Order on the innovative Fathers Now Program.

Hearing Order to Address Violence in the City of Boston

Fathers Now Program Hearing Order

Accountable Public Safety

As 2016 has painfully made clear, the people of this country have every right to live in safety. But that safety must also come with accountability.

I was proud to join with many community members and civil rights organizations to lead the successful effort to equip the Boston Police Department with body-worn cameras. I will also continue to push the Police Department and Mayor Walsh to deploy body-worn cameras to all officers (rather than the limited pilot program they agreed to).

For me though body-worn cameras are not only in the interest of the public alone. I firmly believe they provide protection for our police officers as well. Unfortunately members of the public from time to time file claims against police officers. Body-worn cameras will prove to be an effective means to independently verify such reports.

I remain particularly troubled by the deployment of the software the BPD proposes to use to monitor social media. I look to work closely with civil rights organizations to make sure safety should never be at the cost of freedom.

Body-Worn Police Cameras Hearing Order

Protecting Immigrant Families

I am privileged to live in Boston, where in 2014 under the direction of my colleague City Councillor Josh Zakim, the City Council unanimously passed the Trust Act, ensuring that Boston will not violate the Fourth Amendment rights of any of our residents.

In what may be difficult times ahead for all Bostonians, whether citizens or non-citizens, documented or undocumented, I was proud in 2016 to again affirm our city’s Trust Act, and I will continue to do everything in my power to make sure all our residents know they are able to go to school, are able to report crimes, are able to get medical care, all without fear of Federal reprisals.

We must uphold the Fourth Amendment, and honor the amazing contributions of all of our residents, documented and undocumented, by seeking fair, comprehensive immigration reform in the days ahead.

My remarks on reaffirming the Trust Act and Boston's protection of all immigrant residents:

My remarks to the Islamic Society of Boston Cultural Center (ISBCC):

Criminal Justice Drug Laws Reform

The war on drugs has been a disaster, particularly for communities of color. I became an early supporter of Massachusetts Ballot Question 4 because I was deeply troubled by the disproportionate rates of incarceration for communities of color.

I was also a vocal supporter of marijuana decriminalization because I further believed that we had an opportunity to tax and regulate marijuana, and to use that new revenue to effectively fight our opioid crisis.

I worked with a host of individuals and organizations across the Commonwealth to ensure this ballot question passed this year. I was very pleased to see the measure pass by a wide margin.

Boston Business Journal Interview on my support for Ballot Question 4 (April 20, 2016)

Promoting Small Businesses

Small businesses provide the vast number of Boston's jobs. They are the heart of economic development in Boston, and in Massachusetts. This year, I continued to promote many of their permitting, licensing, and real estate needs.

All Legislative Work

I filed a number of City Council Hearings Orders, Resolutions, and Ordinances, and held many Hearings to discuss these issues. Below are a list of the Hearings Orders, Working Sessions, Resolutions, and Ordinance legislation I introduced and chaired.

Resolutions Offered

2016 Hearings Sponsored

Hearings Orders Filed in 2016 and Hearings Pending in 2017

Letters and Filings

There were many other issues addressed by my fellow City Councillors I also have taken a keen interest in. They include:

All City Council Meetings and Hearings are videotaped and live streamed. Visit the City Council's Video Archive to watch previous meetings.

North-South Rail Link

I have joined a number of colleagues, individuals, and organizations from across the Commonwealth to advocate for a North-South Rail Link between South Station and North Station, finally connecting the entire rail network of the Eastern seaboard. I believe this will be a vital project for Boston, for all of Eastern New England, and for the East Coast. I believe the NSRL will be far more beneficial than the alternate proposal to expand both South and North station railyards.

Learn more about the North-South Rail Link

Roxbury Cultural District

Together with my colleague Ayanna Pressley I successfully initiated the process to create a state-sponsored cultural district for Roxbury. The City Council overwhelmingly passed the Resolution and I look forward to the state to formally authorize the cultural district.

State Authorized Cultural District in Roxbury Resolution (with Ayanna Pressley)

Tito's Backpack Giveaway

In partnership with many community groups, my annual backpack again gave away hundreds of backpacks filled with school supplies to students who were in need.

Tito's Turkey Giveaway

At the 6th Annual Tito's Turkey Giveaway, hundreds of volunteers were able to give away 3,250 free turkeys. That's 23 tons of turkey! If all the turkeys were placed end to end, the line would stretch from Symphony Hall to Brigham Circle, a distance of one mile. Unfortunately, we ran out and had to turn some families away. Food insecurity continues for many Bostonians.

Turkey Fry

I hosted my annual Turkey Fry for my neighborhood. It's always a fun way to enjoy friends, community, music, and fried turkey.

And that's always a reason to line dance...

Let's Go Forward Together In 2017

Thank you for a year of advocacy, friendship, and partnership in 2016.

Let us together work for a prosperous, joyful, and just 2017 for us all.