Sunday, January 31, 2010

Good News From Beacon Hill Winter Dance

I slipped into my (rented) tux last night and attended the Beacon Hill Winter Dance, organized by the Beacon Hill Civic Association. This year's gala shifted locations to the new Mandarin Hotel in Boston's Back Bay (last year the venue was the Liberty Hotel on Beacon Hill).

It was great to see so many familiar faces. In addition to numerous fellow BHCA board members, including Lori Bate, Ania Camargo, Steve Young, Meghan Haggerty, Colin Zick and others, I ran into State Representatives Marty Walz and Aaron Michlewitz.

Representative Michlewitz had great news from the current House session. The House passed the infamous green ticket law, which will allow municipalities to enhance enforcement efforts for certain local rules. In Boston, this would mean the city could connect trash and other violations (which are noted by the issuing of "green tickets") to a property's tax bill. A bill including this local-option provision passed both the House and Senate a little over a year ago but suffered the fate of a "pocket veto" by the Governor, who let the bill sit on his desk.

As I have written about in this space in the past, better enforcement of green tickets is absolutely essential for making the city's streets cleaner. To this point, green ticket violations are largely ignored, especially in densely populated areas of the city, such as Beacon Hill, where many property owners of large buildings live elsewhere and are not often held accountable for the actions of their tenants.

Rep. Michlewitz says he expects the Senate to pass the law soon, and the Governor has indicated he would sign it. Bravo to both Representatives Michlewitz and Walz for their support of this effort.

3 comments:

Marston said...

Ross,

I think this is a prime example of my "Common Ground...Common Sense" campaign slogan.

I agree completely that the city needs greater enforcement power regarding trash and other violations. One that I am especially concerned about is prompt snow removal. With the brick sidewalks, when ice and snow are not cleared, my 83 year old mother is virtually trapped in her home.

That being said, I think a better way to address the issue is not to pass a new law but rather getting rid of the laws that restrict how Boston and other cities and towns can collect taxes.

Mayor Menino and the City Council have been excellent stewards of the city's finances. The same cannot be said of Governor Patrick and the Legislature. I find it ironic that the state should have the power to tell anyone how to handle fiscal matters.

Brad Marston
Candidate for State Representative
Eighth Suffolk District
BradMarston.com

Ross Levanto said...

Brad--

Thanks for the note!

The law that is on the Governor's desk has nothing to do with taxes or cllecting taxes. The law will help Boston keep the streets clean and the sidewalks clear by holding accountable those that don't follow the law.

Ross

Marston said...

Ross,

My reading of the bill is that it allows the City of Boston to as you say, hold people to account by adding the green fines to their property tax bills. If they fail to pay the fines, which are now part of their property taxes, the city can place a lien on the property.

Again, I fully support enforcing the Green fines. I just think we could better do that by getting rid of the law that has the state control the city's finances rather than pass a new law.