Hello Neighbor! 

am so proud of everything we've accomplished in just 24 months and excited to have been sworn in this week to start my second term as your Boston City  Councilor  At-large. Since taking office in January 2016 I have been able to translate my experience as a mother, small business owner, and former BPS teacher into practica l policies that improve the quality of life for everyone in Boston, especially those who are most vulnerable.  I am energized as  we  begin  this new term. In this newsletter you'll learn about our accomplishments and some of what we'll focus on this year. I welcome any feedback and hope to hear from you. We have a    brief survey   I hope you'll complete and please take some time to read all that we're sharing below. I know it's comprehensive!

 Thank you!                   

The inauguration and the administration of the oath of office to the members of the City Council took place on January 1 with Vice President Joseph R. Biden, Jr., presiding.  Click Here to view

Advocating for our Most Vulnerable
  • Empowered Families to speak for themselves. In an unprecedented move, Councilor Essaibi-George hosted a hearing at the St. Mary's Center for Women and Children, one of Boston's largest family shelters. Councilor Essaibi-George invited families who were living in the shelter to share their stories and ideas for system improvements.
  • Secured an additional $1.2 Million for school-based support for BPS Students experiencing homelessness. Approximately 4,000 BPS students experience homelessness. Recognizing that schools are sources of stability for these children, Councilor Essaibi-George worked with Mayor Walsh to create new resources and school-based support.
  • Fought for families sheltered in motels. Every time a family is transitioned to another non-permanent location, the move is traumatic and is logistically challenging. When the State announced plans to close two motels that were sheltering families in Brighton, Councilor Essaibi-George put children first and worked with the State and BPS to make sure that all of those children were in school on the first day.
  • Facilitated discussions to close service gaps for young adults. Councilor Essaibi-George brought together service providers and stakeholders to begin planning how to better serve youth and young adults who often fall through the cracks between children and adult services.

Building the Road to Recovery

In her effort to support lifelong recovery and mitigate the impacts of the opioid epidemic, Councilor Essaibi-George:
  • Led the City Council in taking the pledge to be a State Without Stigma and end the stigma that individuals living with Substance Use Disorder face. Councilor Essaibi-George also hosted a hearing on services for individuals living with Substance Use Disorder to better understand the road blocks that keep individuals from accessing those services.
  • Convened a working group to address the impacts of the opioid crisis in the Boston Medical Center Area in partnership with Mayor Walsh. This group has stakeholders from neighborhood groups, law enforcement, service providers and City of Boston officials. Councilor Essaibi-George filed an ordinance that would require all pharmacies to provide safe disposal sites for sharps in an effort to keep needles out of public spaces and household trash as a result of that work
  • Brought the City of Boston to the forefront of state conversations regarding safe injection facilities,when State officials filed legislation that would create safe injection facilities. Councilor Essaibi-George called for a public hearing to learn about the potential impacts it will have on the City of Boston. Since then she has been outspoken in her doubts that safe injection sites would improve pathways to recovery and demands that the State instead invest in current harm reduction and treatment systems.

Improving City Services

  • Doubled the Capacity of the Mobile Sharps Team, which collected more than 20,000 needles from our parks and public spaces city-wide last year. The opioid epidemic is a national tragedy that we in Boston fight every day. While we wage this battle, symptoms of the epidemic, like needles on our streets and in our parks, put everyone at risk. The mobile sharps team is on the front lines protecting residents and Councilor Essaibi-George will continue to make sure they have the resources they need.
  • Expanded BPD's Mental Health Resources by funding four new BEST team clinicians. BEST clinicians are mental health professionals that ride along with police and respond to calls when an individual is having a mental health crisis.The BEST clinicians are an integral part of a trauma-informed police response and is just one of the many ways that the Boston Police Department is leading the nation.

Holding BPS Accountable

Councilor Essaibi-George depends on her knowledge and experience from a 13 year career in the Boston Public Schools, her passion for teaching and her experiences as a BPS parent to fuel her work on the Boston City Council's Committee on Education. As Vice Chair of this Committee in her first term, Councilor Essaibi-George has:
  • Pushed BPS and the School Committee to do more in ensuring that BPS seats are for Boston kids. Many families know the value of a BPS education and gain access to some of our most sought after seats, from pre-K, advanced work and bi-lingual programs, as well as Special Education classrooms and our high school seats every year. Due to her ongoing effort, BPS has quadrupled the number of discharges and collected fines due to this "theft of services" since Councilor Essaibi-George took office.
  • Started conversations on the Council around BPS grade configuration because the way it is configured now doesn't make sense for kids or families. Boston has an irrational grade configuration policy including 22 designs that costs the City money, including higher busing costs than other cities our size, it causes our kids to change schools too often, and it makes the education of our children unpredictable.
  • Analyzed and facilitated conversations on the fiscal impacts on the City of lifting the cap on charters schools in Massachusetts, taking the political conversation out of the debate to lift Charter Cap with a Statewide Ballot initiative in 2016. This hearing helped illustrate, that from a cost perspective, raising the Cap would not be good for our City's finances.
  • Led the call to make sure the drinking water in our schools was safe for our children when it was discovered fountains were turned on for student use when there were high levels of lead found during testing. Through this work there was a demand to improve the policy for using water fountains or contract with outside vendors to ensure safety for our children.
    Councilor Essaibi-George at School Committee Meeting
    Councilor Essaibi-George on BPS Start Times
Managing BPS Transportation

Boston Public Schools are the City's greatest asset, but our greatest asset needs to  be managed responsibly. This year BPS budgeted $116 million, over 10% of its total budget, for transportation. Last year BPS claimed they would cut transportation spending by $10 million after implementing efficiency strategies, but instead spending rose by $12 million. Ineff icient bus routes are bleeding money from a school district that could benefit from investing that money in our stud ents.
Councilor Essaibi-George will hold a public hearing on this issue and work with BPS officials and parents to figure out how to reign in runaway spending.

As the end of these first 24 months in office serving as your Boston City Councilor, Annissa worked on issues ranging from education to energy efficiency, and is so proud of what has been accomplished and looks forward to the work ahead. In her first term she tackled, took the lead and become an advocate on a number of  issues facing our City, including:
  • Creating, supporting and working for Community Choice Energy with her colleagues. CCE is a policy that will make clean energy more affordable and accessible to Boston residents. This is one step in making Boston a more sustainable City.
  • Served on the Community Preservation Committee responsible for reviewing and interviewing applicants that will serve on this committee. This committee will be charged with funding CPC projects related to historic preservation, open space and affordable housing.
  • Working with the Boston Police Department and Boston Medical Center to fund 4 new BEST team clinicians who are mental health professionals that ride along with Boston Police Officers and respond to 911 calls for individuals experiencing a mental health crisis.
  • Supporting the Plastic Bags Ordinance passed unanimously by the Council banning single-use plastic bags in the City of Boston. This measure will reduce our carbon footprint, make our neighborhoods cleaner, and incentivize residents to bring their own bags when they go shopping. 

As she prepares for her next term, Councilor Essaibi-George will continue to lead on the issues she's focused much of her energy on during the first term. Some of her work will focus on the following:
  • Education
    The Councilor will continue to hold BPS accountable to ensure the success of our children and will push for smart reforms that will improve academic outcomes, prepare them for high school, college and careers as well as expand their life skills and career readiness. She will also continue to find ways to make sure that the district eliminates wasteful spending and increases the amount of funding that finds its way into the classroom to support our kids and their learning. Councilor Essaibi-George will continue the work she started on supporting later high school start times and strengthen the relationship between the central office, the schools and our families.
  • Small Business
    Small businesses are essential to the fabric of our neighborhoods and the strength of our economy. There are over 40,000 small businesses in Boston today. Councilor Essaibi-George will work to make sure that small businesses in every community in Boston benefit from the unprecedented growth in our City and have opportunities to grow within our City.
  • Homelessness, Mental Health and Recovery
    Councilor Essaibi-George will continue work to with the State, non-profit providers and neighbors to come up with innovative solutions that meet these challenges. She will work to advocate for those in crisis and limit the impacts that crisis has on our City and our neighborhoods.
  • Putting Public Safety First in a Changing World 
    The safety of our young people has to come first and Councilor Essaibi-George is committed to making sure that Boston Public Schools are prepared to respond to any emergency and that first responders and school staff have the tools and practice they need to protect our kids.
  • Improving Transportation and Cleaning Up Congested Roadways
    Councilor Essaibi-George was proud to cast her vote to lower the speed limit in Boston to 25 mph and she knows that our work to ease traffic and congestion can't stop there. We need to improve the experience in Boston for the motorist, the bicyclist and the pedestrian and create more ways for safe travel into the downtown area and between our neighborhoods.
  • Protecting our Environment and Green Space
    Councilor Essaibi-George was proud to support community choice energy and the Plastic Bag Ban. She will continue to look for opportunities to support efforts to make Boston an international leader on green policy in the way we live, build and move. She also appreciates the role open space plays in our City and knows, as we grow, we need to create more passive and active spaces for our residents.
  • Smart Growth and Development needs to be a Priority in Boston
    We need to make sure we properly plan for the whole City and ensure that development makes sense for neighborhoods and between neighborhoods for connectivity. It is also important to Councilor Essaibi-George that what we build includes opportunities for families and make sure that workforce and affordable units are affordable for Bostonians. Both residents  and small business owners need to be able to make a home and run a successful business in our City.
  • Empowering and Protecting our Seniors from Fraud
    Seniors want and deserve to age safely in place, but as our neighborhoods change we learn about the predatory and fraudulent sales tactics that are directed at them. She will continue to work with the Elderly Affairs Commission and the Attorney General's Office to give seniors the tools they need to protect themselves.
Thoughts or suggestions? Click Here

Office of Boston City Councilor Annissa Essaibi-George
1 City Hall Plaza 5th Floor
Boston, MA  02201