[Deirdre Fulton guest-blogging.]
Today's meeting comes on the heels of yesterday's news that the council violated the city's Open Meeting Law and will be fined $11,000. Let's see if anything seems different.
11:40 a.m.: I arrive late (I know, I'm a hypocrite, but who can find a parking spot around here?), and things are already underway --- with everyone here. Are they trying to save face?
11:44 a.m.: The Mount Alvernia high school girls basketball team is honored by Consalvo and Tobin. Wahoo!
11:50 a.m.: Big news: The administration has complied with a council-issued 17F request (it didn't arrive on time, but it did come eventually, which I guess is an accomplishment) regarding the makeup of the Boston Police Department. Yancey rises to speak on this. Apparently, the data illustrates the extent of the department's racial disparities --- for example, 95.3 percent of civilian supervisors are white. Yancey thinks this "represents a serious problem." (You don't say.) He urges his fellow councilors to read the entirety of the 17F documents. Will they? (Yoon, who sits next to Yancey, is already sifting through the papers.)
11:57 a.m.: Yancey demonstrates self-awareness, acknowledging that he sounds like a broken record ("maybe that's why some people aren't listening," he says, chiding his chatting colleagues).
12:00 p.m.: Arroyo's cell phone rings. He answers it and leaves the chamber. I bet Yancey is so pissed.
12:03 p.m.: Murphy, on behalf of the Committee on Public Safety, submits no fewer than eight reports recommending that several grants be issued, including money that will go toward easing the state's DNA-processing backlog, training the child-abuse unit, protecting "buffer zones" (this is related to homeland security, not abortion clinics), and expanding school-safety programs.
12:11 p.m.: I'd like to reiterate that everyone seems to be working harder than usual today. Heads down, papers shuffling, less side chatting, etc.
12:12 p.m.: Back to the buffer zones. Yancey is so good at slipping in anti-biolab stuff! He wants to know why that project (which he hopes is never completed, by the way) wouldn't deserve so-called buffer-zone money (so far, Fenway Park, and a chemical company have made the cut).
12:19 p.m.: All eight public-safety grants --- adding up to whopping $33,990,775.56 --- are passed.
12:27 p.m.: Ross is txt-ing.
12:30 p.m.: Drug deaths have increased in Boston, and Turner, Arroyo, and Yancey are calling for a hearing to examine "medical methods to stem Boston's drug abuse crisis." With homicide deaths getting so much attention, let's not forget about the drug problem, which is quantitatively worse, Turner says.
12:33 p.m.: Lots of important, whispered conversations going on at Flaherty's podium today. Murphy was up there for a while, now it's Consalvo.
12:34 p.m.: You know those 14 police-department recruits who got totally screwed --- told they were in, and then told that actually, they weren't? Well, it might offer some small consolation to know that the council will hold a hearing on the matter.
12:39 p.m.: Turner, Arroyo, Yancey, and Yoon offer an order that would take money siezed during drug busts, and use it toward combating the city's drug problem. To move forward, the proposal would have to move through the State house. Ross recommends the council take a look at what local colleges do with drug-bust money.
12:45 p.m.: I have to leave a little early because my meter's going to run out. As I'm heading out the door, Arroyo's on his cell phone again.