City of Somerville

Agenda Item

That this Council calls on the State and Federal government to enact a coronavirus relief response that is equitable in its approach to housing, work, financial assistance, voting rights, and incarcerated people.


Department:City CouncilSponsors:Ward Three City Councilor Ben Ewen-Campen, Ward Two City Councilor Jefferson Thomas ("J.T.") Scott, Ward Four City Councilor Jesse Clingan, Ward Seven City Councilor Katjana Ballantyne, Ward Six City Councilor Lance L. Davis, Ward Five City Councilor Mark Niedergang, Ward One City Councilor Matthew McLaughlin, City Councilor At Large Stephanie Hirsch, City Councilor At Large Wilfred N. Mbah, City Councilor At Large William A. White Jr., City Councilor At Large Mary Jo Rossetti

Official Text

WHEREAS:              Coronavirus/COVID-19 is “the single most threatening pandemic to arise in the last century, and has historians recalling the devastation of the influenza pandemic of 1918” according to George Q. Daley, Dean of the Harvard Medical School, and


WHEREAS:              A State of Emergency has been declared by both Governor Baker and Mayor Curtatone, and


WHEREAS:              An effective public health response to this crisis requires enacting extreme “social distancing” measures - including large-scale shutdowns of businesses, schools, and other facilities - which is essential, and yet will have catastrophic effects on the incomes and livelihood of nearly all people, and


WHEREAS:              Our local, State and Federal Government are rightfully being called upon to take extraordinary measures to protect and rescue our collective livelihoods and economy, and


WHEREAS:              These measures must be equitable and far-reaching, and avoid the mistakes of previous corporate bailouts that have failed to benefit those most affected, NOW, THEREFORE BE IT


RESOLVED:              That the Somerville City Council calls upon the State and Federal government to implement a response that is equitable in its approach to:


              Housing - including a nationwide moratorium on evictions, mortgage and rent payments, utility payments, and safe shelter for all people for the duration of the crisis;


              Workers and small businesses - including universal paid family and medical leave for all, expanded unemployment insurance for all workers including self-employed, hourly, and “gig” workers, a national moratorium on commercial mortgages and business rents for the duration of the crisis, suspension of “communicable disease exclusions” on business interruption insurance, a temporary waiver of Massachusetts state meals tax, and immediate deployment of all necessary financial resources to allow small- and medium-size businesses to avoid lay-offs and be in a position to re-open as soon as possible.


              Financial assistance - including regular direct cash payments to all people, without means testing, for the duration of the crisis, a public ownership stake of any large corporation receiving a Federal bailout, and a prohibition on stock buybacks by any large corporation receiving same.


              Voting rights - including immediate implementation of Vote By Mail policies in all states and territories, in order to assure that our democracy functions during this crisis.


              Incarcerated people - including taking all steps to avoid COVID-19 infection among incarcerated people, such as releasing all people currently held in pre-trial detention, prohibition on detaining people for greater than 48 hours without a court order finding a threat to public safety, and immediate clemency and release granted for incarcerated people who do not pose a threat to public safety.

Meeting History

Mar 26, 2020 7:00 PM Video City Council Regular Meeting

Councilor Ewen-Campen has received many calls from residents and small businesses who need financial assistance, and urged the State and Federal government to enact a Coronavirus relief response that is equitable in its approach to housing, work, financial assistance, businesses, voting rights, and incarcerated people.