Black Lives Matter banner’s future beneath dialogue


“Inclusion of a long-standing precedent of displaying banners … on City Hall in a temporary, recurring manner …”

The discussion continues about where in Arlington a city-sponsored Black Lives Matter banner might hang.

The banner hung outside City Hall from June 8 to September 30, in part in response to the police murder of George Floyd in Minneapolis last May. After many in town wanted to see the return, Town Meeting discussed an article on the matter in December. An amended proposal was accepted, 166-34 and 38 abstaining.

At its January 4th meeting, the Select Board unanimously agreed to continue discussing the banner. It received a December 30 memo from Vice Chairman Joe Curro Jr. and Board Member DeCourcey recommending the following:

  • Development of a guideline “Inclusion of the long-standing precedent of the temporary, recurring display of banners and other symbols and decorations on the town hall in connection with certain observations, events or city initiatives and taking into account the common character of the public space. ”
  • Customize “every Black Lives Matter banner with the seal of the city and any additional language that expresses this as a value proposition rather than an endorsement of a particular organization.”
  • Prioritizing the annual display of a newly customized Black Lives Matter banner starting on a date in January prior to Rev. Dr.’s birthday party. Martin Luther King Jr. and continuation of the February Black History Month celebration.
  • “We continue to hear public comments about what other steps Arlington could take to reflect the spirit of these actions.”

No plan yet

DeCourcey said, “We didn’t develop a plan. This is a reaction to the discussions last summer and autumn and to the city meeting. It is not a proposal for a permanent banner in the town hall; That is open to discussion. “

Board member Len Diggins said, “We need to determine how we use public property to hang banners. There is no reason to believe that we will not be in a similar position to what we were in September, ”when the BLM banner was removed and residents complained.

“I’m not confident that we will stick to a policy because the pressure will return. I am for the first and third lists, and I recommend doing something bold – like hanging it across a street – so people can really see it, ”he said

Mahon said, “So far, the only banners on display in City Hall announced Town Day (a community event) and a strawberry festival hosted by the high school music department. The town hall should not display a banner 12 months a year. “

Hurd recommends hanging the banner to show that Arlington confirms Black Lives Matter.

“We have had a lot of discussions about it and a lot of public input,” he said. “Last fall, it was time to devise a permanent plan for the banner in response to public input. We decided to go through our special meeting in town and let the members talk about the subject.

“I would consider this vote among other competing considerations. It is now our job to work out a plan. We have received enough input to reach consensus, take action, and have a permanent plan to push for Black Lives Matter’s testimony. We have to solve that and move forward. Perhaps you’ll be hanging on the flagpole at Uncle Sam Plaza. «

Calyx Peak asks again about marijuana

The Select Board unanimously approved receiving a presentation from marijuana retailer Calyx Peak, which plans to open a retail store at 25 Summer St. Arlington. A host agreement / permit is still available for a marijuana retailer.

Several offers were made to the Select Board over the past year, including Calyx Peak, which the Select Board refused to approve in October. Read about it here >>

“Since then, Calyx Peak has been doing public relations and would like to share any progress they have made,” said Hurd.

In a memo to the board of directors, Ed Schmults, Calyx Peak’s chief executive officer, wrote in response to previous board comments, “Calyx Peak partnered with a transportation technology company to study. . . Traffic problems. . . and started asking the community for their feedback. Calyx Peak believes these steps were critical in taking into account the Select Board’s feedback and adequately addressing the impact on the community. “

Mahon said, “I’m not inclined to hold a mini-host community agreement meeting after we’ve already made a decision. This process sets a precedent that a vote that is not approved could be a way to bypass the process.

“The Host Community Agreement is currently not open. When it is open, Calyx Peak should have more detailed information. There are other issues than just the queue.

“I encourage all non-licensed applicants to wait for the board to open the application and all follow the same process and not approve or consider this back-door approach.”

Councilors Doug Heim and Mahon have been asked to clarify the future process.

Board appoints a member of the Police Study Committee

The board unanimously agreed to appoint a selected board member to the study committee of the city’s Police Civilian Advisory Board.

This vote allows a proxy, not an appointment, said the home city council.

“The representative would be an administrative person who plans the first meeting at the same time as the previous practice, and we name them [Select Board Administrator] Marie Krepelka. The members entitled to vote then vote for each other. Either Krepelka or someone on the Select Board will continue after the first meeting without proxy voting, ”Mahon said.

Youth art banners in the center this spring

In April and May, look for colorful banners in the center along the Mass. Ave. The youth banner initiative, sponsored by the Arlington Commission for Arts and Culture, has been showing artwork for teenage students who have been unanimously endorsed by the Select Board on the subject of “Protest,” since 2016.

The banners were originally supposed to hang through June, but the board members were more comfortable with the April 1st through May 31st period.

“I worry about June, which is Pride Month and (possibly) the graduation of Arlington High School,” said board member Steve DeCourcey.

Banner request >>

Watch the ACMi video of the January 4th meeting:

4th December 2020: STM # 5 supports the request to return the Black Lives Matter banner to City Hall

This round-up by freelance writer Susan Gilbert of YourArlington was published on Wednesday January 20th, 2021.