Council plans future preparedness meeting

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Council plans future preparedness meeting

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By: Victoria Demaria
Posted: 4/26/07

More than a week after the worst shootings in U.S. history happened on the Virginia Tech campus, the Boston City Council decided yesterday to plan a future meeting to discuss emergency procedures at Boston's universities and hospitals.

"It made me realize we have hospitals that have huge campuses, [and] we have so many universities in the city," said Council President Maureen Feeney.

Feeney said the hearing will focus on the concept of unifying a system to contact people in the event of such an emergency, especially on large campuses with many buildings. Last Tuesday, the day after the April 16 shootings, local law enforcement agencies met with 19 area universities to address emergency protocols.

"Things like [the shootings] can happen at any point and at any time," said Councilor-at-Large Stephen Murphy. "It's a perfectly reasonable order for a hearing."

Councilor Michael Ross (Back Bay, Fenway) said the city's University Accountability Act requires colleges to track their off-campus students for such an emergency, which would hopefully avoid the troubles the Virginia Tech administration had contacting commuter students during the shootings.

Councilor Jerry McDermott (Allston, Brighton) suggested Virginia Tech officials may not have publicized news of the first shooting, in which the gunman killed two students in a residence hall nearly two hours before he killed 30 more in an academic building a half-mile away, for fear of marring the school's reputation.

"Put yourself in the place of an admissions officer," McDermott said. "You wouldn't want this information getting out."

McDermott said schools should not keep such information quiet and said the hearing should also investigate whether universities tend to suppress negative news.

"Schools need to let everyone know the good, the bad and the ugly," he said.

In other Council news, Councilor Rob Consalvo (Hyde Park, Roslindale) suggested Boston join the "national movement" of cities tackling the threat plastic shopping bags pose to the environment by holding a hearing in which councilors would consider several measures: either banning them, as San Francisco did, or taxing them, as Ireland did.

"They're extremely environmentally unfriendly, and they don't biodegrade," he said. "They're not recyclable, and they're a major source of trash and litter in Boston."

"People look at you like you have two heads if you ask for brown bags," added Councilor Salvatore LaMattina (East Boston, South End).

Taking a cue from the new Senate Committee on Global Warming and Climate Change's first-ever hearing at the State House on Tuesday, Councilor-at-Large Felix Arroyo said it is time for Boston to join the fight against global warming, proposing a forum for Mayor Thomas Menino to discuss it with local businesses and organizations.

"The [Menino] administration has been out in front of the curve," Murphy said.

Murphy urged his fellow councilors to see former U.S. Vice President Al Gore's documentary about global warming, An Inconvenient Truth, a film he called "unbelievable" because it puts the seriousness of climate change into perspective.

Councilor-at-Large Michael Flaherty suggested City Hall turn out its lights during evenings to set an energy-saving example for the city.

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Original Source:<a href=http://media.www.dailyfreepress.com/media/storage/paper87/news/2007/04/26/News/Council.Plans.Future.Preparedness.Meeting-2883114.shtml> The Daily Free Press - April 26, 2007</a>

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Victoria Demaria

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The Daily Free Press

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2007-08-13

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Sara Hood

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Matt Negrin <editor@dailyfreepress.com>

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eng

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Victoria Demaria, "Council plans future preparedness meeting," in The April 16 Archive, Item #1028, http://www.april16archive.org/items/show/1028 (accessed September 3, 2014).