The Wu administration plans to shun a City Council listening to aimed toward weighing whether or not a state of emergency needs to be declared within the Mass and Cass zone, given the Board of Health’s resolution in opposition to taking such motion earlier this month.
There won’t be any administration representatives in attendance at a Tuesday listening to that can “discuss the humanitarian crisis” on the troubled intersection, because the mayor’s workforce is prioritizing a Thursday listening to, the place Michelle Wu’s anti-encampment ordinance can be thought of, her spokesperson stated.
“Declaring a state of emergency, or them passing a resolution to say we should do a state of emergency is largely symbolic,” a Wu spokesperson instructed the Herald, referring to the decision put ahead by City Councilor Erin Murphy, who’s chairing Tuesday’s listening to on the matter.
“The ordinance which is going to be discussed at a hearing on Thursday provides an actionable tangible path forward for dealing with the crisis at Mass and Cass.”
Murphy, who additionally filed the listening to request, stated in a Monday assertion that the City Council “has encountered limited responsiveness regarding Mass and Cass, and we’re looking for an explanation why there is reluctance to declare a public health emergency for a situation that clearly warrants it.”
“This is an opportunity for city officials to address the public’s concerns about the ongoing tragedy at Mass and Cass, unprecedented in Boston’s history in its severity and duration,” Murphy stated. “The committee is hopeful that this hearing will illuminate for the people of Boston how their tax dollars are being spent to clean up this crisis in a humane, safe manner.”
All seven members of the Boston Public Health Commission and its govt director, together with the town’s Mass and Cass coordinator, police and fireplace commissioners and chief of emergency medical companies have been among the many folks invited to be panelists at Tuesday’s listening to.
As of late Monday afternoon, Murphy stated she had nonetheless not obtained a response from these she had invited, “which always makes me wary.”
While she plans to name for a vote on a state of emergency at Wednesday’s City Council assembly, Murphy acknowledged that the main target of Tuesday’s listening to might shift, provided that the Board of Health opted in opposition to making such a declaration at its Sept. 13 assembly.
“We have declared state of emergencies before and it’s allowed us to put things in action and attack a problem with the resources needed,” Murphy instructed the Herald. “I’m going to assume that there’s reasons why they don’t think it’s a good idea, so I’m hoping they show up so we can ask them those questions — like what is better then, if it’s not a state of emergency and what should we be doing?”
Murphy was amongst 4 councilors who urged the Boston Public Health Commission to declare a state of emergency at Mass and Cass in a Sept. 1 letter. The others have been Council President Ed Flynn and Councilors Frank Baker and Michael Flaherty.
BPHC spokesperson Jonathan Latino stated the Board of Health did focus on the matter, as requested, at its Sept. 13 assembly, however finally “declined to take action on the recommendation.”
“Because addressing these complicated and entrenched public health and public safety issues requires lasting interventions, including public safety measures that are outside the scope of BPHC’s public health authority, it is important that the legal tools to address them not be tied to a temporary public health emergency,” Latino stated in a Monday assertion.
Latino stated, nevertheless, that the Commission “shares the City Council’s urgency on the ongoing crisis at the area known as Mass and Cass, which is why BPHC fully supports the ordinance introduced by Mayor Wu on Aug. 28 that would establish the urgently needed public safety tools to allow the removal of tents and structures that pose serious threats to public safety.”
The ordinance, which might give police the authority to take away homeless encampments supplied that people are provided shelter and transportation to companies, can be mentioned at a Thursday listening to of the federal government operations committee, chaired by Councilor Ricardo Arroyo.
While there’s been chatter of opposition to the ordinance amongst councilors who both oppose taking away housing or the so-called “fourth shelter” that may be created within the South End as an alternative choice to the tents, Wu stated Monday that she was hopeful that it could be handed within the “next couple of weeks.”