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Keller @ Large: Councilman Ed Flynn shares his concerns about Boston's public health and safety

Keller @ Large: Ed Flynn talks about why Boston's communities of color are right to be concerned
Keller @ Large: Ed Flynn talks about why Boston's communities of color are right to be concerned 05:16

BOSTON - Boston City Councilman Ed Flynn, in his fourth term representing the South District, which includes Chinatown, Back Bay and Downtown, said he believes communities of color have legitimate concerns about the government addressing their needs.

While the Melnea Cass Recreation Center has been converted to a temporary shelter for migrants and the local Walgreen's has closed in Roxbury,  the Boston City Council approved a $13 million Homeland Security grant after it had been rejected in December because of fears it would negatively impact minority communities.

However, Flynn said, the grand was about public safety. He said half of the money would go to cities and towns to respond to disasters and terrorist threats, although some expressed the fear that police are spying on the community.

Also, many people in communities of color feel that they are doing their share and resent the loss of their recreation center.

"Others have to step up. And when much is expected, it's important for us to step up, but we can't be the only group that supports people in need," Flynn said.

Keller @ Large: Why Ed Flynn wants Boston to have its own Rat Czar 05:15

Flynn said another public health concern, is COVID. While transmission rates in Massachusetts remain high, Flynn said, he doesn't think public mask mandates are needed right now. However, he has seen another area where COVID has impacted public health: Rats.

After COVID shut down many restaurants, rats came into the neighborhoods looking for food. Flynn said he'd like to see a Rat Czar, much like New York City, creating a department that focuses on pest control.

"That became a significant problem for the City of Boston in public health and safety and quality of life as well," Flynn said.

After the Newton teachers' strike, many expect a question on the next ballot that would allow public employees to strike, something that is now barred in Massachusetts. Flynn says he's not sure he could support a strike that involves children, using the recent strike in Newton as an example.

"I would not support that strike," Flynn said, noting, "Two weeks is a long time for students not to be in the classroom."

As for the right for public employees to strike, he said, "I'm not completely there yet."

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