City, News

Break in school, not action

The city was emptied of college students over winter break, but Boston was anything but quiet with the election of its first Jewish City Council president, Boston Medical Center layoff announcements and a ban on tobacco sales on college campuses.

ROSS NAMED CITY COUNCIL PRESIDENT

The City Council unanimously elected Michael Ross as its president Jan. 5.’ City Councilor At-Large Stephen Murphy was appointed vice president as part of an agreement he and Ross made in October in which Murphy bowed out of the presidential race.

Ross (Fenway, Kenmore, Back Bay) promised to name committee chairs by today’s City Council meeting because of critical issues such as state budget cuts and costs of heat.’ He will also start a committee that will research the recession’s effects on Bostonians.

WIESEL’S FOUNDATION LOSES $15.2 MILLION

Boston University professor and Holocaust survivor Elie Wiesel saw his Foundation for Humanity lose ‘substantially all’ of its assets to Bernard Madoff’s alleged investment fraud. Though a statement published Dec. 24 on the foundation’s website states it lost $15.2 million dollars, it will continue its operations, which include an essay contest and an international youth conference.

The foundation’s assets were only part of Madoff’s alleged Ponzi scheme that lost almost $50 billion dollars. The scheme promised high returns for investment, but in reality, just transferred capital from one group of investors to another to make it look as if returns were being generated.

BMC WILL CUT 250 JOBS

Due to state budget cuts that will leave BMC short $114 million, BMC President and CEO Elaine Ullian announced cost-cutting measures, including cutting 250 jobs and discontinuing a $2 million subsidy to the Quincy Medical Center.’ The proposed measures are only estimated to reduce costs by $61.5 million for 2009, according to a Dec. 17 BMC press release.

A $30 million reduction in Medicaid rates for the 2009 fiscal year are part of the problem because the state will now only reimburse BMC for 64 percent of the care it spends on low-income patients.

TOBACCO REGULATIONS PASS

The Boston Public Health Commission unanimously voted on the Tobacco Regulation Amendment on Dec. 11, banning tobacco sales on Boston college campuses by Feb. 9. The amendment will also force the 11 hookah and cigar bars in Boston to close within 10 years, though they can apply for 10-year extensions.

LEE’S CASE ADJOURNED

Victoria Lee’s case was adjourned to April 2, when either the judge will make a decision or grand jury action will be mandated for a later date. Lee, a College of Communication senior, allegedly broke a glass over the head of her boyfriend, Joshua Clarke, and stabbed him in the neck with the shards in a New York nightclub Nov. 30.

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