New panel homes in on issues of security

Committee will screen emergency plans before they're sent to Assembly

Posted: Sunday, December 14, 2003

The city's new special committee on emergency planning will meet for the first time Monday at noon to review emergency-related policies, Assembly member Randy Wanamaker said.

Wanamaker, who will chair the committee, said it was formed to review emergency plans and make recommendations to the Assembly. More emergency plans are being created due to homeland security concerns, he said. Other Assembly members on the committee are Merrill Sanford, David Stone and Jim Powell.

The Assembly has the responsibility to approve overall emergency plans, including local spill and avalanche responses and security issues, Mayor Bruce Botelho said. The committee will screen those plans before they go before the Assembly.

The special committee will not replace the current Capital City Emergency Planning Committee, Wanamaker said. That committee monitors the development of plans and tests emergency preparedness. The special committee will present its mission to the emergency planning committee during a meeting Tuesday, he said.

Last week the Assembly passed a resolution supporting federal legislation establishing a statewide avalanche program. It also passed three ordinances related to emergency planning. The state Department of Military and Veterans Affairs would appropriate $673,467 for first-responder preparedness and $30,000 to complete a local all-hazard mitigation plan. The U.S. Department of Homeland Security would appropriate $600,000 to implement a metropolitan medical response system in Southeast Alaska.

Other emergency plans being developed in Juneau include involving emergency operations, cruise ship shoreside response and weapons of mass destruction. Updates of these plans will be discussed Monday, Wanamaker said.

Meanwhile, Botelho also appointed a special downtown waterfront development committee in light of the city's long-range waterfront plan. Botelho said he created that committee because the Assembly indicated a desire to be involved in waterfront development planning.

The committee will screen a draft of the long-range waterfront plan before it goes before the full Assembly, he said. Assembly member Jeannie Johnson, who will chair the committee, was out of town and unavailable for comment. No date has been set for the committee's first meeting. Other Assembly members on the committee are Sanford, Stone and Stan Ridgeway. Botelho has yet to appoint one member each from the Planning Commission and Docks and Harbors Board.

• Tara Sidor can be reached at

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