Monday, July 24, 2006

Ford Trumps Corker When It Comes To Leadership Under Fire

One of the key issues that voters are going to look at when choosing their next U.S. Senator in this election is security.

The issue of security entails a lot, including emergency preparedness and responsiveness.

Last week on our blog, I posted a release that showed just how poor Bob Corker's record on emergency responsiveness is.

Some of the failures include the following:

Chattanooga had more than 31,000 unanswered 911 calls in 2005: "Records obtained by the Times Free Press revealed more than 31,000 911 calls went unanswered last year -- a rate nearly double that of the rest of Hamilton County" Chattanooga Times Free Press, 04/12/06.

The National Emergency Number Association hopes to recommend within a few months performance standards for the centers that field calls for police, fire and ambulance help. In the meantime, a spokesman says, the group doesn't know if there are other 911 operations like the one in Chattanooga that has failed to answer about a sixth of its calls. “The Chattanooga center had more than 31,000 unanswered 911 calls in 2005, almost 17 percent of the call total.” AP, 03/31/06

Woman tells 911 board emergency system failed her: “After 911 board members on Wednesday approved a $50,000 contract to study unifying local emergency communications, a Chattanooga woman put a human face on the city's chronic problem of unanswered calls. Dorothy Kaset told the board how she found her husband slumped over in his chair last June and immediately dialed 911, letting it ring 10 times before hanging up and dialing again. She never got through, and her husband died.” Chattanooga Times Free Press, 4/13/06

Calls go unanswered: “Thousands of calls to Chattanooga's 911 call center have been going unanswered, according to records examined after a caller was unable to report a kitchen fire because three of four dispatchers were taking breaks at the same time. Stacey Hunter and her family members called 911 from her home phone and cellular phones Monday afternoon when the fire broke out, but the calls went unanswered. Finally, Artterius Bonds, and 14-year- old nephew, Quayshaune Fountain, ended up running a half mile to get help from the fire station. No one was hurt. "If they hadn't gone running, my house would have completely burned up," Hunter, 34, said as she stood in her scorched kitchen. Chattanooga Police Chief Steve Parks, who oversees employees of the Hamilton County Emergency Communications District, said the department was responsible for the unanswered calls. One dispatcher was taking calls and three others working the shift were taking a break, the chief said. He described the situation as an unacceptable failure of the 911 system. But records indicate the problem is more widespread. During one 10-month period, from January to October 2005, about 27,000 calls to city dispatchers at the 911 center went unanswered, police spokesman Tetzell Tillery said. Last month 20 percent -- about 2,000 -- of more than 10,650 calls placed were not answered, he said. AP 3/24/06

No Show Emergency Response: Hoyt Branham, who lives in northern Hamilton County, said that in October 2004 he severed an artery in his arm while working in his shop. He called 911 in Chattanooga, told them he was bleeding profusely and provided his location. But no one showed up. Branham, 70, said he was alone and getting weak, so he called neighbors and his daughter ended up taking him to the hospital. He said 911 operators later denied that he called, but a review of their recording equipment showed he did. "I just don't trust them," Branham said. AP 3/24/06

However, Bob is trying to run from his record, by telling the voters of Tennessee something totally different:

“I can assure you, as a Senator, after being a local mayor and dealing with people from Homeland Security and dealing with people from FEMA, I'm going to be very focused on that, because at the end of the day, that's what our citizens really depend upon, and we really got to be really good at executing.” -- Bob Corker

Hmm....Bob's rhetoric just doesn't seem to match his rhetoric here.

Our next Senator needs to be someone with forethought and preparedness, and someone with strong leadership who will rise above the occasion when times are tough.

Harold Ford Jr. is the man that fits that bill.

Case in point: Last year, Congressman Ford was a pivotal leader during the Hurricane Katrina.

From day one of the crisis, the Congressman was actively involved in pursuing measures that would benefit the displaced survivors of the hurricane and putting structure into a failed system.
He was also one of the first people to call for the ouster of failed FEMA director Michael Brown.

And since that time, Ford has been a real leader in making sure we are prepared for the next catastrophic event.

For example, in the immediate aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, Congressman Ford took the lead in making sure the local, state, and federal governments all had joint response plans in the event of a catastrophic earthquake.

Ford then took his efforts to Congress where he urged Senators Bill Frist and Lamar Alexander along with other members of Congress to approve $20 million in disaster response planning funding for areas such as the New Madrid Seismic Zone, which Memphis sits on.

And on September 30th of last year, Congressman Ford succeed in helping obtain the $20 million for disaster response planning.

That is the type of leadership we need in our next U.S. Senator; someone who will prepare when times are good and someone who will act when times are tough.

We have already saw what happens when we elect incompetent leaders. Lets not make that same mistake again. It's time for a change!

As Proverbs 29:18 says, "Where there is no vision, the people perish."

Harold Ford Jr. is the man with the vision.

203 Days

Days of Congressional Inaction on Ethics

Above is the number of days that have passed since Jack Abramoff pleaded guilty to bribing Congressman.

It is also the number of days in which Congress has failed to pass an ethics reform bill that would limit private travel, ski and golf junkets, and would call for a full disclosure of expenses by lobbyists on members of Congress.

It is time for Congress to step up and pass an ethics reform bill that would do all of the above. In addition, it is time to end the pork barrel spending system as we know it and establish an independent ethics commission that would review ethics complaints against members of Congress.

I am proud Congressman Harold Ford Jr. is fighting for that reform!

Read Congressman Ford's call for reform of the House rules here!