Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Don't Roll The Dice On Our Security By Voting For Corker

Gosh, it appears that Bob Corker will go through leaps and bounds not to have the truth about his terrible record exposed.

First, last week we learned that he was trying to seal documents in the land scandal in which he has been sued over.

And now, Bob and the Republicans are threatening to SUE television stations in Tennessee if they play a new which takes Corker to task for his failed 911 system as Mayor in Chattanooga.

(Also, lets not forget Corker is also the only Senate candidate in the nation who won't release his entire tax returns)

Threatening to sue? On what grounds? Spreading the truth is a freedom we have in this country Bob, whether you like it or not.

So without further ado, here are the facts in this case: (go ahead and sue me Bob, make my day)
  • 2005: Chattanooga's Rate For Unanswered 911 Calls Was Nearly Double The Rate Of The Rest of Hamilton County. Chattanooga Times Free Press: "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." "More than 31,000, or 16.9 percent, of all 911 calls made in the city limits last year went unanswered, records show." Associated Press: "More than 31,000, or 16.9 percent, of all 911 calls made in the city limits last year went unanswered, records obtained by the newspaper show." [Chattanooga Times Free Press, "Ex-police chief blasts Corker on 911 funds," 3/30/06, 4/12/06; Associated Press, "Former Chattanooga police chief links 911 problems to Corker," 3/30/06]

  • Chattanooga Abandoned Call Rate Has Risen Steadily Since 2001, Reaching A High In 2005. "The city's abandoned call rate has risen steadily since 2001, and records show the rate reached a high in 2005 when nearly 17 percent of all 911 calls went unanswered." [Chattanooga Times Free Press, 4/3/06]

  • 2001 to 2004: Unanswered Emergency Calls Increased From 8.8 percent to 14.9 Percent. The Chattanooga Times Free Press reported, "unanswered calls rose from 8.8 percent in 2001 to 14.9 percent in 2004" according to reports citing police records. [Chattanooga Times Free Press, 3/30/06]

  • As Mayor, "Corker Never Allocated Additional Funds To Hire More 911 Staff," Even As Percent of Unanswered 911 Calls Rose Steadily. The Chattanooga Times Free Press reported, "[t]he police department's former budget director, Dr. Ashok Roy, said the police department … asked for 15 to 18 additional communications staff members while Mr. Corker was mayor." "Records show Mr. Corker never allocated additional funds to hire 911 staff. The number of unanswered calls rose steadily during his four years as mayor, records show. There were 66 funded communications personnel positions from 2000 to 2004, according to city personnel records." [Chattanooga Times Free Press, 3/30/06]

  • Chattanooga Police Dispatchers Are "Severely Understaffed." The Chattanooga Times Free Press reported, "[t]he Hamilton County 911 Center also is ‘severely understaffed,' according to Maximus consultants, especially when it comes to Chattanooga police dispatchers." [Chattanooga Times Free Press, 8/25/06]

  • Former Police Chief Blamed Corker For Unanswered 911 Calls; Said Corker Refused to Support Additional Funding. The Associated Press reported, "Chattanooga's former police chief said he can trace problems with 911 calls not getting answered to former mayor Bob Corker." "Former police chief Jimmie Dotson said he requested more communications officers to improve 911 center operations and Corker refused to fund them." The Chattanooga Times Free Press noted, "[a] retired Chattanooga police chief said former Mayor Bob Corker thwarted efforts to improve 911 operations by refusing to fund more communications positions. ‘I asked for communications officers in every budget, especially under the Corker administration, and each time it was denied,'" said Dotson. [Associated Press, 3/30/06; Chattanooga Times Free Press, 3/30/06]

  • Internal Police Department Memo: "Not Sufficient Staffing For the Prevention Of Abandoned Or Unanswered Calls." The Chattanooga Times Free Press reported that in an internal Chattanooga Police Department memo, "an operations support official called for additional staffing in the communications division. Lt. Tara Pedigo, who has retired from the department, wrote that there was ‘not sufficient staffing for the prevention of abandoned or unanswered calls.' Eight months later, Ms. Pedigo alerted fellow officials that minimum manpower per shift would be reduced from 13 employees to 10 for the first and second shifts and nine employees for the third shift. She wrote that she had been ordered to cut overtime in the communications division. ‘I expressed my concerns that the abandoned call rate will undoubtedly increase, service to citizens will suffer, and officer safety could be jeopardized,' Lt. Pedigo wrote in November 2004." [Chattanooga Times Free Press, 7/27/06]

Corker Knew About 911 Problem When He Took Office

  • Corker Knew of 911 Problems Before Taking Office. In 2000, Corker's opponent in the mayoral race, Irvin Overton, made the 911 problems an issue in his campaign. According to the Chattanooga Times Free Press, "Chattanooga mayoral candidate Irvin Overton said Monday the city is faced with a growing crisis in its 911 system. ‘Thousands of calls went unanswered in the past year,' Mr. Overton said. ‘What if that were your car being stolen, your home being ransacked or your child being assaulted?' … Based on data collected from the 911 Communications Center, Mr. Overton said the number of abandoned 911 calls has risen from 2.6 percent in November 1999 to 6.1 percent in October." [Chattanooga Times Free Press, 12/12/00]

  • Corker Promised He Would Support Police Both Financially And With Leadership. On February 20, 2001, the Chattanooga Times Free Press reported, "Bob Corker, a local businessman, said if he is elected mayor he will let the police chief run the department and support officers ‘financially and leadershipwise.'" [Chattanooga Times Free Press, 2/20/01]

  • 2001: Deputy Chief of Police Said 911 Operations Were A "Crisis Situation." "Retired Deputy Chief Larry Lyda, who oversaw 911 operations for more than 20 years, wrote in a 2001 letter to [then-Police Chief] Dotson that 13 additional 911 employees were needed. Mr. Lyda said in the letter that the problems with the city's 911 operations were ‘a crisis situation.'" [Chattanooga Times Free Press, 3/30/06]

In summary, Bob was aware of the 911 situation long before he was elected Mayor. During his campaign he promised to fix the situation. Instead, the problem got a lot worse during his tenure as Mayor, as unanswered calls rose each of his four years in office. And in 2005, a staggering 31,000 911 calls went unanswered. Ouch!

I can see why Bob would not want this information getting out to voters.

In a day and time in which our nation is threatened by enemies at home and abroad daily, we need leaders who will stop at nothing to keep us safe. As Congressman Ford has said, nothing, nothing is more important than our security.

Don't gamble with our security this fall, vote Ford.

For more information and to watch the ad, click here!

More: Ed Bryant: Corker's 911 'Dial-a-Prayer' System