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Monday, November 12, 2007

Explosion political aftermath

More ramblings on the first day of business after the explosion. (Well, not really. It's actually Veterans' Day observed, which is a government holiday.) From the SJ-R's lead article today:

“Tough.” That was Springfield Mayor Tim Davlin’s response Sunday when pressed about why it took officials two hours Saturday to release information to the public about the power plant explosions and possible dangers to the community.
“It’s the best we could do. Tough,” Davlin reiterated.
Davlin and other officials had little information themselves early in the incident, they said, and their top priorities were quelling the power plant fire and making sure City Water, Light and Power workers and firefighters were safe. (Seeking answers after blast? ‘Tough,’ says mayor)

Just a couple things. One, to the mayor, whatever. Two, to the article commentariat hacking on the media, it's their job. The media, for which you appear to have so much distrust or disdain, is the pipeline between you and your government officials. Let them do their job the way they know how. (Someday, maybe bloggers...) Oh, and some of yas sound totally crazy (as usual).

The lack of information Saturday night was similar to what happened during a weeklong citywide mock disaster drill in July 2005 — which, coincidentally, included a power plant explosion scenario.
During the early part of the drill, which was meant to be as realistic as possible, officials were unprepared for media inquiries. Reporters who went to event “scenes” were told to move multiple times, no spokesmen were available, and city hall held a briefing more than five hours after the initial incidents. Officials began to provide hourly updates only after reporters complained.

Which brings me to my third point: Maybe the bigger question is, should some kind of disaster or event occur where the people need to know what's going on and what to do immediately, will the mayor and his people be up to the task. Can we count on you? Probably. Hopefully. Maybe. Don't let us down.

Also, today's breaking news gem informs us that when the mayor found out about the explosion, he was on a plane to London to promote Springfield's tourism industry. To his credit, he got right back on another plane and came back home. The same breaking news article mentions his trip last month to Ireland where he visited Springfield’s Irish Twin City of Killarney. This has nothing to do with anything, but every time I hear "Killarney," I have to quote the late great Jack Soo as his character Detective Yemana on the Barney Miller show when he said, "Barney, Barney, Barney. Is your mother from Killarney?" while eating hashish flavored brownies. LOL! You had to be there, I guess.

The lake is now closed to boaters until the clean-up is complete, but the water is safe to drink in the meantime. (We also have our own municipal water purification plant.)

Finally, this blog has dropped somewhat down from the number one spot for "CWLP explosion." And, rightly so as this is hardly the place to go for authority. However, my tens of hits have now moved into the hundreds of hits. I know no one really cares about this except maybe a few geeks and bloggers and a stray statistician or two.

Posted by Marie at November 12, 2007 8:26 PM


"Tough." It's tough to be such a jerk. I hope the guy gets roasted for that.

In other news: It was great the way you live-blogged the event as it happened. I'm amazed Google picked up on it so quickly. The newspaper did its job, too -- it would be great to see the paper take the next step and connect with folks in community who can be instant reporters for breaking news. Of course that's an idea frought with problems -- are independent reporters dependable? what will happen to paid, professional reporters? etc. -- but folks ought to start tackling the issues now instead of just wringing their hands about them.

Posted by: Dan at November 15, 2007 12:07 PM