Thursday, July 5, 2012
I'm taking your advice and clearing out of Arlington at 5 AM tomorrow for the Adirondacks. Temps reaching 105 here this weekend? No way I'm going to stick around Arlington. Let the Urban Village Idiots (mostly non-residents) who run the County deal with Derecho II. I had enough of their stupidity this week.
Wednesday, July 4, 2012
After talking with hundreds of miserable residents who were stuck in stifling homes, apartments, and condos without power for days (some still don't have power) we conclude it's time for Arlington County manager Barbara Donnellan to go. Also time to replace Arlington's top 'emergency preparedness' staff.
Like most other Arlington Government executives Barbara Donnellan lives far from Arlington and does not, and will not, suffer the consequences of her failures.
Despite massive damage to power lines from downed trees (largely caused by the County's lack of an adequate tree maintenance program) County Government was on its usual summer weekend schedule from 5 PM Friday night to 8 AM Monday morning. A few crews were out picking up downed tree limbs.
About half of Arlington's population suffered extreme heat misery until the crescendo of complaints caused County Government to expedite power restoration.
It's unconscionable that, after spending $14 million for a new emergency communications center several years ago, for 911 emergency calls to not go through. And every year Arlington receives hundreds of thousands more in grants for communications upgrades from Homeland Security.
It's unconscionable that seniors had to suffer for days in senior apartment complexes without air conditioning, when the National Guard Readiness Center for the entire USA is located 1/2 mile away.
We saw this behavior before from County Government, last Fourth of July when a severe storm hit the Palisades and the year before that, when another severe storm hit Fairlington.
Enough is enough. Barbara Donnellan has got to go, along with Arlington's so-called 'emergency preparedness' staff.
Believe it or not, we were lucky. We advised everyone struck without power and air conditioning to pack up the pets and whatever food that could be salvaged and visit family and friends, or go on vacation. Not a big deal on June 30th.
But what happens if there's a major league ice storm on December 30th and power goes out for days? Think about it.
Sunday, July 1, 2012
We have heard and seen enough reports of elderly Arlington residents dying this weekend in their homes where there is no air conditioning and the interior temperature is 90 degrees.
We have heard and seen enough reports of Arlington Public Works employees concentrating on removing as many downed tree limbs as possible, rather than helping Virginia Power restore power.
We have heard and seen enough reports of Arlington's elected and appointed VIPs treating the June 29th storm disaster as a 'usual summer inconvenience".
Consequently, we are contacting Governor McDonnell and General Craig McKinley, Commander of the United States National Guard, Headquartered at Arlington Hall, Virginia (Arlington County), to mobilize the Virginia National Guard to assist Arlington and other local governments to prevent further loss of life and, without delay, restore electric power and communications in areas of storm devastation.
You would think that eleven years after 9-11-01 and with the County having experienced several episodes of severe weather over the past five years and the County investing tens of millions in communications and emergency preparedness County Government would be prepared for a severe storm generated by 100 degree daytime temperatures.
Wrong. County Government is totally reactive when it comes to severe storms and prolonged loss of electric power. Consequently, hundreds of Arlingtonians with major health issues are stuck in their homes, condos and apartments, with indoor temperatures in the high 80's. The number of 911 calls from Arlington residents, or residents' friends and family, who have become seriously ill from the effects of prolonged heat exposure averaged 10 per hour yesterday afternoon and evening.
What information have Arlington residents received from County Government? Two brief announcements on the County's 1700 kilohertz public service radio station, one with a list of emergency cooling stations. The National Weather Service's 162 Megahertz weather radio stations are off the air.
Our advice to everyone who's stuck without power: visit friends and family who have electric power. Toss out the food in your refrigerator, if you haven't already done so, pack up your pets, and LEAVE.
This is what we get for electing and re-electing people who are spending an inordinate, no unconscionable, amount of time, effort, and money preparing for the next 9-11 while ignoring the real threats to our health and safety.