Claremont Insider: Emergency Operations

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Emergency Operations

Hear the loud alarum bells -
Brazen bells!
What a tale of terror, now, their turbulency tells!
In the startled ear of night
How they scream out their affright!
Too much horrified to speak,
They can only shriek, shriek,
Out of tune,
In a clamorous appealing to the mercy of the fire,
In a mad expostulation with the deaf and frantic fire,
Leaping higher, higher, higher,
With a desperate desire,
And a resolute endeavor
Now -now to sit or never,
By the side of the pale-faced moon.
Oh, the bells, bells, bells!
What a tale their terror tells
Of despair!
How they clang, and clash, and roar!
What a horror they outpour
On the bosom of the palpitating air!
Yet the ear it fully knows,
By the twanging
And the clanging,
How the danger ebbs and flows;
Yet the ear distinctly tells,
In the jangling
And the wrangling,
How the danger sinks and swells,
By the sinking or the swelling in the anger of the bells -
Of the bells,
Of the bells, bells, bells, bells,
Bells, bells, bells
In the clamor and the clangor of the bells!

We tried to remind ourselves just where that $1.8 million Emergency Operations Center fit in the list of Claremont priorities. It just didn't ring a bell--or alarum, or siren, or whatever would be appropriate in the circumstance.

Here is a list of priorities from one of last year's City Council study session on the subject. This list came from an agenda report dated July 22, 2008, from City Manager Parker to the Council. No EOC that we notice:

click to enlarge

You can go through the entire agenda report yourself; we see no mention of an EOC in any of the funded or unfunded Capital Improvement Projects for FY 2008-9, or 2009-10, either.

And yet we have Congressman David Dreier, presumably as a result of lobbying by staff or council, showering down $1.8 million for an EOC in Claremont. (We could be wrong, but we thought the City Hall was reconstructed nearly a decade ago with FEMA money for something very near that purpose, and the Citrus Room was designated the EOC.)

This is just the kind of Federal waste that people of all political stripes rail about. From the Right: big money for a project neither necessary nor desired by the community. From the Left: big money for a rich community at the expense of nearby poorer ones. (the same analysis of the Omnibus Earmark Act found, for example, two projects benefitting Pomona totaling $875,000 (for ground water cleanup in South Pomona and the construction on the 71 south of Mission Blvd.)

Claremont, with a population of some 35,000 receives $1.8 million (more than $50 per capita) for an unnecessary frill. Pomona, with a population of about 150,000, receives $875,000 (not quite $6 per capita) for projects that more directly affect the health and safety of the community.

Whose life is going to be made better knowing that Jeff Parker, Tony Ramos, and Paul Cooper have a comfortable place to go, with lots of neat radios and computers and large LCD screens, when the Big One hits? They have the mobile command center trailer already. And what scarce staff resource is going to honcho this money and this project?

(Proposed answer to previous question: Most likely this is a make-work project to fund a couple more city staff members during the upcoming lean times; don't look for it to pencil out in any cost- benefit way.)

In the meantime, we have gotten copies of the proposed drawings for the EOC. When Jeff Parker shows up at Council meeting tonight in a Starfleet uniform, you'll know we are right.

click to enlarge

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The stanza introducing this post is from 'The Bells', by Edgar Allan Poe