Letters to the Editor

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9/11: Why wasn’t communication funded?

Letter by Stephen A. Hemmert, Tacoma on Sep. 6, 2011 at 2:14 pm with 27 Comments »
September 6, 2011 2:34 pm

Re: “State ready if terrorists strike” (TNT, 9-6).

Finally, an accounting has been done on how the federal monies for preparedness have been spent. Washington state received $400 million, with $28 million going to Pierce County.

Since 2001, when the World Trade Center towers collapsed, there have been news reports after news report concerning the inability of first responders to communicate with each other in New York City. This is a problem in Pierce County, for which the proposed remedy is an increase in the sales tax.

If the inability to communicate is a problem, why weren’t some of these funds used in the last 10 years to upgrade the communication systems? Was this good planning? Is the estimated $300 million collected for systems upgrades for infrastructure and equipment really necessary?

When the “free” federal monies have been exhausted, are we going to be hit with a sales tax increase for years to come? At least now the voters have been informed when casting their ballots on the issue.

Leave a comment Comments → 27
  1. KARDNOS says:

    It’s rather difficult for first responders to communicate when the communication center is located in the building that was destroyed.

    Guliani was warned against this practice, but ignored advice in lieu of being “walking distance” from his office.

  2. We have radio systems. We just don’t have radio operators.

  3. Radios are not as sexy as robots.

  4. Sroldguy says:

    It seems they did spend money on comm systems, but the latest twist is Big Brother wants to make money by selling off unused public broadcast frequencies. Some of the present day radios don’t work that well under the new plans so they have to be changed. It will end up Big Brother will probably make less money than what it will cost all the cities in the U.S. to update their radio systems. Another great plan – on paper..

  5. LarryFine says:

    “free” federal monies

  6. LarryFine says:

    When the state of Wa. started the lotto it was sold as a way to fund public education… truth is, the government (in this case state gov) has a bad habit of not following thru on their obligations.
    Interesting how an attempt was made so early in this thread to make this paertisan by bringing Guliani into it.

  7. KARDNOS says:

    From a conservative publication…

    It’s the unexamined question of 9/11: What if Rudy Giuliani wasn’t quite the hero everybody thought?


    But what if Rudy’s take-charge image was mostly a load of bravado and PR? What if the actual decisions he made – before, during and after the terror attacks – were directly responsible for the city’s inability to deal effectively with crucial aspects of the crisis?


    With dozens of exclusive and previously unreleased interviews, Barrett and Collins show how the ambitious ex-mayor has spent recent years revising his own truth of 9/11 – and profiting handsomely from it. Casting himself as a prescient terror hawk who wisely prepared his city for the inevitable, Giuliani in fact ignored repeated warnings from the experts, including his own commissioners and aides.

    Instead of confronting the looming danger, they tell how he grew increasingly distracted by pet projects, political turf wars and an extraordinarily messy personal life.

  8. Soundlife says:

    Wow, you make him sound just like the idiots that we elected here…

  9. The reason they didn’t upgrade communication is because DEM / Sheriffs dept needed a $500.000 big cushy RV that was transformed into a mobile command center in which happens to be limited to where it can go and limited transmitting distance . Plus a few other items. Now they expect us to approve a tax increase to buy them millions of dollars communication upgrade. Oh buy the way they known for awhile that they needed to upgrade their communication system.Oh the county also wants you to help pay for repairs of homes of those who freely choose to live along the rivers

  10. everyone says:

    Vote Hell No on South Sound 911 in November!

  11. LarryFine says:

    Snail is bent on off topic thread derailment… kooky.

  12. mattersnot1 says:

    Kardnos, You are no conservative repulican, so don’t try to pass yourself as one.
    I’ve read your exhaustive comments on other threads and they have all come from the left.

  13. “When the state of Wa. started the lotto it was sold as a way to fund public education… truth is,”

    Larry, you are confused. I suggest you go to the lottery web site and read the real story.

  14. here goes in 3… 2… 1…

  15. “Vote Hell No on South Sound 911 in November! ”

    Well you better get organized and start collecting money for a no 911 tax campaign.

    The 911 system is like cute babies and chocolate brownies. They’re lovable.

  16. Howdy Doody Time……tell us peanut gallery…..how did you manage to work the state lottery into this thread while accusing another poster of thread drift when he wrote about the 9/11 communications systems that failed 10 years ago?

  17. A321196 says:

    All the poster is asking is to consider the facts of how federal funds were spent it the past. I read the articles in the TNT stating why the system needs to be enhanced/upgraded. However, there is something that is obvious to me as how the funds were spent- training. There is no trickle down effect in buying necessary equipment, and, I do NOT mean some of the bells and whistles purchased (underwater robots-duh).

    Dollars spent on training enables everybody to have a handout. Buying a communications system and having it installed is money passed on to a vendor.

    I am incensed as to the government always asking for a handout through the guise of a boost in sales taxes. And, it is not sufficient to ask for a one time expenditure. The sales tax levy will be another source of continuous funding.

    It’s time for all government entities to make some tough choices. I have to make those choices. And, when economic times turn good again, and, sales tax revenue roles in- Then maybe it will time to make ONE time expenditures and not start continuous programs and open ended levies.

  18. LarryFine says:

    Until beerBoy/Arts/ Moderate can play nice I will be ignoring his off topic personal attacks.


  19. LarryFine says:

    pawl, http://www.goia.wa.gov/govtogov/pdf/Washington'sLottery.pdf

    In 1982 it was sold as a way to fund education, and several other things such as stadium construction… yet we routinely are taxed and asked to pass levies for those very items. My point is that government is very good at the old bait-n-switch b.s.
    For clarity, the writer is speaking to the federal money that was given to our state AFTER 9-11-’01 , for the purpose of giving first reponders the ability to communicate. (it has NOTHING to due with the former mayor of NYC)

  20. KARDNOS says:

    I see that the letter writer makes reference to the communications challenge in NYC on 9/11

    I do not see anything in the letter about education or the lottery.

  21. KARDNOS says:

    “mattersnot1 says:
    September 7, 2011 at 10:28 am
    Kardnos, You are no conservative repulican, so don’t try to pass yourself as one.
    I’ve read your exhaustive comments on other threads and they have all come from the left.”

    Because I quote a Conservative publication, that means I’m “passing myself off as a Conservative”???????????????


    Thanks for noticing that I’m not a regressive, mattersnot.

  22. LarryFine says:

    … the Idaho dance teacher is definately a case study…

  23. beerBoy says:

    but who’s paying attention ?

    I will always have at least an audience of one stooge.

  24. Educator1 says:

    Why not funded???? 1. Procrastination 2. Use of money elsewhere 3. Knew the people would vote for more taxes. 4. Incompetance 5. The tax last year for 911 only resulted in untold millions (which the county was able to hide) and we want more. 6. We can hide FireCom & West Pierce Fire incompetance by calling it something new. 7. The people will vote for 911 without a budget being presented. 8. WE WANT TO TAKE CONTROL of Fire and Police at the county level.

  25. concernedtacoma7 says:

    Sunshine- “Thanks for noticing that I’m not a regressive”

    Dude, your short term memory must be failing. Just this week you were arguing that we should go back to the labor conditions of the 1950’s.

  26. sincere says:

    Anytime the Government gives States (FREE) money,there will be so many strings attached,you will choke on the strings.This would be like someon giving you a new car and saying,its all yours! Nothing is said about the cost to own and operate the Free gift,like upkeep ,repairs ,fuel, license, insurance,Etc.When the true costs of what this free gift is costing,it will be too late to refuse this Boondogle.Once anything something is given to you and you accept the gift,it is up to you to keep the gift in first class condition.

  27. Educator1…I really hope you are able to get that information out to the public. Unfortunately, you are right. The people will vote for South Sound 911 thinking they are doing a good thing. What they don’t realize is that Prop One “South Sound 911″ generates millions of dollars in revenue for Pierce County yet they only need a faction of that money to do the much needed upgrade to their radio systems. Building 2 new buildings and forcing Countywide consolidation will do nothing to improve the safety of our First Responders. What it will do is line the pockets of Pierce County and let them create yet another broken system.

    Pierce County radios do need to be upgraded. THE RADIOS WILL STILL BE UPGRADED, EVEN WITH THE FAILURE OF SOUTH SOUND 911. That is because Pierce County has known for years this needed to be done. But instead of planning and budgeting and making it a priority , they drug their feet and waited until the last possible minute. Now they act as if it is emergent that they rush to pass this bloated proposition. All the while playing on the heartstrings and fears of the public. Implying the safety of First Responders are at risk if they reject this plan. Yet they didn’t consider it so bad that they made it a priority to fix before now. And now it is down to the wire and they want someone else to pay for it.

    The public also isn’t aware that not ALL Police agencies or ALL Fire agencies in Pierce County support this plan. There is a large segment of the county, Police and Fire, that sees this is a bad idea. That in itself is a very legitimate reason to look very closely at what Pierce County is proposing with South Sound 911. Radio upgrades are one thing. Forced consolidation into a Pierce County run system is another thing entirely. Consolidation needs the input and support of those consolidating otherwise it is nothing more than a hostile takeover. That can’t be the best way to make a new system work.

    I urge everyone to educate themselves on this plan and look at the entire proposition. Don’t be blinded by the love of the Fire Dept or your fear that rejecting this plan will be detrimental to First Responders. They will be taken care of.

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