Thursday, August 9, 2007

Greens Called for Renewed Infrastructure



WASHINGTON, DC -- Green Party leaders expressed
sympathy and support for the people of Minneapolis,
especially the families of victims, in the aftermath
of the collapse of the I-35W Bridge, and called for a
new era of investment in infrastructure and public
safety to prevent future tragedies.

Greens also noted the quick response and leadership of
Minneapolis Ward 2 Council Member Cam Gordon
, a member of
the Green Party, after the bridge collapsed last week.

A statement issued by Mr. Gordon, in whose ward the
disaster occurred, is excerpted below. The Green
Party of Minnesota has also issued a statement
.

"In the wake of the terrible Minneapolis bridge
collapse, Cam Gordon has rolled up his sleeves and
dived straight into the trenches," said Adri Mehra,
one of Mr. Gordon's constituents and a member of the
Fifth Congressional District Green Party's Steering
Committee. "The day of the bridge collapse, Cam
participated in the Emergency Operations Command
Center discussions, which resulted in a decision to
call off the divers searching the river on their
rescue and recovery mission. After that, Cam spent
hours in the family service center set up at the
Holiday Inn Metrodome. He spoke with families and
friends missing loved ones, connected with Red Cross
volunteers, and filled in on the hotline phone for the
team of chaplains while they conducted a meeting."

"A particular high point for Cam during his time at
the Holiday Inn was when he was able to help one of
his constituents -- a Riverside Park neighbor of his
-- locate a loved one on the phone. In the days since
the bridge collapse, Cam has toured the accident site
with other elected officials, and last night he helped
to lead a moment of silence on the Mississippi river
with a West Bank National Night Out party," Mr. Mehra
added.

Green Party leaders said that the bridge collapse
proved the need for greater investment in public works
and the improvement of deteriorating infrastructure.

"With a fraction of the money the US is spending on
the Iraq occupation and on porkbarrel military
contracts, we could launch a nationwide public works
program to restore crumbling bridges and other
structures, ensure public safety, improve and expand
public transportation, develop sustainable alternative
energy sources, and reduce the need for car traffic,"
said Budd Dickinson, co-chair of the Green Party of
the United States.

"We should begin in places like New Orleans, where the
levees were unable to withstand Katrina, and
Minneapolis, where the bridge collapse showed what
might happen as structures built decades ago continue
to age. Such a program would create millions of new
living wage jobs. Most importantly, we'd save lives
by preventing future disasters," added Mr. Dickinson,
an engineer who has worked on infrastructure and has
witnessed the reduction of infrastructure budgets.


Council Member Cam Gordon's statement on I-35 Bridge
Collapse [excerpted]
August 6, 2007

The media and City staff, particularly our
Communications Department, have been working hard to
provide information and access to information about
the tragic I-35W bridge collapse over the Mississippi.
I would like to offer some of my own comments and
observations.

First and foremost, my thoughts go out to all who have
lost loved ones, who are missing family and friends
and who are suffering because of the collapse. I hope
that you and your family, friends and loved ones are
safe and unharmed after this catastrophic event. For
all of us, as individuals and as a community, this has
been a shocking experience and a devastating loss.
While things may seem stable now and in many ways our
community is coming to terms with this shock, let's
not forget that some are still caught in the moment,
grieving the loss of family members, co-workers and
friends, in anguish for loved ones who are still
missing, or struggling to recover and survive from
injuries resulting from the fall. Please keep these
people, as well as our recovery workers still on the
scene, in your thoughts and prayers and wishes.

Second, I want to share a little of how proud I am of
our City, our community and all the personnel of the
City and other government agencies, volunteers and
others who were able to respond quickly and
competently to this disaster. City staff and elected
officials are, and have been, fully engaged in doing
everything we can to respond to this terrible
disaster. From courage and competence on the street
in the actions of the scores of first responders to
the highly skilled and focused leadership at the
Emergency Operations Command Center, we have a lot to
be proud of.

We also have so much to be grateful for. The
outpouring of support from the emergency response
teams from all over the County and State, the
chaplains, Red Cross personnel, those who have donated
food and supplies, all must be acknowledged.

As we enter the recovery phase we are just beginning
to get a sense of the difficult work ahead. Divers,
structural engineers, and other recovery experts are
checking vehicles that are still submerged in the
Mississippi River following the accident. Currently
the site is under the command of the Minneapolis
Police Department and will likely remain so until all
vehicles have been checked and all bodies recovered.

We are in discussions with other agencies, including
the County, the National Transportation Safety Board,
Army Corps of Engineers, Coast Guard and others to
develop a plan and unified command and control
structure for after the recovery phase is complete. A
clean-up plan is also being developed to address the
styrene monomer spill from the train car that was
crushed under the bridge....

From the reports I have seen, I believe we should be
grateful that this collapse did not result in more
loss of life. We should take this opportunity to
remind ourselves to cherish those around us.

Lastly, I am hopeful that in the months and years
ahead, this catastrophe will help refocus our
attention on maintaining our infrastructure, so that
nothing like this happens in our city, our state or
our country again.

[Distributed by]
Robin Garwood
Council Aide, Second Ward Council Member Cam Gordon
612.673.3654 (office)
651.338.7699 (cell)
http://secondward.blogspot.com


MORE INFORMATION

Green Party of the United States
http://www.gp.org
202-319-7191, 866-41GREEN
Fax 202-319-7193
• Green Party News Center
http://www.gp.org/newscenter.shtml
• Green Party Speakers Bureau
http://www.gp.org/speakers
• 2007 national Green Party meeting in Reading, Pa.:
video footage, blog and media coverage
http://www.gp.org/meeting2007/

Green Party of Minnesota
http://www.mngreens.org/

Links to information on the response to the I-35W
Bridge tragedy
http://pages.e-democracy.org/35W#Government

'Open Letter to Michael Moore' from the Green Party on
'Sicko,' health care reform
http://www.gp.org/press/pr_2007_07_09.shtml
http://www.commondreams.org/news2007/0710-03.htm
http://www.gp.org/organize/sicko.html

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