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Post new topic   Reply to topic    Where To Turn Forum Index -> Lost Art of Common Sense ( Op Ed )
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PostPosted: Wed Mar 07, 2007 8:48 pm    Post subject: COMMON SENSE
From Wed Mar 07, 2007 2:00 am to Mon Mar 12, 2007 2:59 am (included)
Reply with quote

Dennis McKeon
(With apologies to Thomas Paine)

“To argue with a person who has renounced the use of reason is like administering medicine to the dead.”
Thomas Paine

Is there some sort of test that needs to be taken in order to get a high ranking position with the government?

Not only our elected officials but everyone in a decision making position seems to be completely lacking common sense.

Let’s start at the local level.

For years people have been complaining that there was never a proper search completed at Ground Zero

Common Sense would have determined that finding 766 remains in the Deutsche Bank Building should have initiated a new search.

Common Sense would have also determined that finding 209 remains in a manhole most definitely should have triggered a total excavation of the area including the Haul Road.

Common Sense would also determine that a haul road made from fresh fill would not contain over 200 remains, material from the Towers and numerous steel beams.

Common Sense would dictate bringing in all available resources to facilitate the search.

Common Sense would also lead us to the conclusion that if you have tested 1184 new remains and are using the best facilities and spending millions of dollars that some DNA matches would have been found.

Common Sense would also conclude that if you have an inventory system in place at the NYPD Property Department that could be used to determine if items are missing and also be used to identify human remains that it should be being used.

Common Sense would dictate that you do not leave human remains anywhere but most certainly not at a crime site or a landfill.

We will return to Common Sense at the local level in a little while.

Let’s move on the Federal Level.

For years people have been complaining about the poor treatment our veterans have been receiving.

Common Sense would dictate using a percentage of the entire military budget help finance these inadequacies.

Common Sense would also dictate that you put someone in charge that has experience, not someone who’s only claim to fame is that he was the Chairman of the Republican National Committee.

Common Sense would also dictate that those responsible for oversight should not have to rely on newspapers or TV for their information.
Staying with the Federal Government

Common Sense would dictate that FEMA should be as much a proactive agency as it should be an immediate response agency.

Common Sense would have concluded that the levees were almost certainly to break under the circumstances.

Common Sense would have also determined that that most of the lanes of the highway should have been opened to outgoing traffic.

Common Sense would also have concluded that you needed a strategic on site distribution plan for all of the goods and services that were being sent.

Common Sense would also dictate that you put someone in charge that has experience that again was not the case

• According to the DHS’s inspector general, a shortage of qualified staff contributed to a lack of oversight and overwhelmed FEMA employees in the response to Hurricane Katrina.11 When Katrina hit, FEMA was understaffed by approximately 500 employees. As the 2005 hurricane season began, many of the people on staff were new and untrained.

• An estimated $800 million in federal grants for first responders was managed outside of FEMA. Lacking the authority to coordinate local and state preparedness programs, FEMA responded to Hurricane Katrina’s destruction with instances of miscommunication and a lack of coordination among the numerous departments and agencies.

The lack of trained experienced staff likely contributed to mismanagement of emergency assistance and reconstruction contracts, problems that disadvantaged minority and local businesses:

• More than 70% of Katrina-related contracts worth over $500,000—about 1,200 contracts in total—were awarded with less than full and open competition. Nearly 800 investigations have been opened into possible crimes by contractors, including theft, fraud, wrongful claims, and overfilling; 174 indictments have been handed down.

• Overwhelmed contracting staff were each responsible for overseeing an average of $163 million in contracts annually, a figure that is over seven times the industry average.

• Minority businesses were largely passed over for reconstruction work until October 2005, when Congress questioned FEMA’s actions. In February 2006 minority-owned businesses accounted for only 2.4% of the $5.1 billion awarded by FEMA. This was a slight increase from the previous October, when minority-owned businesses received a mere 1.5% of the federal contracts.

• After allegations of favoritism arose, more than 30 contracts were awarded to local and small businesses in the Gulf Coast region for work that was previously being carried out by large out-of-state contractors.

Audits after 9/11 uncovered similar abuses of the system.

$5.4 Million for 9 months salaries for chief executives of a firm that received a contract before it was incorporated and has subsequently gone out of business.

$8,100 for elevator operators at the Marriott Marquis Hotel

$125,000 rental fee for six magnetometers that could have been purchased for about $5,000 apiece

$4.4 Million for no show fees for exams not taken by potential candidates

$28,000 for coffee at the Sheraton Hotel in Reston

Now add that on top of the hundreds of millions that have been given out in improper loans after 9/11 and you just have the tip of the iceberg.

Common Sense would dictate that steps would be taken to recoup these monies.

Unfortunately Common Sense is not at requirement.

Finally we come full circle back to Ground Zero

Common Sense would dictate that any structure built at a location which has been a victim of two terrorist attacks should be built to the strictest building and fire codes which happen to be the NYC codes.

Common Sense would also dictate that a Memorial by definition alone should be about the victims it memorializes.

Common Sense would also determine that the families of those victims would have the best perspective on what should appear on the Memorial.

Unfortunately Common Sense does not appear to be required.

Walter Reed will be in the headlines for a few weeks as were the new finds at Ground Zero and FEMA’s response to Katrina and the misuse of funds by the banks and the TSA after 9/11.

Then it will be out of site out of mind until the next scandal.

As Ralph Waldo Emerson stated, “Nothing astonishes men so much as common sense and plain dealing.”

Is it too much to ask to be dealt with plainly and maybe even astonished just once?

All we need is a little common sense.

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