July 1, 2004 - From the September, 2001 issue

How Will Attacks Effect Region's Infrastructure? MIR Readers Respond

The events of 9/11 have left an indelible mark on every part of our society. But rather than remain in a collective funk, is it possible that a constructive response to the tragedy can be fashioned. Rethinking the agenda and value of our governmental agenices seems appropriate. The future and focus of our infrastructure investments, for example, is probably in order. If that happens, perhaps this tragedy will galvanize a civic-minded populace to partner with our elected representatives for success? MIR polled its readership to see what responsive shifts in policy and priorities should result from the terrorist acts in NYC and D.C. Below are a sample of the heartfelt suggestions gleaned from our polling.


Steve Soboroff

The horrific events on September 11th signaled a new definition and value of public safety. Immediately water managers implemented their anti-terrorist and safety programs and have been accelerating new programs and efforts to maximize the safety of our public drinking waters. Through a combination of technology, testing and monitoring, facilities patrols and closures to the public, alternative distribution regimes, diverse resource supplies, and emergency response provisions, the serious job of providing safe drinking water is receiving even more focus and attention. Water utilities across the country today are strategically assessing potential vulnerabilities and charting new safety measures reflecting the new realities in which we live and operate.

Adan Ortega, V.P. External Affairs

Metropolitan Water District

My hope is that communities will pull together; my concern is that fear will pull them apart. Whatever our local response is to the assault on our country, our priority should be to bring unity through a common enterprise of improving the quality of life for the millions of people living in this region and for the children that will inherit it.

Katherine Aguilar Perez, Exec. Director

SCTLC

Our sense of invulnerability has been permanently altered. We must re-think our approach to security, especially in our population centers, mass transit sites, and large public gatherings. During this time education about our geo-political relationships must be emphasized and television networks should be encouraged to carry more of the factually based programming about the middle east, our allies and enemies as is normally associated only with public television. Locally we need all civic and business leaders to speak about unity and against irrational bigotry and attacks on others who are perceived to be somehow different. We must remain very focused on improvements to our public infrastructure...public transit, water and sewer lines, streets, and lights are very important components in support of commerce and maintaining a quality of life that will always separate us from lesser developed nations.

John Murray

Lockeed Martin IMS

Locally and regionally, a thin crust of isolation, cynicism and mistrust of government covers a strong hunger for community. It is easier now than before the terrorist attacks to break through this crust. At present, organized special interests have too much influence and the unorganized public and civic leaders have too little. We have too much advocacy and not enough dialogue. We have too much spin and manipulation and not enough genuine public learning. My proposal is that we develop a new strategy at the local, regional and state levels for coping with policy issues such as growth, water, electricity, affordable housing, traffic congestion, taxation and governance, with special attention to serious public learning and to the role of civic leaders. We have a window of opportunity to emerge from this disaster as stronger, closer communities.

Dan Yankelovich

Chairman, DYG, Inc.

All of us who think of ourselves as environmentalists need to get on with the work of saving and restoring the natural world, but those who thought this could be done in isolation, without engaging the human species at the national and international level, have received a wakeup call. There is nothing to do but get back to work, but we must broaden the discussion to include everyone, especially those we don't ordinarily talk to. A foreign policy that is based on preserving cheap oil for US domestic consumption will continue to put America's fate in the hands of terrorists. We can't disengage from the world now even if we wanted to; nor is drilling in every national monument a long-term fix. Instead, we need to follow through in parts of the world we would rather not engage with to help promote a stable, democratic society for those we do business with, not just for ourselves. The Kyoto treaty on global climate, now offically declared dead by the Bush administration, would have spurred investments in clean economic development in the world's poorest countries and provided incentives to preserve old growth forests, while hastening the transition away from an oil-based economy--all things that would help improve world peace and improve American claims to moral leadership.

Mary Nichols, State Secretary

California Natural Resources Agency

Priorities for public decision makers must be broken into two parts: What are the fundamental changes that should be made to make this a more secure place to live? And, how do we accomplish those changes with minimal visibility such that citizens don't feel like we're living in a police state? Along with increased budgeting for added security measures - coordinated with private, non-profit and government agencies -, the City must evaluate the visual impact that these changes have i.e., can we have secure public areas without metal detectors at every corner?

Kenneth Chawkins

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District Superintendent, SCE

Clearly the residents of Southern California have become much more willing to have their civil liberties restricted to protect their overall health & safety. Crisis situations tend to bring people together which generally requires people living in close proximity to work & live in greater harmony. All levels of government including quasi -public agencies (utilities) and public safety organizations will have to look inward and evaluate their ability to protect the public trust. After last week, the national budget and Social security have taken a back seat to safety & security.

Steve Crosby, Vice President

AT&T Wireless Services

Because LA's profile is relatively low except for our airport and ports, the aftermath of the events in New York will likely be inconvenience and some general slowdown of activity. Our broad industry base continues to render us more resilient to national and even state recessionary exposure. Our remaining defense and growing space and communications sectors should see some added government stimulus. We must do all we can to remain convenient and accessible to the national and international business visitor. Our economy depends in large part on continued growth of trade and the creative design industries. LA needs to continue to attract interest as the "place to be" for new ideas, products and applications. This is our competitive edge.

Lee Harrington, President

LAEDC

To minimize the negative long term effects, the actions that are taken by the U.S. Gov't during the next year must insure that:

1) Our military response is successful, and we are prepared for the next generation of potential attacks.

2) Terrorists, all over the World, are identified and apprehended.

3) Our federal government partners with the airlines to create a business model for commercial aviation that works. (not subsidizing the airlines the way they are today, but government/military taking over responsibility for security, and the airlines being able to find a way to make flying safe, convenient and reasonably priced). Tourism and business growth depends on it

Steve Soboroff

Former Mayoral Candidate, City of L.A.

We need civic leadership, not merely in L.A., but from the region. Simply because we have no visible destruction here doesn't mean we haven't had an economic earthquake. We need to mobilize and tap the best private & public sector minds in the region; their goal: maximizing the possibilities for economic recovery and long term regional investment. We also need to focus our sizeable political forces; and they must focus on Washington. The Northeast will be a clear regional winner in Congress-as they should-but the impacts of 9/11 are not limited to NYC and the Pentagon. Metro L.A. is a critically important component of the national economy and we depends in great measure on mobility. Thus, we need champions in DC, and we need them now more than ever if we are to return LAX and our workforce to relative economic normalcy.

-David Abel, Publisher

Metro Investment Report

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