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A call to arms for the DQ on the fourth

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Old 07-04-2010, 11:39 AM
Join Date: Jul 2006
Location: Northern California above Lake Oroville on "Dewey Mountain"
Posts: 1,153
Default A call to arms for the DQ on the fourth

Hi all,
I am a member of the American Theatre Organ Society (ATOS), and today posted the following to the Theater Organs group that I thought I should also share here. Remember, it was one of the founders of the ATOS that saved the DQ and put a calliope on her in the late 1950s, so there is a good reason to post there!
David D.
PS: "TPO" is Theatre Pipe Organ

HI all,
Yes, It was I who first talked about the Legendary Delta Queen and her plight. And, yes she does have multiple ties with TPOs, so I do not apologize for bringing up this subject--we are all trying to save history--and make history here, and that is what the DQ is all about.
Yes, she is moored at a beautiful location--but that is the problem--she is not allowed to move from that location! This is primarily because of a poorly written law passed by congress in the late 1960s. It forbids wooden superstructures on sea going overnight passenger ships. Unfortunately, that covers "navigable waters" such as our inland river systems. It also ignores that, with proper safety systems in place, the wooden structure will stay intact longer than a metal one in a fire, and that the DQ is never more than 5 minutes from beaching herself on the shore where the passengers can disembark safely via the landing stage. One can also exit one's cabin directly to the outside deck; no labyrinth of corridors to navigate to get to the outside. I can go into the numerous safety features that make being aboard her safer than being in one's own home, or in almost any motel/hotel structure, you can read and see all about it at Save the steamboat Delta Queen | a private initiative to support this historic landmark.
OK, so she isn't running, but she's intact (so far), so what's the big deal?? Historically steamboats that no longer run, and even those that are in "preservation," end up sinking, or deteriorating to the point of scrapping. There is not a good record of steamboat preservation. When the DQ runs and provides overnight passage, she makes money to keep her running. This has not proven to be true when docked. The Delta King, twin to the DQ is hanging on in Sacramento--however, there is NO machinery on board, and all that machinery space and crew space is used for meeting rooms, a theater, and a bar. This extra space helps her income, but leaves her a "ghost" of her/him self.
Currently the DQ's steam plant is intact, and serviced by volunteers to stay close to operational status. We need congress to once again pass her exemption from the SOLAS act, as they have done multiple times nearly unanimously in the past. What happened two years ago was a tragedy of political bullying by the transportation committee chair that did not allow congress to even vote on the exemption. The issue was lost in the "Change" and we elected a president who pledged in his campaign to help the DQ, but now says, "what boat?" This should not be a partisan issue, it's an issue of preserving American history, saving American Jobs, and being fair!
This is the first year since 1811 that there are no overnight steamboats on the American Inland waterways. Sure would be nice to have at least one running in 2011 to celebrate 200 years of Steamboatin'.
So here I am on our Country's birthday asking you to be like our forefathers and step forward to tell the government that it is being unreasonable and say; "Let the Delta Queen run!" It's a small thing really, I'm not asking you to pledge your lives, your fortunes, or your sacred honor, just let your representatives know that you think this is important.
Have a great fourth everyone!

David Dewey
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