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Advice on Letter from Hist. Soc. to Congress

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    Advice on Letter from Hist. Soc. to Congress

    The Butte County HIstorical Society board of Directors voted last night to send a letter to our congressional representatives, the SIU, and Represnetaives Oberstar & Sen. Inouye in support of the SOLAS exemption.
    This is the text I presented them, but they are willing to allow it to be modified, so I am presenting it here for editing and suggestions! Please feel free to make suggestions so it will be most effective. Don't worry about insuliting me--saving the DQ is too important!!
    Thanks!
    David D.

    The Butte County Historical Society recognizes the former California
    riverboat, The Delta Queen, as a surviving significant piece of our
    American heritage. We encourage our Elected Representatives in Congress
    to pass legislation exempting her from the SOLAS regulations outlawing
    wooden superstructures on Passenger carrying Overnight Vessels operating
    at Sea. The Delta Queen never operates more than five minutes from shore,
    and seldom in water deeper than her second deck. In addition, she is
    equipped with a modern fire suppression sprinkler system, and has been
    painted with NASA developed flame retardant paint. These factors were not
    considered when the SOLAS regulations were written, and should be
    considered to allow the vessel to continue to operate in American rivers,
    as she has safely done for the past 80 years. She has operated since 1970
    under SOLAS exemptions passed by Congress and signed by six United States
    Presidents.
    The Delta Queen is a National Landmark, one of the few operating ones
    left, and is the last remaining authentic steam powered overnight stern
    wheel boat. To lose this national treasure over a misapplication of a law
    will be tragic. Please do whatever is in your power to allow this
    legislation to be passed to save an American Icon.

    #2
    The first exemption for the DELTA QUEEN was 1968. It allowed her to be exempt from the new laws until November 1970.
    Last edited by Frank X. Prudent; 08-09-2007, 10:18 AM. Reason: spelling

    Comment


      #3
      David,

      please be aware that the exemption is NOT from SOLAS, but from the Safety at Sea Act (that is Public Law 89-777), as a national law can't make exemptions from a international convention that is not even directly applicable to the Delta Queen. Though it's indirectly, as the PL 89-777 refers to SOLAS 1960.

      But honestly, I think at this time it's maybe even counterproductive to send letters or e-mails to Rep. Oberstar at all as he obviously has clearly stated that "under no circumstances" he would consider legislation for the DQ. And don't forget that it's just a few weeks ago that we already sent a lot of letters and e-mails to Mr. Oberstar and other Senators and Representatives ...

      As long as we can not build up massiv publicity or can authoritatively convince Mr. Oberstar of the fact that the Delta Queen is absolutely safe, he probably will not show any interest in even reading letters. All our arguments have to be in the direction to convince the Congress of the unquestionable safety of this boat and, in addition, how many employees are depending on the DQ directly and indirectly, i.e. in the communities along the rivers and in the logistics ashore.

      My strategy would be to first get well organized on our side, make a good plan, find experts to help us, find lobbyists who know exactly how to handle such a campaign and then start coordinated mailings and other approaches.

      Fortunately we still have got plenty of time for the legislation to take place, so no reason to hurry at the moment at all.

      Franz

      Comment


        #4
        Franz,
        Thank you for the correction, I will modify this letter.
        Note that Mr. Oberstar's statement was that congress should not be in the business of granting exemptions. Well, IMHO, they wouldn't need to be in that business IF they wrote their legislation correctly in the first place! We are only asking them to right a wrong THEY put into law. I wrote many letters to Garmatz when I was in High School, I suspect he probably used them to light his cigars. . . But I wrote them anyway, in hopes that the indication of public support would encourage him to do the right thing. Nowadays, it has been revealed that a crossing of the palms would have convinced him! I won't write the next sentence!
        Any more suggestions or corrections?? Bring 'em on, we have a few weeks before I have to send the letters!
        S'
        David D.
        PS Franz, as a city employee, I can tell you that things move VERY slowly, so we really don't have a lot of time--we do have these three weeks of recess to gather ourselves together though! Also, mail to congress takes quite a while, as it is heavily screened for "bad stuff" that unscrupulous persons might put in the envelope. A sad commentary on the times.

        Comment


          #5
          From what has been posted here, it seems unlikely that Rep. Oberstar or Sen. Inouye will ever support the exemption. Therefore the only workable strategy is to create a situation where it is to their advantage to at least not actively oppose it. I am not politically saavy enough to know how to orchestrate such a thing, but it seems to me that the two most obvious paths are to set it up so that either they become the "bad guys" in the view of their constituents and/or major supporters if they oppose the exemption, or to find something that they want badly enough to trade for permiting it to go to the House and Senate. That is, another member of Congress whose support they need and who will make that support contingent on the amendment we need. Surely there are people in this forum who have the skills and or contacts to set up a tactical plan to do this.

          Comment


            #6
            Members of the
            Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure
            U.S. House of Representatives
            110th Congress
            Majority (2165 RHOB) - (202) 225-4472
            Minority (2163 RHOB) - (202) 225-9446

            James L. Oberstar, Minnesota, Chairman

            Nick J. Rahall, II, West Virginia
            Peter A. DeFazio, Oregon
            Jerry F. Costello, Illinois
            Eleanor Holmes Norton, District of Columbia
            Jerrold Nadler, New York
            Corrine Brown, Florida
            Bob Filner, California
            Eddie Bernice Johnson, Texas
            Gene Taylor, Mississippi
            Elijah E. Cummings, Maryland
            Ellen O. Tauscher, California
            Leonard L. Boswell, Iowa
            Tim Holden, Pennsylvania
            Brian Baird, Washington
            Rick Larsen, Washington
            Michael E. Capuano, Massachusetts
            Julia Carson, Indiana
            Timothy H. Bishop, New York
            Michael H. Michaud, Maine
            Brian Higgins, New York
            Russ Carnahan, Missouri
            John T. Salazar, Colorado
            Grace F. Napolitano, California
            Daniel Lipinski, Illinois
            Doris O. Matsui, California
            Nick Lampson, Texas
            Zachary T. Space, Ohio
            Mazie K. Hirono, Hawaii
            Bruce L. Braley, Iowa
            Jason Altmire, Pennsylvania
            Timothy J. Walz, Minnesota
            Heath Shuler, North Carolina
            Michael A. Arcuri, New York
            Harry E. Mitchell, Arizona
            Christopher P. Carney, Pennsylvania
            John J. Hall, New York
            Steve Kagen, Wisconsin
            Steve Cohen, Tennessee
            Jerry McNerney, California
            Vacancy

            John L. Mica, Florida, Ranking Republican Member
            Don Young, Alaska
            Thomas E. Petri, Wisconsin
            Howard Coble, North Carolina
            John J. Duncan, Jr., Tennessee
            Wayne T. Gilchrest, Maryland
            Vernon J. Ehlers, Michigan
            Steven C. LaTourette, Ohio
            Richard H. Baker, Louisiana
            Frank A. LoBiondo, New Jersey
            Jerry Moran, Kansas
            Gary G. Miller, California
            Robin Hayes, North Carolina
            Henry E. Brown Jr., South Carolina
            Timothy V. Johnson, Illinois
            Todd Russell Platts, Pennsylvania
            Sam Graves, Missouri
            Bill Shuster, Pennsylvania
            John Boozman, Arkansas
            Jim Gerlach, Pennsylvania
            Shelley Moore Capito, West Virginia
            Mario Diaz-Balart, Florida
            Charles W. Dent, Pennsylvania
            Ted Poe, Texas
            David G. Reichert, Washington
            Connie Mack, Florida
            John R. “Randy” Kuhl Jr., New York
            Lynn A. Westmoreland, Georgia
            Charles W. Boustany Jr., Louisiana
            Jean Schmidt, Ohio
            Candice S. Miller, Michigan
            Thelma D. Drake, Virginia
            Mary Fallin, Oklahoma
            Vern Buchanan, Florida

            Comment


              #7
              Hank, you made some good points.

              But as difficult as it will be, may I suggest we don't discuss this kind of strategies in the public?

              I'm trying to work on this in the background already. If you have some time left and are able and willing to help, please contact me by e-mail, I'm trying to coordinate our actions as good as I can :-)

              Franz

              Comment


                #8
                How many are in the DQ's crew? That is, how many jobs would be lost if the exemption is not renewed?

                Comment


                  #9
                  Hank, the DQ carries 80 crew members, 5 more than when I worked aboard as crew steward in '80. Naturally, those lost jobs are just a part of the total economic impact of the DQ's retirement. The small towns all along her route who enjoy her periodic visits will certainly miss the 100-150 passengers milling about their downtowns, spending on souveniers. Back when the captains had discretion as to ports of call, the DQ and MQ stopped in Muscatine frequently. A local jeweler told me that during these visits, her store was like Christmas Eve morning. The local eateries would also benefit from all the off duty crew, who are always anxious for a change in cuisine.

                  Comment


                    #10
                    Thanks Greg. As you probably deduced, I'm writing letters. I've covered the impact on the river towns and suppliers, though lack of specific data means I had to be general. I figured that direct employment was more easily quantifiable and should be iincluded.

                    Comment


                      #11
                      And because of people away on earned days off, the total number of full time officers and crew is nearer 125 persons.

                      Comment


                        #12
                        What about office folks...booking agents etc??

                        Comment


                          #13
                          Well, drat. I mailed the letters yesterday. 125 would have been more impressive than 80.(Waco would fight for a business that employs 80 people directly.) If, or when, I write more letters, i'll use that figure and anyone else will now have the correct number. Thanks. I wish we had some idea of the economic impact on the towns where she calls, but that might not be as easly obtained. Economics is going to carry as much, if not more, weight with congressmen/women than history and sentiment.

                          Comment


                            #14
                            From the article in the Decatur Daily News on Aug. 9th:
                            http://www.decaturdaily.com/decaturd...09/queen.shtml

                            "Gloria Arthur, owner of Bank Street Antiques, said passengers generally spend $750 to $1,000 at her store each time a boat docks here."

                            Multiply that by the number of places the DQ stops and then throw in food, souvenirs, and other stores similar to the one above. Chances are that at least two or three antique stores are in each town. Yes, there is an economic impact at each shore stop.

                            Comment


                              #15
                              Oberstar

                              Originally posted by Hank Bloomer View Post
                              From what has been posted here, it seems unlikely that Rep. Oberstar or Sen. Inouye will ever support the exemption. Therefore the only workable strategy is to create a situation where it is to their advantage to at least not actively oppose it. I am not politically saavy enough to know how to orchestrate such a thing, but it seems to me that the two most obvious paths are to set it up so that either they become the "bad guys" in the view of their constituents and/or major supporters if they oppose the exemption, or to find something that they want badly enough to trade for permiting it to go to the House and Senate. That is, another member of Congress whose support they need and who will make that support contingent on the amendment we need. Surely there are people in this forum who have the skills and or contacts to set up a tactical plan to do this.
                              Perhaps Oberstar should spend more time worrying about the infrastructure and Interstate bridges in his state....and leave the "safety of the Delta Queen" issues up to the steamboat and inland rivers experts.

                              Comment

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