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An organizational suggestion

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    An organizational suggestion

    Depending upon their individual levels of humility and conscientiousness, congressmen to one degree or another do respond to concerns voiced in constituent mail. But on a letter-for-letter basis, communications from fellow politicians (especially allies) and from significant civic organizations in their districts carry greater weight.

    So here's a suggestion: everybody pick a town at which the DQ calls (or has called in recent years), identify the key people and groups, and urge THEM to contact local congressmen and senators on behalf of the DQ. I have been doing Marietta, as my wife and I plan to retire there in a couple of years, and I know a few local folk. On my letter-or-phone-call list are the mayor, two historically-minded city council members, the director of the tourist & convention bureau, the president of the Chamber of Commerce, the curator of the River Museum, and board members of ReStore Marietta (the historic district retailers' association).

    In my comments to them, I emphasize jobs and economic benefits: passengers spend money when the DQ calls at Marietta, and many of them are impressed with the town and drive back some year later and spend more money. The AQ and MQ are bigger, but they won't make up for the lost DQ passenger count.

    There are what, some 40 towns at which the DQ has called in the past 3 years? So everyone pick a town with which you have some familiarity, and go after their influentials. And let the rest of us know what your pick is --double or triple coverage of a town is fine (especially the bigger ones), but we don't want to leave a town uncovered.

    Is that a plan?
    Last edited by David Vrooman; 09-10-2007, 12:56 PM.

    Actually, I took a map one night and included large cities in those states as well, and came up with 76 towns and cities. I think it's a great idea. The issue here is if your representative supports the exemption or not. I found out my representative, Baron Hill, does not. So I'm having to cover even more territory. So far I have sent 12 letter's to editors. And I've told his office I will be standing in front of Walmart's in his District over the next few months gathering signatures. I have already sent him a package of information that cost $4.61 to mail.

    For nationwide coverage I would like to see each of those folks that signed the online petition to take a poll and make sure the rep in their district supports the exemption. It would be nice to have a head count of the yea's and nay's if we can ever get it on a bill before the full house, we need to know it's a sure thing! Is there someone out there that could contact each of these folks? Most of them included an email address. Is that okay Franz? Can we do that?

    I will certainly volunteer to cover either Southern Indiana or the Louisville area. I live in one and work in the other. Where do we need the coverage? Are there other's from Louisville that will cover this side of the river? I've contacted the Mayor Jerry Abramson's office and Riverfront Development. Both offices are for the exemption. But don't we need to press further and ask them to write a letter. Each person that takes a town to cover could be that central person and then forward them to their representative.

    Thanks David for throwing out that great idea. We've got to keep the ball rolling and the bigger and faster the better!


      Other letters of support that would be helpful and I'm hoping that we can get some of this taken care of at the annual meeting of The Sons and Daughters of Pioneer Rivermen coming up this weekend, would be from S & D themselves, and each of their chapters, also the Historic Steamship Society of America and the Passenger Vessel Association. Some of these organizations have publications. We need for the Waterway's Journal to carry something good about the campaign frequently and urge readers to garner support throughout their communities. We need to get positive articles in these publications so that we can quote to non-believers and uncooperative Representatives and Senators. Keep on the newspapers and TV stations to keep it in the news. There was a great article in the Pittsburgh Tribune Review yesterday. That reporter knows what the real deal is! Can we draft him to be our media wizard?

      We do not have a Betty Blake this time. I've personally sent either letters or emails to Garrison Keilor, Paul Harvey, Former President and Mrs. Carter, President and Mrs. George W. Bush, former Miss America Heather French Henry and The Travel Channel. It's a little early, but I have had no responses yet.

      The squeaky wheel gets the grease! Call or write to anyone that might remotely be of assistance in this great cause!


        >Most of them included an email address. Is that okay Franz? Can we do that?

        Sure, no problem. The e-mail addresses are publicly visible, so no reason why not sending an e-mail to them asking for help in the campaign :-)


          WHAT A WAY TO COVER THE WHOLE COUNTRY!!!!! Okay, now who out there has the time to email each individual and ask them for help? As I see it we specifically need as many as we can get to cover their states making sure their Representatives and Senators are on board with getting the exemption. They also need to make sure the TV stations, radio stations and newspapers are providing correct coverage (or coverage at all for that matter). As as mentioned earlier getting any organization involved that would have a interest in saving the DELTA QUEEN. We really need help in Minnesota and Hawaii, since Mr. Oberstar and Mr. Inouye are our stumbling blocks right out of the gate. If we could just get five people to step up, the states could be divided five ways and that way each person would only need to contact 10 people or less. Let's see a show of hands! H E L P!!!!!


            "Keep them cards and letters coming..."

            Lots of good suggestions are being presented, but we need to focus our efforts and get those cards, letters, phone calls, and emails moving.

            Sample messages would be very helpful-- especially ones that can be copy/pasted in email or letter (MS Word) documents that can increase the volume of messages as appropriate. Samples might be messages or letters already sent that contain the necessary facts/details to get the information across.

            The numbers game plays a large part in how others perceive the support behind the issue. It certainly did during the first SAVE THE DELTA QUEEN year.


              A sample message to local officials

              Sam --

              I don't mean to suggest that this (my attachment below) is a perfect message, but I think that it covers our major points for local officials succinctly (that's key: a good rule is "Never go onto a second page") and fairly clearly. What I have done is to "personalize" each message by changing the first sentence to fit the recipient; the rest is standard. Thus, in the case of Marietta, I cranked out six letters without having to compose six whole messages.

              You are welcome to use as much of my sample as you wish, but we need to be careful not to look like we're running a message factory. Politicians and their staff members are attuned to the signs of a few people running a mass message campaign. So include some personal elements to distinguish your letters from mine.

              Happy writing.

              Dave V.

              Ms. Charlotte Keim
              President, Marietta Area Chamber of Commerce
              100 Front St., Suite 200
              Marietta, OH 45750

              Dear Ms. Keim:

              My business partner Keith Malone may have brought this to your attention, or you may have been already aware of the situation – but to be sure, I thought that I should write to you myself. The situation is that of the fine old (1927) steamboat Delta Queen, which has called at Marietta since I was a schoolboy in the 1950’s. The boat’s new owners have announced her 2008 retirement, because they were unable to get a renewal of her exemption from the 1966 Safety of Life at Sea act (despite nearly 40 years of routine renewals). As I explained in my Aug. 29 letter to the Times, the problem is political, not safety-centered: the new company dumped a union, and the union retaliated by dumping their support for the DQ’s exemption. Congressman James Oberstar of Minnesota, chairman of the House transportation committee, is carrying out their revenge.

              This is grossly unfair to regular DQ patrons like my wife and me, and more pertinent to Marietta officials, it will hurt downtown Marietta tourist businesses. In a typical year (2007 has been an exception), the DQ calls at Marietta 8 or 10 times a year. The DQ carries 176 passengers, most whom get off to take a shore tour or to wander up Front St. and buy something. Perhaps even more importantly, passengers walking around or riding the trolley notice that Marietta is a neat little town, and they drive back some following year to stay overnight and to spend more money. If the DQ is retired, this phenomenon will diminish – the DQ’s sister boats will not make up all of the lost passenger count. Moreover, it has been my observation that passengers on the DQ, simply because she is historic herself, tend to be more attracted to the historic ambience of Marietta than are passengers of the other boats. So losing the DQ is more than a sentimental issue.

              What we Delta Queen loyalists hope for is resolutions from city councils and statements from public officials along the river supporting a renewal of the DQ’s SOLAS exemption. Additional background information is available at the website Can you help?

              Yours truly,

              David M. Vrooman


                When we stopped in Marietta during our AQ cruise in July, the director of the Marietta CVB said that everyone had been lobbying for the DQ. Not only has Mayor Moon been writing and calling, but a lot of others have as well.


                  But do they still....

                  That would be great news, if it weren't that shortly after your visit, MAL did its "we give up" press release, and the Marietta Times published a front page story saying, essentially, "too bad, bye-bye DQ."

                  So we need to re-energize these folks. A lot of them think the fight is over.