Thursday, December 16, 2004

Public stealth leadership

It's nice to now at least one state governor recognizes that when federal leadership fails to respond adequately to a threat it is time to take matters in our own hands. It's just too bad he's got the wrong threat.

Massachusetts Republican Governor Mitt Romney leads a national working group on "safeguarding the nation." On Tuesday he told homeland security officials that state and local agencies and private businesses (like Halliburton?) need to gather their own intelligence on terrorists rather than just relying on federal efforts (New York Times). According to Romney:
"Meter readers, E.M.S. drivers, law enforcement, private sector personnel need to be on the lookout for information which may be as useful."
Meanwhile, the Trust for America's Health reports that Romney's own state ranks dead last in developing effective state plans for emergency preparedness despite an infusion of $20 - $30 million of federal funds for the purpose. One of the major reasons, according to the Report, is that the state cut its public health budgets between Fiscal Year 2003 and 2004.

Maybe meter readers in Massachusetts can also do outbreak investigations and test environmental samples for nerve agents after they are done reading meters or maybe turning in highschoolers for reading the Koran (or even reading about the Koran).