September 03, 2005

Are They Getting Off Their Asses: Local Edition

This afternoon, I decided to see how the most prominent of my local public and corporate citizens are stacking up on showing a bare minimum of compassion. The test? Considering that it's a Saturday and I spend a lot of time online, I went looking for mentions of this disaster and links to relief organizations on their websites. It's very literally, the absolute least anyone with an internet presence can offer.

It's been nearly a week since Katrina hit, so everyone on the planet with a television, radio or internet connection knows it happened and knows how big a disaster it is. Americans are dying of dehydration, and even when the help they're just now getting starts decreasing the immediate danger, we're going to have (at least) tens of thousands of Americans living like Palestinian refugees right here in our own country.

On Monday, I'm going to be calling as many of these people/groups up as I acn and asking what they're doing to proactively make use of their connections to wealth and power to get aid channeled to our fellow citizens. If I don't like the answers I get, I'm going to make myself as big a pain in the PR as I can.

Getting A Move On

Gov. Christine Gregoire has issued a press release describing her efforts to set up a $100,000 matching fund via Washington Mutual bank for the contributions of state citizens, the mobilization of the state National Guard's 141st Air Refueling Wing and 66th Aviation Brigade to help out in the disaster area, the efforts being made to assist evacuees joining family and friends in state, and announcing that several of Washington's universities are opening their doors to displaced college students. A previous state press release re-issued FEMA's initial list of aid organizations.

Sen. Maria Cantwell has a prominent front page statement about the hurricane, along with links to relief organizations.

Sen. Patty Murray also has a dominant front page statement on the need for relief efforts and links for donations.

WA 1st CD Rep. Jay Inslee has a prominent link to a very thorough list of disaster relief organizations.

WA 2nd CD Rep. Rick Larsen, whose site hasn't been otherwise updated since June, has posted a statement on the disaster and a list of aid organizations and websites that includes local chapters of relief agencies who can help constituents traumatized by these events.

WA 3rd CD Rep. Brian Baird has a front page statement requesting visitors to go to either the FEMA or Red Cross websites to offer what assistance they can.

WA 5th CD Rep. Cathy McMorris has a prominent front page statement up asking people to contribute to the Red Cross, Salvation Army and Northwest Medical Teams who are deploying to the area.

WA 7th CD Rep. Jim McDermott has a statement of sympathy for the victims and a request for aid linked from his home page.

WA 9th CD Rep. Adam Smith has a long list of aid organizations and a plea for help that's linked to at the top of the 'In The Spotlight' section of his homepage.

The City of Bremerton has a relief plea up, asking people to donate to the Red Cross or visit the Network for Good, which lists a number of nonprofits helping out in the disaster area. The City of Everett announced that two of the city's firefighters are being dispatched to work with FEMA, though there were no other statements or links. The City of Seattle has a link to a statement by Mayor Nickels asking city residents to help and offering a list of relief organizations they can contribute to. The City of Tacoma has a prominent link to FEMA's official list of aid organizations and the National Emergency Resource Registry where businesses can formally offer aid and assistance.

Not to be left out of the generosity of other local sports organizations, the Mariners have a front page link to the Major League Baseball relief effort and a prominent ad for the Red Cross in their main marquee rotation.

Starbucks has a link to the Red Cross on their home page and a message saying that donations can be left at their stores.

Costco has a Red Cross donation page linked from their home page.

Boeing has a prominent link to a page describing their donation matching program through which their employees can double their contributions to the relief efforts. Boeing is even offering to match the contributions of their retirees at $0.50 on the dollar.

Microsoft has a very prominent link to a comprehensive list of relief organizations. They're matching all employee contributions and are supplying free IT help to the Red Cross and local governments.

King 5 and NW Cable News have a joint relief effort message in partnership with US Bank and the Red Cross, as well as notifying visitors that the Seattle Sea Hawks are raising money for Northwest Medical Teams. The KOMO 4 site has a list of aid agencies and KIRO 7 has set up a relief fund in partnership with Washington Mutual. The Seattle Times is partnering with the US Bank effort, while the Seattle Post-Intelligencer has another list of aid organizations and a notice about a benefit concert that will be held in the Tulalip Ampitheatre on Sept. 11.

The Greater Seattle Chamber of Commerce is asking members to help out and posts a notification that portions of ticket revenues from upcoming Seattle Sonics and Storm games will be donated to the relief efforts. The Spokane Valley Chamber of Commerce has given its front page over to a notice detailing local collection points for donations of cash, volunteer organizations and blood donation efforts.

The Puget Sound Business Journal has news about how the hurricane is affecting the business community and retail market, but no information about relief efforts. I can't figure out if that's better or worse than saying nothing.

Sitting On Their Hands

The following sites have, as of the time of this post, no message at all on their home page about the disaster.

WA 4th CD Rep. Doc Hastings' September 2 weekly statement is a paean to the hideous No Child Left Behind Act and there isn't a single damn thing on his site about the hurricane.

WA 6th CD Rep. Norm Dicks' site shows no frakking evidence that he's even heard about our national disaster.

WA 8th CD Rep. Dave Reichert has nothing on his front page about Katrina. The most recent 'What's New' subhead reads "Reichert finding his place in DC." Find your sense of priorities first, congressman.

TV Washington, the state's public affairs channel, has nothing up.

The cities of Bellevue, Kirkland, Mercer Island, Olympia, Redmond and Spokane got nothin'.

The Washington State Chamber of Commerce has no notice on their site and neither do the Bellevue, Everett, Kirkland, Mercer Island, Pierce County/Tacoma or Thurston County/Olympia Chambers of Commerce. The Redmond Chamber doesn't have a website up right now and Bremerton's is barely functional, so I guess they get to escape my scorn.

Nordstrom's: Nothing.

Eddie Bauer: Nothing.

Paccar: Nothing.

The Washington Athletic Club, a.k.a. the WAC, a five-star "platinum club of America" where much of the local jetset go for a little downtown pampering and recreation, has got nothing. The Columbia Tower Club, which hosts people for whom the WAC is just a little too common, has got nothing.

While these folks have been fiddling, this has been happening (link via the Sideshow):

My friend Cheryl is a Jefferson Parish deputy. I spoke with her this am- she told me there are dead bodies on my street - they also found a 7 year old huddled under a stairwell, she had beeb raped and left for dead.

Cheryl's husband, Jay refused to leave her, so he was deputized and given a gun.

They tell me there is nothing,nothing,nothing to come back for.

Anybody who doesn't get into gear on this is just never going to get off my shit list. No one in this country who can make their rent this month and afford food and transportation has an excuse in the world for not sending at least $5 or $10 to help out. No one in this country with access to a public forum has an excuse in the world for not using it to encourage others to help out.

This crisis is just starting and everyone needs to get that into their heads before our national attention span disappears like George "Antoinette" Bush's backside in the face of a disaster. No matter where any of us lives, we can pressure our local authorities to show some leadership and flex their compassion and thank those responsible enough not to have needed any pressure in the first place.

Posted by natasha at September 3, 2005 03:22 PM | US News | Technorati links |
Comments

I totally agree. SIX DAYS of LIP SERVICE AND INACTION.

Meanwhile, when Bush's brother comes a calling after a hurricane. $$$,$$$,$$$ just comes pouring of George's ASSHOLE. What F is up with that?

People sit sanitized while babies DIE. In the next couple of weeks when all the real horror stories surface, then we'll see the true cost of Bush's NEGLIGENCE and CHRISTIAN values.

George, just go back on vacation since that's ALL YOU'RE GOOD AT.

By the way, he WAS ON VACATION when this happened. Obviously, his golf game was more important then his citizens.

Posted by: Please HELP at September 3, 2005 09:11 PM

Also Young Democrats of Washington has a link to the red cross on every page of our new website.

Posted by: Jacob Metcalf at September 6, 2005 10:25 AM

Also the state Democratic party has a bunch of links up
http://www.wa-democrats.org/

Posted by: Jacob Metcalf at September 6, 2005 10:29 AM