Thursday, April 12, 2007

ABC7 I-Team Exposes Daley Administration Incompetence, Negligence and Lies

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security said Chicago was one of the worst prepared when it came to emergency communications and being prepared for disasters.

Like many issues, this goes to the heart of the ongoing problem with the City of Chicago and King Daley's regime. The CITY of Chicago's obsession with control and doing things that are exclusively in their best interest as opposed to the best interest of the region.

The latest debacle involves the high-tech emergency communications vehicle the City of Chicago used for various media hype, except that is hasn't been operational. What does the Daley administration do when confronted with facts and questions?

They lie.

This time, they did it to ABC7's I-Team investgative reporter Chuck Goudie. We commend Mr. Goudie for not falling for the tricks of King Daley.

From the Daley administration's terrible management of Chicago O'Hare, making it the nation's WORST on-time performance to the crisis of the Daley-run CTA to having one of the WORST emergency communication systems, we think issues like transportation and communication for staging an Olympic Games are not to be taken lightly. This is what happens when you put Daley in charge or control of anything. That's the track record and that isn't even touching the whole corruption regime or torture scandals.

The question for us is whether the U.S. Olympic Committee (USOC) is going to fall for the Daley's smoke-n-mirrors on Saturday. That doesn't mean Chicago isn't a great choice to host the Olympic Games. It's just that a process controlled by King Daley has very serious issues and we've learned that the one thing we can count on of the Daley regime is a lack of integrity and honesty.

See inside for Mr. Goudie's transcript or see the video story...


chuck goudie said...

April 11, 2007 - Five and a half years after 9/11, Chicago's most important emergency communications vehicle is parked and valuable city radio frequencies are in jeopardy.

When Chicago's emergency communications system flunked the test by federal Homeland Security officials this year, Mayor Daley blamed the media. But the ABC7 I-Team has uncovered evidence that Chicago failed to make the grade after city officials neglected to renew the licenses for dozens of emergency radio frequencies and after a serious flaw turned up in the mobile command center that was supposed to be the crown jewel of Chicago's emergency communications system.

"Chicago is far ahead of most other cities when it comes to using state of the art technology," said Mayor Richard Daley in September 2006.

Mayor Daley unveiled a state of the art communications truck eight months ago and it took center stage at the city's first high-rise evacuation drill. But the vehicle has never had the ability to do what the city paid $2 million for: send video, provide secured internet access and an emergency radio communications system.

According to a letter obtained by ABC7, the Federal Communications Commission last month denied Chicago use of its satellite transmitter that sits atop the much-heralded emergency communications vehicle, stating that the city did not satisfy several FCC requirements necessary to operate such equipment.

Chicago emergency management officials, who held a news conference Tuesday about weather safety, declined to be interviewed about serious problems with their primary communications truck.

A statement sent to the I-Team late today claims the truck "has been fully operational...since last year." But that's not true. It was just today--and only after our inquiries--that the city sent this emergency request to the FCC, citing "the safety of all citizens and property" in asking for an extraordinary, temporary FCC permit to operate the satellite truck in a crisis. But the FCC is allowing only a partial permit for processing 9-1-1 calls, not for video or data. This is the latest communications failure to embarrass the city since the I-Team began investigating four years ago.

In 2003, Mayor Daley claimed ownership of this first command center called InfraLynx. Despite the mayor's proclamation, the city never owned it. When the ABC7 I-Team found the truck in Washington, DC, and asked for an explanation in September 2005, the city's former emergency director responded:

"There were some challenges that we experienced with the procurement process," said Andrew Velasquez, former Chicago OEMC director.

Fast forward to last September, when they just bought a new truck:

"No city in the nation can boast of such a vehicle," said Velasquez.

But, as we discovered, neither could Chicago. The latest $2 million vehicle was unable to take part in a tactical communication exercise, because of at least 30 major high-tech problems, and last fall we found it stashed in DuPage County.

"At the time it was still being tested we were testing all the components," said Velasquez in September 2006.

So here's the communications breakdown: two unveilings, five excuses and six years of good luck that there was no citywide catastrophe.

In January, the US Department of Homeland Security ranked Chicago among the worst prepared for regional disaster communications. But its defunct 9-1-1 center on wheels was apparently only part of the reason. When the city blasted the report as inaccurate, an irate Mayor Daley blamed the media for tying up too many radio frequencies that the city could use to improve communications.

"We need the cooperation of your industry to give something up. If you gave a little bit up, then of course, not just Chicago but across the country, we'd basically have a better system," Mayor Daley said on January 23.

But the I-Team has examined federal records showing that the licenses for 37 City of Chicago radio frequencies will soon be terminated by the FCC because the city never utilized them, even though they have owned and paid for them since 2001. Despite Chicago receiving tens of millions of dollars in Homeland Security money, OEMC sources tell the I-Team the city has chosen not to upgrade its radio communications systems, which would allow them to use these frequencies. They say that has hindered interoperability between city departments and emergency agencies outside of Chicago.

City officials said Wednesday they have now applied to keep those long-lost radio frequencies and that they are not in jeopardy of losing them. But such confusion at a crucial city agency in charge of communication has some OEMC insiders wondering "who's on first?" Mayor Daley has yet to name a permanent replacement for former director Andrew Velasquez, who is now running emergency operations for the entire state.

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