Nationwide Emergency Alert System Test – TODAY at 1PM

Today at 1pm Dallas time, the federal government is conducting a nationwide test of the Emergency Alert System in cooperation with local authorities. The three-minute test will run simultaneously on all radio and TV stations. You will also hear the outdoor emergency sirens.

This system test is the first of its kind designed to broadcast a nationwide message to the American public. The test message on TV might not indicate that it is just a test, so there is concern that the lack of an explanation might create panic.

Please share this information with your family and friends so they are aware of the test.

The following websites provide more information:

Council Requests Briefing from Oncor on Power Outage Response

Last Wednesday, I, along with six of my colleagues, requested that Oncor brief the Dallas City Council on the utility company’s response to power outages during the recent snow storm.

I have heard from many residents who went without power for days and who were frustrated by Oncor’s failure to communicate with them.  I also heard from residents who told me they often experience power outages and they would like an explanation was wel as a remediation plan from Oncor.  I look forward to talking with Oncor about these issues.

Here is the memo (click for a pdf version):


Tour of Dallas’ Hurricane Katrina Evacuee Facilities

Today I visited Reunion Arena and the Dallas Convention Center, the two Dallas sites where Hurricane Katrina evacuees are being housed. After seeing other shelters being criticized in the news, I wanted to make sure that our guests from Louisiana were being well taken care of.

I have to say, I could not be more proud of our city right now. Our City Manager Mary Suhm and her staff have done an incredible job in short order, housing over 14,000 Louisiana residents. The Red Cross is running the facilities, and they, too, have imposed order onto a situation that could be very chaotic.

The federal government’s FEMA operations will begin in our city on Tuesday.

I toured the Reunion Arena and Convention Center evacuee facilities with Louisiana’s Lt. Governor Mitch Landrieu, his wife Cheryl, and Dallas Convention and Visitor’s Bureau Director Phillip Jones.

The Landrieus have been touring shelter sites around Texas and Louisiana to reach out to evacuees. They were very appreciative of the help Dallas has given.

It was clear that evacuees were happy to see a familiar face in the Lt. Governor. It was also apparent that the massive scale of this disaster has touched every corner of Louisiana. While we were at the Convention Center visiting evacuees, the Lt. Govenor ran into the former secretary of his father, Moon Landrieu, who has served as New Orleans’ mayor, among other elected positions. She will return home when it is safe to do so.

A few moments later, Mr. Landrieu’s bodyguard — a Louisiana State Trooper — found two of his cousins who evacuated Louisiana to the Dallas Convention Center. Luckily, they were all okay.

Witnessing in person the scale of the tragedy and visiting with some of the thousands of evacuees being housed in City of Dallas facilities made me proud of our response and our hospitality. Being a good neighbor in a time of crisis is a responsibility that we in Dallas — and the state of Texas — bear with grace and compassion. I have no doubt that if the roles were reversed, our good friends from Louisiana would do the same.

Dallas’ Relief Effort for Hurricane Katrina Evacuees

The City of Dallas has quickly put together a response to help victims of Hurricane Katrina. As of September 1, over 500 Katrina evacuees were being housed in Reunion Arena. Additional evacuees will be housed in the Convention Center. We are estimating that that we could receive as many as 20,000 evacuees. The City is coordinating our response with Dallas County, as well as surrounding counties, so that we can comprehensively address the issue.

The City’s Office of Emergency Management has been the nerve center coordinating the City’s response, and department heads have been meeting continuously the last few days to meet the challenges of housing and caring for the evacuees. The City met with Dallas County officials today.

In addition to the City of Dallas, other local organizations are playing key roles in responding to this crisis: Dallas Area Rapid Transit, the American Red Cross, the Salvation Army, the Dallas Health Department, the Texas Workforce Commission, and the Dallas Housing Authority.

DART will distribute 1000 rail and bus passes good for two weeks. The City’s Parks and Recreation Department is going to provide recreational facilities in the Arena garage. The Zoo and other city recreational facilities will be open for free to evacuees. The Library is issuing cards to evacuees and stationing the Library on Wheels at the Arena on Saturday. The Texas Workforce Commission is going to begin scheduling an on-site job counseling service at the Arena.

Residents of Dallas have shown an outpouring of support for evacuees. If you want to help, please visit the City’s website on Hurricane Katrina relief.