False Reports Could Hurt Storm Recovery

Monday, November 12, 2012

In an Nov. 5, opinion piece on the chattanoogan.com, Roy Exum wrote:

"… I would be livid over the reports that some emergency utility trucks – eager to help – were turned away at a staging area in Virginia because the crews were non-union workers. …"

I would also be livid, if the reports were true, but they are not.

I grew up in Jersey City, NJ, and all the places effected by the recent storm are well known to me. As a young boy I often visited my grandmother's house in Seaside Heights, where the trucks in question were bound, according to a Decatur Utilities press release.

It troubles me to see false reports circulated that only serve to detract from the recovery effort and score bogus political points.


"[A] spokesman for Jersey Central power and Light, which serves Seaside Heights, said non-union crews are helping restore power, …"

"New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie said the Alabama crew got 'bad information' and non-union crews are welcomed in the recovery effort."

"The documents that supposedly required Decatur Utilities workers to agree to union affiliation actually came from Electric Cities of Alabama [a coalition of Alabama's municipally owned electric utilities], not the IBEW."

"Representatives from two other Alabama utility companies that were reportedly turned way from New Jersey said such reports were not true."

"New Jersey utility companies said they were accepting all offers of help, regardless of union status."

Information is provided on snopes.com to fully support each of the statements quoted above. I wish Roy Exum had been a little skeptical of these reports, as I was. It would have only taken a few minutes to do a simple search on snopes.com and learn the truth.

I have no connections with the IBEW or any other labor union.

Joseph J. Blass



Standing Behind The Armored Truck Lane

I just wanted to say that I stand behind the city's implementation of an armored truck lane.  I do my banking downtown and see those armored truck lanes used quite extensively.  The armored truck lane provides a safe, close location for the transfer of money to and from the banks.  I do have a few complaints about the armored truck lanes, however.  They need ... (click for more)

Sterling Jetton Isn't A Politician

Typically, I do not publicly endorse local candidates for any office.  However, in this case I strongly believe that Sterling Jetton is the best candidate for the Hamilton County Assessor of Property.   Rev. Jetton is clearly well qualified.  He served 27 years in the Assessor’s Office, he’s not a politician and he’s a man of absolute integrity.  I have personally ... (click for more)

Cleveland School Board Votes 5-2 To Terminate School Director Ringstaff Over Twitter Messages

The Cleveland School Board on Friday fired Dr. Martin Ringstaff, director of schools, for sending sexually explicit messages to an anonymous woman a year ago.  His termination is effective immediately and does not include severance pay.  The school board called an emergency meeting after Dr. Ringstaff, who is married, admitted to sending explicit messages to ... (click for more)

History Center Not Giving Out Any More Information On Past Spending Details, Current Status, At This Time

The president of the Chattanooga History Center, which has halted plans for a world class history museum near the Aquarium after raising over $10 million, said no other information will be provided at this time. Chattanoogan.com had sought details about prior spending and the salary of former executive director Daryl Black as well as the center's current status. Jo Coke said, ... (click for more)

Ernie Johnson Jr. Captivates McCallie Classic Luncheon Crowd

Ernie Johnson Jr., the popular host of “Inside the NBA” on TNT, tipped off the inaugural McCallie Classic on Friday with a riveting speech before a large crowd at the school’s Sports and Activities Center. The rest of the two day event, which includes two nationally ranked basketball teams, had a hard act to follow. Johnson, a cancer survivor whose family adopted a young ... (click for more)

Chattanooga Teams Ready For Action At State Duals

All of those long grueling practices are over.  Challenge matches are a thing of the past. It's to that point in the season where either you're ready or you're not. As the old saying goes, the hay is in the barn and now is the time to reap the benefits of all the hard work that's been done in the past few months. In other words, it's post-season time for high school wrestling ... (click for more)