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Guide to working with Mayor and council

by: Kobie

Sat Nov 24, 2007 at 12:26:35 PM EST

  Version 0.5 at helping people understand and assist mayor and local goverments see the way to, through and past pandemic.
 Offers positive reasons to start preparations, take pandemic seriously while endorsing and empoweing local groups to train the citizens.

 Please let me know what you think.
 Please let me know what should be added.
 Please let me know if the tone is too strong

 Citations and references to follow.

Thanks in advance,

Kobie :: Guide to working with Mayor and council
  A guide Mayors. How to assist, educate and guide Mayors and city councils before or during a pandemic.

   Mayors are busy people taking care of event driven problems with high public visibility. Unlike a normal employee with a boss above and employees below mayors sit at the hub of four distinct groups. One internal and four external. One group consists of the multiple internal departments of a city. Planning, public safety, real estate, finance, HR, etc. One outside group is economic development which helps determine the life of a city and its growth. Real estate investors and business are lumped in with this group. They often exert pressure on the mayor. Another outside group consists of state, federal and court systems the mayor must abide by. From public health to federal wage compensation laws to military relations the mayor is given laws and mandates to implement in his city. Another outside group are citizens who parade through council meetings every week voicing their ideas, concerns and opposition to what the mayor and council is doing. Finally there is regional cooperation meetings to solve traffic water and economic issues for no city is an island.

  A note about the emergency operations center. My limited experience shows they are often set up to manage the responders - not to train the public. They are responders not instigators. EOC may respond to health crisis but it is the public health department or mayor that determines if there is one and how bad it is. EOC have a wide list of emergencies of which a pandemic is but one. A remote one at that. Fire, flood, hazardous waste spill, black outs, riots, even biological hazard, dirty bomb or EMP pulse. Volcanic eruptions, tsunamis, earth quakes, wild firs, nuclear reactor failures and blizzards are more regional problems. The point is the EOC already has a full time job dealing with emergencies that are fresh in the publics mind. Pandemic preparations may not be on their mind. Worse, they may not be training for it.

  Hopefully the EOC has done parts. Mass inoculations are good for bio-hazard anthrax attack. Hospital surge in needed incase of fire, accidental or terrorist explosion or radiation leak at a hospital. After 9-11 we should be prepared if the cities major hospital and trauma center was hit. Moving all the patients and those affected to other hospitals? This is all good but simple compared to a pandemic. Getting medication and following it or moving to another hospital is easier than sheltering in place during a four day power outage with kids out of school during a quarantine lock down.

  The goal of this guide to prepare one or more pandemic preparation knowledgeable people to these groups. Knowing what a pandemic is and how the RNA of the virus is good but does little to train the public on how to survive. The analogy is "knowing intricacies of a jet engine does not let you fly a heavily laden cargo plane though a storm, but it does help you know what you have to work with." There are a lot of good scientists giving out great detailed information to leading officials but almost no one is training the public and local officials on how to fly through the storm of a pandemic. Guidelines to mayors, businessmen, and people have been issues but not step by step instructions.

  Nor have people been trained to work together in a pandemic mode. A blackout requires more than just electricians. People have to be found in elevators and subways. Communication restored, restaurants and grocery stores monitored for food spoilage, riots controlled, the mass populous informed, situational reports given to news agencies. A pandemic will take these problems to new heights. Hence the ROI. If the people are prepared for a pandemic then they are also prepared for smaller emergencies.


  Without known problems known solutions are impossible. Guidelines, best practices, lessons learned and drills are the best guide.
Sometimes "step by step" instructions are impossible. After September 11th, the Air traffic controllers found instructions where pointless against what a group of well trained people can do. The permutations and possibilities staggered the imagination yet on that day controllers and pilots performed in a few short hours what no dared imagine - the complete grounding and shutting down of all U.S. airspace.

Note: grounding airplanes across the country involved just a few thousand folks well trained adults in communication within an accepted hierarchy. Controlling a city of kids, teenagers, adults and elderly people who are untrained at surviving a pandemic with just general broadcasts will be more challenging. Here nimble minds of adults used to working together under a known hierarchy may prove invaluable. The key is a single vision un hampered by ego, un-entangled by mistrust or fear. Good working solution are not only possible but can be made probable.

  Mayors and city managers are elected and paid officials running city or town of several hundred to several hundred or a few million people.

  Because they are granted a monopoly over the citizens there is an ethical drive to protect the citizens and city under their care in the
most cost effective manor. To do the right thing. As Winston Churchill said 'Doing the right thing is easy for no one wants to get caught doing the wrong thing. Knowing what the right thing is beforehand when information is sketchy and facts are few -that is the hard part"

  Some facts are known. Those who prepare suffer less than those who do not. This is balanced by what the people see as real and un-real concerns. Three things make all this interesting. There is a limited budget. People want to get elected or re-elected. Citizens often spend more time researching and watching a painter for their house or good plumber than elected officials. Few people participate in local politics after voting. Councils only meet once a week. Often the people on council have full time jobs and families. Time for them is short. Their expertise may lie elsewhere. Legal requirements come from multiple sources. State, federal and civic organizations pull on them.

  They, not us, are responsible for the health of the city. Plans must be balanced against returns. What is the benefit of stocking up on
food or supplies that go bad before they are used or needed? The solution they see may be far different than the one we see. Lastly they may
be content with a promise. If the EOC, police, fire, EMS etc say they are ready then that may be the end of that.

What can be done.

  Demming: "The only thing worse than training all your people and having some of them leave   is not training any of them and having them all stay."
  If your really believe you have nothing else to learn or the there is nothing out there to help you then stop here. Put the paper down
and leave. The rest of us have lessons to learn, ideas to share and work to do.

  Informing and teaching the people is critical. Without people agreement nothing happens. We have laws against speeding but everyone does. We have laws against drug use and beating people up but it happens. We do not have a law against getting sick, loosing a limb or going insane yet people are motivated motto get sick, loose body parts or go insane. Yes, like speeding even the educated and informed are free not to prepare. May do so without reason nor cause.

  Do not wait for all the people to be informed. Business, hospitals, schools, jails, fire stations, EMS, public safety, places of worship and municipalities have all been instructed to be ready. City governments have an ethical responsibility not to fail. Hopefully it will only take a few folks at town meeting to get things going.

  Ahh this is the focus - get what going?
  What are good preparations?
  How much is enough?
  Where should the lines between personal, city, state, federal and military support be drawn? During the last pandemic there was no U.N.
  How do you help those who can not prepare?
  What do you do with those who do not prepare but later come looking for aide?

  Lets see what we are up against first: lack of experience with pandemics, wide spread sickness from a novel virus against which we have no defense and few medical solutions that slow down the effects, wide spread loss of income, differing opinions, uncertainty, world wide shortage of goods, about duration or scope, lack of outside supplies, a lack of internal training, disruption in power, water, transportation, communication school closings, mass death, possible increase in suicide rate, overwhelmed or collapsed health care, a mass outlay of money in excess of yearly budget and the gut wrenching site of watching the young slowly die in horrible way that only produces long term nightmares and possible financial collapse of many insurance companies due to a mass payout of life insurance payments. Worse the bad economic times could erode tax base from business closing a slow housing market and people shopping only for a few types of necessities.

  Worse life will go on during the pandemic. Babies will be born, elections may happen, all along with wild fires, floods and the effects of global warming.

  What is in our favor: We, our grand parents actually, have survived pandemics before. We have better technology, communication and medicines than ever before. We have time to prepare. A great resource are the people actively thinking, testing and working out ways to be safer during the pandemic. People from America, to the United Kingdom, Sweden, Australia, etc are coming together and sharing ideas, thoughts and fears. From these groups many things have come out. Our best asset is the way the public does understand and respond. For without them all is lost already. For they will do most of the suffering, dying, work and kindness during the pandemic for they are the doctors, paramedics, moms and dads.

  Best of all life will go on during the pandemic. Babies will be born, elections may happen, all along with wild fires, floods and the effects of global warming.

  Can we do it. The world has taken on impossible projects with out solutions only to make great strides for all. Cancer is a little understood disease that we have made great strides on. Global warming is a huge problem that individual people see their part in the solution. Nuclear weapons. Somehow we have held something far, far worse than H5N1, global warming and plague all put together. At least 6 countries have them and everyone has been smart enough not to use them. Lastly is AIDS. Once recognized as a world wide problem that will no die out and against which we have no defense people did not give up but acted.

  Note: H5N1 is going to be different. It will act globally and hit locally. Most communities never get devastated locally - it always happens
somewhere else. We just might get our chance. Here is a more immediate payoff or ROI - mitigation. Lets say we are lucky enough not to take a direct hit or somehow cure H5N1 before it happens. Preparing a city for a pandemic also prepares the city for other emergencies. This is not a long term expenditure of time and money with no possibility of interim benefits.

  Snow storms, fires, earthquakes, floods, power outages, droughts, heat waves and water borne illness have hit many cities. Having trained citizens who can deal with these relieves the strain un-prepared citizens put on
a city. It is in the cities best interest to have people capable and ready to care for one another. As Admiral Agwunobi said "I can not lead
people who are unprepared to follow." Prepared and empowered citizens also feel more in control and less scared than unprepared or un-empowered ones.

   How do we do it? One size does not fit all.
   First - if your city has a military base or national guard be prepared to support them not vice versa. Unlike Grand Forks flood or California wildfire or a simple Katrina like flood, pandemics hit not only whole countries but the world. In this case one should be more prepared to give assistance than receive it.

   Second - are your citizens aware and do you want to make them aware? Why or why not. Leaders should cause action not panic. Here we wish to
offer solutions that average people can do, that civic groups can act upon and faith based organizations can consider.

   Third - situational awareness. Most cities know where their fire stations, hospitals, haz mat or industrial areas, airports, doctors offices and jails are. That is the tip of the iceberg.
  If half of the city workers did not show up because they where sick how would you back fill the positions? Do you have a list of plumbers
electricians, mechanics, HVAC mechanics, secretaries, admin staff, IT technicians, truck drivers, cleaning crews, animal control, security people, voter registration and cooks to call upon in order to back fill the positions?
  If business started to shut down because employees called in sick could you help those business still open find employees that where
not sick? The business are Pharmacies, grocery stores, gas stations, hardware stores selling generators, gas grills, propane, video stores
camping stores, pet supply stores.
  If the government gave you free ice, food or supplies where you distribute it from?
  Do you have a primary and back location for doing TV news reports?
  Do you have a primary and back location for doing radio news reports?
  Do you offer a webpage to get reports/request for help from around the city?
  Do you offer telephone support to get reports/request for help from around the city?
  Do you offer HAM radio support to get reports/request for help from around the city?
  Do you offer CB radio support to get reports/request for help from around the city?
  Do you have a way not only to track and display water outages, road closures, power outages but needs for food, water, medicine,
doctors, diapers, N-100 masks, cleaning solutions, hand sanitizers, batteries, etc.
  Do you have TDD stations for the deaf?

 Fourth Knowing what the people need:
  Imagine your city is all alone and you have one phone line to call in a daily supply drop.
   What do you order?
    Where do you put it?
     How do you distribute it?

 Fifth: Clean up.
  Then there is the next question
    How do you remove the trash?
 How and where will handle and bury the dead?

Why now?
  Good question. By the time a hurricane, flood, earthquake, snow storm or volcanic explosion hits people should be evacuated. During a pandemic there is no place to run nor hide. As mayors, city council, city managers, EOC, police Fire, etc where can you go that is safer and still be in control? Can you evacuate the whole city, hospitals, jails, and nursing homes? When you evacuate a city then everything that city makes or handles shuts down also. Airports, transportation, manufacturing, any computer hosting or communication. If evacuate then know that others may want to evacuate to your city. Evacuation is out.
  If not evacuation then preparation and mitigation. Prepared people suffer less than unprepared one. Mitigation against an invisible foe for which we will not have any defenses seems daunting. This is why governments are suggesting sheltering in place and working from home. Each home needs to be ready for disruptions in services provided that involve people. Power, cable, telephone, cell phone, food deliver, sewage, trash pickup, bulk waste, funeral services, gasoline, natural gas, radio and television. The largest prepared groups may be the Amish and those living on Indian reservations. Not a joke.
  Three times to prepared.

  1) wait for the emergency and then have folks run out and get stuff. The creates disruptions, long lines at grocery, hardware and other stores. Often shelves go empty and price gouging reports come in. Problems follow when people go home and use the stuff for the first time. Ethically it is problematic. Many live paycheck-to-paycheck or on SSI and can not prepare this way. Because it happens so fast the city is still blind about how well it worked and who needs help. Because the pandemic happens world wide and so many goods have parts that come from overseas there may not be enough to go around. People needing oxygen or additional prescription medication may not be able to get them.
  2) Encourage people to prepare and train before the problem. This is ethically better. It gives people a chance to research what they need, form support groups, buy the supplies a little at a time and learn how to use those supplies safely. Business benefit in two ways. One they can manage their inventory and employees. Second they can use preparations to draw people into the store. Stores can even have preparation sales to help generate traffic in the store.
     Those on low or fixed income benefit most from buying in bulk, from preparation sales, and not relying quite so heavily on city services. Cities and faith based organizations benefit from having time to asses the state of the  community and their possible roles in the community.
  3) Encourage people to prepare and have they test/use their preparations. One test drive is worth a thousand expert opinions. Professionals train. If a mock emergency drill seems pointless then look no further than the police, firemen, doctors, nurses, linemen, water departments in the community. They all train. Most fire and water departments even have their own version of a rodeo to compete for speed.
    Most importantly having people test their skills moves others along to "keep up with the Jones's." This raises public awareness and their skill level.
   In short
The more warning people have to prepare the better things go. The less warning people have the worse things go.

This is why people, cities, states, the military and countries are preparing and running drills. Minnesota has run drills. The pentagon and other military bases have run drills for both military and civil servants.

Pandemic may not happen this year but for something this large people will need more than a year to prepare. There is an interim return on investment (ROI). People will be better prepared for the emergencies that do happen before the pandemic.

Money: Municipal bond rating.
  Cities with strong infrastructure, good quality of life and low damage risks have better bond ratings than cities with decayed infrastructure, poor quality of life and high damage risks. Being pandemic ready is not just about pride and doing the right thing. It is about a financial gain as well on all three points

Point one - negotiating for better bond rating. It may not be much but it is something.

Point two - prepared citizens put less of a burden on municipal systems.

Point three - communities with pandemic mitigation will fair better and recover faster than those devastated by the same disease. This means the enormous strain on local authorities can be less and end sooner.

Cost: Expenses to the city

  Municipal budget: Education, endorsement, training, PPE and drills. The endorsements come with little risk because the message comes from the World health organization, through the president, out through many
   U.S. departments.
 The departments include but are not limited to:
  HHS - The department of health and human services.
  OSHA - Occupational safety and health administration
  DoD  - Department of defense.
  DoE  - Department of Education

    Endorsement empowers citizens and civic groups to do the education. Schools should be hit hardest because the two to 19 year old age range is most vulnerable. Not only are they most likely to spread and catch H5N1 but they are most likely to die from it. Ironically young healthy individuals over react to the infection only to slowly suffocate - "cycotine storm" effect.

   Education - providing messages about groups (red cross) websites and public service announcements (PSA) concerning how to prepare. Not everyone has access to a computer or school so multilevel saturation across the different broad cast media is important. State the need and then support those who respond.

  Community - The need of each community and level they wish to prepare for is different. However some basics hold true:
  Hospitals are unprepared and too small for the possible influx of people.
  Health care workers, municipal workers, etc must feel safe leaving family at home, traveling to and being at work.
  School closures will create a day care burden that may keep some at home.
  Closing of movie theaters, restaurants, malls, and slowdown in spending and construction will force some to lay off employees. These will seek Food closets or shelters will be overrun. The need for skilled veteran health care workers will skyrocket.

   FEMA - Because a pandemic is not localized nor short lived like Katrina, major earthquake or volcanic  eruption FEMA may not be of much help.

Cost Savings: Any reduction in civil unrest and additional social services is a reduction in    expenditures, possible litigation, bad press, negative imagery and political standing.

Who is important? - for the umpteenth time its "We the people"  Why? Mayors and city councils are judged not just for their actions but their performance is based on what happens to the citizens.

   The old nursery rhyme is lost on most.
  "For want of a nail a shoe was lost.
   For want of shoe the horse was lost.
   For want of a horse the message was lost.
   For want of a message the battle was lost.
   For want of a victory the war was lost."

What good is a company if it can not deliver its service or product because there are no employees. Ohh there where continuation of operation plans for all middle management and executives but not the floor worker. Hence the head of the company survived but the body did not. Then the head lost its job.

Let me say this in no uncertain terms.

  Not all companies fail during a pandemic. Success will be decided by those who stay open and provide goods and services and those who do not.

   Hence winners and looses will not be chosen at random. Winners and looses will be determined by those who succeed and those who fail. Please decide group you will help others to be in. If you decide to ignore this or do nothing then you are still having an influence on those around you and the events that follow. Municipalities are even more critical. Schools, stores and even power companies can shut down or have black outs. Leaders and governments should not.  

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thanks for writing this
and a lot to ponder (didn't want you to think no one was reading!

I've been using the Citizen's Guide as a primer or handout to any meeting or discussion or Q&A or lunch and learn with town or city officials.

DemFromCT - thanks. The thought was in the back of my mind.
  This is version 0.5.

 Last night I hit upon another idea - Does the city know how many doctors, pharmacies, hospitals, resteraunts, banks, gas stations, schools, etc have followed OSHA and HHS guidlines ?

  How many have tested their plans?

  Has the city followed OSHA and HHS guidlines ?

  Yes I will pose this question to Dr. Leavitt.

  This could put some teeth into the requiremnt.

  BTW, the document sounded fine till I posted it. Then teh ideas seemed fragmented. I am workig on that.

  Thanks for letting me people are reading it.

  If readymom is working with the people then local leaders will see it is a safe and politicaly positive thing to talk about.


[ Parent ]
Kobie, do you want this wikified?
I'll give you feedback as soon as I've read it!  Thanks!

You arm yourself to the teeth just in case.  You don't leave the gun near the baby's hand.

Lugon, Most welcome and yes please do make comments. Thanks n/t

[ Parent ]
Our Local Governments are the Weak Link in the Chain
At present, most state and local emergency plans depend upon a coordinated statewide pandemic response.  This includes centralized allocation of hospital beds and distribution of medical supplies on the regional level.  Some depend upon the widespread use of television, 1-800 help telephone lines, and the Internet to provide consumers with health information and advice on home treatment of influenza.  

A careful look at the elements of some plans reveals them to be more paper tiger than effective pandemic mitigation.  For instance, the State of Georgia's pandemic plan claims the state has a hospital surge capacity equal to 77% of the state's 17,642 set-up and staffed hospital beds.   This number is misleading since the 13584 surge beds are comprised of activating some 2,276 set-up but un-staffed hospital beds, many of which are currently occupied by permanent nursing home residents. The plan also includes employing 4,352 short stay and procedure room beds that are staffed, but only during the day rather than the needed 24/7, while many of these beds are not fully set up.  Fully half of Georgia's "surge capacity," or 6,952 beds, come from placing "disaster hospital beds" in hospital hallways and classrooms.  These temporary beds are neither set up nor staffed. In truth, the real surge capacity for set-up and staffed hospital beds in Georgia is 1,500 additional beds, or only about nine percent more than normal, and this estimate relies on the dubious assumption that there will be no hospital staff absenteeism during the pandemic.

A truly severe pandemic is an event that is many orders of magnitude worse than the moderate projections made in the U.S. DHHS PIP that all states use as the basis for their planning.  This is the principal reason that these plans are inadequately powered to provide an appropriate response to a truly catastrophic event. While the states contend that they will support local communities, don't count on it.  They will not be able to cope any better than the feds will.  The reason is simply that a severe influenza pandemic is not a disaster; it is a catastrophe, which is defined as an event that is exponentially more serious than a mere disaster. This is why most of the present state and local government pandemic response plans are inadequate and also why they will fail utterly under the weight of the emergency soon after it develops.  

Grattan Woodson, MD

yeah....  and Georgia specifically has had a bad month, between the water issues, and now Grady..  without a catastrophe.

[ Parent ]
State plans lacking
  I agree with you that states and local communities have not done a reality chceck nor any good practice.

 The good practice sounds harsh but is based on my limited experiance. A drill is done, found to be faulty and then plance are made to fix it on paper. A second run of the drill is never done.

 The few cities I have seen are still disconnected departments. Planning v.s. real estate v.s. public safety v.s permits v.s. animal control v.s. licencsing.

 For example - The planning department knows of new roads and neighborhoods long before they go in. Real estate does not record the house or road till it goes through the courts and is reacorded.

 The public safety folks have to maintaine their own third list of streets because the planning commission has stuff that has been ok'ed but not started and real estate only knows about things after the fact. The problem arises when construction workers dial 9-1-1. Since the house has not been sold by the builder the real estate department still sees it as part of one larger parcel.

 I believe the same goes for knowing who to call on. The city must license plumbers, electricians, food service workers etc but may not know how to call on them or what state of redyness they are.


[ Parent ]
excellent post
Thank you for writing this.  

Pray for all people and rulers
1Timothy 2:1-4

(Extending the culture of life.)


[ Parent ]
Welcom. it is one problem I have been fighting from inside the city n/t

[ Parent ]
WE have
over 400 registered health professionals who livw in our town. I have the list. I have given it to the emergency manager. Do you think anyone in my town government has contacted these people to at least ask if they would help in an emergency? No!  What is wrong with this picture!

Sorry, this really frosts my buttons.

[ Parent ]
Katie Bird, thanks for telling us ...
... now we can try and help you find ways forward.

What could Katie (or those lurkers who dare not write) do?

Maybe telling 400 is too difficult?  Could you approach 1 or 2 and draft some guidance, grab something from somewhere, ask for help here, etc?

I remember watching a small girl who was learning to walk.  If a step was too high, she would look around for something within her reach.

When I'm very frustrated (and I am) I remeber this girl ... who btw is now a not-so-bad tennis player.

You arm yourself to the teeth just in case.  You don't leave the gun near the baby's hand.

[ Parent ]
of course I'm not saying this applies to Kate specifically,
what I'm saying is we all have our frustrations ... which shows we're moving out of our comfort zone ... which IMO is a good thing.

You arm yourself to the teeth just in case.  You don't leave the gun near the baby's hand.

[ Parent ]
Movinig out of our comfrot zone.

  Very good point. Moving out of ones comfrot zone. This takes confidence, bravery that it will not fail and others will want this work/effort.

  We all have our specialties. Work withing those and then find out where the gaps are.


[ Parent ]
this lurker
apologizes for bleeding all over the pages of fluwiki ;)

I tend to wrestle loudly. My husband has learned to tune me out until I reach my conclusions. That works :)

P.S. he now has two hearing aids...hmmmm

This little lurker is paying attention...learning from you all.  

Pray for all people and rulers
1Timothy 2:1-4

(Extending the culture of life.)


[ Parent ]
Please write more

  I may not respond to every post but do keep posting.

  Sometimes you generate more thoughts than replyies.


[ Parent ]
that can be good and that can be bad
I will try to hang on Kobie. Thanks for letting me know that it is still ok to speak. :)

Sometimes words and emotions fail me. Passion takes over and...well...you have seen the results. GRRRR.

Pray for all people and rulers
1Timothy 2:1-4

(Extending the culture of life.)


[ Parent ]
Its me Birdie Kate
I am still having troubles with viewing the posts so I changed my name to Birdie Kate.

[ Parent ]
Katie Bird, I had the list for my town (on cd). I started an MRC, and handed it over to another capable woman, but I am actively recruiting, in subtle ways, in my towns newspaper forum.

Recently, I have had breakthroughs in this same forum in bringing up such things as quarantine and isolation, school closure, and other behavioral and societal changes.

Awareness and pro-active action seems to be working for me. I tend to educate and then let people come to the table on their own.

Perhaps if you take the names and send RM.org material to those 400 people and have a place to plug them into a solution this may help.

It's a slow going process.

Pray for all people and rulers
1Timothy 2:1-4

(Extending the culture of life.)


[ Parent ]
let me elaborate a bit
Not pointed at you BK, I am speaking in generalities...

You cannot just call up 400 people and say *I* have a problem and I need to be part of the solution. At this point you "own" your particular problem, which is, in this case, how to have people acknowledge your problem and then acknowledge it as their problem too. Then they have to take ownership of the problem i.e. "I can be a part of a solution", after that they can begin to take some responsibility of crafting and implementing the solution.

So, what I have done is to acknowledge and take ownership of the initial efforts in my town. I have tried to foster an atmosphere whereby people can see and acknowledge the problem as their own. Now they ARE taking ownership of it. There are new members joining the MRC.

Pray for all people and rulers
1Timothy 2:1-4

(Extending the culture of life.)


[ Parent ]
more elaboration...
I sent this as part of an email to someone else. I was afraid to post it.

Maybe it will stimulate more thought....

Steps to Responsible Action....for me involved the following.

Acknowledgement that the problem exists - this is the easiest part. We all can see the problems, some people look deeper than others. Not all move on to taking ownership of the problem

Ownership - Yes, there is a problem and I can have an impact on it's solution. My impact may be very small or very large but I have acknowledged in my mind that there is something that I can do, whether right or wrong, to try to assist in the solution.

Responsibility - In attempting to solve the problem, I take responsibility for my part of the solution. I also acknowledge for myself that my responsibility ends where my action stops. I am also responsible for my own inaction or failure to act.

Resolution - Having taken all of the necessary steps I am free to move on to taking ownership of the next problem that presents itself.

This sounds so simple when written like this. In actuality, it is simple, it is healthy and it also comes with a reward. The resolution stage brings peace of mind and also fosters a confidence to move onto larger issues.

But how do we unstick the stuck?

Too many people are stuck in the acknowledgement phase and are failing to move beyond. This, to my unlearned mind, is where the brittleness of our society lies. There will be no resilience for those who fail to move into the other stages. They will not take ownership of their own preparedness.

So we attempt to plop the problem in their laps with materials for them to read. Will they or won't they take ownership? Ultimately, that is not my responsibility. Probably not, we can only do what we can do right? Except we come back to why they are not taking ownership. They truly believe someone has their back.

Ah, there's the rub. How do we say "no one has your back here" and not destroy the foundation of trust? The answer truly does lie in the citizen public health soldier. I have to say here is the problem, I found a solution, you can have mine.

My problem, and why I was bleeding over this? I did not know how far my responsibility for handing over the solution went. It caused great fear. I do not want, need, nor should replace the people who supposedly had their backs.

Words are failing me again. Let me back up in time.

Every time that I would present the problem to my town officials, my BOH, Senior Services, individual citizens....etc.....there was this understated, and sometimes blatantly stated, need for someone else to take complete ownership.

This is why I would start things, find someone capable to keep going with what I viewed as a solution (namely the Medical Reserve Corps) and then move on to the next problem/solution. This works for me. It is working for me. I am not seen as an authority.

What happened with the Kmart event and now subsequent events is a branching out into more uncharted waters.

What is being done now is a shifting of the bulk of the problem off of the "professionals" and onto the citizens en masse. This is not something to be done without a lot of forethought and soul searching. There is a tendency for people that are drowning to latch on to the lifeguard.

Standing in front of the Kmart put me in a position of being the lifeguard. I do not want to be in that position and yet I know that people have this tendency. I have felt the clutches of a someone who is drowning. People who cannot, even now, take responsibility for themselves WILL look for someone else to do so. Handing them materials will not change this. I wrestled with my part in asking citizens to come forward and take on this problem---how to avoid this. Seeing people mention clubs just hammered home to me that people were not seeing what I could see as a potentially very serious safety issue. I am out there now, that bell has been rung. My family and I did this with our eyes wide open. Did I have a right to promote this...that was the cause of my consternation. Again, pardon my insufferable transparency.

The winning pin maneuver came as it typically does...through a variety of sources and input.

This will be a problem without a short term resolution. There is no time that I will be able to step back until the problem no longer exists. This will take a concerted effort to not take ownership or responsibility of that which is not mine to have. I cannot be all things to all people. Time and time again, the wisdom of my peers on the flu boards is to not engage at all. This does not work for me because I realize that I can be some things to some people. And this is the tightrope that I will walk now. The more people who are demonstrating this model the safer and more successful I will be.

When I did what I did yesterday with the BOH and the materials??? That was my attempt to prod a known responsibility bearer into taking ownership of a problem. I told them that I will go forward with my solution if they do not implement theirs. Not a threat but more of a heads up, a courtesy. If they fail to take ownership, which I believe they will now, I will take ownership and move onto responsibility---distributing materials.

anyway....that is the problem as I see it here in my little town through the eyes if lil ole me.

Pray for all people and rulers
1Timothy 2:1-4

(Extending the culture of life.)


[ Parent ]
this is embarrassing, but necessary, i guess. Just so you can see the dialogue that is emerging you can go to the forum that I am speaking of. I know that I have not done a perfect job in answering peoples questions....but perhaps there is a lesson for me.


I don't think that you need an account to read.  

Pray for all people and rulers
1Timothy 2:1-4

(Extending the culture of life.)


[ Parent ]
another quick thing while its on my mind
about motivation...this is key....at least for me.

a little off topic, please forgive me...

I have always said that you cannot motivate another person to do what they need to do, but, you can foster an environment where that person can motivate themselves to rise above the occassion.

I have several things that motivate me some self-less and some self-ish.

My "ace in the hole" so to speak is in my self-ish motivation. This is the experience that I can draw from and most people will empathize. This will be motivating, more motivating than the concept of no food, no water.

If my town does not hold it together, neither will my region, and then neither will my country. We are all together in this. I have a condition for which I rely heavily on medication to control. If the trucks stop I will run out and I know this. You cannot imagine how much I do not want this to happen...it causes me great fear.

There may come a time when lesser methods may stop working and I will have to motivate with honest to goodness fear. This will not work coming from a government, this kind of information can only come by way of word to mouth. Do we want PSAs that stresses our children?

There are so many who can relate to this. They need to be the "owners" of this burden. I have honest, normal, rational fear about this. I have a lot at stake. It is not scaring me into a panic it is causing me to take ownership. If this can work for me it will work for others. To me it is a kind act. I have wrestled with this over the past couple of days.

The best NPI is another person reaching out their hand. Do unto others....

Pray for all people and rulers
1Timothy 2:1-4

(Extending the culture of life.)


[ Parent ]
This citizen public health soldier weeps.

No clubs, no organizations, no governments ---- person to person, shoulder to shoulder

United we stand, divided we fall

I wrestle with big things...what can I say...sorry if I offend.

Pray for all people and rulers
1Timothy 2:1-4

(Extending the culture of life.)


[ Parent ]
No town, no region, no country - disagree

 Hi. When you write "If my town does not hold it together, neither will my region, and then neither will my country" I disagree.

 We can loose several towns and still be a viable country. Take New Orleans for example. They whent down hard and bouncing back faster than Homestead Florida after Andrew - in my opinion.

 Mental exercise. After the nutron bomb was unveiled in the mid 70's there was some public discussion about "what if we leave the constitution and buildings in place but kill all the people. Did we win? No. But even if Washingtong DC and the original artifacts where gone we could still re-build America.

 Hopefully we can assist local leaders see a viable framework that others can join in bridging the gap between the start of a pandemic and its end. Thus shortening its duration, lessoning the suffering, supporting health and rebuilding post-pandemic.

 What do you think?


[ Parent ]
heart and mind
I am speaking from my heart, not my intellect.

Standing a line means just that..no breaks. You asked - I draw on my faith to stand a line - what you have to do is up to you. I just can't bear up to the burden on my own. You asked what I meant...sorry if I sound preachy.

The ideal is that no death is acceptable - if it can be prevented. We may not be able to control an infectious disease and the deaths that come from it but we do have control over how we mitigate the disaster. That is the line we must stand. Each town, each region, each country means sharing data, information, communication --- helping each other to stand.

We cannot prevent all deaths, all crimes, all evil, but sometimes what we intend for each other matters as much.

Pray for all people and rulers
1Timothy 2:1-4

(Extending the culture of life.)


[ Parent ]
Mass live link
   "....warts and all"

  One problem with volunteer groups is that you can not dock their pay or offer incentives for good behavior or work.

  What little I read pointed to open venting session that was un-moderated. Here there are mods.

  Yes there will be groups like Mass.live that need a vision and direction.

  OTOH - there was alot of fact checking and dialog. that is good. Alot of action with automatic "reality check" is possible once the group is harnassed and moving forward. Just my opinion.


[ Parent ]
its a steep curve
There is some moderation. I have had to adjust. At first the word "pandemic" got me banned. That was about a year ago. Now, well, we are making progress.

It is good for testing the waters a bit. I have had to learn moderation ;) thanks...you guys are great....haha..

Anyway, it is "scary" in that I don't know when a trigger will be pulled and I can't walk away or I will lose credibility. This may be crucial later on. It gives me indigestion :)

So, moderate my tone and weight a little more?

Pray for all people and rulers
1Timothy 2:1-4

(Extending the culture of life.)


[ Parent ]
Pandemic too scary a word

  Hi. I've gotten the same response from a couple of groups.

  The "all hazards" approach has worked well. Also just leaving out messages or quotes. Not saying there is a pandemic but "the number of H5N1" cases continues to rise and then list the WHO's url

  I get flack that "if Kobie was right we would all have been dead last year"

  StandingFirm - sometimes you can change people, sometimes you can not. You can always clear your heart by atleast letting them know. That way they can never come back to you with "why didn't you tell me?"

 Also practice makes perfect. I learn more about how to present stuff to different people.


[ Parent ]
Kobie, that is all we can do. We cannot be everything to everyone.

I would say though, know your "audience", get a feel for where they are at. I have had more success with small groups.

As a parent, what really worked for me was an almost silent approach. I let the RMs.org material "speak".

In fact, I may experiment a bit more with my "approaches" when I hand out brochures in front of the grocery. Also, the library had given me permission to put up a display. I want to depict Monson in 1918 and what could happen now. I may ask our local historical society to help me put it together since I cannot be all and do all ;)

I do try many avenues though. I have held back because I did not think my town was prepared. Now I think that they are ready to handle questions from people. They now "have what they were looking for". That's good enough for me.

BTW, JMVHO, I don't think that we should necessarily avoid the word pandemic. That is what it is. I don't think that word will cause panic, but I fear the opposite reaction, and people will shut down....we need empathy for who we are speaking with. Something that people have shown me over the years on the boards and in my life experience.

You are right Kobie we ourselves cannot reach everyone. To some extent we have to trust that if we tell one person and truly reach them, they will tell others. They need to do that so that the material is reinforced anyway. Teaching others teaches us. The more we know the material the better.

Ok...I really have to take a little time to decompress. I have some household pressures right now.

I will be lurking and working at my day job until I get caught up around here.
Hubby is too stessed.
Christmas in retail...ugh.  

Pray for all people and rulers
1Timothy 2:1-4

(Extending the culture of life.)


[ Parent ]
Weekedn decompression
Take care, decompress and pace yourself.
 Have a great weekend.


[ Parent ]
trying to....
I need one of those endless pools. Marathon swimming was my forte. 'cept now I would just kill my rotator cuffs ... lol :(   ....danged intensity.

Have a great weekend yourself.

Pray for all people and rulers
1Timothy 2:1-4

(Extending the culture of life.)


[ Parent ]
Mayors not moving
 When putting together a list of reference web sites I found that information dropps off as one descends the governmental food cahin

 AIDS, poverty, breast cancer are all good causes but unless I missed something there are only presentations being done to mayors.

Mayor references:
Us Mayors group: nothing!!!
Secondary U.S. mayors web page:

All References:
WHO Case list :http://www.who.int/csr/disease/avian_influenza/country/cases_table_2007_11_12/en/index.html   335 cases/ 206 deaths or 67.5% death rate even with good modern medical intervention.
President - Augus 22nd 2007 : http://www.whitehouse.gov/info...
Main U.S. Government web site: http://www.pandemicflu.gov/
Home Land Security: http://www.hsdl.org/hslog/?q=t...
CDC - Center for Disease control: http://www.cdc.gov/flu/avian/
OSHA: IT, labor, health care : http://www.osha.gov/dsg/guidan...
Dept of Defense pandemic website: http://fhp.osd.mil/aiWatchboard/
Department of Education: http://www.ed.gov/admins/lead/...
Department of Energy:  http://www.hss.energy.gov/Heal...
Department of Health and Human Services: http://www.hhs.gov/pandemicflu...
Red Cross Web site:  http://www.redcross.org/news/d...
Red Cross info:   http://www.redcross.org/news/d...
National Governors Association publications:
National Governors Association Primer:http://www.nga.org/Files/pdf/0607PANDEMICPRIMER.PDF
Us Mayors group: nothing!!!
Secondary U.S. mayors web page:


mayors need to hear OUR VOICES
If they see us working toward a solution they will no longer fear our response! They will see us...and then move in response.

a bit rambling....sorry :blush:

The mayors and local government are truly in the middle of this grand circle. They will suffer the most if the get it wrong. We have to show them how to get it right by involving the people in the solution. That move has to come from us...our hearts. Apply our intellect to the problems in our towns. That is why the forum idea was right for me. What I got wrong was that they won't come to me....at least not at first. I have to meet them where they are. People are seeing my heart solutions not being challenged by my intellect...I am not a competitor.

Pray for all people and rulers
1Timothy 2:1-4

(Extending the culture of life.)


[ Parent ]
may I highlight SF's comment!
If they see us working toward a solution they will no longer fear our response! They will see us ... and then move in response.

Some dances (particularly complex ones) take more than one dancer, and we own our own feet only.

You arm yourself to the teeth just in case.  You don't leave the gun near the baby's hand.

[ Parent ]
Lugon, Thanks for highlighting SF's words. I missed them. Good Job. n/t

[ Parent ]

  After seeing both the New Orleans mayor and the DC mayor get re-elected I am not sure.

  Yes they will suffer - but less than those under their care.

 As lugon pointed out I really do think you hit the nail on the head "If they see us moving they will not fear us but move with us."

 Yes we do have to show them how to get it right for we are the locals taking the plans for a test drive locally.

  I am only one family. Familes or so different I need 30 or 40 others.

  Variations in income, skill, needs, self reliance, empowerment, culture, support, health needs, perspective, faith make "one size fits all" imposible.

 Good point.


[ Parent ]

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