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Senate Veterans Hearing 9-27-2010

Senate Veterans Hearing 9-27-2010

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Published by Dory Hippauf
Pennsylvania Senate Veterans Affairs and Emergency Preparedness Hearing - September 27, 2010
Senator Lisa Baker, Chair and Aaron Shenck, Executive Director
Pennsylvania Senate Veterans Affairs and Emergency Preparedness Hearing - September 27, 2010
Senator Lisa Baker, Chair and Aaron Shenck, Executive Director

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Published by: Dory Hippauf on Jul 06, 2013
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12/14/2013

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Senate
Veterans
Affairs
&
Emergency
heparednessCommittee
Senator
Lisa
Baker.
Chair
Aaron
Shenck, Executive
Director
Senate
Box
203020,
Harrisburg.Pennsylvania
17
120-3020
.
7
17
-787
-7
428
Senate
Veterans
Affairs
and Emergency
Preparedness
Hearing
September
2712010
Senator
Baker:
Good
moming
I'd
like
to call
therecessed
meeting
of
the
Senate
Veterans'
Affairs
and
Emergency
Preparedness
Committee
to
order. We'd
like to offer
the
following
opening
statement
aboutour
public
hearing
into
the
Terror
List
Contract.And
we
appreciate
all
of
those
comingthis
morning.
We
certainly
appreciate
the cooperation
of individuals who
are
appearingbefore thecommittee
today.
We
hope
this
cooperation
comes
matched
by
candor,
because
thesubject is
unpleasantand
the
information
surfacing
daily
is
unsettling.
At
a
time
when
public
confidence
in
state
governmentis already reaching new
depths,
the
controversial
matterthatpromptedthishearingis
toxic
to
public
trust.
Rarely
in
my
experience
has
there
been
so
much
public
push
for
an
investigatory hearing, born
of
equal
parts
ofconcern
andoutrage
Thedocumentthat revealedthecontract
was
made;
it
appears
that
state
governmentwas
colluding
against its
citizens.
Hard
to
believethatgroupsseekingeducation
equity,displayingculturalpride,
and
advocating water
quality
wereperceived
as
threats
to
the
Commonwealth.
Even
harder
to
believe isthatno
one
in
a
positionof authority
red-flaggedthepractice
of
issuingwarningsaboutgroups
legitimately
exercising
theirconstitutional
rights.
This
hearingis
in
no
way
seeking
to
discredit
the
public
apologyGovernorRendell
made
when
he
was alertedto the
situation.
However, there
are
questions pertaining
to
the
 
explanations
and
actions
of
other
state
officials,which
people
have
foundinconsistent,insufficient,
and
unsatisfactory.
If
no
onewas
paying
attentiontothe
information
beingconveyed,thatis
an
unnervingrevelation,
because
part
of
the
basic
mission
of
homelandsecurityisto make
sure
citizens
are
paying
attention.Conversely,
if
highly-placed
state
officials
were
aware
of
what
was
beingdisseminated,that isscary,
because
the
bulletininformation
defiescommon
sense,
defies anyunderstanding
of
real
risk,
and
defies
any
regard
for
theexistence
of constitutionally
protected
rights.
If
someone
cannot
tell
thedifference
between
a
citizenactivist
and
a
terrorist.what
sort
ofprotection
are
taxpayers
paying
for?
How
can
bulletins
be defended
as
"vital"
whenthey
are
filledwith
improperreports?Isthere
any
justification
for
the"feds
madeus
do
it"
defense
that
has
6een
proffered?Why
was
such
a
contractthought
necessary
whenthereis
a
modern,
well-rigardedunit
operatingunderthe
auspices
of
the
pennsylvania
State
police?
These
ile
representativequestions,
based
on concerns
thatpeople
haveexpressed,
for
wiich
we
are
obligedto
seek
answersand
establish
accountability.
At
this
time
I
wouldoffer
the
minority
chair
SenatorFamese
theopportunity
to make
some
openingcomments
as
well.SenatorFarnese:
Thank
you
madamchair, good
moming.
I
am
greatly
concemedaboutthesituationbefore
us
here
today.
I'm
concernedaboutthe
process
thatproduced
this
contract,
the
work
that
was
performed,
and
the
intentof
theparties
involved.First,this
committee
andthe
public
deservean
explanation
as
to
how
this
no-bid
contract
for
$103,000 wasawarded
and
how
it
escaped
scrutiny.
Second,
I
am
equally
concernedabout
thespecialattentiongiven
to legitimate
protesters
who
have
9very
rightto
demonstrate
as
they
did.
Not
onty
did
these
piotesters
pose
nothreatbut the
ITRRmight
haveusedthat
time
andenergy
to
gather
Intelligenceon
actual
terrorism
threats
althoughmuch
of
the
work
wasalready
done
bythePennsylvania
State
Police.
Thisno-bid
noscrutinycontract
seems
havebeen
worth
little
excepithe
compilizationof
publicly
accessible
information
that
did
not
identiff
any
sirious
threats
to anyone.
I
am
very
concerned
aboutwhatthis
means
foroverall
readiness
for
a
real
terrorism
threat.
We
could
very
well
have
another
World
Series
in
city
of Philadelphiathis
year.
What
isthe
office
of
HomelandSecuritygoing
to
do
to
ensure
that we
are safe
for
thattype
of
monumental
event?
Because
simply
pastingtogether
news
clips
is
notgoingto
cut
it.
 
Thankyou,madamchair.
Senator
Baker:
Thank
you
SenatorFarnese.
We
are
joined
thismorning
by
members
of
theCommittee,
Senator
Ward,
Senator
Mensch,
Senator
Robbins,
Senator
Dinniman,
Senator
Kitchen
and
we
are
also
joined
by
two
members
of
the
Senate
who
are
notpart
of
thecommittee
who
are
joining
us, Senator
Ferlo
and
Senator
Folmer.
At
thistime
I
wouldinvite
Virginia
Cody
to
come
to
the
microphone.
Virginia
is
a
communityactivistwholivesinWyoming
County
which
is
part
of
the
20frSenatorial
district.
Virginia
will
you
pleasestandandraise
yourright
h-and
for
me,we
are
goingto
swearin.
Doyousolemnly
swear
to
tell
the
truth,
the
whole
truth
and
nothingbut thetruth?
Virginia
Cody:
(inaudible
response)
Senator
Baker:
Thank you,
you
may
be
seated.
Ms.
Codywe
would
ask
you
to
make
a
very
brief
statement,
obviously
manymembers
arehere
thismorning
and
we
wouldlike
to
provide
enough
opportuniiy
for
questions.
So
if
you
would
like
to
sharesomegeneral
observations
and
then
allow
the
members
to
ask
you
questionswe
would
appreciate
that.
Thankyou.
Please press,
I
apologize,
pleasepressthe
microphone
so
that
people
can hear
you.
Virginia
Cody:
Isthis?
Senator
Baker:
That's
correct.
Virginia
Cody:Ah
ha.
Thank
you
for
giving
me
the
opportunityto
speak here
today.
A
month
ago,
I
wasan average
Americancitizenbeggingmy
govemment
to
save
myair,my
drinking
water,
and
mycommunityfrom
the environmentaldevastation
wrougftiUy
thenatural
gas
industry
across
the
country.
I
wrote
dozens
of
letters
to my
legislators
(receivingveryfew
responses
I
might
add).
My
husbandand
I
sentseveral
letterstotheeditors
of
newspapersand
manywere
printed.
We
started
a
blog
tocompile
them
and
to
provideinformation
tootherswho
might
be
interestedin
the
topic.
We
tried
toparlaythe
success
of
the
Gas
Drilling
Awareness
Coalition,
a
group
of
people
justlike
usliuing in

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