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Working Group on Homeland Security to meet in Dallas. (Cities Respond To Terrorism).

NLC's new Working Group on Homeland Security will meet this week to begin its work as NLC's front line resource on homeland security. The group will convene on Saturday at the Dallas-Fort Worth airport to develop its overall work plan and prepare for an interim roll out at the March Congressional City Conference.

Committee Co-Chairs Mary Poss, acting mayor of Dallas, and Michael Guido, mayor of Dearborn, Mich., said the group will focus on federal advocacy strategies and basic resources to support city efforts.

"We have to make sure that the federal government understands our needs and expectations and that city officials have the resources and knowledge to be proactive in ensuring security within their communities," Guido said.

Poss said encouraging cities to take a regional approach to homeland security will be an important part of the discussion.

"City officials and residents need to understand that what happens in one city affects what's happening next door, and they must work together," Poss said.

Poss and Mayor Ken Barr of Fort Worth, Tex., will be participating in a regional planning session on emergency preparedness on Friday.

Several members of the NLC committee plan to attend that meeting to provide a real-life case study.

The group plans to issue an interim report at the March Congressional City Conference and make recommendations to the NLC Officers and Board on how to coordinate a massive lobbying effort on homeland security when some 3,000 city officials converge on Washington. A key part of that message will be the importance of providing direct, flexible federal funds to cities to support homeland security efforts.

Earlier this week, NLC President Karen Anderson, mayor of Minnetonka, Minn., appointed the following officials to serve on this special committee: Rocky Anderson, mayor, Salt Lake City, Utah; Patrick Avalos, councilmember, Pueblo, Colo.; Michael Bahun, councilmember, Kettering, Ohio; Brenda Barger, mayor, Watertown, S.D.; Pat Dando, councilmember, San Jose, Calif.; C. Virginia Fields, Manhattan Borough President, New York, N.Y.; Dan Furtado, vice mayor, Campbell, Calif.; Karen Geraghty, mayor, Portland, Maine; Neil Giuliano, mayor, Tempe, Ariz.; Glenda Hood, mayor, Orlando, Fla.; Charles Jennings, commissioner, Arkansas City, Kans.; Michael Keck, city director, Little Rock, Ark.; Sylvia Lovely, executive director, Kentucky League of Cities; Paul McLaughlin, councilmember, International Falls, Minn.; Evelyn Turner Pugh, councilor, Columbus, Ga.; R.T. Ryback, mayor, Minneapolis, Minn.; and Anthony Williams, mayor, Washington, D.C.

In other homeland security news, National Association of Counties (NACo) President Javier Gonzales outlined his six-step plan to improve homeland security last week at the National Press Club.

While he praised President Bush's efforts in response to the September 11 attacks, Gonzales emphasized that much still needs to be done, citing results from a recent NACo survey that found less than 10 percent of the counties that responded said they were prepared for a bioterrorist or chemical attack.

Gonzales' six-step plan included the following: establishing a homeland security tax credit; rebuilding the public health system; approving the homeland security block grant; ensuring that Homeland Security Director Tom Ridge has the authority to direct resources; establishing a homeland security fund to provide money to state and local governments; and strengthening the communication between public safety departments.

"A powerful force of freedom is driving us now," Gonzales said. "We must harness that force and use it to ensure our readiness. We must never forget that the threat of future attacks is real."
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Author:Becker, Christine
Publication:Nation's Cities Weekly
Article Type:Brief Article
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Feb 4, 2002
Words:565
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