Save the Delta Queen: A private initiative to save the steamboat Delta Queen A private initiative to save the steamboat Delta Queen
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Save American Jobs, Save American Cultural Heritage, Save the Delta Queen!

Jan 31, 2008

Today Joe Ueberroth, President of Majestic America Line and Chairman/CEO of Ambassadors International Inc. is sending out the following message to all supporters of the Delta Queen. We consider this as an important milestone in the fight to save the Delta Queen. After months of behind-the-scenes activity, Majestic America Line is now also approaching the public directly, emphatically and emotionally to save our beloved steamboat Delta Queen!

Along with the message comes a comprehensive Delta Queen Whitepaper with some eye-opening facts. Read it and send it to your Representatives, Senators, Presidential Candidates!

 

Dear Delta Queen Supporter

 

As we have discussed, saving the Delta Queen is a non-partisan issue – she is a U.S. flag vessel, with an all-American crew, she is U.S. owned and pays U.S. taxes. She is a registered historic treasure of the Department of the Interior and the National Trust for Historic Preservation, she is a National Historic Landmark and also a member of the National Maritime Hall of Fame.   Since 1968 her operating exemption  acknowledging her wood super structure has been granted 9 consecutive times by both democrats and republicans, she was good enough and safe enough to host three presidents and a princess.   Despite all this, the Chairman of the Senate Commerce and Transportation Committee and the Chairman of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee won’t even let the Delta Queen extension go to a vote.  However, Congress did find the time to exempt a foreign owned cruise line, with foreign built ships from the Jones Act, passed in 1886, which protects American maritime jobs.  Due to Congress’ exemption, the United States Coast Guard estimated that 900 – 1,200 foreign workers will be employed by that cruise line in 2008.  In contrast, if nothing is done for the Queen then on November 1, 2008 more than 120 American jobs will be lost (directly and not including the revenue she brings to many small towns in a dozen states) and we will all lose a little bit of our cultural heritage. 

 

I have personally walked the halls of Congress to gain support.  The company has hired consultants and lobbyists to gain support.  Thousands of Delta Queen loyalists have sent e-mails to Congress to garner support.  To date, all to no avail.

 

As we are hearing from our Presidential candidates in speeches across the country, "Washington is broken and the country requires a real change."   When we look at the circumstances surrounding the Delta Queen, it symbolizes what is wrong in America.  I ask myself, what has America come to when unions are actively fighting against American jobs?  What has America become when our politicians are not fighting to protect our history and traditions?  What has our Congress evolved to when committee chairs are so powerful that they, at their sole discretion, will not let legislation that has passed 9 times even reach the floor for a vote?

 

At the same time, I know that in America, when enough people care, we can overcome great odds, right wrongs, and act in the best interest of the people and the generations to follow.  I also know that the Delta Queen is worth fighting for and that there are so many people that are passionate about protecting her ability to operate for future generations.  It has become obvious that we need our fight to "Save the Queen," to elevate her cause into the national discussion and there is nothing as powerful as talk radio in order to achieve this end.  In order to save the Queen we need a voice that can be heard in Washington.  It is my sincere hope that the power of talk radio can make our Presidential candidates take a position on this issue, bring change in Washington, and preserve a national treasure for future generations as well as its American jobs.

What you can do!  

 We need a strong, immediate, focused grassroots effort to do the following:

1)    E-mail the radio shows below and tell them how important saving the Queen is to you.

2)    E-mail the candidates urging them to take a position on saving the Queen.

3)    Pass on the White Paper attached to friends and fans of the Queen and ask them to do the same 3 steps.

 

Thank you for your support.

 

Joe Ueberroth

President, Majestic America Line

Chairman and CEO, Ambassadors International, Inc.

 

In addition, I will be starting the campaign by being on the Jason Lewis show, Thursday, January 31, 2008 at 6:30 CST on Minneapolis FM 100.3 KTLK 

 

The following are the targeted radio talk shows programs:

 

Glenn Beck  – 818.377.5300 me@glennbeck.com  

 

Neal Boortz  – 404.897.7500 go to www.boortz.com 

 

Alan Colmes  – 212.301.3000 colmes@foxnews.com 

 

Mike Gallagher  – 972.831.1920 go to www.mikeonline.com  

 

Bill Handel  – 818.559.2252 bill@kfi640.com  

 

Sean Hannity  – 212.613.3800 seanshow@abc.com 

 

Rush Limbaugh  – 212.445.3900 rush@eibnet.com 

 

Bill O’Reilly  –  212.641.2000 oreilly@foxnews.com 

 

Michael Savage  – 541.664.8827 michaelsavage@paulrevere.com 

 

Ed Schulz  – 701.237.5246 vern@edschultzshow.com 

 

National Public Radio – go to www.npa.org/contact/

 

 

Send your comments and the attached Delta Queen whitepaper to each of the presidential campaigns:

 

Mike Huckabee (800) 781-6302

Pressroom@explorehuckabee.com

Contacts:  Kristen Fedewa (202) 365-6936

Alice Stewart (501) 324-2008 or (501) 658-1654

 

John McCain

Mscholz@mccain08hq.com

Contacts: Brooke Buchanan (703) 650-5550

Meg Schultz (703) 650-5578

 

Mitt Romney

Contacts: Kevin Madden or Alex Burgos (857) 288-6390

 

Hillary Clinton

Press@hillaryclinton.com |(703) 875-1271

Contact:  Mark Daley (515) 491-8703 or mdaley@hillaryclinton.com

 

Barack Obama

Contacts: Jen Psaka (312) 819-2423 media@barackobama.com

Katie Hogan (312) 819-2423  

 

Ron Paul

Contact:  (703) 248-9115

volunteers@ronpaul2008.com

Our new theme song: “Godspeed, Delta Queen” by Dan Landau

Jan 20, 2008

Dan Landau, performer, songwriter and producer from Cincinnati has dedicated his new song "Godspeed, Delta Queen" the theme song for the efforts to save the Delta Queen. Besides having written a lot of great songs, Dan also has written and performed the official theme song of the Farewell Ceremony of Tall Stacks ’95. Thanky you very much, Daniel Landau, for supporting the efforts to save the Delta Queen!

Please feel free to download and forward the song ("Godspeed, Delta Queen" MP3 file). And if you have your own website, please put the "Godspeed, Delta Queen" Youtube video on your site to help spreading the word.

Save the Delta Queen – a status report

Jan 12, 2008

The Delta Queen is far away from being saved, but there is hope. But she needs every helping hand, more than ever before. Stand up and fight for your beloved steamboat. The following status report summarizes recent developments and gives some insight in what’s going on at the moment.

Majestic America Line and Ambassador’s International

We’ve been observing a lot of changes at Ambassador’s and Majestic America line within the last couple of weeks: David Giersdorf is no longer with the company. Former Delta Queen Steamboat Company president Robert P. Mosier from the early 1980s now is a member of the Board of Directors of Ambassador’s International. Ambassador’s CEO Joseph J. Ueberroth signs as Interim President of Majestic America Line

Ambassador’s International has decided to contract the Monaco, Europe, based V.Ships Leisure to manage the vessel operations of Majestic America Line, which includes deck, engine and hotel crew management, procurement, and technical and hotel operations. As of December 31, 2007, many managers and employees of the Seattle office are gone.

From all we know, as of today we’re very sure that Majestic America Line and Ambassador’s International are fully backing the campaign to save the Delta Queen and are working on the exemption heavily in the background.

The Coast Guard

We do have evidence that the Coast Guard is consistently opposing legislation to renew the exemption for the Delta Queen. Officially they’re talking about an “unacceptable risk in regards to fire safety […] because of the use of combustible materials in its construction and its advanced age”, especially expressing the “lack of fire extinguishing capability in the accommodation space”.

We have, with all respect, shown earlier that this is simply not true. We have shown that the Delta Queen is in fact very safe in a case of fire because of multiple escape routes, the very short distances passengers would have to walk or run to reach open decks, the high number of staff available to help elderly people and the fact that almost every cabin has a direct door to open decks. We have shown that wood per se is not more dangerous than other material that is happily accepted by the Coast Guard.

All this makes me assume that the Coast Guard’s opposition has other reasons of political or other nature.

There seams to be a general misinterpretation of the effects of a renewed exemption by the Congress. And the Coast Guard seams to utilize this for their interests, i.e. not taking the responsibility for grounding the Delta Queen but shifting the blame to the Congress. They might also fear legal action in case they deny a certificate of inspection for the Delta Queen. It’s much easier for them if the Congress doesn’t even allow them to issue a certificate.

The misinterpretation of the effects of a renewed exemption

The exemption is needed as the Safety at Sea Act doesn’t allow the US Coast Guard to issue a certificate of inspection (which is required to operate the vessel) when SOLAS requirements are not met. One important fact that usually is being overlooked in the discussion is that the Delta Queen will not be allowed to continue operations by the exemption by the US Congress directly but only through the US Coast Guard’s certificate of inspection which the exemption allows them to issue if they consider the vessel as safe.

The Seafarers International Union (SIU)

The Unions, mainly the Seafarers International Union SIU, didn’t comment the Delta Queen issue for a long time until mid of November they published a harsh press release, the “SIU statement on Delta Queen”. In essence they said that they don’t have any direct influence on legislation but "our [SIU’s] role in helping safely operate the vessel is one reason why the waiver had been granted in years past." Read between the lines …

The United States Congress

Representative Steve Chabot has a bill on the way to save the Delta Queen, rallying for support of fellow representatives as well as the media and people. So far, bill H.R. 3852 has 22 co-sponsors while much more than that are needed to get the bill around the Transportation Committee where Chairman Rep. Oberstar is still blocking anything concerning the Delta Queen. HERE is where EVERYONE can and should help: Send a fax (yes, that’s the best method, besides written letters) to your Representative and Senator and explain to them how important it is to support this bill, and for Representatives how important it is to act as a co-sponsor of H.R. 3852. Let them know that the Delta Queen IS NOT UNSAFE, despite what others are telling them. Encourage them to contact Rep. Steve Chabot who has all the details.

The two key politicians in the process of reissuing the exemption haven’t changed their minds: Congressman James Oberstar, chairman of the Transportation Committee of the US House of Representatives, and Senator Daniel Inouye, Chairman of Commerce Committee at the US Senate commerce.senate.gov/, are still strictly refusing to let a bill hit the floor of the full House or Senate that would give the Delta Queen the desired exemption.

The Save-the-Delta-Queen Campaign

Multiple grass-rooting activities are going on everywhere, some very active individuals have collected thousands of signatures for the Delta Queen exemption, the online petition on steamboats.org now has more than 1.100 so far, many (but still by far not enough!) people have sent letters and faxes to Representatives and Senators, many city councils along the rivers have issued resolutions in favour of the DQ and there was and is huge media coverage, including long articles in the New York Times, Los Angeles Times and International Herald Tribune. Not to forget and very important, too: There is a lot of background work going on that’s not suitable for being discussed in the public.

Not enough support, yet!

But there are still too many of our fellow fans of the Delta Queen who just lean back and wait for others to save the Delta Queen for them. THIS WILL NOT WORK! If the Delta Queen is important for you, stand up and fight actively for her. She needs your support, now.

It will be a very tough challenge to get the exemption. We’re fighting political windmills, we need a huge public uproar against these political games that will take us away our beloved Delta Queen if we can’t show massively that the American people is not willing to accept that an important part of their history simply is being dumped.