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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Delta Queen: a public and political affair?

Mar 1, 2008

There is some arguments going on in the background whether the Delta Queen issue mainly is a private problem of a cruise ship company or whether we see a political and public scandal going on here. That is, do we have the right to fight for the Delta Queen, address politicians, call for action to support a bill to save the Delta Queen, blame Unions and other organzations for being negatively involved in this situation?

Let me give you some arguments why I think it’s a highly political issue we’re talking about here:

There is a Representative, namely Rep. James Oberstar (Minnesota), claiming to represent the people of the United States. Being the Chairman of the House’s Transportation Committee, Mr. Oberstar is blocking a bill to exempt the Delta Queen from the Safety at Sea Act in this very committee, not allowing the full House to vote on it at all. Did I mention Mr. Oberstar receives a good share of his fundings from Unions (see Opensecrets.org for details)?

I shoud have, because one of these Unions, the SIU, claims to have nothing to do with the Delta Queen issue, while you can read between the lines in their press release from November 2007 that they very well seam to be involved in this. SIU: "This union has the only pool of unlicensed mariners with special training and a long history of meeting the needs specifically associated with the Delta Queen". Our comment: From many former DQ employees we know that the SIU did not train the majority of the crew – actually most of them just signed their Union contract in the very moment they started working on the boat. SIU: "Our role in helping safely operate the vessel is one reason why the waiver had been granted in years past". Our comment: Now, as they don’t hold an exclusive contract with the operator of the boat any more, their role obviously is a different one, while it’s still the job of the US Coast Guard to make sure the boat is being operated safely, not the job of the SIU.

Rep. Oberstar has discredited himself several times by claiming that his opposition is only based on safety concerns while comparing the Delta Queen with Boing 747 airplanes and a 1904 excursion boat (the General Slucum, which without needing an exemption could still run today, by the way). His comments are demonstrating more than clearly that he has no idea about the DQ’s safety status and features nor does he care much about such details.

Rep. Ron Kind (Wisconsin) in the first place did support Rep. Steve Chabot’s initiative to safe the Delta Queen by co-sponsoring bill H.R. 3852. Just a few days ago, all the sudden, he backed out (according to the LaCrosse Tribune). The reason he is giving for this is "safety concerns", but he doesn’t specify what concerns these are which he must not have been aware of when he signed up to co-sponsor the bill. Fact is, Rep. Kind, like Rep. Oberstar, has been very well funded by the Unions over years (see Opensecrets.org for details).

The National Trust for Historic Preservation has accepted a 2008 nomination of the Delta Queen for the list of "America’s 11 Most Endangered Historic Places" and also has chartered the Delta Queen for her potentially final voyage in November 2008. But the National Trust is not using its full power to support saving the Delta Queen, so far. Is this because the President of the National Trust, Richard Moe, is a close friend of Rep. James Oberstar and therefore prevents the Trust from taking any further action on behalf of the Delta Queen? We’ve got this information from one single reliable source from within the National Trust, so we must treat it as not much better than a rumor so far, though.

This is not just a private issue!

These are just a few examples of why I think this in fact is a political issue and why I even think this is a high-ranking political scandal.

Where is this country standing in terms of democratic principles when the influence of a Union and/or one single man from Minnesota can decide for a whole nation, by-passing the elected representation of the people?

The foundation of the United States Constitution is the principle of devided powers. Don’t give any single person the power to make decisions on behalf of this country just on his own. Having a well-balanced system of powers in the political system is one of the basic ideas of this Constitution.

If someone tells me that it’s not our business to do and try everything we can to save the Delta Queen, how can he/she look in the mirror the next day? Isn’t one of the basic ideas of this country to defend our freedom, against all odds, no matter what? Isn’t it also about the basic principles of this country to stand up and fight if something is going wrong? That’s what we’re doing here.

We simply don’t accept that dirty political games are the reason for grounding the Delta Queen, a national historic Landmark, an important part of American history, a last-of-its-kind treasure. We only ask for fairness: Let the elected representatives of this countries’ people vote, let them do their job, let them represent the interests of their constituents. That’s all we’re asking for.

Yes, it’s a political issue, no doubt.

Update: no decision yet

Feb 27, 2008

The decision about the Coast Guard Authorization Bill in the House of Representatives obviously has been postponed, probably until next week. This gives some more time to rally for the Delta Queen amendment, but remember the Committee on Rules will possibly decided already this week whether they allow the amendment to be made.

Please keep those letters, faxes, and phone calls pouring into the Rules Committee and your own Representatives and Senators!

For the meantime, here are some links to earlier postings at save-the-delta-queen.org that might be of interest to you:

– listen to the Save the Delta Queen Campaign’s fight song "Godspeed, Delta Queen" by Dan Landau

– read about the details of the Safety at Sea Act and SOLAS

– what the young generation has to say: Leonie (8): "I love the Delta Queen", Cole (12): "Good bye, Delta Queen – a poem"

– the list of members of the Rules Committee to be contacted

February 26th is the day!

Feb 24, 2008

The Delta Queen’s fate is in the hands of 13 people.
We must reach them by Tuesday, February 26th. Please help!

+++ Update: the Rules Comittee now meets on April 22; please take action before that! +++

For the first time in this Campaign, legislation to save the Delta Queen could go before the full House of Representatives next week — but only if the House Rules Committee approves an amendment to the Coast Guard Reauthorization Bill that would continue the boat’s exemption from the 1966 Safety at Sea Law. The Committee will meet the afternoon of Tuesday, February 26.

If you have not done so already, please contact the members of the Rules Committee (see the list below) and urge them to approve Congressman Steve Chabot’s amendment to the Coast Guard Reauthorization Bill, H.R. 2830.

And even if you have done so, please contact your own Representative and ask him or her to vote in favor of the amendment when and if it reaches the House Floor on Wednesday, February 27. And ask everyone you know to do the same.

House of Representatives, Committee on Rules members:

Louise McIntosh Slaughter, Committee Chairwoman, New York, 28th District
Phone: (202) 225-3615
Fax:   (202) 225-7822

Michael Arcuri, New York, 24th District
Phone:  (202) 225-3665
Fax: (202) 225-1891

James McGovern, Massachusetts, 3rd District
Phone: (202) 225-6101
Fax: (202) 225-5759

Alcee Hastings, Florida, 23rd District
Phone: (202) 225-1313
Fax: (202) 225-1171

Kathy Castor, Florida, 11th District
Phone: (202) 225-3376
Fax: (202) 225-5652

Lincoln Diaz-Balart, Florida, 21st District
Phone: (202) 225-4211
Fax: (202) 225-8576

Doris Matsui, California, 5th District
Phone: (202) 225-7163
Fax: (202) 225-0566

Dennis Cardoza, California, 18th District
Phone: (202) 225-6131
Fax: (202) 225-0819

David Dreier, California, 26th District
Phone: (202) 225-2305
Fax: (202) 225-0819

Doc Hastings, Washington, 4th District
Phone: (202) 225-5816
Fax: (202) 225-3251

Peter Welch, Vermont, at-large
Phone: (202) 225-4115
Fax: (202) 225-6790

Pete Sessions, Texas, 32nd Distric
Phone: (202) 225-2231
Fax: (202) 225-5878

Betty Sutton, Ohio, 13th District
Phone: (202) 225-3401
Fax: (202) 225-2266

Let’s save the Delta Queen, right now!

Feb 17, 2008

It’s probably the best chance we’ll get to save the Delta Queen: During the week of February 25th – 29th the House of Representatives will vote on the Coast Guard Reauthorization Bill. If allowed by the Committee on Rules, an amendment to this bill, introduced by Rep. Steve Chabot, will exempt the Delta Queen from the Safety at Sea Act.

Please, by all means, do what you can to support this! Contact your Representative and urge him to vote for this bill (H.R. 2830). The best way to contact your Representative is call personally or send a fax to the District office in the week of February 18th – 22nd when the members of Congress are at home for a Presidents’ Day work period. They’ll be back in Washington on February 25th latest, but that already is the week where the bill is up for vote.

There is a catch, though: It’ll be a last minute decision whether the Rules Committee will allow the amendment to the bill. So please, don’t wait until you hear that the amendment is being accepted. Let your Representative know right now, on Monday or Tuesday this week how save the Delta Queen is – no matter what others are telling them. There is a letter from Delta Queen Discovery Guide Mary Charlton giving a lot of background information on this (http://www.steamboats.org/index/delta-queen-exemption-background.html).

If the amendment is being accepted and the House votes for the bill, this will be a fantastic success for the Save the Delta Queen Campaign, though it’s still only half way: The US Senate still has to accept the exemption for the Delta Queen, too. When the amendment is being accepted by the House, open a bottle of champagne, but then return to work and continue to support the campaign! We also need a vote from the Senate!

Kentucky, go!

Feb 12, 2008

We’ve just been informed that House Majority Leader Rocky Adkins (representing the 99th District) has introduced a resolution in favor of the Delta Queen in the Kentucky House of Representatives on Friday February, 8.

Bluegrass State people, let’s go!  Ask your Representatives to support this: Kentucky House of Representatives "HR 109".

 

Resolution: The Ohio House of Representatives

Feb 11, 2008

Ohio State Representative Robert Mecklenborg has introduced a pro-Delta Queen resolution in the Ohio State Legislature. It has been passed out of the State Government Committee and is awaiting a floor vote.

Ohio Citizens: Please contact your state Representative and ask him or her to vote for this resolution. The number of the resolution to refer to is "HCR 36" (see http://www.legislature.state.oh.us/res.cfm?ID=127_HCR_36).

Cosponsors of the Resolution are Representatives Ross McGregor, Jim McGregor, Larry L. Flowers, Clyde Evans, Gerald L. Stebelton, James T. Raussen, Michelle G. Louis W. Schneider, Jr., Blessing, Dale Mallory and Jim Hughes.

Comments Off on Resolution: The Ohio House of Representatives

Bill H.R. 3852: now 24 cosponsors

Feb 8, 2008

Bill H.R. 3852 has got two more cosponsors just recently for a total of 24 Representatives supporting the bill now. New on the list are Robert E. Latta from Ohio and Bart Gordon from Tennessee.

The bill is supposed to save the Delta Queen. To get it straight to the floor of the House of Representatives without Rep. Oberstar’s the Transportation Committee having the chance to block it, the bill needs at least 218 cosponsors (a simple majority of the House or Representatives). It’s still a long way to go. Please continue working on getting the attention of Representatives, Senators and, also extremely important, the public via newspapers, talk radio and TV stations.

Goodbye, Delta Queen – a poem

Feb 6, 2008

We’ve just received a poem about the Delta Queen from 12-year-old Cole Martin, from Huntsville, Alabama, that I’d like to share with everyone. We don’t take any reponsibility for shedding a tear or two when reading this, so be prepared. Cole, thank you very much for your contribution and support.

Goodbye, Delta Queen

She wakes up every morning
To a loud whistle blow.
She spends each day
as though it were her last to show.

All day, she watches her brothers and sisters on deck;
She listens to the ragtime sound.
She watches America’s towns go by.
Proud to be America’s angel riverbound.

She is royalty on the river.
Persistence and endurance are her claim to fame.
Why must they dock her?
She is the meaning of American spirit to tame.

These days of freedom are numbered.
She has been through good times and bad…that is our bond.
The Delta Queen should cruise toward the sunset…
and beyond.

Cole Martin, Huntsville, AL

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.