Friday, December 31, 2010

Mica Has A Problem

It’s a long-term memory problem. He can’t seem to remember back 10 years ago.

As frustration grows, airports consider ditching TSA

”Rep. John L. Mica (R-Fla.), the incoming chairman of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, has written to 200 of the nation's largest airports, urging them to consider switching to private companies.”

We’ve been down this road before. Evidently, the TSA is going to be one of Chairmen Mica’s pet projects.

”The TSA was "never intended to be an army of 67,000 employees," he said.”

Are you saying that is what it has become, Chairman? An “army”? Really? Armed with rubber gloves?

”"If you look at [the TSA's] performance, have they ever stopped a terrorist? Anyone can get through," Mica said in an interview.”

First off, isn’t that the kind of question you should be able to answer, soon-to-be-Chairman Mica? After all, your predecessor, James Oberstar, didn’t cut you out of the loop. He kept you informed. Instead of scaring people with an stupid question and reckless statement, shouldn’t you be the one providing the answers and the calm?

Let’s cut to the heart of it, Congressman Mica. The TSA was formed because private airport screeners were a disaster. And if you have your way, they’ll become a disaster again. Oh, it might take a while, but it will surely happen. And I’m not the only one that knows it.

”"We can't go back to the late '90s when private screeners had McDonald's-level wages and attention spans to match," Mann said. "A uniform, tough government system makes a lot of sense."”

But it’s not hard to find Congressman Mica’s true motivation in this article. Even if it is buried inside 3 pages.

”Covenant (a private security firm), based in Mica's home district in northeastern coastal Florida, has airport screening contracts in Sioux Falls, S.D., Tupelo, Miss., and seven small airports in northern and eastern Montana. Its deal at San Francisco International is by far its largest. Covenant employs nearly 1,100 people in the bay area, who make up nearly all of its 1,150 workers. The last four-year contract, from 2006 to 2010, totaled $314 million. ”

And let me single out the Kansas City airport director for his inane remark while I’m here.

”"Unlike a government job, these contract employees can be removed immediately with poor performance, attitude or unsuitability," said Kansas City airport director Mark VanLoh. "It shows in our passenger surveys for customer satisfaction each year."”

I’m sorry, I thought we were talking about security. I didn’t know we were talking about “customer satisfaction”. We all (that includes you Congressman Mica) remember why the TSA was formed don’t we?

Transportation Security Administration -- History and organization

”The TSA was created in response to the September 11, 2001 attacks. Its first administrator John Magaw was nominated by President Bush on December 10, 2001 and confirmed by the Senate the following January. The agency's proponents, including Transportation Secretary Norman Mineta, argued that a single federal agency would better protect air travel than the private companies who operated under contract to single airlines or groups of airlines that used a given terminal facility.”

(Emphasis added)

It’s going to be a long two years.

Don Brown
December 31, 2010

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