Have you seen those commercials where a group of people are standing around a piece of trash on the ground, and pontificating about what needs to be done to clean it up, and someone else comes along, picks it up, throws it in a nearby trash can and walks away? I love it. Mostly because I think it is very illustrative of how much of life works. You have people who talk up a storm and people who get things done and there is seldom any overlap.
I thought of that commercial again when I saw this quote from an article on Sunday's phillyburbs.com ("Fitzpatrick calls for hearings," by Elizabeth Fisher)
Congressman Mike Fitzpatrick wants answers.
So he’s calling for a series of congressional hearings to gather information on the causes of frequent flooding in Bucks County and to find ways to prevent or lessen their impact.
Speaking in the aftermath of a visit by Gov. Ed Rendell to Lower Makefield Saturday, Fitzpatrick, R-8, said he wants to question representatives from the Delaware River Basin Commission and any other state or federal agency that can provide answers so desperately needed by flood victims.
I thought it was especially interesting in light of this from a recent press release of his:
I am in close contact with local, state, and federal authorities as well as the Delaware River Basin Commission for up-to-date information on the state of the river and what needs to be done to ensure that our residents are protected.
The Delaware River Basin Commission has, on its web site a 96 page comprehensive plan dated 2001. I wonder how many of the PA-related goals have been implemented. There is also a lengthy report from 2004 on flow management issues.
I would also like to note this from Mid-Atlantic River Basins
New Delaware River Task Force -- On October 25, 2005, Representative Mike Fitzpatrick (R-PA-8th), working cooperatively with the Northeast-Midwest Institute and the Delaware River Basin Commission, continued his leadership in addressing environmental concerns impacting the Delaware River by launching a reinvigorated Delaware River Basin Task Force. ... Serving along with Representative Fitzpatrick as co-chairs will be Representative Maurice Hinchey (D-New York), Representative Jim Gerlach (R-PA), and Representative Rush Holt (D-NJ)
Let me get this straight -- he co-chairs the Delaware River Basin Task Force. He was in constant contact with the Delaware River Basin Commission. And, now, after a major flood, he's standing around calling for congressional hearings? He's been in constant contact with the DRBC but now he needs congressional hearings to make them answer questions? Why hasn't his task force, co-chaired with Rep. Jim Gerlach, asked these questions before now?
I still like the "pick it up and go on" approach. Patrick Murphy, who is running against Fitzpatrick, had his staff shift from fundraising to flood relief and was actively involved himself. At the end of a fundraising quarter, for a candidate challenging an incumbent, this must have been a difficult choice.