Yesterday 9/7/2005 Ed Schultz slapped at the Phoenix and Arizonans response and treatment of the Katrina evacuees who are residing at our Veterans Memorial Coliseum from a report from a California truck driver.  He implied that they were being held prisoner in the Coliseum and stated "what does it mean they were processed?"

He dismissed a first hand account provided by Arizona State Representative Kyrsten Sinema of the care of the evacuees who arrived Sunday and Monday of this week.  After stating that he was not going to take the word of "some" politician, he sided with a truck driver who wanted to just drive in there and take a family home.

Here is what Arizonians have done for Katrina Victims

Governor Janet Napolitano was notified this weekend that Arizona was to receive up to 2500 Katrina victims. Working with State Representatives Sinemas and Lujan of District 15, social agencies within the state and the Red Cross, a central facility was identified, a call out for volunteers of mental health, crisis, trauma and grief counselors were identified.  

The victims arrived many with the clothes they were wearing. Rep Sinemas and Lujan worked throughout Labor Day in a relief drive through our local Air America KXXT 1010 affiliate starting on the air at 6 am. See previous post of the event.

The part of the exchange on the air on Ed Schultz talk show was the dismissal of Rep Sinemas report on the status and care of the Arizona Katrina victims.  Kyrsten is a social worker, a professor at ASU, just completed law school, completed her first session in the Arizona State Legislature and is a local co-host on 1010 KXXT on weekends on the "Truth to Power Hour".

Ed Schultz needs to get a perspective using facts and first hand accounts of those helping the victims.  As of Wednesday 9/7/2005 Arizona received 590 evacuees many of them were young women with small children.  I was told there were "lots" of babies.  

They were indeed processed. That process included a complete medical exam where at least 125 of them were hospitalized. They were provided with an Arizona state ID or drivers license, a bank account was opened with money deposited, enrolled in ACCHSS which is the Arizona Medicaid program and WIC. The victims have 24/7 access to social services including nurse practitioners, mental health professions focusing on grief and trauma counseling.  

No one is a prisoner at the Coliseum. Several have already left and are residing in local hotels using vouchers or have gone to live with family. Local airline employees have donated miles and tickets for transport for the victims.

As of last evening 1010 KXXT had collected 8 U-Haul trucks of new items donated by listeners which were taken directly to the evacuees. In total the Salvation Army reported 28 tons of goods had been delivered to their drop off center with a line and wait time of 45 minutes which was front page story in the Arizona Republic.  

The agencies working with the evacuees have more volunteers than they can handle.  Currently Ebony House is working with the victims in arranging support, services and housing.  As of Labor Day they had 26 donated apartments and working on others.  Today there will be a job fair in the Coliseum.

So a California truck driver wants to drive right up and take a family home.  Arizona assumed responsibility for the care of the victims, and allowing them to be put at risk to become a secondary victim is totally irresponsible.  Yes the state is preventing people access to the shelter; the evacuees are not animals in the zoo on display or a stray dog they can take home for adoption. They are people who have survived a horrific event and Arizonans want to make sure that everyone receives all the services they can be provided, that no one is lost between the cracks and no one has the opportunity to take advantage of them when they could be vulnerable.  

To voice your concern to Ed Shultz call 1-877-934-6833 and let him know that the evacuees in Arizona are receiving the best care and support we can provide.  

Originally posted to katymine on Thu Sep 08, 2005 at 11:03 AM PDT.

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