(May 15, 2006) -- So...how do the two runoff candidates seeking to become LB's next Mayor feel about requiring the inspection of all incoming cargo containers?
LBReport.com posts below the responses of Bob Foster and Frank Colonna below. (They were standing alongside each other after a May 12 TV show taping).
As previously reported by LBReport.com, on May 4 the House of Representatives defeated (202-222) an effort to require that all incoming cargo containers be inspected and sealed before entering the U.S. and scanned for radiation and density and, if appropriate, atomic elements. This security requirement was opposed by the "American Association of Port Authorities," an advocacy group in which the Port of LB is a member.
A bill supported by the "American Association of Port Authorities" -- dubbed by its supporters the "SAFE Port" Act ("Security and Accountability for Every Port") -- increases security measures with a mix of security enhancements and measures on paper said to be "risk based" (i.e. areas thought at greater risk are given higher priorities) without the 100% container inspection requirement.
Bob Foster: I think we should to the fullest extent possible inspect all cargo that we can.
LBReport.com: To the "fullest extent possible"?
Bob Foster: Well, there are practical problems here too, you have to understand...
LBReport.com [interrupts]: ...[T]he American Association of Port Authorities, in which the Port of Long Beach is a member, opposed that amendment [to the SAFE Port Act]. So now you're the Mayor. The Port is a member of this entity that opposes something legislatively. What do you do? What position do you take on that specific amendment? You said [inspect] "to the extent possible."
Bob Foster: Well my first job as Mayor is to protect the people of this city, and if protecting the people of the city means we try to inspect all cargo, then that's the position I would take. It's that simple.
Frank Colonna: It's apparent it needs to be inspected...So I think the issue is that we've got to get on this and we've got to do it right. You know, if we want to be the receiver of all these goods, then we've got to make sure that they get inspected.
LBReport.com: ...What if the Port says "no," can't be done, too expensive...
Frank Colonna: ...The fact is that the Port needs to be obligated to the city and the city's Mayor. That Port budget comes to the Mayor's office first.
Bob Foster: Bill, you have to use every lever you can if the Port is not doing something that's in the public interest. I think you use appointment power, the budget power, every power you have to try and bring them to the right position, and you have to do that.