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grittylifer

Region braces for red alert, war

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Region braces for red alert, war

Plans: Agencies anticipate possible terror; ports, other facilities to be guarded.

By Bill Hillburg

From our Washington Bureau

WASHINGTON Should war with Iraq erupt, Southern Californians could find themselves living in a world of restricted travel, constrained trade, closed schools and public buildings, canceled events and hypersecurity.

 

With growing fears of domestic terrorist acts linked to military action against Saddam Hussein, state and federal officials are bracing for a possible worst-case scenar io.

 

"It certainly would be incumbent upon us to take into consideration military involvement as we determined the level of protection we needed for homeland security. We'd be foolish if we didn't,' said Homeland Defense Secretary Tom Ridge.

 

The nation Monday moved to condition orange (a high threat of terrorist attack) shortly after President Bush gave Saddam Hussein 48 hours to leave Iraq or face U.S. military action. A move to condition red (severe risk of attack) is not being ruled out.

 

Under a condition red, the department's responses would include "monitoring, redirecting or constraining transportation systems and closing public and government facilities,' as well as deploying emergency response teams.

 

If the nation goes on a war footing, the task of warning thousands of local responders, city officials and school administrators would start with the California Highway Patrol.

 

"We've got quite an extensive communications tree worked out,' said CHP Commissioner Spike Helmick. "We are linked to every local law enforcement in the state and can notify them all on our hotlines within five minutes. They in turn will notify local city leaders, fire and emergency personnel and school districts.'

 

Helmick said that getting the word out across Southern California would be no small feat. The region has more than 200 cities, 167 school districts, 76 fire and paramedic departments and 116 police agencies. He noted that it is critical to have one source issuing alerts, given the fact that many local police and fire units still lack the equipment needed to communicate with one another.

 

Critical installations

 

Helmick said that, if a condition red alert is called, his CHP forces will go on 12-hour shifts, deploy at state buildings, bridges and aqueducts and other critical installations and put all 30 of their patrol planes into the air.

 

"Since 9/11 we've improved all of our plans, training and coordination,' added Helmick. "There's also more of a willingness to pull the trigger and take all the needed precautions if the situation calls for it.'

 

Key decisions, including whether to close schools and other public buildings, cancel a Lakers game at the Staples Center or shut down the state's airports, would lie with Gov. Gray Davis. The level of danger and areas of the state most likely to be hit would be determined by Davis and members of the State Threat Advisory Committee.

 

L.B. security

 

Whether it's manning the phones to calm residents or patrolling the streets, Long Beach police will be "in a state of readiness' in case war breaks, said Commander Robert Luna.

 

Plainclothes officers and detectives will be required to have their uniforms with them.

 

"We anticipate how residents are going to react to the news, if they are experiencing high levels of anxiety,' Luna said. "We expect bigger antiwar demonstrations.'

 

At the highest stage of alert, officers will work 12-hour shifts and patrol critical facility locations, which Luna declined to disclose. The state attorney general's office recently identified the Port of Long Beach and the Queen Mary to be among the 624 places terrorists could hit.

 

"I know we're just about ready for anything that happens,' Luna said.

 

Mike Fleming, spokesman for the Customs Service office that serves the ports of Long Beach and Los Angeles and Los Angeles International Airport, declined to discuss specific antiterrorism measures, but said "we always have contingency plans in place.'

 

Cargo inspections

 

He noted that, during the recent condition orange alert, Customs inspectors increased their scrutiny of cargo. "We ramp up or ratchet up as necessary,' he said.

 

Customs on March 1 became part of the new Department of Homeland Security, as did the Border Patrol and the Transportation Security Administration that screens airport passengers and baggage. In a condition red, personnel from all three units would step up their inspections, which could lead to delays at ports, airports and border crossings.

 

Many local first responders have been on antiterrorism duty only since 9/11. Local police and fire chiefs have been waiting nearly as long for federal money to pay for training and equipment and to offset the cost of overtime and other expenses.

 

The Department of Homeland Security released the first $566million in local first responder funding on March 7. California's $45 million share includes $31.6 million for equipment, $7.9 million for practice exercises, $2.4 million for training and $3.1 million for planning. It includes no money to offset expenses already incurred.

 

Los Angeles Mayor James Hahn recently estimated that his city had spent $70million on antiterrorism efforts since 9/11. Long Beach's tab stands at $3 million.

 

Hahn, Long Beach Mayor Beverly O'Neill and other leaders had repeatedly urged President Bush and Ridge to send aid money directly to cities and counties in the form of block grants. Instead it was sent to the states.

 

And Media News Group, owner of the Press-Telegram, has taken the measurements of its 10 Washington bureau reporters, who are based two blocks from the White House, for custom-fitted biohazard suits.

 

, Staff writer Karen Robes contributed to this report.

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do you really feel the need to post EVERY article from the news site in which you get them from?

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fuck off you little toys.

you swear this is a fucking joke. i woke up and watched the downtown of a city explode with over 1500 bombs. You know people that have done nothing died while millions of americans watched it on tv. I find somthing wrong with that and have chosen to address my concerns with well written articles that pose realistic questions as to what america really faces.

Would you rather I be out blocking traffic so your mommy cant get home to make you dinner?

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Originally posted by ********

fuck off you little toys.

you swear this is a fucking joke. i woke up and watched the downtown of a city explode with over 1500 bombs. You know people that have done nothing died while millions of americans watched it on tv. I find somthing wrong with that and have chosen to address my concerns with well written articles that pose realistic questions as to what america really faces.

Would you rather I be out blocking traffic so your mommy cant get home to make you dinner?

 

 

very well put, Im on your side ********

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Guest BROWNer

jesus, tease, most of the time i don't give a shit what you post, and i've

never dissed you while

the majority of this sites members diss the fuckness out of you on a

regular basis, but

you are acting like a fucking phd herb.

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Originally posted by Grant_Wood

very well put, Im on your side ********

 

me too...

 

but i do see teases point also:D

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Guest BROWNer
Originally posted by mr_president

yea so are this kids fucking fifty stupid threads about war...

 

we can read about war if we want to elsewhere, not to mention there are already a billion of those threads...

 

??so what.

are you a moderator?

do you own the bandwidth on this site?

whats the big fuckin' deal?

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