Sesno Reports: Target Washington Features Tom Ridge

Posted: February 25, 2004 at 1:00 am, Last Updated: November 30, -0001 at 12:00 am

By Jeremy Lasich

The first show in a new public affairs series, Sesno Reports, debuted last night on WETA TV 26 with a discussion on terrorism featuring U.S. Department of Homeland Security Secretary Tom Ridge and Washington, D.C., Mayor Anthony Williams. Sesno Reports: Target Washington, hosted by Frank Sesno, veteran journalist, former CNN Washington bureau chief, and George Mason professor of public policy and communication, was taped yesterday afternoon in the Harris Theatre. The show will re-air on Saturday, Feb. 28, at 5 p.m.

Ridge, Williams, and several other panelists examined whether the Washington, D.C., region and the nation are prepared for a terrorist attack. Topics included the preparedness of the health care system, distributing timely and accurate information to the public, how different jurisdictions work with each other to share information, traffic issues in a crisis, the use of cell phones, the private sector’s role, and what citizens can do to protect themselves.

The overriding theme presented by Ridge and the panel throughout the hour-long show was the need to educate the public now about what to do in case of a future terrorist attack.

“Our biggest challenge is preparation, preparation, preparation,” said Ridge. “We are beginning a massive public information campaign with the goal to educate 50 percent of the country’s citizens by the end of the year on how to deal with this type of crisis.”

The Department of Homeland Security has created a web site which serves as a preparedness guide for the public. It provides information on biological and chemical threats and offers tips on developing an evacuation plan and making a crisis kit.

Subsequent Sesno Reports programs will include an examination of the budget crises facing the states and the tax initiatives proposed in Maryland and Virginia to pay for basic services; an innovative look at the next wave of the technology sector transforming our region; the challenges facing our health care system; and the growth, sprawl, and congestion that now define many of our communities. The series plans to go beyond the problems by exploring solutions that can actually make a difference.

For more information, visit the WETA web site or the interactive companion web site.

Sesno panel
The Sesno Reports panel included, from left, Patricia McGinnis, president and CEO, Council for Excellence in Government; Anthony Williams, Washington, D.C., mayor; Jim Schwartz, director, Emergency Management, Arlington County; Tom Ridge, secretary of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security; and Gloria Addo-Ayensu, health director, Fairfax County.
Photo by Evan Cantwell

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