Monday, June 21, 2010

Back When Only Rich Republicans Could Afford Chocolate

Sara L. Bozich. Hershey: A Guide to the Town Built on Chocolate. New York, N.Y.: Channel Lake, Inc., 2009.

Hershey is officially Derry Township, Pennsylvania, but many tourists and locals call the town after the name of its local chocolate manufacturer, Hershey. The company was started by Milton Snavely Hershey, who was born in Derry Township.

Milton Hershey was an apprentice printer who learned he disliked printing. He found he preferred being an apprentice candy and ice cream producer. He learned from his experiences and applied it towards creating two candy companies, which both failed, one in Philadelphia and then one in New York. When he applied his knowledge of adding milk to caramels, his Lancaster Caramel Company became a success. He then, in 1894, branched into chocolate making with a subsidiary company, Hershey Chocolate Company. This was the first mass production of chocolate which introduced the product, formerly a high priced treat, to the masses.

Hershey sold his caramel business yet retained his chocolate business. He married Catherine Sweeney. They had no children, which led them to their willing their fortune to an orphanage they started, the Hershey Industrial School.

The Hershey factory opened in 1905, returning Milton Hershey to his hometown in a location with good access to local dairies, a river for water, rail transportation, and skilled employees.

Hershey became a “company town” that may have, like other company towns, kept employees welder to their careers. Milton Hershey, though, created parks, trolleys, golf courses, and help locate public schools and churches.

The Hershey Industrial School today is Milton Hershey School. It is a 2,000 acre school for over 1,700 students.

Hershey had 60,000 acres of land with 251 miles of rail, five sugar mills, and a peanut oil plant in Cuba. He sold them in 1946.

Milton Hershey led what was known as The Great Building Campaign during the 1930s. Among things constructed were a hotel, sports arena, rose garden, community center, and a sports stadium. The park built for employees, Hersheypark, had a pool and ride added. A zoo grew in size as well.

Hersheypark opened to the public in 1971. It is now a major amusement park attraction.

Today, Hershey offers many attractions, events, shows, sporting events, museums, golf, shops, spas, restaurants, etc. This book is an excellent resource that describes each.

How to Solve the Energy Crisis and Global Warming...Honest, It Is Easy: Algae

Mark Edwards. Green Algae Strategy: End Oil Imports and Engineer Sustainable Food and Fuel. Tempe, Az.:, 2008.

Algae has been neglected from many energy research efforts, which is a mistake, according to the author. It has no carbon footprint since it consumes carbon dioxide (i.e. greenhouse gases) and produces oxygen. It can grow easily, in fact, it is one of the fastest growing species. It can be converted into energy.

If the U.S. switches to green algae for oil, it would no longer need to use fossil fuels. It would no longer need to buy oil from other countries. These could become tremendous positive consequence through reducing air pollution, global warming, and ending reliance on energy from countries with negative geopolitical consequences.

1.8 pounds of CO2 is consumed by every pound of algae biomass.

Algae, which is 0.5% of the Earth’s plant biomass, produces 60% of

20 pounds of algal biomass may yield 9 pounds of fuel oil. The oil can be directly used in diesel engines with few resulting pollutants. This biodiesel is 30% more energy efficient than gas, in addition to producing far less pollution.

Some CO2 is released when algae is burned as oil, yet far less CO2 is released compared to burning other fuels.

Locating algae near a CO2 producing source, such as a coal using manufacturer, can increase the speed algae grows up to five times faster.

The ethanol energy alternative uses corn. In a world with growing food demand and food shortages in parts of the world, more corn will be needed to feed people than for fuel.

One acre of algae can yield 5,000 gallons of oil per year and, since its burns 30% to 50% more hotly than does gasoline, can produce 6,500 gallons of energy equivalent to gasoline.

By contrast, one acre of corn can produce 18 gallons of oil per year, which can be converted through starch fermentation to yield 350 gallons of ethanol, which can then produce 224 gallons of energy equivalent to gasoline.

No other fuel comes close to what algae can produce. The amounts of gallons of oil per acre yielded annually are 610 for palm oil, 276 for coconut, 194 for jatropha, 122 for rapeseed, 105 for cacao, 98 for sunflowers, and 46 for soybeans.

There has been a political decision that American research favor corn producers. There are no Federal government grants for algae research since the 1990s. Private sector research in algae was $29 million in 2007 and $84 million in 2008.

It would take 13 million acres, or 3% of U.S. cropland, to produce the same amount of oil as the .U.S. imports. Converting algae to oil, though, will not require using any existing cropland. This will also allow 40 million acres of corn, currently being converted to ethanol, to be grown for food.

Algae will need nutrients to grow. Algae growth requires sunlight. It will likely need to be mixed so algae underneath the algae on top can receive sunlight. Algae can grow in any type of water, including wastewater.

Some algae are 60% protein and some can be eaten. Most algae, though, present digestive challenges. Some taste baldy and some have no taste. Some algae, served as dulse, dilsk, or sol, is sold in Ireland, Asia, and coastal America. Algae can help feed cattle and aquaculture. This all can reduce the demand for cropland.

Algae development patents have been granted to Monsanto in the U.S., BASF in Germany, and Syngenta in Switzerland. A number of other firms are researching algae, including Raytheon.

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Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Isn't the Mayor of New York a Republican?

City of New York. Plan NYC: A Greener, Greater New York. (New York, 2009).

New York used to concentrate on dealing with crises. Now it seeks to plan to prevent crises.

New York City’s public transportation use has reached levels that it has not seen in five decades. Its crime has not been so low since 45 years ago. Its bond rating is the highest. It had 44 million tourists visit in one year, the most ever.

This Plan seeks to improve New York’s environment and infrastructure. New York has one of the oldest infrastructure systems with some electric grids from the 1920s. New York needs modern infrastructure that is more environmentally sensitive.

3,000 miles of roads, bridges, and tunnels as well as most of the subway system are deteriorating. The water tunnel system needs to be evaluated for operational efficiency.

New York needs to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions from cars, power plants, and boilers. New York will build more efficient power plants.

It is a goal that a park exists within a 10 minute walk of all residents.

New York should coordinate new housing developments with transit development. Rezoning will be done accordingly.

About 60 miles of vacant waterfront is being reclaimed and rezoned. Residential uses will be part of these developments.

The New York City Housing Authority plans to produce 6,000 more affordable housing units by 2013.

Decks will be built over highways, rail lines, and rail yards. Having these exposed tends to halt nearby development. This admittedly will present some difficulties.

The New York Housing Trust Fund will help with creating new housing for low income and poor households.

The New York City Acquisition Fund will use $200 million to acquire property to create 30,000 affordable housing units.

New York faces challenges as some rent control restrictions on HUD properties are expiring. In addition, many such property require costly repairs.

New York has added 300 acres of parks in five years. Some schoolyards will become public playgrounds. The city has also built 36 soccer fields, 35 baseball fields, 35 track fields, and 22 tennis areas. It is also improving underdeveloped parklands.

New York has planted 122,000 trees along curbs.

Brownfields are being cleaned for reuse. A city office to handle this is being created. The city is testing to see where land has been contaminated.

Wastewater infrastructure will be upgraded. Less waste will thus be discharged during rainstorms. High level storm sewers will be constructed at several sites such as Hudson Yards.

More trees will be planted. Trees help with storm water management, as the trees absorb this water. New York plans to use new trees to reduce storm water by four million gallons.

The city plans to create 20 cubic meters of ribbed mussel beds. The first project at Hendrix Creek will cost $600,000. Mussels filter effluent and hopefully will create an increase in water quality. A few centuries ago, half of the oysters in the world existed in New York Harbor.

Paved parking increases storm water. The city will create begeated ditches, also known as swales, and gravel buffer strips to filer pollutants from water runoff. Swales will also be created along highway medians and street where the land to do so exists.

Creating gardens on roofs also reduces water runoff.

New York is acting to protect its remaining wetlands. 86% of wetlands were destroyed in the past century.

New York is one of the five large American cities without a drinking water filtration plant. This makes protecting the city’s watershed more important. An ultraviolent disinfection plant will be built to deal with Cryptos poridium, a parasite that survives the city’s current chlorine treatment. The first filtration plant will also be built in the Bronx and will serve part of the city’s water supply.

The city is identifying new water supplies, especially in nearby aquifers in case a current major supplier of water, the Delaware Aqueduct, needs to be closed for a long period.

About 31% of people arriving at the Manhattan Central Business District do so by automobile. 4.6% of Manhattan commuters use their cars. It is projected that rush hour in 2030 will last half the day.

New York seeks to reduce congestion by building the Second Avenue Subway, adding a third track to the Long Island Rail Road Main Line, building another New Jersey Transit tunnel under the Hudson River, and creating an Express Bus Lane in the Lincoln Tunnel.

New York is the American city with the most bus riders. Yet they travel at among the slowest rates. Average bus speeds decreased 4% from 2002 to 2006. New York is planning five Bus Rapid Transit routes, one in each borough, that can be used to connect with other buses every 10 to 15 blocks apart. Bus lanes will be created on the Manhattan, Williamsburg, and Queensboro Bridges.

Sidewalks need to be built or expanded at 24 subway station stops and several bus stations which have been identified as congested.

841,000 employees work in Manhattan. 1,560,000 work in the other boroughs. Commuter traffic issues exist throughout the city.

Private ferry companies are bringing more service to New York. The city is working with these companies to interconnect public transit cards with ferry fares.

New York is planning for 1,800 miles of bike lanes for 2030, including 504 miles of bike only paths.

New York seeks approval of congestion pricing to charge vehicles more for entering congested areas between 6 am and 6 pm on weekdays. This would encourage some vehicles to switch to other times to travel and thus reduce congestion.

New York plans to hire 100 more Traffic Enforcement Agents with additional hires into the future. The will have the authority to ticket “block the box” violators that create traffic jams.

State law allows New York City to have only100 red light traffic enforcement cameras. They are being rotated so drivers won’t know which ones are in use. The city recommends the state changing the law to allow using more such cameras.

The city resurfaces an average of 800 miles of lanes annually. It needs to resurface about 1,000 miles of lanes annually just to keep up with normal maintenance. The city is recycling removed asphalt into reuse as fresh asphalt.

New Yorkers spend about $13.4 billion on energy in one year. This energy use also creates over 40% of local air pollution. The natural gas infrastructure will be enlarged. More renewable energy sources will be used. Rebates will be offered for environmentally sensitive building construction and for installing solar panels. The expanded use of smart meters will inform customers of their energy use throughout the day which should encourage some to shift some usage to lower cost times.

New York has a goal of being the American city with the best air quality. Emissions will be reduced for taxis, limousines, and school buses. Ferries will use less polluting fuels. Planting more trees will help. Congestion pricing and an improved transit system should reduce total vehicle use.

New York will seek to lower annual release of greenhouse gases by 33.6 million metric tons annually. Building codes and energy codes will seek reduced emissions. Consumers will be encouraged to use more energy efficient appliances. New York will do its part to fight global warming, especially since global warming increases the threat of flooding in New York.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Planning to Bring the Bacon Home, and Other Bad Puns

Scott Gabriel Knowles (ed). Imagining Philadelphia: Edmund Bacon and the Future of the City. Philadelphia, Pa.: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2009.

In 1959, Philadelphia City Planning Commission Director Edmund Bacon predicted Philadelphia would host the 1976 World’s Fair as a shining example of urban revitalization. What happened was the city declined economically.

Bacon foresaw underground streets, moving sidewalks, thriving factories, regional parks in the suburbs, and no more billboards. He admits he was guessing as no one in 1959 could foretell the future. Still, his vision gave a direction that with much compromising and submission to realities led to what Philadelphia has become.

Bacon was skilled as a planner and architect. He was not a political strategist and never obtained the political power that Robert Moses obtained in directing New York’s public projects. Bacon did have a long career of involvement in Philadelphia’s development over several decades, unlike most other city planners. Bacon influenced many Mayors and decision makers.

Bacon foresaw the city’s universities becoming focal points for renewed housing around them. He hoped that city blight would cease to exist. He foresaw purchase of development rights programs to direct excess development while preserving county lands as the program directed.

Gregory L, Heller notes that Bacon began working on Flint, Michigan transportation and parking issues in 1938. Bacon also advocated for creating professional city planning staffs. While working on a $3.5 million Federal housing project, the city Housing Commission saw its funding slashed due to efforts of private developers who feared that accepting the funds and building the housing project would reduce their profits. Bacon fought to put acceptance of the Federal funds on the ballot. By a 2 to 1 margin, the voters rejected accepting the Federal funds. From this, Bacon learned “city planning is a combination of social input as well as design”.

Walter Phillips, Sr., a Philadelphia civic leader, convinced Bacon to move to Philadelphia, which had no city planning. Philadelphia has a City Planning Commission which was widely ignored. Phillips and Bacon worked to create an updated Planning Commission. They appealed to the public and City Council creared the Philadelphia City Planning Commission (PCPC).

The PCPA wrote a new city charter. It used Federal funds to redevelop the East Poplar, Southwest Temple, and Mill Creek neighborhoods. Louis Kahn helped develop scale redevelopment plans with sidewalks and historic building preservation.

The Redevelopment Authority in 1949 proposed relocating to Eastwick people whose homes were torn down for slum removal. Bacon opposed creating a totally poor section of town, yet the project moved forward. Bacon worked to create a good physical design. Efforts at racial segregation in Eastwick were slight. The RCA focused on integrating transitional areas and opposed scattered site housing.

Bacon helped remove a railroad wall that was blocking the expansion of development. Penn Center was developed in its place with a combination of offices, commercial sites, and open air walkways.

Bacon sought row homes and downtown transportation options along with preserving streams for the Far Northeast. The residents wanted single family homes. Bacon’s zoning plans were adopted. Today, though, the Far Northeast is reliant on cars and not mass transit as Bacon desired. It resembles the suburbs more than the urban row houses Bacon hoped to see throughout the city.

In 1949, Society Hill was a mostly working class neighborhood with many tenement housing. Bacon sought to expand walkways into Society Hill, engage in historic preservation efforts, and mix housing with museums to induce middle class residents to move into Society Hill. Mayor Richardson Dilworth was supportive of Bacon’s ideas to revitalized Society Hill. The Old Philadelphia Development Corporation was established as a neighborhood developer. It was then rate for a city to combine slum removal with historic preservation. There was no comparable Federal funding mechanism. In 1959, the U.S. Urban Renewal Administration was among the architects of this project. The project did destroy several 19th century structures and displaced people. It did successfully attract many middle class people to live there.

Bacon felt comprehensive planning was “busy work” and often ignored it.

Bacon felt racial discrimination should be addressed in planning. He sought to hire African American planners. Bacon helped create the nation’s first scattered site housing program. The program would cease in 1970 due to lack of funds, legalities, and administrative abuse.

Mayor James Tate made Bacon the city’s Development Coordinator as well as Planning Director. Bacon wanted to move the city away from automobile use yet he also loyally never spoke out publically against a Mayor. He supported plans for crosstown expressways until Mayor Tate came out against them.

Bacon resigned as Planning Director in 1970 during controversy over alleged graft in downtown development. Bacon was not accused of anything illegal.

Bacon would later oppose allowing skyscrapers being built in Philadelphia, arguing that City Hall should always be the city’s tallest building. He lost this fight.

Bacon did not have the power as did his contemporaries Robert Moses or Ed Logue. He did have access to power and he knew how to use his specialized planning skills to influence those who had power, such as Mayors and the media.

Guinan McKee notes that Professor Paul Davidoff argued in 1965 that Bacon’s plans did not adequately meet public needs. Davidoff was also crucial that Bacon’s plans were political decisions with little public input. McKee also believes history has given Bacon a larger role in Philadelphia’s planning than he actually had. Bacon worked in concert with many others. William Rafferty avoided the public spotlight yet also was a key planning advisor who often fought with Bacon. Rafsky was an advocate of Americans for Democratic Action reforms that were generally embraced by Mayor Joseph Clark. Bacon had less influence with Mayor Clark, who listened more to Rafsky.

Bacon was more concerned with planning design than he was with socioeconomic improvements, according to McKee. Bacon seemed neglectful of planning in some poorer neighborhoods, such as North Philadelphia.

Rafksy noted in the 1950s that Philadelphia required $1 billion to remove its blighted areas. It only had $45 million to do so. Rafsky feared small scale efforts could even be harmful as they could cause areas around removed blight to deteriorate if new development was too slow to move in.

A large portion of urban removal’s policies were focused on Center City development. Bacon initially opposed this.

It is noted that most planning projects during Bacon’ s period involved the private sector. Thus, businesses had sizable influences over projects. Private sector input was often stronger than any input from the poor.

Walter Phillips advanced public private partnerships that would create more industry. Philadelphia was losing its industrial base. Bacon preferred either fully publicly owned land for industrial projects, or to have the land sold to the private sector in competitive bidding. Bacon saw stabilizing housing problems as the key to Philadelphia’s economic future. Phillips wanted more direct economic action.

McKee believes Bacon was wrong to allow an elevated highway to be constructed. McKee believe Bacon, who was expert on design issues, failed to see that design decision could destroy communities as well as improve them.

Scott Gabriel Knowles argues that Bacon focused too much on create a national exhibition in Philadelphia in 1976. Bacon was inspired by Philadelphia’s national exhibition in 1876. Philadelphia, though, faced greater challenges with its economic decline. A fair involves much investment and it often a part of a host city’s economic revitalization plans. Bacon envisioned complex projects that new happened. Thus, the bicentennial fair never happened.

Bacon advanced ideas for the fair yet did little to plan for their existence. Bacon proposed created cable cars across the Schuylkill River and created electric trains along Chestnut Street. Councilman John B. Kelly was placed in charge of the fair. Criticisms of the 1964 World’s Fair in New York made many believe the idea of national fairs had passed. Meanwhile, Mayor Tate’s attention was divided with his desire to bring the 1972 Olympics to Philadelphia. Tate’s opponent for Mayor in 1967, Arlen Specter, questioned spending on the fair. While Tate was reelected, Specter’s criticisms remained fresh in the public’s mind. The costs of the proposed fair, with some estimating a billion dollars of cost, created further public backlash. Several leading advocates for more resources being placed into improving poorer, mostly African American neighborhoods, objected to the fair’s costs. The newly elected Mayor Frank Rizzo was critical and while be favored Eastwick as a fair site, the Eastwick idea fell though as unworkable. Rizzo then abandoned further fair planning, to the outrage of Bacon.

Harris M. Steinberg notes the difficulties Bacon or anyone has in predicting the future. Bacon may or may not have realized his predictions were made just before Philadelphia would face a declining economy.

Bacon worked on creating Independence Hall Park. Professor Anthony Garvan of the University of Pennsylvania was critical that many historic buildings were destroyed to create a historic park.

City planning decreased its influence on city government decision making once Bacon left. The public distrusted large public planning. The private sector gained in influence. Bog box stores and casinos became part of the reality. There was little coordinate planning on economic development, transportation, pedestrian walkways, and storm water management under Mayors Ed Rendell and John Street. The Zoning Board was led by someone with no background in planning or design.

Philadelphia in 2009 found itself with racial challenges, tax difficulties, disparate construction costs with suburban constructions, education challenges causing residents to leave the city, a relatively less education city compared to other cities, etc. Philadelphia lacks the regional cooperation that many other cities enjoy. Philadelphia is a leader in higher education and health care institutions, has a decent if troubled public transportation system, and has urban parks and open spaces.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

When Thoughts Flood In

Sheldon Spear. Daniel J. Flood: A Biography. The Congressional Career of an Economic Savior and Cold War Nationalist. Bethlehem, Pa.: Lehigh University Press, 2008.

Flood was an eccentric dresser, looking like a vaudeville actor. Flood knew this would help attract attention, so he played the role.

Flood won oration contests while in college. He became an attorney. He first spoke in public for Franklin Roosevelt’s election in 1932, speaking in a garage. He handled the Luzerne County Democratic Speakers Bureau in 1934. He served in some offices before being elected to Congress on his third try. He first had to win a primary with party organization support versus “Win the War” Democrats who complained that the candidates of the party organization all held state jobs.

Flood proposed establishing Palestine as a nation for Jewish people. He was the Congressional envoy to Jose Bustamanti Riveros’ inauguration as Peru’s President;. Flood urged Sweden not to give Lithuanians captured as German soldiers to the Soviet Union, arguing they had been forced into serving in the German army and he feared the Soviets might kill the Lithuanians.

Flood fought for anthracite coal stockpiling as something good for the national welfare. Labor Secretary Maurice Lohin feared such a designation could be used to crush mine workers strikes. Navy Undersecretary Dan Kimball feared this could increase the cost of coal, which was an important part of Navy’s budget. Flood’s efforts on this matter died in Congressional committee.

Flood opposed the St. Lawrence Seaway. This made it easier for ships to reach the Great Lakes. This also helped support the sale of anthracite coal to Canada.

Flood called for creating a Council on Chronic Unemployment in the President’s Executive Office.

Flood almost single handedly led an unsuccessfully effort to fight cutting the Voice of America’s budget by 90%.

Flood was accused of helping the Hazleton Steel and Tubing Corporation obtain $7.8 million. This company was operated in part by Benjamin Dowd, who had been previously accused of war profiteering. A Congressional investigation led to the funds being withdrawn. While Flood denied doing anything inappropriate, this helped led to his defeat in 1952 as his opponent, Hazleton’s Mayor Edward Bonin, used it against him.

Flood returned to Congress after the 1954 elections. The Political Education Committee of the International Ladies’ Garment Workers Unions campaign hard for Flood.

Flood was a defender of the Panama Canal. He believed the U.S. has absolute sovereignty over the Canal. His support won alliance with many “right wing” and conservative groups. Flood also expressed support for the dictatorial government in Guatemala because it opposed communism, even if it was sometimes a brutal government.

The Eisenhower Administration stated that Panama had titular sovereignty over the Panama Canal. Flood responded that the State Department was controlled by “sustained surrenders” to communists. When President Eisenhower allowed Panama’s flag to fly within the Canal Zone, Flood threatened to have Eisenhower impeached. Others in Congress, including Sen. J. William Fulbright, Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman, argued that giving Panama a larger role in the Canal Zone strengthened the U.S. in the Zone by reducing Panamanian opposition to America’s governance.

The Knox Mine underground mine flood disaster of 1959 led to many mines closing. Flood sought to preserve anthracite coal mining. He got the military to stop Indiantown Gap military reservation from switching to oil instead of continuing to use anthracite coal.

Sen. Joseph Clark and other members of Congress joined in Flood’s effort to defend anthracite coal mining.

Flood worked to get interstate highways (todayI-80 and I-81) built to serve his district. The Federal government provided 90% of funds for new highways. Flood fought opponents who wanted to widen existing roads. Flood argued his plan would create a short route between New York City and Chicago.

Flood was devoted to his constituent work, He also saw that those with political connections received favors regarding military service requirements.

Flood was in favor of a strong military, although he did call the build-up of armaments between the U.S. and the Soviet Union as “overkill”. He supported a nuclear test ban. He was a staunch critic of Soviet oppression in Eastern Europe.

Flood’s influence could not prevent shifting Veterans Administration positions from Wilkes Barre to Philadelphia. Caseload need supported the shift and Flood was unable to prevent positions being transferred.

It is noted that when Flood was Chairman of the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Health, Education, and Welfare (HEW) that his district received less in HEW funds that the national average.

Flood made a priority of helping his district deal with flooding and its aftermath from Hurricane Agnes. He spent 14 workdays and answered over 15,000 correspondences concerning the flood.

Flood’s office was busy. They would type each of 6,000 congratulatory letters to high school graduates, among their other duties.

Flood favored economic development assistance to Haiti, despite that fact it was a dictatorship led by Jean Claude Duvalier. Some investors seeking to build gambling establishments in Haiti indicated they were required to illegally give money to Flood and Duvalier. The FBI brought no charges.

Flood was indicted on charges of accepting illegal funds to help a school get accreditation. A person pled guilty to bribing Flood and Flood’s aide Stephen Elko and then produced much evidence of bribery schemes that involved Elko. Flood, who was then sixth in seniority in Congress, was stripped of his powerful committee positions while awaiting trial. Elko testified to various bribes over several years. Flood’s health deteriorated during the scandal and trail. He spent over 200 days in the hospital, mostly from exhaustion. The first trial resulted in a mistrial. Flood pled guilty to avoid a second trail. Flood lived for another 15 years.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Back When It Was Flood v. flood

William C. Kashatus. Dapper Dan Flood: The Controversial Life of a Congressional Power Broker. University Park, Pa.: The Pennsylvania
State University Press, 2010.

This book begins with examples of how Dan Flood reacted during a crisis, and what differences resulted from his actions. Flood, a member of Congress, learned that heavy hurricane rains caused floods up to 15 feet in his northeast Pennsylvania district, destroying 20,000 homes, 150 factories, and 2,728 businesses for over one billion dollars in damages. Rep. Flood used his years of friendship with Defense Secretary Melvin Loan to borrow a helicopter. He also convinced Laird to place the military reserves of general alerts. Flood set up an office on the Naval Reserve Center (which had been built from his legislation) and declared “this is going to be one flood against another.” Flood helped secure 40 helicopters to rescue flood victims, arranged for a Coast Guard Fireboat to be flown from New Jersey to fight a fire, and saw to it that 1,500 National Guard troops guarded against looters. Flood’s ability to state he was the Defense Appropriations Committee Subcommittee Chairman cut through a lto of military and bureaucratic red tape. Flood even went beyond legal authority in obtaining help. He even managed to have National Guard troops rerouted from a training program, over the objection of their Civil Defense leader, to help with the flooding crisis.

Rep. Flood and Rep. Joseph McDade, from a neighboring district, helped create what was then the largest Federal disaster assistance program, the Agnes Recovery Act. This gave Small Business Administration Disaster loans with $5,000 forgiveness and 1% interest rates to hospitals, colleges, bridge rebuildings, and creation of a master plan against future floods that would prevent the river from overflowing again.

Flood was an actor who continued to wear capes, top hates, white suits, and white ties while in Congress. He grew up in his coal mine centered district, went to law school, acted off Broadway, and went into politics. In getting elected, he lied about attending a youth military academy and about athletic accomplishments.

Flood was elected to Congress as an independent Democrat in a Republican majority district in the 1940s. He lost elections in 1942, 1946, and 1952. He discovered that corrupt Republican election practices included voter fraud and bribery, as well as negative attacks, and that these tactics helped defeat him. Flood first won election in 1944. He befriended House Speaker Sam Rayburn who, in a rarity for a freshman member of Congress, appointed Flood to the Appropriations Committee. Flood learned his to direct funds to his district. Among the projects he helped bring to his district were a modern hospital, airport, interstate highway, and construction projects.

In the 1940s, Flood was on a special Congressional committee that studied that massacre of 11,000 Polish Army officers. He supported anti-Soviet resistant efforts in Hungary and elsewhere.

Flood helped President Johnson get many of his Great Society proposals passed through Congress. He also supported greater involvement in the Viet Nam War. Yet, he was also known for asking strong questions of Defense Department leaders concerning their budget requests.

Flood’s style of Congressional deal making ran afoul of the post-Watergate morality of the 1970s. An aide to Flood, Stephen Elko, took $65,000 in bribes in exchange for Federal contracts. Although none of the money went to Flood, he was charged with participating in this scheme. Congress removed Flood from his powerful positions. Flood’s first trial ended in a mistrial. His health was failing so, while professing innocence, he pled guilty in a second trial in exchange for one year of probation.

Dan Flood was born in 1903 in Hazleton, Pa. His father was a mine worker turned tavern keeper. As a child, Flood rode along the Panama Canal. He was fascinated by it. This interest would continue into adulthood as he would strongly support American presence in the Panama Canal Zone.

Flood attended Harvard Law School where he became involved with the Hasty Pudding theater club. He quit law school for acting, working for the Manhattan Players Theater Company and appearing in 50 plays over three years. He had a screen test with Paramount Pictures yet wasn’t picked. Flood resumed studying law at Dickinson. He graduated law school in 1929 and passed the Bar in 1931. He won a case against a coal company whose high tension wires caused a boy to lose an arm, a case that went to the state Supreme Court.

Flood managed the campaign of Frederick Kirkendall, who ran as the Democratic Party’s nominee for Wilkes Barre Mayor but lost in a respectful showing in a heavily Republican majority city. Flood became active in politics and government, serving as a Liquor Control Board’s Special Deputy Attorney General from 1935 to 1939. Records show in 1937 he prosecuted 30 liquor control violators and won 25 cases resulting in liquor license revocations.

In 1941, State Treasurer G. Harold Wagner named Flood as Director of the Bureau of Public Assistance Disbursements. This experience in budgeting and finance would later help him get appointed to the House Appropriations Committee.

John Fine began leading a Republican organization in Luzerne County in 1922. Fine was an ally of Governor Gifford Pinchot. Democrat John Casey was able to win election to Congress over this Republican machine in 1922, 1926, and 1938. J. Harold Fleming would sweep to Congress during the rise of the Democratic Party during the New Deal.

Luzerne County Democratic Party Chairman and State Senator Leo Mundy made Flood his committee’s Legal Counsel. Flood also served as the Young Democratic Club of Pennsylvania’s National Committeeman. Flood was picked to run for Congress in 1942 when Rep. John Flannery resigned to become a Common Pleas Judge. Flood lost to Thomas Miller in a special election by 93 votes. Milller then defeated Floor in the 1942 general election for Congress by over 8,000 votes,. Flood received about 5,000 votes from soldiers abroad. When elected to Congress in 1944, Flood would fight for the military and for veterans.

Flood’s district had no major road leading to it. The nearest hospital was over 100 miles away. Unemployment in his district when he was elected was 19%. Flood sought to attract diverse businesses to develop within his district. He realized the dangers of an area being reliant upon one business, who had been coal mining.

Pennsylvania Rep. John Snyder, a member of the House Appropriations Committee, died in 1945. West Virginia Rep. Matthew Neely was a likely replacement for Snyder. The Pennsylvania delegation wanted the vacancy filled by another Pennsylvanian. Speaker Rayburn increased the membership of the Appropriations Committee from 43 to 45 and named both Neely and Flood to the committee.

Flood argued that the high unemployment of Luzerne County represented surplus workers ready for military production. A mortar ammunition company was placed in Luzerne County as a result, followed by subsequent military contracts awarded to local manufacturers. Within two months in Congress, Flood had created over a thousand new jobs within his district.

Flood had to battle a fellow Democratic representative, John Murphy, for Federal projects. It is believed President Truman offered that one of the two could be a Federal and the other would have a hospital located within his district. Murphy got the judgeship and Flood got the hospital.

Flood was also a member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee. He argued for harsh treatment of Nazi war criminals. He voted against creating the Committee on Un-American Activities.

Flood once hired someone to appear as Santa Clause. Santa spent more time drinking with adults than giving out candy canes to children. An inebriated ran into a church and began urging parishioners to have some drinks while also swearing at the priest. Flood would later hire someone else to portray Santa.

Flood voted in favor of legislation to prevent coal strikes. United Mine Workers members in his district were upset. Flood changed his position and urged President Truman to veto the bill he had earlier voted supported. Yet, the political damage to Flood had already been cemented and he lost reelection by 84 votes.

John Fine was Governor yet claimed he was most proud of his work leading the Luzerne County Republican Party. One of Fine’s main targets was Flood. After being defeated for reelection, Flood began planning his comeback. Even Democrats were pessimistic about both Truman’s and Flood’s chances of winning in 1948. Flood campaigned hard, benefitted from the opening of the hospital and airport he helped fund, and questioned alleged illegal Republican voter registrations. It was rumored that Republicans had been bribing Democrats to vote Republican. It was also claimed people were voting multiple times. Flood won his reelection.

Flood began exerting his influence of Democratic Party politics. He made appointments to Postmaster General and to Democratic State Committee over the contrary wishes of the local county Democratic leader.

Flood was reappointed to the Appropriations Committee. He became friends with his office neighbor, a fellow Irish American Member of Congress, John Kennedy. From 1949 to 1951, Flood used his Appropriations Committee position to help attract over $100 million in Federal funds to his district. He had the military buy coal for European bases.

Flood’s wife Catharine made the newspapers when she dressed as Eve in a leotard with a fig leaf at a Congressional Wives Club fashion show.

The New York Daily News reported Flood received 109 airline trips from Colonial Airlines, a violation of House rules, especially since he has argued against hiring more aviation enforcement officers. He was then accused of hiring his wife for a no show job, which he denied while insisting she did work. The IRS then looked into his for possible tax evasion.

Flood’s Republican opponent Edward Bonin ran a successful negative campaign against Flood. Bonin won by under 300 votes.

When Flood returned to Congress, he took great strides to avoid future attacks by avoiding things that could lead to allegations. He kept his private law office in a separate office from his Congressional office.

Still, Flood still attracted controversy. Flood pushed for selling more anthracite coal, which was mined in his district, to Europe. He turned it into a national interest as something that helped increase the Gross National Product.

Flood was personally friendly to mine owner Santo Volpe, who was also the alleged head of organized crime in northeast Pennsylvania. Flood got the IRS to stop an investigation of James Tedesco, a reputed organized crime member. Organized crime operated the Knox Coal Company which mined too close to the Susquehanna River and led to a sever mine disaster.

Fllod helped steer $4.6 million of military contracts to Luzerne County in 1957 to 1958.

Flood worked with Senator Paul Douglas to pass the Area Redevelopment Act for government loans and grants for infrastructure in economically distressed areas. President Kennedy named Pennsylvania Labor Commissioner William Batt, Jr. to administer the program.

A group calling themselves the Democratic Minute Men sought to oust Luzerne County Democratic Party boss James Dorris. The Democratic Minute Men argued that Dorris was affiliated with John Fine in return for patronage jobs. The Democratic Minute Men supported State Sen. Martin Murray for becoming the new county party leader. Flood was neutral in the race and Dorris was retained. Flood has received support and contributions from moderate Democrats and wealthy Republicans.

Flood made several efforts to get Nikita Khruschev, who admitted Stalin commited many crimes, to also admit that Stalin was behind the Katyn massacre. Flood represented many of his constituents who were of Eastern Europen descent in condemning the Soviet Union. Flood also enjoyed the attention his fights produced. While Flood delivered manyanti-Communist statements, he stayed away from Joseph McCarthy. Flood may have noted that while McCarthy received much press attention he also had few friends in Congress. Rep. Melvin Laird noted Flood once joked that McCarthy “was a better actor” than Flood.

In 1903, the U.S. paid Panama $10 million plus $250,000 annually for their railroad and a 99 year lease for a canal. In 1958, Panama noted the U.S. earned $100 million a year on the canal while paying Panama $1.9 million annually. Flood rose as a defender of U.S. interests in Panama.

Flood helped advise local communities with tips of applying for Federal grants. He noted how filing good applications early is important. The money may be all designated by the time some late filers apply.

Flood was committed to fighting poverty. He saw that Appalachia was included in the Area Redevelopment Act and he fought for Model Cities programs. He also saw that his district got funds, even if it meant expanding the definition of Appalachia so it reached into his district. Wilkes Barre also was the first city to receive Model Cities money to replace slums with new construction.

Flood could play politics. William Schutter, who directed Wilkes Barre’s Model Cities, threatened to run against Flood. Flood asked for an audit of the program. The audit had some critical things to say about Schutter. While Schutter was able to respond, his candidacy for Congress failed.

One of Floods’ most impassioned speeches was for legislation to provide occupational disease compensation to black lung patients who worked din coal mines. His speech contained coughing and wheezing as he acted as if he was a sufferer. Rep. Tip O’Neill noted “ordinarily, speeches don’t change votes, but this one did. It was one of the two or three most impressive speeches I’ve ever heard.”

Flood’s philosophy was “government is to do for the people that which they cannot do for themselves.”

Flood was pro-military yet warned that the Vietnam War was too costly. He saw many social programs could better sue the money that the war took. Flood publicly supported the war but he became more critical in hearings of how military funds were spent.

Flood had initially been very hawkish on Vietnam. In 1955, when Catholices were persecuted in North Vietnam, Flood declared “if the Communists try to take over, I say used nuclear weapons.” Yet Flood became concerned when military budgets were fuel of deceitful projects and overspending.

Flood successfully fought to keep the Tobyhanna Army Base open. It was northeast Pennsylvania’s largest employer at 3,000 employee, 40% of whom lived in Flood’s district even though the base was outside his district. The Defense Department wanted to move all of Tobyhanna’s operations 130 miles away to the Letterkenny Depot and reduce 500 jobs. Flood’s objections helped convinced the Defense Department to not only save Tobyhanna but to hire 600 more people at Tobyhanna.

Flood suffered from esophageal cancer in 1962. He had a few other health problem which pained him. Some of Flood’s staff believed that he hired Stephen Elko onto his staff under threat that Elko would otherwise expose Flood’s abuse of alcohol and pharmaceuticals. Elko cultivated relationships with lobbyists. Elko asked for monetary assistance in getting government grants. The contributors believed Elko would divide the funds between Elko, Flood, and sometimes another member of Congress. Flood was not supervising Elko well. Among the bribes Elko collected was $5,000 to get a technical school its accreditation. Elko signed Flood’s name to a letter requesting this.

During the Hurricane Agnes flooding, Flood took control for arranging the rescue helicopters that may have saved a thousand lives. He took control of efforts to evacuate patients from a hospital.

State Rep. Raphael Musto recalls getting help from Flood in arranging for a bakery to bake and distribute bread to people afflicted by the storm.

The Agnes Recovery Act of 1972 that Flood helped pass was a historic bill. It allowed for siaster recovery loans at 1% instead of the normal rate of 6%. This was the first time a rate reduction was enacted.

Housing and Urban Development Secretary George Romney withheld funds for flood recovery. Romney stated he believed relief should come from the private sector and from voluntary donations. The public uproar over this led to Romney resigning.

Meanwhile, Elko continued accepting funds for Congressional influence. He took $1,500 from a company seeking to build prefabricated homes in the flood recovery area. Fred Peters of this company later gave an envloved with $5,000 in it directly to Flood, who accepted it.

Flood helped Medico Industries receive military contracts in 1967 and 1974. He did so despite 1958 U.S. Senate hearings that alleged that company’s leader, William Medico, had organized crime ties.

E. Wharton Shober, President of Hahnemann Hospital, sought public funds for hospital expansion. He hired U.S. Rep. Joshua Eilberg’s law firm for $500,000 to lobby for bond tax exemption status. Elko had Shober give him $8,500. Elko then arranged for a fee sharing arrangement over new hospital profits. Flood helped Hahnemann receive $14.5 million, an unusually high amount for a hospital.

A House Ethics Committee investigation made Elko resign in 1976. The committee had declined to investigate for two years until a rare request from the Senate opened an investigation on Elko. Elko went through Flood’s files, destroying some and removing others. Elko was then indicted. Elko was hired for several jobs by friends of Flood’s, causing Federal investigators to suspect Flood was try9ing to pay Elko not to implicate Flood.

The investigation made Flood’s health worsen. He took several medications and became addicted to some. His legal bills created financial hardships. Flood’s trial resulted in a mistrial when the jury could not reach an agreement. 11 of the 12 jurors were willing to convict Flood on at least some of the counts.

Flood was hospitalized with gall bladder and intestinal problems, among others, before his second trial. Doctors found him depressed and senile. The trial was postponed four times. Congress announced they were opening an investigation into Flood. Flood’s attorney sought a plea bargain. Flood had to resign from Congress as part of the plea agreement.

Democrat Raphael Musto won the special election for Flood’s seat. Musto then lost the seat in a general election to Republican James Nelligan, who held the seat for one term until losing it to Democrat Frank Harrison.

Flood died in 1994 at age 90.