Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Crisis in the Gulf - the President steps in

On a remarkable and progressive Internet radio show (Shared Sacrifice) which I just started co-hosting on Saturday, after our two guests had left the air, Matt, the co-host and producer and I were talking about stories in the news. I spoke of my frustration over the BP oil spill and felt that the fox was guarding the proverbial hen house vis-a-vis the claims processing that is taking place for victims seeking restitution. I shared my thought that an independent entity should be tasked with ensuring that these claims are processed in a timely fashion and that field workers be sent to find those who might not be aware of their right to file claim for lost wages, damage to properties and so forth.

I was pleasantly surprised to hear that the administration shares my sentiments. They are insisting that BP get an independent oversight group to oversee the claims being processed - this is a good start - I believe that BP should go further - instead of this media blitz of misinformation and dishonesty, they should take those advertising dollars and set up a fund for those who have become displaced as a result of their not taking adequate safety measures to ensure the safety and security of the livelihoods of fishermen and other coastal employees. Some tea party folks have said it is not for the president, rather for the judicial branch of government to see that this cleanup takes place - well, apparently the judicial branch was not pulling its weight in this instance - perhaps they are too busy running for office and taking lunches with lobbyists for their numerous and sundry causes.

Does this seem harsh? Perhaps it does, but BP has proven that they feel above the law when it comes to corporate responsibility and we must compel them to do the right thing.

When I first came to the New York area, I was fortunate to get a temporary gig with another large international company - ITT Corporation - they took corporate governance and responsibility very seriously - so much so that it was in most of their literature, for visitors, shareholders and employees alike to see. I recall being so impressed with same that I even sent an email to the CEO expressing my admiration and this comes from someone who is not easily impressed, particularly with large corporations making billions of dollars - this company had an amazing sense of responsibility and continues to impress me with their outreach efforts into the various communities where they live and work.

BP would do well to get off their high horse and stop with the corporate whining and fix this mess and do the right thing for the Gulf coast residents. They need to share the sacrifice.

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