Talent Wants Ameren Review

1 decade 1 month 4 weeks ago July 26, 2006 Jul 26, 2006 Wednesday, July 26 2006 Wednesday, July 26, 2006 8:03:25 PM CDT in News

Ladon Evans' fish-fry restaurant in the Baden neighborhood of North St. Louis became a make-shift shelter and refuge, thanks to a generator and 25 gallons of fuel. When the restaurant closed for the business day, family and friends filled the back room.

"We had pallets and big fans on the floor," Evans said, "and this is where we all bunked."

The prolonged power outage, in Evan's case four days, enraged some St. Louis residents and drew sharp criticism from Rev. Al Sharpton of the National Action Network.

"This is a national concern. There are blackouts in New York. There are blackouts all over the country," he said. "There must be a standard set that, when power companies fail, the people must not pay the tab for their failures."

Numerous news outlets reported Sen. Talent called for an investigation, but Talent campaign spokesman Rich Chrismer said that's not true.

"There is no reason to believe [an investigation] is necessary," said Chrismer.

Ameren UE, a $9,000 contributor to Talent's re-election campaign, echoed that sentiment.

"I thought Ameren responded to a very difficult situation and I applaud all of our employees," said Richard Mark, a senior vice president.

Instead, Talent's office supports what it called an "after-action review" when power's restored to see how local, state and federal groups performed during the emergency.

Patrick Crawford, who works with James Lee Witt, former director of the Federal Emergency Management Agency, said there should be a review. Crawford said calling it a review and not an investigation could simply be a semantics issue.

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