Alger is a private pilot and owns his own plane. He's recruited a few other pilots to fly relief efforts to the affected areas as well as ferrying evacuees to shelters in other cities and states. Alger took off this morning from Van Nuys Airport and is on his way to Louisiana.
Before he left, Jim sent the following message this morning to Greg Nelson, Manager of the City of Los Angeles Department of Neighborhood Empowerment.
Greg, I am departing Van Nuys Airport shortly enroute to Louisiana with my plane, filled to capacity with food, water and diapers donated by individual Neighborhood Council Members from across the city. This is yet another example of what we as Neighborhood Council Members have to be proud of. I have asked several NC Members to act as a City-Side coordinators for relief efforts in some of the outlying communities that still have not seen any aid. I am flying some people out of the area to homes that have donated rooms for evacuees in unffected areas. Jon Lauritzen of LAUSD today offered seats in the school system so that much is set up.In an email to Elizabeth McClellan of the Southeast Neighborhood Council, Nelson expressed concern that neighborhood council funds not be used for relief efforts. At this time, it does not appear that Alger has proposed such, but has asked neighborhood council leaders to take the lead in raising funds to support the effort, as well as to coordinate services for evacuees who may find their way to Los Angeles.
There is no way to contact the elected leaders of some of these communities other than to go there so basically when I get my hands on one, we'll see what's available and connect them with whomever back in LA. In either event I have often said that Neighborhood Councils are about helping a community, and not necessarily just the one in which you live. Today, once again they are rising to the occasion. Bet you never had this in mind in the beginning huh?
Alger, also a candidate for State Assembly, is seeking donations to cover the cost of the fuel. For more information contact Alger at Jim.Alger@northridgewest.com.
Jim called us from Tucson, Arizona about 1:50 p.m. PDT where he was refueling. His next stop is Covington, New Mexico where he should arrive about 5:30 p.m. Stay tuned for further updates.
4:00 p.m. PDT: Jim called us from the air somewhere over New Mexico and asked that if anyone is interested in making contributions to pay for the cost of fuel please contact Louise Scone at 818-400-2353.
8:25 P.M. PDT: Just spoke with Jim. He is on the New Mexico-Texas border, grounded due to weather conditions, in a location with no wireless access. He expects to be able to take off about 3:00 a.m. Tuesday morning and to arrive in New Orleans or some nearby location about noon tomorrow. When Jim arrives in Waco, Texas, he will make contact with a Biloxi, Mississippi City Councilman who will direct Jim's team to where they need to go. He will deliver supplies and then ferry a family from Mississippi to West Virginia. From there, he'll pick up more supplies and head back to Mississippi or New Orleans depending on the current situation. Jim is working with about 12 other pilots on the project.
Jim told me the thing that impresses him the most about this project is the response from neighborhood councils across the city. Numerous NC members have become involved and will be raising money, collecting supplies as needed and even arranging for housing for evacuees.
We'll have more updates tomorrow.