"Whereas FEMA is still chartered to do so, FEMA (DCPA) abandoned its coordinative role in the Seventies when a RIF (Reduction in the federal work Force) eliminated the
"The states and local governments were effectively left to fend for themselves. This did not play well because there was no national RACES consortium, association, or platform from which to exchange ideas, interests, and solutions. Many states followed FEMA's dubious lead and the position of State Radio Officer disappeared or became simply an ineffective titular figurehead." (end of quote)
Harter had been State RACES Coordinator in Hawaii for many years before coming to California, so was speaking from personal hands-on experience. He also was not happy with what he felt was the "l970s emasculation of RACES by an organization where he said "it was common knowledge it wanted to do away with the RACES."
Others have made a similar observation, such as, "that the RACES regulations were emasculated by those with other interests in promoting their agenda rather than that of the governments who needed and could best determine how they could use the RACES."
There were interesting ways it was done. "One so-called 'concern' in the amateur community was ostensibly to prevent amateurs from conducting business for government on amateur bands, which resulted in the so-called one-hour rule in the regulations even though the regulations already prohibited the business use of the amateur bands." Whatever the truth, the current 97.407 in the regulations is a long way from RACES early history.
Following the 1970s changes, RACES withered and died in some areas, survived in others. The reasons vary, but, in general, the difference has been the way the local SPONSORING local government handled the RACES as a tool of that government.
An equally important reason has been the "mindset" of the licensees. Those who "saw" limited usefulness for the RACES and wanted to do their own thing in another organization were in many instances the cause of its decline. Others, who "saw" a different perspective, used that same organization to "serve their local government". Yet others developed true RACES units, some of which still exist today and have a long history of success. The local mindset is always a determining factor.
Next Bulletin is on a historic misconception of RACES and FEMA.
Cary Mangum, W6WWW - E-mail: email@example.com