And ACTA Became a Real Project – “Identification? I never carry a wallet.” Bewildered and rifling through his pockets at dawn on that single-digit January morning, he produced an azure-rimmed white card. “Will this work?” The stern-face guard’s expression turned to comical smirk as he returned Mayor Riordan’s Block-Buster video rental card. Between his own
security, the Mayor marched up the semi-circular drive toward the White House entry portico. “You’ve got to get us in, Jim.” Mayors Mitoma and Richards had flown overnight from LAX, learning of the event only about 3 pm the prior afternoon. Writing down SSNs, heights and weights, I cleared security and followed the procession porch-ward. Within the warmth of the visitor’s lobby, I handed off the crumpled paper, asking a Secret Service Agent, if he could possibly clear two more guests. Then I stepped into the yellow-walled Roosevelt Room. Moments later Mitoma and Richards entered too and sought me out, effuse with thanks. They were amazed… so was I! I’d chosen a second-row seat with Gill… Lisa Beazley between us. Transportation Secretary Peña, Congressional Members, White House and US DOT officials filled the room with celebratory conversation and congratulatory handshakes. Mayor O’Neill slipped toward Lisa to whisper, “What are we signing?” Adjacent to the podium, three chairs were positioned behind a polished wooden table, on which a few pens had been placed. Yet there was no documentation! Lisa exited quickly and returned about twenty minutes later with a two-page document of WHEREAS clauses proclaiming boldly every financial, environmental, employment, security, safety and transportation merit the Alameda Corridor would produce. NOW THEREFORE… the Mayors and Secretary Peña would sign because they needed something to sign at this most significant Presidential moment. The hastily prepared pages were placed on the table. President Clinton entered from the Oval Office through a door near the podium. He greeted the Mayors, Secretary Peña, several Congressional Members and stepped to the podium. He spoke briefly, then offered the Mayors and Secretary Peña pens while he turned the page of the document and shuffled originals between the signers. At the ceremony’s conclusion, the President took time to greet each guest personally, as though no other individual was in the Roosevelt Room. It was an incredible day, Friday, January 17, 1997, and with the ceremony came commitment and certainty; despite disruption, lawsuits, environmental do-overs and discord, the Alameda Corridor project was really going to happen!
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