Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC) held a meeting last evening, Wednesday, January 2, 2012, on Capitol Hill, with the United States Secret Service and almost a dozen police and domestic agencies for an update on the planning in progress for the second inauguration of President Barack Obama, to be held Monday, January 21, 2013. Norton, who held such meetings before the president's last inauguration, said that the plans in place appear to be "professional, foresightful, and sensitive to the concerns of residents, visitors, businesses and the city for managing the crowds, keeping the proceedings secure, and keeping as much of the District open for business as possible."
The Congresswoman said that because officials have been working with crowd management experts in advance of this year's inauguration, she did not expect a repeat of the incident four years ago, when hundreds of mostly purple inaugural ticket holders were kept in the Third Street Tunnel, and were ultimately unable to view the ceremony, perhaps the only significant blot on the otherwise successful inauguration. Many more magnetometers on the National Mall will do a better and faster job accommodating the security screening of ticket holders entering the Mall to view the inauguration.
Norton was particularly pleased with the group's plan to make extensive use of social media, such as Twitter and Facebook, to keep the public informed of necessary information in the days leading up to, and the day of, the inauguration. Norton plans to feature links to these sites from her own website, at http://norton.house.gov. Information, such as the list of prohibited items, and the traffic plan for the day of the inaugural celebration are expected to be much more widely circulated and understood by the public before the inauguration.
"I was pleased to have eleven federal and local agencies and departments in one room for a good meeting, offering an overview of the plans now being implemented for the inauguration later this month," Norton said. "Our federal and local agencies are larger in number, focused on lessons learned, and new issues. They have improved on the plan from four years ago, having learned lessons from the largest inauguration in American history. "We will make our website, http://norton.house.gov, a clearinghouse of information shared by these agencies on their websites and social media accounts, covering everything from transportation to the inauguration site to important breaking news on the day of the ceremonies. I expect that the level of detailed planning underway will enable the agencies to repeat their extraordinary record of 2009 when no arrests were made despite the 2 million visitors to our city. We will work as hard now as we did then to ensure that as much of home-town D.C. remains open for business, despite the stringent security measures necessary for an event of this magnitude and importance."