How would you get a disaster warning?
The man who formerly ran St. Clair County's Emergency Management Agency is befuddled by the fact that some cities have a public safety phone alert system, but the county can't afford $50,000 for its own system.
"How can they afford to do this and we can't?" said former director Randy Lay.
Systems such as CodeRED push emergency alerts to smartphones, email and landlines. They tell you when a tornado is coming, or a North Korean nuke.
O'Fallon can afford it. Even Belleville that cries poor on a seemingly monthly basis can afford it. Madison County can afford it, too.
But not St. Clair County. How can they afford this and we can't?
Maybe $89.4 million subsidizing MidAmerica St. Louis Airport is why we can't.
Maybe $4.6 million for a little-used park near Shiloh because the county chairman found it "truly magical" is why we can't.
Maybe $6.5 million to build a walled-off bike trail and bridges between Douglas School and South McKinley Drive in Belleville instead of continuing to use quiet residential streets is why we can't.
We're not sure a CodeRED system is right for the county, but we do know Madison County thinks it is right.
And we are pretty sure we know why we can't "afford" it.
Just like a teenager with money, government never has any unless there's something shiny they want. Then, boy, can they be resourceful.