"Africa is, indeed, coming into fashion." - Horace Walpole (1774)

8.31.2008

the story of hurricane

Well, they're determined to avoid another Katrina, that's for sure. W is skipping the RNC and instead will be gracing our fair city with his presence tomorrow, where I'm sure there will be some nice photo ops with the evacuees down at the convention center. I'm guessing he won't make it to the Delco site, where there are no beds (and they don't want us to bring any!).

I don't consider what happened in 2005 to be just a failure of the Bush administration. It was a failure of government at every level - national, state, and local, and politicians from both parties screwed up. Big time. (Not that it wouldn't have helped if, say, the head of FEMA had been, I don't know, qualified for his job.) So I'm seeing this response as a good thing and a sign of lessons learned, even if Ray Nagin is overstating the threat, saying that FEMA trailers will be projectiles, and threatening to deprive looters of due process.

While I certainly hope New Orleans doesn't take another direct hit, if it's bad again there, there's going to have to be a serious discussion about the city's future. We've spent about $3.3 billion taxpayer dollars reconstructing and restoring homes for those whose insurance didn't cover their Katrina damage. Are we willing to turn around and do it again for the exact same houses?

At some point, someone's going to have to point out that, as lovely as New Orleans is, there shouldn't be a major city there. Anytime you have to fight nature, be it on a muddy cliffside in California or behind a levee on the bayou, nature's inevitably going to win.

For now, our thoughts and prayers are with all of those on the Gulf Coast. And we hope for the best.

3 Comments:

Blogger Michael said...

A friend of mine works for the US Geological Survey and he told me that LA loses 25 sq. miles of land every year to the gulf. Why we invested so much money into rebuilding this city is beyond me. I would like to think that our leaders are smart enough to not rebuild again, I know better. The politics of emotion, race, and class will get in the way of common sense.

Monday, September 01, 2008 8:25:00 AM

 
Blogger euphrony said...

There is one big reason why so much has been invested in rebuilding NO and in all the levees - in fact, everything that has been done over the years that lead to how the city flooded last time. It is a major port and people like for major ports to stay in one place indefinitely. The Mississippi River has historically moved, with the mouth ranging over an area of like 100 miles of the coast. This is rather inconvenient for shipping when you have to move the port, rail lines, etc. just to satisfy nature's whim. So, all the levees were built, the Mississippi River Gulf Outlet, and everything else intended to keep the mouth of the river in place.

Nature will win. But they have reasons (beyond helping people whose homes have been destroyed) for all the money spent there.

Monday, September 01, 2008 10:18:00 AM

 
Blogger CharlieMac said...

Question. How was Katrina such a failure of government?
My personal answers:
1. Local government officials spent monies intended to improve and maintain the levees for other projects.
2. Growing Federal welfare aid over years and years with no rules regarding length of time on the role(dole), no requirements to work on local projects to receive monthly checks and no requitements to pass random drug testing created generations of "dependents" (who became 'victims'). (All of these requirements are some how thought to be 'racist". How I do not understand!)
3. Since the first two reasons were facts of life, the next item which can be blamed on government would be the failure of local government to put pre-formed plans into action.
4. Local city and state politicians were in denial (and/or CMA) mode for too long before officially asking for help.
5. Lastly no agency local, state or federal was ready to cope with a disaster of this magnitude, whether it was caused by past failures or natural causes.

Actually the final straw has been the wasteful bureaucracy which occured (and is still occuring) once the local, state and federal government 'sprang' into action. IE: Some people who really needed help were denied while many people who milked the system were and still are being rewarded. (Even when pointed out specifically by local news investigators, and even to The Speaker of the House, some continue to live in motels with catered meals three times a day with no incentive to look for jobs.

Yes, government failed the real victims. State and federal insurance regulators stood by while many insurance claims were denied because the hurricane winds caused a storm surge and it was water which destroyed homes and businesses, not the wind.
((Another glaring failure of FEMA came in the form of the trailers. Everyone in the business has known for at least 30+ years that formaldehyde was a problem in trailers. FEMA bought cheapy built trailers at premium prices which were manufactured with products which produced formaldehyde gas. Someday I will tell the tale of the locks and keys fiasco.
The fact is that the most help came from and is still coming from volunteers.
OK, off my soap box.
Charlie Mac

Monday, September 01, 2008 10:27:00 AM

 

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