Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Editorial: Treat Us Fairly, Mr. President

I give you the Times-Picayune:

EDITORIAL: Treat us fairly, Mr. President
Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Nobody wants to have to compete for disaster relief.

But that is what Louisianians have had to do in the two years since Hurricane Katrina struck.

Despite massive destruction caused by the failure of the federal government's levees during Katrina, despite the torment caused by FEMA's slow response to the disaster, despite being hit by a second powerful hurricane less than a month later, Louisiana has had to plead to be treated fairly by our leaders in Washington.

President Bush and Congress have sent us billions in aid -- from $10.4 billion in grants for housing and infrastructure to $95 million for higher education to $168 million in business tax credits.

This community is grateful for the help. But Louisiana's losses were dramatically higher than any other state's and thus deserving of greater compensation. In reality, Mississippi has gotten a larger share of federal aid.

Donald Powell, the president's point man for recovery, downplayed the comparisons with Mississippi. "Tell me exactly what you need, and I'm happy to sit down and listen," he said. "But the evidence has to be based upon the need, not a comparison."

That is easily done. Our needs are real and quantifiable.

Louisiana had three times more damaged homes and seven times more severely damaged homes than Mississippi. Universities in this state had three times as many students displaced and had four times the losses of Mississippi's campuses. Louisiana fisheries suffered almost 75 percent of the damage done by Katrina, and our hospitals lost 97 percent of the hospital beds closed by the storm.

Yet in every case, Mississippi ended up with a disproportionate share of aid. Housing grants, for instance: Mississippi got $5.5 billion in Community Development Block Grant money for its 61,000 damaged homes. Louisiana, with 204,000 damaged homes, got $10.4 billion. If the aid were given out proportionately, this state would have gotten twice that much.

We hope that President Bush and Congress remember that imbalance when they consider Louisiana's request for $4 billion to keep the Road Home Program in the black.

Our neighbors on the Gulf Coast were hit hard by Katrina, no doubt about it. And Mississippians needed the help of the federal government to rebuild and recover. No one who has suffered from devastation would argue otherwise.

All Louisiana wants is to be treated fairly. But that hasn't happened.

Some people point to the clout of Mississippi's congressional delegation as the reason. Others say that Louisiana's reputation for political chicanery has hurt us.

Frankly, neither should be an issue. The people of Louisiana are no less deserving of disaster aid because their representatives are newer to Congress or because some of the people we trusted to lead us turned out to be scoundrels.

As President Bush returns today to mark the second anniversary of Katrina, this is what Louisianians need him to remember:

We are Americans who have suffered a great tragedy. We have worked tirelessly for two years to revive this beloved place and reconstruct our lives. And we ought to get no less help from our government than any other victims of this disaster.

I agree - the government could be doing so much more, but seems to refuse...I wonder why.......hmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm

1 comment:

Constructive Feedback said...

[quote]Despite massive destruction caused by the failure of the federal government's levees during Katrina[/quote]

I thought the FLOOD WATERS caused the destruction of New Orleans? It's interesting that you point to the "Federal Government's failing" but you don't mention that the majority of the failures happened in the CANALS. The Army Corps of Engineers had PROPOSED building flood gates to seal off the more vulnerable canals. The ENVIRONMENTALISTS sued and successfully BLOCKED this plan. Why is it so easy for you to blame the government?

Also the original design specs for the leeves called for EARTHEN leeves rather than the metal and cement that were used. The problem was that with Earth for every foot of water protection they had to expand out horizontally about 6 feet. This again lead to lawsuits as people complain that "they were attempting to take 'Black people's land away' to build the levee.

Why does the narrative read so straight and clear regarding the blame in your book brother?

These levees were the result of more than 50 years of POLITICAL WRANGLING. The day that Katrina hit uncovered it all.

[quote] despite the torment caused by FEMA's slow response to the disaster[/quote]
By what reference do you judge "FEMA's response" as slow? Ultimately evil FEMA had to procure hundreds of buses and DRIVERS who could be rounded up. Did this magically happen over night?

What about the ROUTE that they were to take? You can have 1,000 buses. One bridge that is damaged on the major Interstate and the buses become irrelevant.

LOGISTICS trumps HOPE for survival.

I think before you echo the "Spike Lee" version of events it would behoove you to also watch some of the more SCIENTIFIC versions of events on outlets such as the Discovery Channel, for example.

The sad part about it is that New Orleans is on target to be REBUILT "AS WAS" with regard to the fundamental threat of powerful flood waters. Man's quest to tame the most powerful water system in North America goes way back to when the French first came to those lands. They failed along with every other man-made system that was put up. Maybe it is time to realize that WATER & GRAVITY is not a good mix WHEN YOU ARE BELOW SEA LEVEL. Where is the talk about a massive grading effort to start over, using fill dirt to bring certain parts of the city a few feet ABOVE the levee?

Who is going to put their name on the line and take responsibility for the push to rebuild with these people back in harms way?