Thursday, September 01, 2005
Hastert: Bulldoze New Orleans
Lousiana had the bad grace not to have its hurricane in an election year!
As storms continue to batter the Panhandle, no one would call Florida lucky. But with national elections just around the corner, the hurricanes could scarcely have hit at a better time or place for obtaining federal disaster assistance. "They're doing a good job," one former FEMA executive says of the Bush administration's response efforts. "And the reason why they're doing that job is because it's so close to the election, and they can't f[---] it up, otherwise they lose Florida--and if they lose Florida, they might lose the election."
They knew that there would be a disaster in New Orleans
And indeed, some in-need areas have been inexplicably left out of the program. "In a sense, Louisiana is the flood plain of the nation," noted a 2002 FEMA report. "Louisiana waterways drain two-thirds of the continental United States. Precipitation in New York, the Dakotas, even Idaho and the Province of Alberta, finds its way to Louisiana's coastline." As a result, flooding is a constant threat, and the state has an estimated 18,000 buildings that have been repeatedly damaged by flood waters--the highest number of any state. And yet, this summer FEMA denied Louisiana communities' pre-disaster mitigation funding requests.
In Jefferson Parish, part of the New Orleans metropolitan area, flood zone manager Tom Rodrigue is baffled by the development. "You would think we would get maximum consideration" for the funds, he says. "This is what the grant program called for. We were more than qualified for it."
But Bush knew he would win Louisiana. And so he didn't give them the money.
How 'bout bulldozing Houston? Much of Houston's below sea level, too.
I'm sure he'd be cool with that.
More blogs about politics.