Static: Tuesday November 25, 2008
A D V E R T I S E M E N T
A D V E R T I S E M E N T
We’ve been FEMA’d - Again

We’ve been FEMA’d — Again
Put it down for posterity: Static agrees with Gov. Rick Perry — and is even applauding him. In print.
The momentous occasion for this confluence of Good Hair and Weekly wit? Perry’s decision last week that he could no longer wait for the Federal Emergency Management Agency to get around to cleaning up the debris left — in September — by Hurricane Ike or to provide housing for those literally left out in the rain.
“Two months after Ike’s landfall, Texans are still sleeping in cars or tents outside of padlocked trailers,” a press released from the guv’s office said. Along the coast, “mounds of debris are still piled up … creating health hazards while Washington remains mum” about what kind of resources it might make available. “These situations clearly demonstrate that the federal government’s recovery system is broken,” he said.
And so he appointed an advisory panel to try to develop a plan to help Galveston, Gilchrist, Bolivar, and the other communities along the coast that were so badly hit — in some cases devastated — by Ike’s 15-foot storm surge and 110 mph winds. The commission will look for ways to help the thousands left homeless by the storm, most of whom are still without housing while FEMA house trailers sit unused, as also happened after Katrina and Rita. And, the release said, the state will be asking the feds for full reimbursement for the cost of all the debris removal and other work that Texas ends up providing — that is, for the cost of doing FEMA’s job.
The new commission also is charged with developing strategies for rebuilding communities and preparing for future natural disasters.
Static (big surprise) has a suggestion or three along those lines: Convince state and local officials to accept the reality of global warming, with all its likely effects, including more frequent disastrous storms like Ike. Start treating Galveston like the inherently unstable, shifting barrier island that it is (“Ike: Tale of Two Storms,” Nov. 5, 2008). And put in place the (soo un-Republican) land-use reforms and other major safeguards (like beach dune buffer zones and wetland rehabilitation) recommended by experts years ago that will help protect Texas’ coastal areas against the next Ike.
One more just for good measure: Recommend that FEMA be renamed the Federal Emergency Excuse Bureau of Lameness. That way, when storm-wracked states get one FEEBL excuse after another instead of help, at least it won’t come as a surprise.

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