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Katrina & Rita

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Citizen D
Officer Mike
Rad Field

                             

09/22/05  Ill winds blow us off course.

Are you as nervous as I am about what Miss Rita is blowing up for us this weekend? 

  We have not had a chance to regroup into normalcy since New Orleans was changed forever by her evil twin Katrina.  This time next week, Miss Rita will have come and gone and hopefully Galveston and Houston will still be standing or at least recognizable.    
09/22/05 Bob Hosea:
   I
do not want to think what will be the Texas scene come Friday.  This storm would emulate a category 6 if there was that.  Third worst on the low pressure. Potentially could wipe out or seriously damage 6-10 refineries.  Could be worse than the 1901 Galveston storm. 
  My God, what will happen?  OH, I KNOW- Bush will be blamed for the hurricane.  Just wait. He was blamed for the last one. 
 
What about Dallas?  Are we ever going to be the same?   

We now have a whole bunch of new people living among us, and an alarming number of them are not nice people. 

Last week when Our Mayor lost her cool and popped off to that
Dallas Managed News reporter she was trying to find housing for the last of our New Orleans guests.  Unfortunately, the last couple of hundred guests have some serious skeletons in the closets they left behind.

We are talking about people with criminal histories, several of whom are sex offenders.  Isn't that nice?

We have been the crime capital of the country for several years.  Now, we have hundreds more problematic people, that we know about.  Have to be at least that many more that we don't know about.  Really bad time for the council and DPD to be dickering with changing how the police respond to burglar alarms.
    09/19/05 James Northrup:
  
Mayor's response to Katrina evacuees was a textbook example of a politician's knee jerk reaction: blame game, then try to re-spin the situation into photo ops.  All within a matter of days.
   Ending in a photo with Mayor Nagin - the black overseer of New Orleans Plantation.
   And how professional managers - whether at the Coast Guard, Red Cross or Dallas Public Works, get things done.
   Katrina was a lesson in civil engineering  - an ounce of prevention is currently worth several tons of cure.
 

I have to tell you that there are many folks from New Orleans who are going to make great Dallasites.  They hit the ground looking for a job.  They have shown gratitude toward the assistance they have received here and are ready to get on with their new lives.

Unfortunately, there's a lot among our guests who are most ungrateful for our hospitality.  You can be sure they were on the dole in the Ninth Ward and now expect to be wards of the city of Dallas.  With all the work Mary Suhm and Mary Miller were doing to get them two months of free housing, it was particularly galling when that bunch of ingrates and ACORN blasted the Mayor and City Manager and Dallas for not guaranteeing long-term leases for them.  Has anyone offered to pay your rent or mortgage for 6 months or more?

Dallas accused of blocking evacuee aid; City cites cash-flow problem in refusing to sign any more leases
Tuesday, September 20, 2005 by EMILY RAMSHAW / The Dallas Morning News
   Hurricane Katrina evacuees and community activists lashed out Monday at Mayor Laura Miller, accusing her of blocking millions of dollars in federal assistance by refusing to have the city sign leases for displaced families.
   The Mayor's Disaster Relief Fund ? a private effort by Ms. Miller and local churches and corporations to aid storm victims after a painfully slow federal response ? has helped clear out downtown shelters by subsidizing apartments and utilities for hundreds of registered evacuees.
   But critics say "Project Exodus" has done nothing for the thousands of people living in area hotels and relatives' homes whose wallets are getting perilously thin.
... Houston, with a pledge of reimbursement from the Federal Emergency Management Agency, has approved a $10 million emergency appropriation and signed leases for about 25,000 displaced persons, said Frank Michel, spokesman for Houston Mayor Bill White.
   But Dallas officials say they've advanced FEMA millions of dollars and don't want to put any more taxpayer dollars at risk. The federal government needs to come up with a better option, they said.
... Ms. Miller said. "It is a huge liability we will not take on."
... "We've already advanced [FEMA] $2.5 million to $3 million, and we haven't got a check yet," Ms. Suhm said. "I'm looking for the most effective and efficient way to do this without causing jeopardy to the citizens who live here and pay taxes."
   Signing leases for all of the city's evacuated families would cost the city up to $5 million a month, Ms. Miller said after a Monday morning budget briefing. Even with the reimbursement, she said, cash flow would be a problem.
...  Ms. Miller said. "The city of Dallas' taxpayers should not be signing apartment leases for all these people."
   If FEMA thinks this program is the way to go, Ms. Suhm said, officials should set up a housing office in Dallas and pour federal money directly into it ? instead of funneling it through the state and the city. She's mentioned this to federal officials, she said, and they're considering it.
...  ACORN representatives don't think a cash-flow problem is a reason not to sign leases. What part of "federal reimbursement" do top officials not understand, they ask?
   "By doing this, Mayor Miller has said 'no' to millions of dollars in federal funding that would help stabilize Katrina survivors and get them on their feet," said ACORN chair Bobbie McGee. "It makes no sense to refuse to partner with FEMA. It makes no sense to refuse funding that would house people in desperate need."
... Ms. Suhm said she understands the concerns of those living in hotels and relatives' homes, trying to get by on their $2,000 debit cards from FEMA. She said that the Red Cross is still supporting these people and that the mayor's fund would focus on them as soon as city shelters are empty. That could be as early as this weekend.
... Houston has relocated close to 25,000 hurricane evacuees ? most of them from city shelters ? by signing leases and letters of intent on apartments.
    But its challenge is hardly over. Houston still has about 54,000 people staying in hotel and motel rooms, Mr. Michel said.
   Houston isn't concerned about cash flow, he said. FEMA still owes the city $3 million in reimbursements from Tropical Storm Allison in 2001, ...

Sorry folks, Mayor Miller and City Manager Suhm are right as rain on this one.  What a novel idea of not jeopardizing "the citizens who live here and pay taxes"!   We don't have "$5 million a month" to give free apartments for folks from New Orleans when we are desperately short of police officers because we can't compete with the salaries paid by Dallas County suburbs. 

Two months free rent is plenty of time for people to get on their feet. 

I sincerely wish Our Mayor were a little more careful in her outbursts around reporters, but I've been known to speak before thinking myself.  There's at least one
DMN reporter who probably should expect a one-on-one with Laura Miller again in this lifetime.

The Dallas Managed News Editorial Board had some misstatements themselves this week, rather colossal misstatements regarding the Trinity Project. 

Katrina doesn't have to sink us in debt
Editorial Page

04:36 AM CDT on Tuesday, September 20, 2005
   President Bush's plans for rebuilding the Gulf Coast have sent Republicans and Democrats into a tizzy ? for good reason. An estimated $200 billion in Katrina costs on top of the $330 billion deficit is a bit like tossing a sandbag over a struggling swimmer's neck.
   But instead of screaming in panic about an even bigger deficit, Congress can set priorities and finance this recovery without adding debt.
... The best place to start is to reopen the transportation bill Congress passed this summer. This page supported that legislation, but that was before Hurricane Katrina.
   GOP Sen. Jon Kyl proposes lopping 25 percent off the $286 billion, five-year measure. While it's not likely that Congress will go that far, cutting or delaying 10 percent of the projects seems reasonable. Several that are dear to Dallas' heart, such as funds for signature bridges across the Trinity River, should be included. This would be one more way Dallas can extend the right hand of fellowship to its neighbors. ...

Finally, something I can agree with the Editorial Board -- cut out those String Thing Bridges as a "way Dallas can extend the right hand of fellowship".  Unfortunately, the Editorial Board and that Phoenix Flower Child must have run out of the funny cigarettes they were smoking and came back to Belo reality.  Here's what they said the next day.

Katrina's Costs: Trinity River project is vital to North Texas
Editorial Page
04:38 AM CDT on Wednesday, September 21, 2005
  One of the points in an editorial on this page yesterday has been widely misunderstood. For that we accept responsibility and set about here to clarify our message.
   Our editorial supported President Bush's call for communities around the nation to identify nonessential spending that could be cut or postponed to help cover the $200 billion cost of Katrina recovery without raising taxes. We cited projects in the transportation bill approved by Congress last summer as a good place to start, and thought we would lead by example in suggesting that funding be delayed for a year or two for the second and third Calatrava bridges in our beloved Trinity River project.
  
It is now apparent to us that this was a poor example to cite. They and the Trinity Project will be a huge economic engine for the revitalization of downtown, which supplies the oxygen for much of the rest of North Texas. They are critical to resolving this area's transportation challenges and to enhancing our most important waterway. There are other ways Congress can find the money to pay for the catastrophe wrought by Katrina without deepening the federal debt or raising taxes.
   We return to the other suggestions in our editorial yesterday as alternatives for Congress to explore. We propose reopening the energy bill to trim subsidies to oil and gas companies, delaying the end of the estate tax and temporarily suspending laws that require contractors to pay prevailing wage rates on rebuilding efforts.

Wasn't that fun?

If
The Dallas Managed News
can make such an outrageous about face, I guess the Mayor gets to spend 3 or 4 days fixing the problem she caused for herself last week.

We all very likely to get seriously wet this weekend.  We are just as likely to get a lot of new friends come into town TEMPORARILY from Houston and Galveston, thanks to Miss Rita.  Unfortunately, there's not much left to offer fellow Texans.  That makes the ingratitude of a handful of Katrina evacuees doubly hard to swallow.

sb

                                        

    





                            

 

  Ward politics is the Devil's key to the soul of the city council.  It is how some council members got themselves in trouble in the past.  It is the bait that will get others in trouble in the future. 4/6/8