Sunday, September 14, 2008

I'll write about our first week of Sunday School later (in which I'll tell the tale of how I ended up with a class of 9 that ranged from 6th grade to college sophomore, when I was expecting 6 - and two of those didn't make it this week!).

But first, here is part of what is wrong with FEMA.

I understand requiring states and local governments to pay their share of disaster response and recovery costs. But there has to be some kind of sliding scale. East Feliciana is a small, rurual parish. They don't have a big tax base, and they don't have high property values. I belive the police jury there (a police jury is kind of like a county council) when they say they don't have the money to pay their share.

Yet, in terms of damage, East Feliciana was one of the hardest hit parishes. Gustav itself didn't do a lot of damage there, but the tornados it spawned sure did. I counted about 15 separate tornado warnings for East Feliciana - and those are just the ones I heard.

I'm not enough of a libretarian (and I probably mangled the spelling of that) to believe that we should abolish the federal income tax and let the states handle these things for themselves. But I do believe that if we are going to pay taxes to the federal government, they need to be there in times of need, regardless of whether a county or parish or whatever can afford to match at 25%.

Also, it's pretty wrong of FEMA to tell the police jury after the fact that they would have to reimburse FEMA for the blue tarps issued to residents. In the heat of the moment, when people have holes in their roofs and are desperate to protect their homes, no one should be thinking of how much this is going to cost the parish down the line. Will it make small counties and parishes less likely to accept that kind of aid later on down the line? What will they do then?

And Ike...ugh. But it's good to see that the media is generally not treating this as such a big deal either. I don't feel quite as left out now. All those downtown skyscrapers losing windows? Who cares? A couple million without power long term? Not sexy. Very few deaths? We're ready to move on. At least they are consistent.

I have to say though (on a slightly unrelated note) that I'm really, really glad that one of the Longs (and I have no idea which one - they all run together) declared that East Baton Rouge Parish couldn't have any buildings that were taller than the state capital (which is the tallest state capital in the country). We don't really have any skyscrapers as a result. That's a good thing in hurricane country.


Tim said...

We got the remnants of Ike last night, with 70mph winds, downed power lines and trees, and lots of destruction. I can't imagine bearing the brunt of the hurricanes like you've had to down there, when just that much did so much damage here. You have to be pretty brave to stay there and not come running back north like I probably would.
Hope the government comes through and gets things taken care of down there.

LutherPunk said...

Even with FEMA's overhaul post-Katrina, it is still a pretty hapless agency. In a perfect world it would be abolished, but until that time we should at least expect something that looks like a well run agency.