Tuesday, February 23, 2010
When we think of FEMA, we think of beer commercials. You know the ones that feature reactions that are too light (the restaurant customer who can’t get her waiter’s attention) or too heavy (she trips the waiter and he falls through a plate-glass window).
Most people would agree, the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s response to Hurricane Katrina was too light and that people suffered and died as a result. But now FEMA’s unfunded mandate that the metro-east spend nearly $500 million upgrading the Mississippi River levees is too heavy.
There must be a happy medium — a way to protect people against floods without unleashing grave economic damage on them and their region.
But FEMA doesn’t want to work with our local leaders. Those leaders have been asking for months for the information used to issue this order, to no avail. Even U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin, a friend of FEMA, can’t get a response.
The secrecy has even even-keeled leaders like Madison County Board Chairman Alan Dunstan talking conspiracy. He believes this is just a money grab by FEMA — a ploy to replenish the agency’s flood- insurance fund.
Sound crazy? The longer FEMA maintains its silence, the more you have to wonder.