Ron, I usually agree with your reasoning and logic behind most of your postings, but I differ from you on this FEMA issue. FEMA's sole purpose is to step in and offer aid when it has been determined that a catastrophe is so large that the local and state officials cannot handle the cleanup and aid. That is why they have such stringent thresholds set in place. Everything works off a math table--that's why our public aid was granted and the individual aid was denied. The only way to get individual aid is to have a larger population of uninsured and underinsured damage claims. I am not sure how that would help our town--have even more people need help than we already have? I believe that the attention needs to be placed squarely on Austin and our state government. We, the State of Texas, are currently sitting on an $11 BILLiON surplus rainy day fund. Hell, it was even bragged about JUST TODAY by our local state legislator, Cindy Burkett. When is the governor and other state officials going to be tapping that fund to help the needy around here? It is raining at a lot of homes in Rowlett tonight. If I was a FEMA official and I was looking at Texas' balance sheet while pondering whether or not there was a need federal action, I sure would have a hard justifying sending in aid to this state! I do agree with your anger, we have a lot of folks who need help tonight and tomorrow but I think your anger is aimed at the wrong set of bureaucrats. $0.02.
My thanks to Jennifer. Well thought out and written.
Up to a point in Jennifer's comment, we are exactly on the same page. The wheels come off in line #9 above. The sentence starts out with, "The only way to get individual aid is to have a larger population of uninsured and underinsured damage claims." There is no mention of why? Why do we need 800 underinsured victims, rather than 799? When an elderly victim is sitting in the rain, with his head in his hands on top of his personal pile of debris, I need a reason to tell him why he is only number 400 and we need another 400 before he becomes damaged in the eyes of FEMA. He just might think he is already sufficiently damaged. Since she/he may have just lost their major investment in life, I would be hard pressed to justify FEMA's "stringent threshold." I need a reason. Of course, FEMA sends their condolences. Gee.
If one wanted to approach HUD to apply for an FHA loan, would they be told they had to wait for another 799 applicants before they could be considered? What if it was time for retirement? When applying for Social Security benefits, would one be told that it is necessary that a block of 800 applicants are necessary before any request could be submitted and processed? I think such "stringent thresholds" when delivered to the American public would make the historic Storming of Bastille Day look like a pizza party.
I think the whole premise under FEMA's disaster aid needs to be revisited. I know, I know, I know......FEMA's rules have already been delivered to the Washington Stone Cutter of Bureaucracy and chiseled into granite blocks. Break the damned blocks.
Another interesting point Jennifer made was the Texas' "war chest" of $11 billion. I'm not sure I have a good answer for that. However, before I criticize Texas for being frugal, I want to know what percentage of tax money that we send to Washington comes back to Texas, plus how that percentage stands up to other states. I am not sure Texas gets a fair shake from jealous and envious Washington operatives. Remember the super collider that was trashed by East Coast "leaders" at a tremendous cost? This was at a time when we desperately needed some new investment for the area.
As far as blaming Texas, I still come down on the side of shooting at Washington and their bureaucratic kingdoms. The Dallas Morning News reports that it was a FEMA voice out of Austin that yielded the hammer. However, the orders probably came from Washington.
I really appreciate Jennifer's comments. Her interest in any topic is exactly what I wanted to happen on this blog. Now, you all can kick it around.