WHY ARE POLITICIANS TIP-TOEING AROUND? Why won’t they make some tough, firm decisions immediately before people like me decide that we can’t come back at the end of the school year? Please realize that the flooding in New Orleans was not a natural disaster. It was man-made. And it was the fault of the Federal Government. The levee system, (designed improperly by our Federal Government, and inadequately maintained by State and Local governments, due to greed, stupidity, and graft) killed my friend Irvin Mayfield’s father (along with over 1000 other people), and destroyed the homes and lives of hundreds of thousands of other people in the New Orleans area. In my opinion, here are some actions that must be taken now:
1. Demand that the Federal Government pay the estates of the people they were responsible for killing. The federal government needs to pay each person’s estate a minimum of Three Million Dollars. I know (as well as anyone) that there is no dollar figure that replaces a life, but this figure is a minimum.
2. All of New Orleans can’t be rebuilt. Decide immediately what areas they are and pay people within 30 days 120% of the value of their property (less insurance) before the flooding. If New Orleans population isn’t expected to be more than 250,000 for awhile we can’t support as big a footprint. My neighborhood was 100% flooded, and I doubt few of us would complain if we received 120% of the value of the property before the flooding. For those speculators who purchased homes from people desperate to leave…tough.
There is so much talk about the Baker Bill, or the city or state plans that are out there to basically pay off people who want to sell their property…but there is a bigger issue, and one I don’t feel anyone is talking about. I want to go back to my property and rebuild it. It was worth 3 times more than it would be today if I were going to sell it and I need a lot of help to rebuild it. The federal government needs to pay every property owner every dollar that it takes to be “made whole” taking into account insurance proceeds. This is whether or not that person returns to New Orleans.
3) The federal government needs to rebuild the levees as quickly as possible to category 5 protection. NO DEBATE.
4) The federal government needs to provide all necessary and requested support for schools, hospitals, public facilities, etc for the next 3-5 years to make New Orleans greater than it was before and give every person a fair chance to return.
These 4 actions do not even begin to pay for the stress and additional losses that we have incurred. I believe that every person in New Orleans (and the New Orleans area), whether they lost property or not is entitled to some payment for the emotional toll that it has taken on our lives.
LEVEES.ORG is a grass roots, non-profit that comes very close to reflecting my feelings. Their website is well organized. I encourage you to get involved, sign their petition, put signs in your windows and in your yards. It doesn’t matter where you live.