Apparently I’m not the only one

On the way into work this morning, I heard that the Governer of Louisiana is calling for an apology from the Speaker of the House (or was it the Senate?). Apparently the Speaker said something to the effect of “We need to think long and hard before dedicating funds to rebuild New Orleans”.

The Governer went on to say how even thinking something like that was offensive both to her and to the reseidents of her state. I disagree with her. Given the enormous financial burden of rebuilding an entire city of the magnitude of New Orleans, I think the lawmakers should be very thoughtful about how they spend their money. Not so much that I have faith in the fiscal responsibility of our government, but rather that I find it more offensive that anyone would assume that we as a country should simply write the blank check to rebuild NOLA, as opposed to considering our options.

Sorry, I couldn’t find a news story corraborating what I heard on the radio. If I find a link to clarify this later, I’ll post it.

  1. Try putting yourself in their shoes, though. What if this happened to you and Melissa? What if it happened to your families? Your hometown demolished in a catastrophic event? Wouldn’t you want to see it rebuilt as quickly as possible? Sure it’s not going to be the same as it was before, but at least they’d be able to go back to the city that they loved.

    I have to ask if you’ve ever been there. If you have, then maybe you would understand how important that city really is. How much life and energy it had. To lose a city like that is a detriment to the entire country. If the taxpayers aren’t willing to send money to help rebuild one of our own cities, I would be extremely disappointed in the way our citizens feel about this country.

  2. I don’t think that anyone realistically thinks that the money won’t be spent to rebuild New Orleans. Smart or no, it really doesn’t even seem like a choice. We all know that the money will be spent.

    All I’m saying is that I support lawmakers spending time thinking about how the rebuilding should be accomplished. (and remember, I’m talking about rebuilding, not rescue. Rescue money has to be spent immediately, with little time for thought)

  3. Continual change keeps life from becoming stagnant. Based on what’s happening in New Orleans right now, I think they were getting to that point. New Orleans may just be something that is better to remember as an era that has passed.

  4. Two things to chew on: it is offensive to those who want to rebuild to suggest that the government should prevent them from rebuilding, but wanting to do something, no matter how badly, does not make it a good idea.

    There remains at least one significantly good reason to rebuild New Orleans, though. We need the port.

  5. In my view there are three things to consider in the debate of rebuilding New Orleans and the gulf coast. The immediate needs of rescue and relief, the near future of appropriating funds for rebuilding, and the responsibilities to the far future living in this rebuilt city.

    First, let me say that I agree rescue/relief money should be appropriated very quickly and without much debate.

    Secondly, money to rebuild should be considered VERY carefully. It’s great that through civil engineering we were able to create one of the largest metropolitan areas in the United States where, in all rightfulness, not much should have ever been built. However, when it is destroyed, the rebuilding efforts by the government should be carefully evaluated. Yes, most of the city is insured and nothing should be done to stop people from rebuilding, but when you have the chance to make things better, I think you should take it. When you are given the chance to step back from ‘the way things are’ to ‘the way things should be’, you should by all rights jump on it. Maybe that means very little changes, maybe that means a lot of things change.

    Finally, I feel that this needs to be considered historically. When Chicago was destroyed by a fire, they didn’t rebuild in timber, they rebuilt in stone with emergency fire prevention included in the city plan. When San Francisco rebuilt after earthquakes, they didn’t rebuild masonry, they rebuilt with seismically reinforced masonry or seismic steel framing or seismic designed timber. When Japan has rebuilt after earthquakes, every time has been improved codes and buildings. While New York is rebuilding from terrorist attacks they are taking anti-terrorist measures into account. Any new large/government building has specific redundancy criteria built into it that would not have happened otherwise. I could go on and on about the cities of Europe rebuilding after catastrophes, or of Florida mandating hurricane resistant/proof buildings, or Midwest requirements for blizzard loading after ’76, or Mississippi flooding after the 90’s etc, etc, etc….
    When you look at it contextually, maybe they should take a little bit of time and say, what’s the best way we can do this. Hurricane wind loadings mandated, Raising the city like they did Atlanta, using the lower floors for parking and upper floors for living/commerce industry, reviewing the utility locations and thoroughfares, better evacuation routes planned, emergency contingency buildings planned into the city… There’s a huge amount of city planning to be done before they rebuild.

    In conclusion, the federal, state, and local governments owe it to the future residents to take their time making these important decisions while still meeting their immediate living needs.

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