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Re: Is Everyone Present And Accounted For?----[Choices]

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-----Original Message-----
From: Bill Polhemus [mailto:bill(--nospam--at)]
Sent: Wednesday, September 07, 2005 6:31 AM
Subject: Re: Katrina emergency response

Things have turned so topsy-turvy in this country since the FDR's tenure,
that a person can make a comment like "we need to help the ill and dying
in the Superdome! Everyone call your congressman!" online, and not realize
how preposterously ridiculous she sounds.

If it weren't for the humor that I find in it, I wouldn't bother to debate you. I think I now understand that you would like a pre-FDR, pre-New Deal America, as it was in the roaring 20's or even before that. Since I wasn't born until the swingin 60's you'll have to forgive my ignorance of how great and wonderful America must have been in that long bygone era.

-----Original Message-----
From: Bill Polhemus [mailto:bill(--nospam--at)]
Sent: Wednesday, September 07, 2005 7:33 AM
Subject: Re: Is Everyone Present And Accounted For?----[Choices]

You wanna re-read what I wrote, and THEN do you wanna run that past me

Naw, I read it twice the first time around.

Here's what I said in a nutshell: "This situation (broken welds) is
allowed to remain even though in the event of a big-boy earthquake,
buildings are likely going to fall and people are going to be killed.
It's a calculated risk."

And if what you say is true, it is a risk that political entities have decided to deal with through their action or inaction. Such will have good or bad, short-term and long-term political consequences. But from an engineering standpoint it remains unacceptable to simply do nothing. Once a unmitigated risk is identified, a risk mitigation plan should be developed, and implemented. The implementation part is the political part. Incidentally, here in California, very lively discussion at the political level has now developed regarding the stability of the Sacramento Delta levees, which have long been identified by engineers and other experts as a significant risk to the water supply and to ongoing development in that area in the event of a major earthquake and/or flooding. Will this result in long overdue improvements? One cannot tell just yet. But they are needed, and action should be taken. Will it be costly? Of course. Would a private individual have taken care of mitigating this risk for the benefit of themselves and the society they depend on? No. If they existed, it would have already happened. Hence the need for government to do what the individual either can't, or will not do, for the benefit of governed society.

I've never been to New Orleans (except for a plane change through the airport terminal), and have never had a specific desire to visit and engage in the local color (which Dubya again recently freely admitted to have done so in his college days). But I've been told that it has been a national treasure, a vital economic force in Louisiana, and a strategically and financially important port of trade for the nation, especially the Midwest and the South. I have no reason to doubt that. Today I am reading that some 2000 miles from Katrina's landfall, we are making plans to house 2,000 evacuees / refugees throughout our good state of California. Over 150,000 have been dispersed throughout our nation. I believe the congressional appropriation for Federal relief is now up to $50B and counting (the $10B 'down payment' and another $40B+ moving through the process).

You would think that our highest elected official and his Cabinet would have recognized the hazards to such a significant national treasure as New Orleans, especially since they were well documented. And providing safe food and water at shelters outside of the flood affected zone, with means to rapidly evacuate the sick, disabled, elderly, and those with young children out to those shelters is a plan that a proactive Administration would have enacted. We've talked at length about New Orleans, but don't forget this has become a REGIONAL problem, as Biloxi MS and the coasts of AL and MS demonstrate. Those people don't get the media attention that NO gets, but have also been devastated.

FWIW, the people in N.O. who died CHOSE to remain even though told to
leave. Those who COULDN'T leave, were supposed to have been
force-evacuated via city-owned buses--hundred of which were parked just
blocks away from the Superdome, according to the City's own published
Disaster Plan.

The statement above is so callous, I wonder if you have even read the paper for the last week and a half. Who was going to evacuate all those little old ladies, sick in their wheelchairs? A few school buses? In a city of over 300,000 people? This was a political disaster waiting to happen and the guys in the political offices should have dealt with it. Now I guess they are!

None of that was done. But it's "Bush's fault"?

He's the man in charge. The buck stops there. Why can't we hold our leadership accountable? Seems a democratic thing to do.

Uhhh... I'm glad you'll be making the trips to help the victims with your church group. That says you're kinda allright, Bill, even with the thorny debate between us on Federalism, the New Deal, Dems and GOP, the Left and the Right.

Best regards,

Thomas Honles, SE, PE

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