Louisiana - Money they don't need - Yet

Katrina - A disaster that was bound to happen. A disaster that effected an enormous area. A disaster that displaced thousands. A disaster that destroyed many many homes, schools & businesses. Another ‘disaster’ is waiting to happen. While our Nation still has strong feelings of empathy, for the people of New Orleans and Louisiana, their Politicians are trying to take advantage of our ‘goodwill’.

I do not have the transcript from Senator David Vitter's (R) interview on Hannity & Colmes last night but he essentially said this:

We have to do this now. Now. While the disaster is still fresh in the minds of the American people. You know how it works. Americans have short attention spans. People will move on to other issues and because what happened with Katrina won't be fresh in their minds we may not get the money later. Mary Landrieu(D) was invited to join Vitter but declined. Does this give them the 'right' to request, and possibly receive, money they really shouldn't get? No.

The American people will not forget what happened BUT they may say 'Stick it.' when they realize what LA is asking for.

So what did they do to come up with this 250 BILLION DOLLAR figure? It sounds like they just put together a 'wish list' of everything they ever wanted. They will put together a group, called the 'Pelican Commission', that is supposed to represent the 'people' of Louisiana.

Here is how 'the group' was described by the 'Washington Post':

"The bill, unveiled last week, would create a powerful "Pelican Commission" controlled by Louisiana residents that would decide which Corps projects to fund, and ordered the commission to consider several controversial navigation projects that have nothing to do with flood protection. The Corps section of the Louisiana bill, which was supported by the entire state delegation, was based on recommendations from a "working group" dominated by lobbyists for ports, shipping firms, energy companies and other corporate interests."

Also from the Post:

"Corps funding is only part of what Louisiana wants. The 440-page bill also includes $50 billion in open-ended grants for storm-ravaged communities and $13 billion for the Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development, along with mortgage assistance, health care, substance abuse treatment and other services for hurricane victims. It also includes hefty payments to hospitals, ports, banks, shipbuilders, fishermen and schools, as well as $8 million for alligator farms, $35 million for seafood industry marketing, and $25 million for a sugar-cane research laboratory that had not been completed before Katrina."

"This bill boggles the mind," said Steve Ellis, a water resources expert at Taxpayers for Common Sense. "Brazen doesn't begin to describe it. The Louisiana delegation is using Katrina as an excuse to resurrect a laundry list of pork projects."

And this:

"If Vitter, Landrieu and the rest of the delegation get their way, the final decisions will be made by the nine-member Pelican Commission -- which would have at least six Louisiana residents -- on the basis of a plan provided by the Corps."

'Hurricane Katrina Disaster Relief and Economic Recovery Highlights' prepared by the office of Senator Mary L. Landrieu.

Was NOTHING in Louisiana insured? Were their school buildings not insured? ($2 billion dollars to assist areas impacted by Hurricane Katrina to repair, renovate, alter, or construct educational facilities.)
Were their police and fire departments not insured? Their court buildings and town halls not insured?

Did their hospitals and banks not have insurance?

Did the fishermen and shipbuilders not have insurance?

Their farmers? $10 MILLION to pay for cattle losses & $11 MILLION to buy new cattle? Double compensation? $35 MILLION for seafood marketing? They need money to 'market' seafood? I suppose, since the majority of us never heard of seafood. $25 MILLION for sugar-cane research?? Substance abuse treatment? People are suddenly addicted to drugs because of Katrina?

Other than requesting money for buildings and business losses that should have been insured and money for projects that can be described as 'pork' ...

Part of the problem with the money they are asking for is that it is based on the population BEFORE Katrina. The officials in LA have absolutely NO IDEA how many people will actually return to the areas destroyed by the storm.

Here is an old poll of evacuees.

It says that 43% are planning on returning and 44% are going to relocate.

Anybody have a new poll? Point us to it.

Many people with children that have already been enrolled in new schools, in different parts of the country, may decide they don't need to go back and take a chance they will put their families through the same disaster again. They will not want to uproot their children - again.

Many people will like the new communities they moved to better than the one they came from.
Many will find out they have more opportunities than they ever had before. There was a couple on MSNBC last night, relocated to Denver, that are not going back. Their children are grown.

Mayor Nagin is disappointed with the 'trickle' of people returning. What did he expect? What would they return for?

I don't know how many times I heard from that region - 'We have to rebuild the casinos so people have jobs.' Are these good, high paying jobs or are they more concerned about the tax revenue from gambling? I hear dealers make pretty good money but what about the rest of the employees? Where would they live? FEMA homes? On the cruise ships that are already rented? I don't imagine there will be enough places to rent and/or buy in the areas that were not flooded.

New Orleans should request money as needed. Some businesses are opening and some residents are returning. As the area begins to 'regrow' it will be more obvious where funding is needed. They need to make sure people will be safe from flooding before they start building new schools and homes.

When will the person who is to be in charge of these projects/monies be appointed? Has it happened and I missed it? I've heard names. He/she better be good. It better happen BEFORE more money is promised. The person needs to be objective and filter out the 'pork'.

Posted by Dawn at September 29, 2005 1:46 PM