Thursday, September 01, 2005


New Orleans has an opportunity few cities have ever had in recent times. The city can be rebuilt to future standards and it can become the "future city" of this century. No more above-ground wires, the best waste and waste water removal, citizen facilities modernized and fully available, total broadband access, public transportation that actually functions and keeps the automobile away from the city, and so much that can be done.

Yes, it's a disaster. Yes, it's an opportunity. The bad did it's job well, now let's hope the good does even better. Please take this opportunity to become the finest city in the world and show the world what good can accomplish.

In a city just waiting for a disaster to come to town, there seems to have been little actual preparation for the disaster everyone said would come sooner or later. Is YOUR city safe? Yes, New Orleans is a city living below sea level, in a swamp, surrounded by water higher than the city streets, protected by the work of humans, dependent on the vagaries of nature to "not happen," and they were not ready. Is San Francisco ready for a 1906 level earthquake? Or Memphis if the New Madrid earthquake zone repeats it's 1812 event? Or Charleston, South Carolina if the earthquake of 1876 repeats? Not only do I doubt it, I'm certain they are not. Is any Gulf Coast or East Coast city ready for a category 5 direct hit from a hurricane? The answer here is a resounding NO. Can a city be prepared for such an event? Yes and New Orleans can show us the way.

How much would it have cost to get New Orleans and the other devastated cities and towns ready for a catageory 5 hurricane. Speaking here of minimizing loss of life first, continuation or return of public services second, and property protection third. There's more and you can make a long list of preparation requirements. How much would such "real" preparation have cost? Twenty Billion??? Maybe more? Ok, how much is this lack of preparation costing? Thirty or forty billion??? Certainly is and the actual cost will certainly be much higher in human values such as loss of life, injury, economic stress, you name it.

With that in mind, let's get busy and fix our cities. the benefits are enormous. Jobs, economic development, better living conditions under normal circumstances, protection during extreme conditions, and a use of FEMA money about to be thrown from the stern of the great ship Katrina. Imagine what that money would have done over the last five years if applied to protecting these same areas.

Well; the well that signifies the ending, it seems we never will learn. Perhaps it's cheaper to just throw money from the back end of a "natural" disaster than to prepare to make "natural" not a disaster.

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