Executive Chris Coons is putting together a plan for some of the
refugees from Hurricane Katrina to be temporarily housed in or
become permanent residents of New Castle County. Coons's effort
received endorsement from members of County Council and, if a
plan comes to pass, it is likely that a majority of county
residents also will approve.
County Council members have endorsed the
to read the Delaforum article.
What is more than a little surprising is
that many much larger local governments around the nation not
only have extended invitations for victims of the disaster to
come to them but are already receiving them. Texas governor Rick
Perry was first out of the gate with a dramatic gesture to offer
the Astrodome in Houston as an immediate shelter.
Councilman Penrose Hollins noted that arms
have been opened even in places as far away as Idaho. He said
he'd hate to see New Castle County not included. On the other
hand, David Tackett was quick to point out that the county has
flood-related problems of its own, albeit to a far lesser extent
but none the less significant.
If that sounds like trying to put a damper
on a worthy humanitarian effort, consider that it also reflects
reality. No one can argue that the outpouring of sympathy and
support which follows a major disaster is a good thing. But,
truth to be told, tragedy is no less real to the people who have
been struck whether they are the only victim, one of a handful
or part of a multitude.
New Orleans is liable to be hit with an
even heavier slug of reality. As the New York Times puts it:
"From across the economic spectrum, whether
with heavy hearts or with optimism, the hundreds of thousands of
people who fled the wrath of Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans
are already putting down roots in new cities. If even a fraction
of them decide not to return, the migration threatens a
population crash that could be nearly as devastating to the New
Orleans area as the storm itself."
Official Washington continues to squirm. From the Boston Globe:
"President Bush, under fire about
whether he acted aggressively to help tens of thousands of
desperate people left homeless, destitute, and starving by
Hurricane Katrina, promised yesterday that he would lead an
investigation into 'what went wrong' with the government's
response and will dispatch Vice President Dick Cheney to 'assess
our recovery efforts' in the region. ...
"But two hours later, Scott McClellan,
Bush's press secretary, told reporters the president would
simply 'lead an effort' in the escalating catastrophe. McClellan
was unclear about whether Bush would look into his own actions
and vague about when and how the investigation would start, and
rejected questions about whether the president should fire
anyone responsible for the problems.
They've been saying broken levees
should not have come as any surprise. A blog run by Eric Berger
of the Houston Chronicle
pointed out that no less than an authority then Mark Twain said
the same thing in his Life on the Mississippi in 1883.
"The military engineers ... have taken upon
their shoulders the job of making the Missisippi over again -- a
job transcended in size by only the original job of creating it.
... One who knows the Mississippi will promptly aver -- not
aloud, but to himself, that ten thousand River Commissions, with
the mines of the world at their back, cannot tame that lawless
stream, cannot curb it or confine it, cannot say to it, Go here,
or Go there, and make it obey; cannot save a shore which it has
sentenced; cannot bar its path with an obstruction which it will
not tear down, dance over, and laugh at."
talking about levees along the Mississippi River, not those
protecting New Orleans from Lake Pontchartrain. But his
observation is just as valid.