Now, we all have this information. I would assume that people who put themselves up for public office know this at least as well as the average citizen.
How is it possible to know that scientists are saying this, and at the same time tell people they can rebuild their homes wherever and however (via grandfathering clauses) that they want to?
It's possible if you are a reckless coward who cannot muster the gonads to tell the truth.
We should all remember this when we vote. Thus, Mayor Nagin's pullback from the Bring Back New Orleans Commission's prudent report is important. Nagin says people can rebuild wherever they want "at their own risk." Almost every member of the City Council has said this too. (Jay Batt is a particular coward. He has opposed the BBNO Commission report on this issue, but if you look at his reelection website, he says he supports the plan. He's a liar.)
There are a couple of problems with this. First, does anyone really believe it will be "at their own risk"? People will rebuild, they will flood again, and there will be calls for justice from the government--grants, aid, etc.
I know I'm sounding like some kind of cynical Republican here. I'm not. I just think it's important for us to tell the truth and be real now. No one will take us seriously if we're not realistic about where we live.
I suspect insurance companies and the like will prevent people from rebuilding wherever they like by refusing to write policies, and they would be right to do so.
The "rebuild wherever, but at your own risk" position of Nagin & the City Council Idiot Chorus combines the worst of the free market and big government. It sounds like a free market position (let the people and the market decide), but I have no doubt that if people rebuild and get another flood, "their own risk" will mutate into "our cost." And that's me, a card-carrying Green Party Orleanian, saying this. What do you think they're thinking in Ohio and Wyoming?
Most people who say they believe in the free market are lying. Take the President. He's a big free market guy.
No, he's not. The no-bid contracts he oversees are anti-free-market. His demand for A PLAN from us "in that part of the world" is anti-free-market.
The free market is profoundly anti-plan.
I am pro-plan, and therefore anti-free-market when it comes to how to deal with rebuilding from this catastrophe.
- Use the best science in order to tell people unhappy truths about where and how they can rebuild. If they don't like it, buy their property and sell it to somebody who does.
- Planning for a smaller footprint means planning for a denser footprint. This means allowing radically new and forward-looking development in the unflooded parts of town. This will make status-quo people very unhappy.
- We've got to make this place more friendly to public transit and bikes. NOLA is a perfect place for that. This means building things (tracks, paths, etc.) that might have to change some 'hoods. But we'll all end up better off.
We have to change. The planet is changing--in part because of human behavior--and we have to adapt. In the long run, we have to change behaviors that are making the planet worse off, and that "we" is everybody in the industrialized world. In the short run, we (on the coast) have to deal with the consequences of a changing planet--rising tides, stronger storms, subsidence. South Louisianans are reaping the consequences first for the behavior of everyone else. We have a responsibility to call LOUDLY for changes, but we also need to deal with those changes until we can get the ship turned around.