Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Hurricane Protection and the Infrastructure Stimulus

Oyster has a must-read post today about Bush administration efforts to refuse SE Louisiana the critical levees it needs. During the Presidential campaign, Barack Obama promised to change that. Obama has a full fact-sheet on Katrina, it's worth your while to read (pdf).

As president, Barack Obama and Joe Biden will keep the broken promises made by President Bush to rebuild New Orleans and the Gulf Coast.


So what does that mean for hurricane protection?

As president, Barack Obama will ensure that New Orleans has a levee and pumping system to protect the city against a 100-year storm by 2011, with the ultimate goal of protecting the entire city from a Category 5 storm. Obama and Biden will also direct revenues from offshore oil and gas drilling to increased coastal hurricane protection.

--

Barack Obama and Joe Biden will help the Gulf Coast restore the wetlands, marshes and barrier islands that are critical to tamping down the force of hurricanes. They will work with local governments to develop the best strategies for protecting and expanding wetlands.


These promises are vague. We have to pin the Obama administration down. Certainly there are many angry legislators willing to speak out over the Bush administration obstacle course but I have not seen much evidence that our elected officials will be attempting to do force the immediate action we need using the infrastructure stimulus bill. This strikes me as a missed opportunity.

I also have not seen much evidence that national progressive bloggers or mainstream journalists are particularly interested in pinning the administration down on hurricane protection infrastructure. I haven't seen many outside of SE Louisiana particularly willing to put effort into promoting issues related to hurricane protection in even a general sense.

So that leaves...

Us?

The issue of hurricane and flood protection is fundamental to the most basic sustainability of this region in the short, medium, and long term. Does anyone have any suggestions as to how to inject our issue into the national conversation about the infrastructure stimulus bill?

In the mean time, I've floated the idea of flood protection for New Orleans to the Citizen's Briefing Book at Change.gov. The way it works is that if an idea is popular, Obama people respond to it. Failing that, it probably helps to put New Orleans issues out there to see how much they resonate with the mainstream liberals that presumably populate the Change.gov community.

There are only a few ideas on that site that directly relate to New Orleans. The one I've created appears to have the most points but that's not saying very much at all.

We need to force the issue. This little experiment takes all of 45 seconds of your time.

"Vote Up" Flood Protection for New Orleans

And tell your friends? Yeah, tell your friends.

7 comments:

jeffrey said...

Two things that bug me.

1) I can only "vote up" an issue one time? What a rip. If I want something done about flood protection I have to sit here and register enough multiple user names in order to vote it up above legalizing marijuana (currently the number 2 priority at Change.gov) Not even I have time to sit around here and compete with legions of shiftless hippies.

2) A search for "New Orleans" on the Change site reveals several restatements of this topic already available for voting on. Each of these has received snarky comments from so-called "progressives" who don't see why they should support people living in a flood-prone area or some such thing.

Is this really a Change.gov we can believe in?

E said...

These things bug me also.

1) They should allow you the option of voting something up by 50 points or 10 points so that people can add weight to issues they care about most.

2) When you submit a story to digg.com, for instance, they make you check to see if your story has already been submitted with slightly different language. Certainly change.gov can come up with a similar module.

*But All of the other ideas submitted have this same problem. If you browse the top 50 or so ideas, you'll notice rampant redundancy.

Either way these are both features that could and should be added.

As for our snarky progressive frenemies, I just simply cannot believe that the issue of flood protection for new orleans is less important to most change.gov users than things like "boost america's economy with legal online poker" (13610 points) or "UFO Disclosure" (2850 points).

I could be wrong, but why not try to find out?

alli said...

I don't know if they're "progressives" or if the online poker players have taken over the site.

E said...

What is upsetting about searching "new orleans" is how few people have raised issues of importance to the Gulf Coast.

I say keep floating the ideas, even if they become somewhat redundant.

If anyone floats a New Orleans related idea, paste a link here and I'll vote and promote.

amy said...

ok i did it and we got 10 points. yay.

what jeffrey said.

i am watching the totally hilarious south park obama episode, highly recommended.

i want to know if the city is going to be here long enough for it to be worthwhile for me to have my neighbor's large weed tree removed from the side of my shed.

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Impact Windows said...

I recently visited the areas affected by Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans and just seeing the place you understand the tragedy that thousands of people lived there. The city seems to be taking life again. The people there are very nice.