FEMA's Rejection of More Money for West Seems Fair Enough

Categories: Schutze

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Let me see if I get this. FEMA, the Federal Emergency Management Agency, is already paying Texas 75 percent of its costs for cleanup in West and making $8 million in low interest loans to individuals. But because FEMA ruled recently that Texas is capable of picking up the balance of the costs, our statewide leaders are accusing President Obama of being a lying son of a bitch.

Let's do the whole picture. The town of West did nothing ahead of time to protect itself from the April 17 fertilizer plant explosion that killed 15 people and damaged or destroyed half the town's structures. As Brett Shipp at WFAA-Channel 8 television in Dallas has reported in a series of stunning exposes, McClennan County emergency preparedness officials had no idea in the years before the blast what was in the plant, notified no one of the enormous potential threat and made no attempt to prepare local first-responders for a disaster.

After the mayhem, West Mayor Tommy Muska joined Texas Governor Rick "Oops" Perry in telling the media there was no need for increased oversight or community preparedness for potential industrial disasters. This is against a backdrop in which both U.S. senators from Texas, John Cornyn and Ted Cruz, had joined Bill Flores, the congressman from West, in voting against the aid package for Hurricane Sandy victims in New Jersey, consistent with their ideological opposition to government assistance in general and federal aid in particular.

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In spite of that stand, Texas is the nation's biggest federal disaster aid welfare client, sucking down 86 federal disaster declarations between 1953 and 2011, more than any other state. The other index of how things are working is that Texas for the last decade has had the nation's highest rate of workplace fatalities.

So we don't inspect. We don't regulate. And we don't want to help anybody else. Then, put this into the picture: Federal officials already have agreed to give $25 million to West in the form of grants and loans. But the Texas Legislature, which just gave away $1 billion in tax relief and still has $8 billion in its rainy day fund, gave West a lousy $2 million. That's against total uninsured damages in West estimated at $34.5 million. You know what two million bucks is to West right now? Spit in the face.

Meanwhile Governor Oops is touring the northeast bragging about how much better Texas is for business. And I guess in a certain sense you can't deny it. Businesses in Texas can burn up, blow up and maim their own employees, and nobody gives a shit. In fact those industrial plants capable of blowing up like an A-bomb won't even be inspected. They won't be required to carry adequate insurance. If there's some cheap land next to an elementary school, grab it.

Texas state government can keep socking away that rainy day money, because it doesn't have to spend any money inspecting plants or protecting people. State tax money is all gravy when the state doesn't have to do anything with it.

Then if the worst does happen, the plant blows up, kills people, wrecks the town and leaves its people angry, broken and devastated, who do you think Texas will blame?

Obama.

You know what the worst part is for me? I have always had a very special affection for West. It has a wonderful and unique history. You think Texas is hard-bitten now? You wouldn't even want to imagine what Texas would be like if all those north and central Texas 19th century European ethnic colonies like West weren't there. West is where I first heard the jukebox song: "In heaven there is no beer, that's why we have it here."

But in this whole blame-it-on-Obama business, I just hear a bunch of irresponsible people not taking care of their own business as a state, not standing on their own two feet as a state, bragging about how they don't need no stinking help from the federal government and then falling onto a snot-blowing boo-hoo when they don't get every last dollar they want from Uncle Sam to bail them out from their own social irresponsibility. If I were Uncle Sam and I got that very unwelcome late-night call from a relative like Texas, I think I might offer the same advice: "Why don't you give your Uncle Oops a call?"



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40 comments
jmarco
jmarco

Yes, Remember when Gov. Oops was screaming about no Federal Disaster designation for West Texas wildfires as he was running for Republican Presidential nomination. in 2012. He was doing the same double talk...Texas doesn't need the Fed. Gov. but didn't get a Federal Disaster designation for wildfires in West Texas because of Obama bias.

MissMacy
MissMacy

Oh my God. I love this article so much I want to marry it. THANK YOU.

ChrisDangerShow
ChrisDangerShow

One Word: Good. Lax safety enforcement and bad leadership on the state level lead to this disaster. Folks like Perry and his wingnut ilk made this bed, now its time for them to lie in it..

Dal-TexBuilding
Dal-TexBuilding

Since Tea Klux Klan darling Ted Cruz and fellow yee-haw John Cornyn voted against aid for Hurricane Sandy victims, there's nothing left to say except 

S-C-O-R-E-B-O-A-R-D ... B-I-T-C-H!

ozonelarryb
ozonelarryb

Ba da bing, Jim. Also, no one in the media asked teachers about Perry's tx job miracle.

Party means nothing in these politics, only insiders fattening themselves.

James_the_P3
James_the_P3

FEMA didn't cover the San Bruno pipeline explosion in California, either.  So it's not like it's going out of its way to discriminate against Texas.

Obummer
Obummer

Yo see, in muh line o' werk you gots ta keep repeating things ova an' ova an' ova ag'in fo' da truf ta sink in, ta kind o' catapult da propaganda.

mcdallas
mcdallas

The only Union sympathizers in Texas were these small, ethnic towns in Texas.  Many shootouts in the Texas Hill Country were related to which side was taken during the Civil War.


EastDallasP1
EastDallasP1

I remember something like 6-8 years ago there was an explosion at that Airgas plant on 35 and Industrial. Thankfully gamage was minimal.

Jim, how much of safety inspections falls to local versus state or federal agencies?

animas
animas

Part of the WFAA expose revealed, as I recall ,that the McClennan County Emergency Preparedness Board received local, county, state and/or federal funds to prepare an adequate analysis and response plan, but just pocketed the money and did nothing.  

I am very upset about the on going  Rick Perry" Special Session Abortion Provider" debacle, which essentially lets non-professionals in the legislature over regulate a safe procedure, while nothing is being done to insure citizen safety from preventable  industrial catastrophes like those which occurred in West.

holmantx
holmantx topcommenter

meanwhile. another 150 homes are slated to be demolished . . .

RTGolden1
RTGolden1 topcommenter

I wonder if you wrote the same kind of things about Louisianans after Katrina?  They blamed Bush for Katrina, not just the response, for which he should have shouldered the blame, for it was his administration, but there were liberal loons out there blaming Bush for the Hurricane itself.  I haven't heard or read of any conservative loons blaming President Obama for the actual explosion (that doesn't mean they aren't, just that I'm not aware of it).  

On another note, do you STILL believe there is an $8 billion rainy day fund?  A fifth grader could, conceivably, do the math the that shows there is such a surplus.  Conversely, a fifth grader could probably do the math that shows the improbability of the surplus existing.  It's Mathmagic.  I'm sure the good gov'ner would earnestly turn over all the couch cushions trying to figure out where it all went, but he's not going to find $8bil.

rzimmerman1
rzimmerman1

I'm not commenting on whether West deserves FEMA dollars, but remember that Texas is forced to send money to Washington, DC to fund FEMA. There's no option for Texas to drop out of the program, so it's not hypocritical for Texas to apply for FEMA funds when disaster strikes. It would be different if Texas didn't contribute but wanted help anyway. That would be hypocritical.

holmantx
holmantx topcommenter

FEMA denied virtually all of Texas' 2011 wildfires major disaster area status.  2.3 million acres and 400 himes.

On May 27, 1997, the town of Jarrell was hit by an F5 Tornado, which destroyed the Double Creek Estates subdivision, killing 27.  Governor Bush asked for disaster status.  Clinton's FEMA denied.

Real fine.

Too big?  Too small.  You got money.  Take care of it yourselves.  It's your fault anyways.  

How do you get out of this chickenshit outfit?

Once we get critical mass, maybe Mexico will take us.

MushMouth1
MushMouth1

Well said.  Easy to preach responsibility when pandering for the vote, more difficult apparently to be responsible when you're in a  position to practice it.

JimSX
JimSX topcommenter

@Obummer 

Don't be late for phys ed now.

JimSX
JimSX topcommenter

What about black people?

ThePosterFormerlyKnownasPaul
ThePosterFormerlyKnownasPaul topcommenter

@RTGolden1  

Despite (or sometimes in spite of) the resources of the federal government,  FEMA must still wait on a request from a state official before they can respond.


The Bush administration did have FEMA prepared, but the State of Louisiana and the City of New Orleans were woefully deficient in both preparing to and responding to Katrina.


Further, the majority of the damage in New Orleans was due to levees failing after the storm had passed.  It was the local governments that were responsible for the maintenance of the levees.

JimSX
JimSX topcommenter

@RTGolden1 

Bush didn't cause Katrina. Cheney did, when he shot that guy. It was a butterfly-beats-its-wings-on-the-the-side-of-the-world deal. That guy was hollering, and that increased the air temperature around his mouth, and that spiraled up into a heat inversion, etc etc. Cheney is to blame for everything. EVERYTHING! 

James080
James080

@RTGolden1  

Surplus? One day, perhaps in my lifetime, the people of Texas are going to wake up to the fact that Rick Perry has buried the state under a mountain of public debt, and has also managed to greatly enriched himself and his supporters in the process.

animas
animas

@everlastingphelps  I just feel sure that if the Tx legislature mandated that explosive chemicals were stored in an ASC, you would feel better. (LOL).  The problem is that the town had an Emergency Preparedness Committee and Chairman who knew nothing and DID nothing for years--your govt at work....

JimSX
JimSX topcommenter

@rzimmerman1 

Yes. This is what we call the constitutional structure of government in the United States. Not sure how this moves the conversation ahead. 

kduble
kduble

@holmantx We're a nation of laws. Congress creates agencies like FEMA, and there are guidelines restricting use of taxpayer money. Unless you can show the rules weren't followed, butt out.

scottindallas
scottindallas topcommenter

@holmantx Grassfires are not major disasters, just how nature works.  And imagine, the loss of those grasses is so permanent--not.  The soil is enriched and the grasslands will return next late Spring.  You're on a non-sequitur roll Holman--I haven't been around to call you on your sophistic excesses

holmantx
holmantx topcommenter

Texas ranks first in the nation in total cattle numbers (14 million head) and also has the broadest spectrum of producers and variation in production environments. The beef cattle industry is by far the largest sector in the Texas agriculture industry.  

Overall, the entire cattle herd in Texas declined from 14 million head to 11.9 million due to drought and wildfires.

Environmentalists cheer.

Tongues wag.

then their tongues swell.

mcdallas
mcdallas

@JimSX Good point.  That's what I get for making such a declarative statement.  However, there weren't many black people in these small, ethnic towns (at least not until the years following the war).  But I'm sure those who were in those towns (and elsewhere in Texas) were largely (but not unanimously) Union sympathizers.

holmantx
holmantx topcommenter

@JimSX @RTGolden1  You are in good company:

Rhode Island Democratic Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse took to the Senate floor to rail against his Republican colleagues for denying the theory of anthropogenic global warming.  Whitehouse spent 15 minutes chastising GOP senators and justified his remarks by alluding to states that seek federal assistance in the wake of natural disasters.

"When cyclones tear up Oklahoma and hurricanes swamp Alabama and wildfires scorch Texas, you come to us, the rest of the country, for billions of dollars to recover."

snip!

The Supreme Court ruled Tuesday that states can no longer be judged by voting discrimination that went on decades ago, in a decision that marks the end of a major civil-rights era reform.  Beneath the legal ruling is a broader social statement, with the justices saying that a state cannot be perpetually held responsible for past discrimination if there’s no evidence that it still exists.

OUCH!

There are only two races, the decent and the indecent. --Viktor Frankl

Liberalism manifests its indecency in so many ways when they do not get their way.

In today's example, they hit what they think is a trifecta - racism, environmentalism, and Texans.

They have no idea what they sound like when they cheer.

Have you no decency?

never mind . . . 

rzimmerman1
rzimmerman1

@JimSX @rzimmerman1 

Simply making the point that there is nothing hypocritical about asking for your own money back from a federal program that Texas is forced to participate in. If Texas were allowed to hold onto this money, then Texas could spend their own money and practice the independence and self-determination that conservatives like to talk about.

holmantx
holmantx topcommenter

@kduble @holmantx 

The IRS used the tax code to target some of our citizens to suppress the vote for political purposes.  The IRS is an agency created by Congress but under the Treasury Dept that reports to the Executive Branch, as does FEMA.

The President has hired department heads who have created an environment that allows for abuse and persecution of political adversaries without redress in the courts, since he has broad discretion on the selective enforcement through his Justice Department.

You butt out.

scottindallas
scottindallas topcommenter

@holmantx It's drought, a regular and normal occurrence.  You failed to note the spike in feed prices thanks to unregulated financial speculation.  All good "production" to you, cap lite financial taxation to me

rzimmerman1
rzimmerman1

@DallasGuy @rzimmerman1 @JimSX 

As I said, I wasn't commenting on the West situation. The purpose of my post was to point out that Jim Schutze and other Observer writers always call out Texas politicians every time they ask for FEMA funds and say they are being hypocritical. They are simply asking for our own money back from the Feds.

DallasGuy
DallasGuy

@rzimmerman1 @JimSX If FEMA hadn't given any money, then you would have a point. Go back and read the article. FEMA gave money to the state. Just not all that they asked for. How's that 10th amendment treatin' ya now?

holmantx
holmantx topcommenter

@rzimmerman1 @JimSX 

Texas opted out of the Healthcare exchanges because it is a foregone conclusion the ACA is collapsing under its own weight.  

It is just a matter of when, now.  The federal government will have to secede from the states.  Texas will be on its own to fund its highways, education, social services and pick up the pieces on every other program this Leviathan passes back in largesse.  

The only thing this piece illuminates is the Lilliputians among us.

Smirkers.


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