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Levee Board Consolidation

By February 9, 2006katrina

If you believe that the levee boards should be consolidated (and it seems like a no brainer to me, but I’m just a lawyer) then click here and spend two minutes to send an email to key state senators.  If you are going to act do it quickly.  We don’t have time to waste.


P.S. If you appreciate my observations, you might want to join my inner circle.

2 Comments

  • I am pro-levee board reform because we cannot blindly trust the US Army Corps of Engineers ever again. But I do not think the multiple levee boards were the cause of the levee failures. I have been saying so on my website http://www.levees.org for nearly a year and I said it again on Garland Robinette last week.

    To say the levee boards caused the failures is like blaming a janitor if a building full of people collapsed. When a building collapses, you point your finger at the architect, the engineer and the contractor and all three of those when it comes to the levees are the Corps of Engineers.

    I agree emphatically that all that focus on the levee board consolidation detracted attention from the true culprits – the US Army Corps of Engineers. And most distressing, is that all that focus may well have led the nation to believe that somehow, the levee failures were our fault.

    But we at Levees.Org will not give up. We will continue to educate the nation and Congress that metro New Orleans was destroyed, not by a storm but by faulty federal flood protection.

  • Larry Orlansky says:

    First, I must say that I am NOT against the consolidation, and I certainly applaud grassroots involvement, but I must say that I wish that the efforts and energies of these well-meaning folks were directed to more substantial matters (like trying to get the feds to understand the connection between what happened–levee broke–and fed responsibility, instead of the attitude of “oh it must be our own fault because we don’t have a consolidated levee board”). I have given much thought to this, particularly since my house was destroyed, and for the life of me I can’t get anyone to explain how that had anything to do with how many levee boards there are. The amount of effort directed to this one issue is impressive, but I can’t help but wonder whether the issue justifies the outrage over it, when there are more significant matters and in fact I worry that it is really serving only to buttress the misunderstanding out there that somehow the flooding was “our fault”.

    None of my many friends wearing the “One Levee” buttons seems to have an answer to my question, which is—–what is it about having “one levee” board that would have made a bit of difference in keeping the levee from failing? I guess a secondary question is, why is it such a bad thing for there to be different boards whose job it is to deal with different water basins? I’m not wed one way or the other, but I certainly don’t see what is inherently wrong with that. The most common respnse seems to be, we need more technical professional engineering expertise; if that is true, then of course I agree but that seems to be a different issue; as to THAT issue, if in fact we do not have engineers and technical expertise where it should be the that needs to be corrected in terms of WHO is on the boards, or at least who is on the staffs making the technical decisions. The other motivating issue seems to be that the feds will give us the $12 million only if we have a single levee board; but as I appreciate it (1) that is not necessarily true and (2) more importantly, that “requirement” was stuck in there by one of our own congressmen (Jindal)!! Why would he do that, I thought conservative Repubs want local folks to decide issues like that, and if in fact there are solid reasons to have more than one board, why would one of our own delegation work to defeat us getting the money?? People should be outraged over THAT.Finally, it is true that the some of the levee boards, especially Orleans, historically spend a great deal of time on non-flood protection issues such as their real estate holdings, etc., but as I understand it the historic reason is that that income is necessary to fund the flood protection measures, that is, the millage the board receives is not otherwise sufficient. In any event, the question of segregating out those matters to other agencies is a different issue.I am not a defender of the boards or the patronage or the politicians who seem to have a special interest in the status quo; on the other hand, despite all the outcry about consolidation, I have yet to hear anyone articulate a connection as to how the existence of multiple boards contributed to the levee failures. And I am very concerned that the focus on this issue is going to backfire because of the incorrect perception that it is creating—that somehow the fact that we have multiple levee boards is the cause of the levee failures.

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