Does Louisiana Deserve Federal Flood Aid when its Congressmen Voted to Deny it to Others

The answer to that question is pretty clear to me, the folks that elected Congressmen Steve Scalise, Bill Cassidy and John Flemming that flooded out in Louisiana should practice what they preach and not get a dime of federal help. By extension, since Mississippi’s fluffer Congressman Steven Palazzo also voted to deny Federal Aid to Superstorm Sandy victims the same would apply here in Mississippi the next time a hurricane hits the coast right?

These Louisiana politicians are demanding flood aid, but voted against Sandy relief ~ Michael Hiltzik, Los Angeles Times

With due respect to Foster Campbell it’s a bit late for an apology:

Members of Louisiana congressional delegation owe Sandy victims an apology ~ Foster Campbell

Time for folks in the bayou country to start Hitchin’ their britches….

I don’t think we’ve heard the last of this in the national media.

 

24 thoughts on “Does Louisiana Deserve Federal Flood Aid when its Congressmen Voted to Deny it to Others”

  1. Yes they do. The people of Louisiana didn’t vote against it the irresponsible politicians did. Separate state and federal government. The pay federal taxes too.

    Palazzo voted to vett the process more. Unfortunately, the need is immediate and you have to investigate it afterwards and prosecute the swindlers later.

    1. That’s bullshit. Palazzo voted against the funds to pay flood insurance claims to people who had paid their NFIP premiums and suffered flood losses. There was no pork in that bill and nothing to vet except contractual obligations. NFIP simply needed the authority to borrow what it needed to pay the legitimate NFIP claims, and Palazzo voted to break the contract and stiff policy holders.

      Then after people pointed out his hypocrisy – as CFO for Biloxi Housing Authority he had said essentially, “give us the money to rebuild with no regulations or audits or any other federal oversight” – Palazzo voted for the Sandy aid package that had the more questionable pork, although to be fair, the Sandy bill gave Christie a lot less pork and patronage money than the money Barbour passed around to friends and family after Katrina.

      1. You have slightly more anger than me. My position is clear. Don’t punish people at the Federal Level for irresponsible opinions of State Leaders, at least as we interpret them.

        1. Responsible people do not rely on the governments bail out. I know many who have pity pot stories but did not protect themselves by properly insuring. Did not know, no one told them, it wasn’t required blah blah blah! Personal Accountability cannot be something we legislate out!

    2. To paraphrase some of my favorite Mississippi republicans, elections matter and by extension so does the votes of those that bother to go to the polls. The bottom line truth is these Yahoos are in office because of the South’s habit of crapping its pants party line voting. Most folks won’t so easily absolve these guys constituents that elected them to office. In fairness and despite the fact I live here I know I can’t.

      1. Louisiana disaster victims absolutely should get the federal assistance they need, but if the federal government had any sense at all it would not give block grants to state and local governments. The federal government is more likely to give assistance to those who suffered the damage, while the state and locals always almost always want to pass the rebuilding money and tax breaks out to developers, contractors, and political allies rather than give it directly to the people with disaster losses.

        I am more interested in the need for longer term improvement in flood plain management practices and structure. I think we can say unequivocally that the FEMA flood risk process is a failure. It isn’t necessarily FEMA’s fault, it is the design of the program. You can’t adequately manage flood risk simply by mapping the 1% risk elevation one town at a time. Most of the changes in a local community’s riverine flood risk comes from development upstream that may be in another parish, county, or even state. If I was still working in Congress, I would recommend that NOAA and the Corps take over flood risk management from FEMA, because NOAA and the Corps are set up to analyze an entire watershed without regard to the city, county/parish, state lines, so, for example, to reduce flooding in Baton Rouge, they would account for some of the water to go somewhere else in the watershed, whereas FEMA will just keep redrawing the maps with higher elevation requirements.

        1. I think you may have the Army Corps of Engineers and FEMA a little mixed up. The Corps is still the authority on flood management and they have the authority across the entire U.S. to do so as they see fit. As in many other instances, and most recently in the Orange/Sabine, TX area flooding; they aren’t always up to par when it comes to managing flood control.
          There is a distinct difference in managing flood maps (for emergency planning, $$, etc.) and establishing flood zones (which are mainly for collecting $$), than managing flood control with levees, dams, jetties, etc. like the Army Corps of Engineers do.
          From a very simple aerial view, it appears that much of the Corps Post-Katrina flood control measures have aided in keeping water that occurs behind those lines from having a clear path of relief. Those darn levees just don’t work both ways!

          1. No, I’m not talking about the levees and navigation part of flood plain management. Those are designed to keep the Mississippi River out of Baton Rouge, but you can’t build a comparable levee system on every little river and bayou. Louisiana needs to get over the idea that levees are supposed save everybody in the whole state from flooding.

            I am talking about the flood maps that govern the flood insurance requirements and the building, zoning, and planning regulations for each local government that participates in the NFIP. The FEMA flood maps draw lines for flood elevation requirements, but they are obsolete before they go into effect, because new development elsewhere in the watershed changes where the storm water will go in the next deluge. The federal government currently does not have authority to restrict or regulate new development in the parish/county based on the flooding it will cause in city neighborhoods, but the federal government will end up paying the flood claims and disaster assistance after the storm. All that FEMA does is enforce the building elevations that are on the flood maps that are in effect. NOAA has dynamic flood models that predict flooding much more accurately than the FEMA flood insurance maps, and the Corps uses the NOAA models to make evacuation maps. As a result, it is still common for houses to be in a mandatory evacuation zone based on NOAA/Corps models, yet not be required to buy flood insurance and not have elevation requirements in the FEMA flood maps. That is stupid.

  2. I also seem to remember people up north, including New York and New Jersey, saying it would be stupid to rebuild New Orleans after Katrina because we were so dumb to live in such a vulnerable area. Then came Sandy and their tune was a bit different. No matter where you live you are subject to threats from some type of natural forces. Everyone should shut up and focus on the matters at hand.

    1. That was your Republican Speaker of the House, Dennis Hastert of Illinois, who said that, plus several other Midwestern Republicans. I don’t remember anyone from a coastal state on the East Coast or the West Coast who objected to Katrina recovery. There were some who protected the insurance industry, but they were willing to have the federal government pay more in flood claims rather than force the insurers to pay wind claims.

  3. Morons, just piles of morons. First, NFIP is not an insurance program. Insurance is paying a market priced premium to transfer the risk of loss to another. Not in the history of time has the NFIP charged anyone a market priced premium. Remember the outcry after the (Biggert-Waters) rate increases were fixing to hit? Republicans and Democrats alike were crying foul -they wanted someone else to subsizdize their “insurance” premiums. Let’s be real, the NFIP is just another wealth transfer scheme. The excoriation ought to go to ANYONE demanding a public wealth transfer for damage to private property, whether the damages comes from Katrina, Sandy or recent flooding. If you own property, then insure it privately. If you can’t afford to insure your private property, then you probably can’t afford the property to begin with. If you really are a hard luck case, then let a charity bootstrap you back up. But our government should have NO role in charity. (Benjamin Franklin, β€œOn the Price of Corn, and Management of the Poor,” London Chronicle, November 1766, in Writings, ed. J. A. Leo Lemay (New York: Library of America, 1987), pp. 587–588.) Institutionalized charity promotes poor decisions – such as underinsuring private property, locating property in a flood plain, not giving a damn where the flood plain is, and then kicking the losses into the public treasury. All this bitching is because some got free money in 2005, free money in New Jersey in 2009, so now whoever needs free money is entitled to it? Where does it end? Better yet, where does all this free money come from? And don’t say the money comes from the government – the government doesn’t make or sell a damn thing for one nickel.

    1. Your absolutely right about that wealth transfer thing Raul, especially letting the WYO insurers skim so much off the top being middleman that then dump their wind coverage on the program when the claims start rolling in. The NFIP is being raped about 5 different ways.

      Given that it appears most of the latest flood victims didn’t have flood insurance, I’m not sure what federal program could do them much good beyond the SBA disaster loans in any event.

    2. The money that your ordinary victim gets is exponentially smaller than the payouts to the contractors who are drooling right now while waiting on their “relief” contracts to get signed and the money to start flowing! It is amazing how many people I meet nationwide who know exactly where Bay St. Louis is because they were working there after Katrina on a contract basis, under a large corporation.

  4. Actually, the flood insurance program works okay for riverine flooding from rainfall events. Most claims are for a few feet of water, the damage is reparable and the losses are relatively small ($30K to $50K). The NFIP is billions in debt because of hurricane storm surge and associated levee failures that result in large scale total losses far beyond the premiums that were paid in.

    Private companies will not offer flood insurance except to a few cherry-picked big customers. It isn’t because they can’t charge high enough premiums. The problem is that major flooding are low frequency – high severity events, so even if a major flood only happened once every 100 years in a location, an insurer covering that risk would have to account for billions every year in case this is the year of the big flood. The only way to get private insurance companies to provide flood insurance would be for the government to be the catastrophic secondary insurer, and that would be a worse idea – the private guys would pocket the profits in years when there is no flood rather than building up catastrophic reserves.

    1. Not entirely correct. Lloyd’s of London stakes this: http://www.privatemarketflood.com/about-us/ And, Lloyd’s is the purest form of the market working. Real guys form syndicates, price risk efficiently and if they won’t offer coverage for it, you can bet that the risk outweighs the utility.

      Every time government comes into a market it creates a distortion. The “buy outs” are only needed because the NFIP provided the security necessary for a mortgage lender to take on the loan risk to a borrower building in a flood plain. Do you know why the old part of New Orleans or Ocean Springs stayed high and dry in Katrina? The native Americans knew the high ground and only built there. Early settlers set up where these tribes told them would stay dry. The native Americans did not have the Corp. redrawing maps for them either. They didn’t have the central tribe saying they’d back up there choice to live down by the river either. It took more walking for water and food, but they knew they’d stay dry if they located their home on high ground.

      1. Local governments are responsible for overdevelopment of flood-prone areas. They can’t say no to development and they don’t care about flood insurance or disaster mitigation.

        The Feds have used NFIP and environmental laws to smuggle in minimal federal land use restrictions but they have not been as effective as they should be because state and local governments work to undermine the restrictions. It isn’t true that NFIP causes risky development – the developers use political influence to avoid being in the mandatory purchase area. The flood maps commonly have been rigged to subsidize the pre-existing homes at grandfathered discount rates while excluding most new homes from mandatory purchase. Then after all those newer homes with no flood insurance have been flooded, the maps are redrawn to require purchase but now they get the subsidized grandfathered rates.

        All I’m saying is that there needs to be much better management of development over entire watersheds, and state and local governments won’t do it.

  5. Don’t know if any of you heard the President’s statements in Baton Rouge today, but he pretty much told them that the government would do
    ” everything it could” for them, but it was going to take a whole lot more– neighbor helping neighbor, etc.
    You have to know how to listen to these politicians.
    I think as time goes on, we are going to have to take care of ourselves more and more.
    It’s just a fact of life.
    And, by the way, Raul, if our country is not supposed to be in the charity business, that’s gonna be bad news for the millions we take care of right now– some who don’t support the system!!!!
    I could dominate this whole post with the waste and fraud in all of our “charity” endeavors!
    Like the $36 million in water and sewer lines in Pearlington after Katrina in the “buy out zone” that the Corps of Engineers designated uninhabitable!!
    That got a lot of engineers, contractors, architects, and probably politicians rich$$$$

    1. Lana, that’s an example of what I am talking about. The Corps was trying to reduce future losses by proposing buy outs of repetitive loss properties while FEMA had been doing the opposite by helping the cities and counties rebuild streets, water, sewer, and other infrastructure in those areas. Only later did the FEMA mitigation section get involved and redraw the flood maps and raise the elevation requirements. FEMA is not capable of moving quickly to buyout properties because it cedes control to the local governments and they always want to rebuild or redevelop. The Corps moves too slowly also, and it’s buyout plan was much too late and much too big, but the opportunity was there for a targeted buyout in the areas that flood the worst and the most often, in fact we had a lot of people begging to be bought out before they had no choice but to rebuild.

      Instead the only places where we had a significant buyout and wetland restoration after Katrina were the places in Jackson County that had wanted to be bought out after Georges in 1998, so all the planning and coordination had already been done. Every time there is a major flood event, there are chances to jump in and buy the severe repetive loss properties, but the cities and counties always push back because they don’t want to take properties of the tax rolls and it isn’t there money paying for all the aid and flood insurance multiple times in the same properties.

    2. Correct Lana. The people want to share their lack of preparation and lack prudent decisions with everyone else! We have a nanny state mentality.

      You have to translate it. I do not want sacrifice my day to day wants to protect myself because the government(tax payer) should pick up the tab.

      The media needs to show who the prudent people are and contrast it with the people that want a chronic bail out!

      It would help moving forward. Did not know, no one made me get it(flood insurance) ain’t working anymore!

  6. Why on earth would folks in LA vote against disaster relief? You get hit by almost as many events as we do in North Carolina.

    But you know, there probably is somewhere a record of North Carolinian politicians voting against something like that: probably Earth Quake disasters on the West Coast.

  7. FEMA is the main problem. After Katrina in 2009 they came to the Coast and re did the Flood Maps putting the majority of the property in higher risk zones which mean increased premiums in flood insurance. This also increased the building codes and requirements for new construction. Our elevations were raised, which essentially should take NFIP out of flood business and Wind Policies more responsible.
    But they did not do the same for LA or Florida. New Orleans and most surrounding areas are basically in a flood zone, but because of levies they think this will prevent flooding. Well we know that is not true. Why doesn’t FEMA tell LA they have to build up and not allow them to continue below the Base Flood Elevation? This would solve a lot of problem. The put these conditions on us here on the Gulf Coast, why not LA and FL?
    This has caused us considerable lost of values on properties and increased insurance premiums. Where are our Elected Officials when we need them fighting for US.? Let make all states equal on flood issues and elevations so the NFIP can be funded more and not just from us.
    I would like to know how many people in LA and FL pay in excess of 5,000 in flood insurance. There are a lot of homeowners here that do..

  8. They should absolutely get recovery funds. But at the risk of examining who the hell they are electing to represent them. Steven Paloozoo did in fact vote against the aid to the northeast after Sandy because of his overinflated infatuated admiration of himself in the mirror. Once one of his aids finished wolfing down some pecan candies and dragged him out from behind that blind spot he momentarily came to his senses and did what every elected official that wants to stay in office does; vote they way his constituents demand. The Louisiana delegation votes the party line and has been humbled by mother nature. So what is big Government for? What is the worth of our elected officials? These elected officials vote themselves huge pay raises, permanent health benefits, instant retirement perks. Among many benefits they lavish upon themselves while they argue and compline about how needy and ungrateful we are. Complain how we don’t understand the role of Government. Complain about how we need to make sacrifices. Make themselves fat at our expense and then when we the people suffer and need help; they draw party lines. Yep I keep saying and will keep saying it we get what we elect and until we move toward “party” votes and select someone who actually gives a shit this is what we all so richly deserve.

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