Skip to comments.Schwarzenegger: Feds should be worried about California levees
Posted on 04/25/2006 3:46:49 PM PDT by NormsRevenge
SACRAMENTO Federal officials still are not taking seriously the threat of a failure in California's aging levee system and are risking another New Orleans-style disaster by failing to provide funding for repairs, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger said Tuesday.
During a visit to California last week, President Bush turned down the governor's request for a pre-emptive federal disaster declaration. Instead, he issued a rare directive letting the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers help with badly needed levee repairs.
Schwarzenegger also met privately with Bush, but he said Tuesday that the message isn't resonating with the administration. He did not mention the president by name.
The federal government still is not getting the message, the Republican governor told business leaders during the annual California Chamber of Commerce breakfast.
They are spending $100 billion in New Orleans right now because they were not acting fast enough. And here is the time for them to redeem themselves, to go and say, 'We made a mistake before; let's not ever make that mistake again.' And again they are missing the boat.
Bush officials have said the kind of declaration Schwarzenegger was seeking would require that a disaster already occurred. Pre-emptive disaster declarations have never been issued except when a catastrophe was imminent.
Bush's directive allows the Corps of Engineers to accept $23 million in California money for repairs on 29 sections of the levee that state officials have identified as critically weak.
Schwarzenegger said he is tired of talk.
Again they are waiting and they are dialoguing and they are talking. They say 'Well, the permits are going to come. Well, we are going to get more money ... '
All that dialogue we are hearing, but no true action.
The governor vowed to keep up the pressure, saying the levees are one big storm, one earthquake away from a major disaster. He said levee ruptures could flood farmland, all of Sacramento, and other Central Valley towns and suburbs, while cutting off Southern California's water supply. Cleanup costs could match what the government is spending in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, he said.
Schwarzenegger has said the state will begin strengthening the levees in June, regardless of whether it receives federal help.
We're looking at temps closing in on 80 or more later this week.
Arnie better back those cats and payloaders up and start
Arnie does have a point. When the levees go in California, and they will go, the Federal Government will end up paying for it, as little as we may like it.
We have a choice of paying a few billion now, or a few hundred billion later. I would rather us do option A.
Please pass this emerging requirement up to Difi, Bela Pelosi, and Boxer. They have many years tenure in congress and can probably answer why this need has not been funded over the years.
Clinton poured well over $2 billion into the New Orleans' levee board, and it disappeared in a spate of local projects, none of which had anything to do with the levees (one "project" was marketing the Harrah's land-based casino in downtown New Orleans). And, in spite of all the money, the federal government got the blame for the failure of the levees anyway.
Bush is right to direct money to the Corps of Engineers. Keep it out of the hands of state officials.
Arnold's a good guy, but there's too much temptation when there are billions involved.
You make sense but comparing it to New Orleans is a bit over the top. It won't be remotely like NO unless it happens in Death Valley and well you know....
A number of levees are already having work done on them.
Unfortunately, due to the desire of developers to build in likely affected areas where additional levees could rupture, we are dancing on the precipice of disasters of pretty good proportions.
If I was him, I'd be taking what is left of the 15 billion he convinced folks to borrow after taking office and use it to get as much done as soon as possible.
California should be worried about their own levees.
2) Flooding farmland periodically is GOOD for it. Ever heard of a river delta? Bottomland? Soil deposits? LACK of flooding of farmland is what killed NOLA.
Which reminds me to remind all California freepers to start already with the clearing of brush away from your property. 50-75 feet of brush clearance can be the difference between going home in 2 days, or hanging out in a red cross shelter.
One act of terrorism will flood that area no matter how good a condition to which the levees may be restored. There is absolutely no way to secure that many miles of levee (((24 x 7) x 365) X K), where K represents the number of years wherein a potential threat exists.
This is a classic example of how no amount of infrastructure will EVER preclude flooding in that area.
Can you just see a Slave Party operative blowing a levee this spring in order to manufacture a new Katrina, complete with Federill dollars for massive "emergency spending"?
Your comment about fire breaks rang a bell.. Thanks!
Governor signs fire-break bill
By: North County Times -
Legislation that will clear the way for wide areas of vegetation to be cleared around so-called "critical" structures to reduce the chance that wildfire will engulf them has been signed into law by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger.
Authored by state Sen. Dennis Hollingsworth, R-Murrieta, the amended legislation allows state or local officials to authorize property owners to clear vegetation in an arc as wide as 300 feet around hospitals, adult residential care facilities, schools, above-ground storage tanks and hazardous materials facilities.
Existing law requires property owners of all types of structures ---- including homes ---- to clear at least 30 feet of shrubs and other flammable vegetation in backcountry areas.
The legislation was drafted in response to a governor's blue-ribbon commision report that, in 2004, recommended several measures to reduce the threat of wildfire. The report followed the devastating firestorms that struck San Diego, Riverside and other Southern California counties in October 2003.
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as a Californian, i agree with you. we have a state legislature that is addicted to tax and spend. let them pull in their belts first, putting California on a diet, finally running a fiscally responsible operation. then if we need help, we'll yell. hey, don't hold your breath, by the way. they're out of control up there in Sacramento.
No, I think homeowners that built in the flood plain should be worried.
FRom the Sac Bee today..
Sweeping mandate for flood coverage dies in committee
Legislation to require virtually every Sacramento home and business owner to purchase flood insurance as a hedge against catastrophic levee failure died Monday in an Assembly committee.
The measure by Assemblyman Dave Jones, D-Sacramento, ended with a whimper when nobody seconded a motion to approve Assembly Bill 1898, thus ending the Banking and Finance Committee session without a vote.
"I think we've missed a very important opportunity to make sure people are protected so that when a flood comes, they'll have something to fall back on," Jones said.
AB 1898 was opposed by the insurance and lending industries.
"We do not think it's the appropriate role of state government to mandate flood insurance - or any insurance," said Michael Paiva of the Personal Insurance Federation of California.
Instead, we should adopt the German model - build cities/towns on hilltops, and protect them. Let the rest flood.
It has worked for thousands of years...
More levee help -
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Spoken like a true member of the New Majority.
For the rest of us (conservatives) only one entity has any responsibility for the losses. Those who took the risk. There is some responsibility for state and local government if they approved the building permits without requiring adequate flood insurance but their role is limited.
The feds were involved in New Orleans for national, strategic reasons. Western Fresno, Merced, Stanislaus and San Joaquin Counties lack that strategic significance.The trailer houses that dot the flood plain beneath the levees can be moved.