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Flood Control, the Mississippi River, and Government
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mac



Joined: 07 Mar 1999
Posts: 5359

PostPosted: Sat May 28, 2011 1:47 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

This is interesting, and illustrates the problems of the new wave of TEA party type voters. Both stevenbard and Mike Fick seem to be ignorant of the longstanding role of the Federal government in providing flood protection and insuring home loans. I am not a particular fan of either one, I tend to agree that they warp the economics of housing. Both have been sponsored by the real estate industry over the years, and are pretty thoroughly entwined in our economy. That industry has substantial clout in the Congress, for reasons that none of us really like. But they exist and they have powerful constituencies that will protect them. What is missing is a sense of political and fiscal reality from the right about what might actually be changeable, how to form coalitions to do it, and how much it costs. I would certainly support limiting the scope of Federal subsidies, in all their aspects, to a single home. I would also support reform that put the flood insurance (and other Federal disaster relief programs) on a sound fiduciary basis where those who benefit, collectively, pay the true cost. Currently it is about 1/3. What is mind-boggling is how little this actually matters to the questions of balancing the budget. If this is deep thinking from the right, we are in deep do do.
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stevenbard



Joined: 11 Nov 1993
Posts: 4228

PostPosted: Sat May 28, 2011 8:11 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yes Mac, it is possible that it is the AQMD, a state issue rather than the federal epa. It is one or the other. 1st hand experience. Both intrusive.

As for the levee's, I read an interesting report that now that they have been opened there are some benefits. Repeated deposits of alluvial material by running water benefit the farmers. This massive intrusion of water and sediment, may actually make the land more productive. It is only a matter of time that it all gets wiped out again and again.
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isobars



Joined: 12 Dec 1999
Posts: 14321

PostPosted: Sat May 28, 2011 8:16 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Which is exactly why it makes such good farmland. Of course, the previous few million such floods didn't also contain man-made chemical and oil wastes.
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mac



Joined: 07 Mar 1999
Posts: 5359

PostPosted: Sat May 28, 2011 9:21 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

So which is it Bard, first hand experience or you don't know? You see this can be anywhere on the continuum from I didn't really check to pants on fire and I'm curious as to how you get these ideas and if there is anything at all really behind it. So far you've been pretty vague and paranoid. Maybe that is your default state?
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coboardhead



Joined: 26 Oct 2009
Posts: 1960

PostPosted: Sat May 28, 2011 11:08 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Isobars wrote
Quote:
One simple FREE solution exists for both problems: the government bows out of both issues. No regulation, no fiscal responsibility. Maybe at most notify the public of the risks, then stand back. That wouldn't work as a blanket policy nation-wide, but it should be a serious option in every potential disaster zone. The public sure as hell doesn't owe a new home to the people whose mansions are washed away by east coast storms, and news stories are still chronicling the abusive extent of the benefits given to many of the "victims" of Katrina who knew damned well they lived below sea level in a hurricane zone. The constitution prohibits the federal government from such endeavors anyway (the "general welfare" clause means EVERY citizen, not just a subset, must benefit


The problem is the definition of disaster zones. Many communities have existed for decades and the extent of the possible disaster potential just becoming known. In addition, commerce requires the construction and maintenance of facilities within risky areas.

Mcmansions on the coast with total disregard of the risks and government bailout for the hurricane - NO! But, New Orleans was a special situation. Levees meant to protect a centuries old community is a different manner. Blaming residents for relying on this system is not fair.

Either way, codes should be maintained, regardless of personal property rights, to reduce the risk of damage or loss of life in areas subject to severe weather, flooding or seismic activity.
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windoggie



Joined: 22 Feb 2002
Posts: 2406

PostPosted: Sat May 28, 2011 11:41 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

stevenbard wrote:
honorable man would help a disabled vet up the steps to hit some balls. Gladly.

A ramp is much easier, on both ego and muscles. Ever try to lift a grown human up a flight of stairs? Ever tried to be that person? Ramps are cheap dude.

_________________
/w\
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stevenbard



Joined: 11 Nov 1993
Posts: 4228

PostPosted: Sun May 29, 2011 1:31 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

All those cheap things add up to no new businesses forming, but I do get that ramps are cheap.

As for the donut shop, all restaurants must conform to the aqmd regs. Look it up.
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mac



Joined: 07 Mar 1999
Posts: 5359

PostPosted: Sun May 29, 2011 7:55 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Bard has moved to Richland, look it up. You might actually have an interest in explaining how you didn't make it up. Now let's talk a little about the Mississippi River and why your anecdote about topsoil doesn't really matter much.

Humans have been messing with rivers in this country since they came here from other countries. Sometimes they did it on their own, sometimes they formed levee improvement districts with their neighbors, sometimes developers put in ditches and sold homes that they claimed were safe from flooding. Many Congresses ago, the Federal government stepped in, at the request of local governments and business interests, and offered financial and technical assistance. The underlying principle was that any Federal investment had to generate economic benefits in excess of the investment. The most vocal critics of this practice until the TEA party came along, were environmentalists. In the case of the Mississippi River, they claimed, with some justification, that the flood control practices tended to increase damages from the next flood, rob farmland of topsoil renewal in periodic floods, starve the wetlands and delta at the mouth of the river (south of New Orleans) and so forth.

For the Mississippi River, remember there are 3500 miles of levees. This program has definitely created winners and losers. Farmers whose lands were flooded might gain topsoil, but lost crops, homes, livestock, barns, fences--billions in losses without a doubt. And many cities and towns had damages, but much less than they would have. Remember, no protection was provided if there weren't valuable assets to be protected that made economic sense. Sometime after the dust settles, reputable academics will estimate the losses and savings from this years flood and estimate what Federal funding might have saved.

Southern California is full of Federal flood control projects, most notably the Santa Ana River project, one of the most expensive public works projects in the Country. Orange County had channelized the river, and developers had built thousands of homes that were at risk. That's what the market delivered--houses built by developers who put in their real estate reports that flood hazard had been mitigated by their engineering projects--and then were long gone when the flood came. Here came the Federal government to bail out--middle class home owners.

I make 2 points here. First, this practice has been going on for a long time, and until recently enjoyed bipartisan support due to strong lobbying by business interests. It provided broad benefits to the middle class, and was seen as fiscally sound. Criticism was mostly from the "left", from enviros. It is very hard to undo what has been done, and the agreements that have been made between the local governments and the Corps of Engineers (there is always a local government partner) without having substantial economic consequences. Second, although the Corps of Engineers took a serious haircut in the recent action to increase the borrowing ceiling, I doubt the TEA party Congresspeople can resist the flood of letters that they will be getting about restoring funding for their particular project.

So some farmers gain topsoil. A good thing. With 3500 miles of levees, and millions of affected property owners, rural and urban, the implications of flooding are a little bit more complicated, and the solutions are a little less clear.
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coboardhead



Joined: 26 Oct 2009
Posts: 1960

PostPosted: Sun May 29, 2011 8:00 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

How about the businesses supported to design (like me), build and maintain those ramps?

It is better use of funds to provide facilities to make people healthier than treat people who are not. Including the psychological damage due to lost self esteem due to seriios handicap.
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mac



Joined: 07 Mar 1999
Posts: 5359

PostPosted: Sun May 29, 2011 11:57 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Apropos of almost nothing, BARD, here is your rule: http://www.aqmd.gov/permit/Formspdf/Supplemental/AQMDForm400-E-9e.pdf In the air basin that you live in, which has a gazillion people, the local air district--not the EPA, or the State Air Resources Board, regulates not cooking oil, but smoking from cooking oil. My daughter and grandchildren are both asthmatic, I support that rule. Now you are against protecting public health? And, by the way, making it up as you go?
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