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Ear to the Ground

Floods Fall, Anger Rises

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Posted on Jun 27, 2008
midwest flood
AP photo / Jeff Roberson

The recent floods in Iowa hit many of the same areas that a 1993 flood destroyed. The photo above shows downtown Cedar Rapids on June 12.

After the past weeks’ disastrous floods, many in the rural Midwest are looking to the government not with gratitude but animosity. Folks in towns that requested levees back in 1993 were left, paradoxically, high and dry by the Army Corps of Engineers, which required small communities to pay more than $1 million for flood barriers.


Los Angeles Times:

After the great floods of 1993 swamped this tiny town in eastern Iowa, Mike Luck begged the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to help protect it from future disasters.

Corps officials responded that this community of fewer than 700 residents probably would have to chip in more than $1 million to help build the federally engineered levee system it sought, the former mayor recalled.

Unable to raise the funds, New Hartford built an earthen berm, which breached recently when Beaver Creek flooded, part of the widespread flooding in six Midwestern states.

“There was no way we could get that kind of money pulled together for a levee,” Luck said. “It took this town more than three years of bake sales and barbecues to raise enough money for new playground equipment.

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By Conservative Yankee, June 30, 2008 at 4:44 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

By purplewolf, June 29 at 3:25 pm

“As for the people having to take down some of the extra height they build up onto the levees, it proves it needed to be left in place and probably even higher. Those idiots that ordered the height lowered should be held accountable for at least half of the damage expenses, but really it should be for all expenses. Creeping incompetence runs amok again!”

I know this looks like something it is not. The height of the levees is a ticklish balancing act. build the levees high in one spot, and sacrifice levees not so high downstream. Levees on one side of the river are ofter different heights and construction than on the other side. build a high concrete levee and the dirt and sand ones fail.

You are not diong a good thing building strong concrete levees along the entire river, because the flood waters which swamp homes and ruin crops are also the reason the Mississippi river valley is so very fertile.

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By purplewolf, June 29, 2008 at 4:25 pm Link to this comment

If only Iowa were Iraq. There would be plenty of money to throw at its problems. That is where this government’s priorities have laid the past 2 terms of Bushco Inc.

As for the people having to take down some of the extra height they build up onto the levees, it proves it needed to be left in place and probably even higher. Those idiots that ordered the height lowered should be held accountable for at least half of the damage expenses, but really it should be for all expenses. Creeping incompetence runs amok again!

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By guillaume, June 29, 2008 at 2:58 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Why exactly do we keep on building in flood plains or below sea-leave?
And why should the rest of us subsidize this kind of behavior?

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Outraged's avatar

By Outraged, June 29, 2008 at 10:16 am Link to this comment

Re: By Peter, June 28

Good one….!  It seems like that to me too.

Re: Conservative Yankee

In the past, it was suggested that the government buy all the lands along the Mississippi and develop the area, minimally of course, into a National Parkway.  This is the best proposition overall. In this way, “the people” who have paid for its acquisition would have access to its benefits. Obviously there would still be issues with flooding in and around towns and cities along the “Mighty Mississippi”. These could be addressed with a gradual “redevelopment” of these properties into parkways also.  I did a quick google search concerning the floods in the nineties and found the following article.  It was interesting.  Now I’m confused is it hindsight or foresight that’s 20/20…

http://mvs-wc.mvs.usace.army.mil/papers/paper1/paper1.html

Check out the map link there (figure 1).  It highlights the magnitude of the flooding issue.

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By steve talbert, June 29, 2008 at 8:53 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

the $1,000,000 asked by the Core.  People also complain about lack of insurance after the fact.  Same thing with the complainers who live in fire-prone Malibu and Hurricane Miami.. they want us to pay for their insurance/rebuilding yet they don’t give us part of their profits on their real estate.  They need to pay their fare share of what they use.  Increasing individual profits is not a common good.

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By Conservative Yankee, June 28, 2008 at 12:11 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Those levees were placed by the ACOE they have already been paid for by taxpayers. The smart move would be for the government to buy all the land in the flood plain and rent it out to farming on the years it is not under water.

rebuilding the same houses year after year is plain foolishness.

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By Alan, June 28, 2008 at 9:14 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

An idea straight out of the dark ages: privatize everything.
There is a reason we belong to a society and trade some freedoms for security.
If you’d trust a private co. to build flood walls you’d fly in the space shuttle with busting out O-rings.
The old joke about astronauts being so brave b/c they fly in something that is built by the lowest bidder applies.

We deserve better.

As far as levees go, its a joke- we should be building flood plains so the water empties into fields that are rec areas the rest of the time. Look at the pattern- flood levees fail all along the Cedar River, do we expect them to sustain further downstream? If there were diverted flood plains- purposeful ones, not “500” yr. b.s., the problem wouldn’t build as it flows downstream it would be averted upriver. We wouldnt have flooded fields and homes/businesses damaged we’d have a temporary wetlands that would actually clean the watershed.

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By Peter, June 28, 2008 at 9:05 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Seems to me, God is showing the American People the ineptitude and cronyism of Mr.Bush and the GOP in general.

God is a progressive.

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By troublesum, June 28, 2008 at 4:18 am Link to this comment

Ed Harges and Karen won’t be laughing when disaster strikes their communities.  This lack of compassion for fellow citizens has been carefully implanted and nourished in the public sphere by those who benefit from it and it is the reason why in New Orleans whole neighborhoods are still deserted.  Ridiculing the victims is to be expected from right wing radio hosts, not from people at TD.

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By troublesum, June 28, 2008 at 4:02 am Link to this comment

This is planned destruction.  Read about the “shock doctrine” on this page.  It is not an accident that the infrastructure of the country is disintegrating.
Fear, insecurity, confusion, and every man for himself is what they want.

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Ed Harges's avatar

By Ed Harges, June 27, 2008 at 8:55 pm Link to this comment

Well, all you “Heartland” conservatives, are you enjoying your freedom from “guvmint interference”?

Are you remembering how much you admired Reagan’s wit when he said things like, “The nine most terrifying words in the English language are: ‘I’m from the government and I’m here to help’ “?

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By ocjim, June 27, 2008 at 7:31 pm Link to this comment

From January of 1995 up until January of 2007 the Republicans had a majority (exception of Senate in 2001). So the request for anything to help the people, let alone levees in 1993, would find deaf ears. It has taken a long time but perhaps people have finally determined that voting Republican is against their own self interest.

Of course, the Dems were getting blase and corrupt by the time the Repubs took over but the Repubs really showed us what corruption is.

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By Karen, June 27, 2008 at 3:15 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Surely American citizens in the Midwest were not expecting all of us to help pay for their levees!  Wouldn’t that make them socialized levees?  What could they be thinking?!

Red-blooded, patriotic Americans won’t allow socializing anything in the USofA—well, except for bailing out failing big corporations, such as Long-Term Capital Management.  But, after all, the failure of something as big as LTCM would hurt the economy (or dip into the pocket change of a few Fat Cats) and we certainly can’t let that happen, now can we?

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By cyrena, June 27, 2008 at 2:03 pm Link to this comment

This one…since 1993. How many others, and for how long?

How many levees, bridges, roads, pipes, lakes, rivers, bays, and on and on. Our infrastructure has been crumbling for decades, and the ‘government’ has continued to say…you’re on your own. Fix it yourselves. Yeah, Yeah, we’ll come out and give you a free estimate, (Army Corps of Engineers) just like we did years before Katrina and Rita wiped out the US Gulf Coast. But that’s it. We’ll do the estimate, and then you can just find a way to scrounge up the money to pay for the work. We’ll even provide a list of private contractors that will do it for you, at 3 times what it should actually cost.

Speaking of which…a community to just the north of me, (SLO County) has recently begun upgrading and expanding their airport facilities. Extra runways, gates, etc, etc. It took them a while to get the money together, by selling bonds and obtaining loans, and all of the standard stuff. No sooner did they start the work, 2 of the major airlines that they were hoping to accommodate with the expansion, simply decided to pull out of that city/airport, and cease their operations there. American Air/Eagle and Delta.

So, that put a couple of hundred people out of work in that community, and I’m sure both airlines laid off more workers as well. (of course that’s been on-going, since airlines have been closing down like so many crack houses). And of course the community is left underserved in terms of transportation.

More of what we’ve come to know for a long time now. The government is the corporations, and the corporations are the government, and this whole enterprise (including us) exists only to serve THEIR interests.

Ghost Town USA on the rise? Or maybe just Tent City USA? Are we going back to the good old days of the ‘founding’ colonies?

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