Sunday, April 16, 2006

Let's Be Fair

I don’t necessarily think FEMA should be paying for the New Orleans citywide elections. However, it appears that the precedent has been set:

Secretary of State Al Ater wants to know why the federal government agreed to pay for New York City's municipal elections after Sept. 11, 2001, but refuses to pay for New Orleans' elections after Hurricane Katrina.

FEMA recently turned down Louisiana's request for the extra $3-4 million it will take to hold the April 22 New Orleans municipal elections, rescheduled in the wake of Hurricane Katrina.

But the agency shelled out $7.9 million after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks delayed New York City's elections.
So, if a few blocks of your city are destroyed by terrorists from another country, you get $7.9 million for elections.

If 80 percent of your city is flooded and half the population is displaced largely due to a “design failure” in the levees built by your own government, you get “$733,000 to replace destroyed voting machines and related equipment” – nothing to assist with the complications inherent in having an election under those circumstances. Of course, I would understand if, when the WTC towers collapsed, $7.9 million worth of voting machines and related equipment were destroyed. My guess is that didn’t happen.

Do I sound bitter? I am. So is the Secretary of State:
"After the election, I'm going to dedicate my life to this," Ater said. "I'm going to become very obsessive-compulsive about it."
In related news, FEMA will also not pay for voting machines to be placed in New Orleans Square in Disneyland. (As of this post, why hasn’t Kimberly Williamson Butler taken that photo down yet?)

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