Monday, September 26, 2005

Is Mother Bush running the Katrina resettlement?

Nixing the plan by Housing and Urban Development that would have quickly placed Katrina evacuees into homes, the Bush Administration and FEMA instead plan to create trailer ghettos where the evacuees can all await the arrival of the next hurricane. Instead of placing these traumatized people into actual homes and apartments within actual communities, FEMA is purchasing (at 60 percent greater cost to taxpayers!) dumpy trailers to be clustered in some dumpy parking lot somewhere. I didn’t even coin the term “ghetto”; Newt Gingrich did:

“The idea that … we would put [Katrina evacuees] in [trailer] ghettos with no jobs, no community, no future, strikes me as extraordinarily bad public policy, and violates every conservative principle that I’m aware of,” said former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, a Republican. “If they do it,” Gingrich said of administration officials, “they will look back on it six months from now as the greatest disaster of this administration.” (LA Times, Sept. 23, 2005)

The LA Times article also notes the discrepancy between the treatment of the Katrina evacuees and those who were made homeless by the 1994 Northridge earthquake, and were placed into homes and apartments, as HUD was originally going to do for the Katrina evacuees, until this plan was nixed by the Bush Administration.

Once again, if the evacuees were from Hilton Head or Martha’s Vineyard or Maui, does anyone think for one nanosecond that they’d be relegated to a dumpy-trailer-ghetto? The actions of this administration are so glaringly reflective of their attitudes toward race and class that it’s a wonder we’re not all blinded. Or, perhaps many of us are.

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