Hey People: It’s Not Just Us

Aug 16, 2008 by

Go figure, people are people warts and all no matter where you go. This one is the first of many dedicated to those who continue to excoriate us rather than assist. It is not a hand out that we want or need. It is a hand up.

In that spirit allow me to shout about whats going on in Iowa. For them it is a manner of weeks since their flood, not the years we have had to navigate the dilirium, for them the red tape and greed factors are only just rearing their heads.

Via Iowa’s Gazette Online (hat tip to the inimitable Karen Gadbois for the this first one):

CEDAR RAPIDS — Three more residents have been accused of fraudulently claiming to be flood victims in order to receive money from the American Red Cross — taking more than $3,000 in assistance.

Patrice Howard, 36, and Willie Morris, 38, both of 1200 First Ave. SE, Apt. 1, were arrested this week on charges of second-degree theft, police said.

On June 21, the two gave Red Cross officials their previous address of 1806 M St. SW and said they lost their home in the flood. Investigators later found that house was not damaged by the flood.

For those keeping count that make seven so far in Cedar Rapids. I really feel for them, even a pale spectral version of what happened to our Crescent City is more than I would wish on anyone. It is close enough however that I can see the same pattern of news stories developing: thievery, red tape, failure of infrastructure. Just like home in that respect.

Wait, did I say red tape? Lets check back in on the Gazette, different article this time:

I called up John Gillick, who was flooded out of his house on 10th Street NW two months ago this week. His home was trashed, his Ellis Harbor boathouse was smashed, and the cops had his flooded car towed before he could get back into his neighborhood. He’s given up trying to get it back.

Still, Gillick is remarkably positive. I caught up with him Wednesday morning as he and his wife were moving into a Federal Emergency Management Agency trailer in Hiawatha.

“It’s good and it’s bad,” said Gillick, who’s happy to have a place to live but laments how he got here. “At least it’s a place to stay.”

He figures the decision to pull out dozens of moldy FEMA trailers extended his wait for housing. “Tell Patty Judge thanks,” one of his moving helpers yells, referring to the lieutenant governor’s snap, late-night order last month to remove the tainted trailers.

Gillick’s house also has been on a bureaucratic roller-coaster ride. First it was yellow-carded. Then yellow turned to that infamous shade of purple. Then, for some reason, purple turned back to yellow. He’s weighing the costs of rebuilding or renovation or putting in a modular home. But for now, like a lot of people, he’s just waiting for the feds, state and city to make some key decisions.

Right now Katrina is on everyone’s mind (at least here on the Gulf where there is no choice), in the spirit of generosity shown to us by those who came from states away to help while the official effort floundered I would like to advise readers to remember all the victims of infrastructure failure across the country.

Levees are everywhere.

-Loki, HumidCity Founder

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