Monday, October 25, 2010

Seems Fort Worth politicians don't own the Trinity River

Neither do Dallas ones.  Don't miss the Dallas Observer's latest.  And don't miss the similarities in WHO all is involved in the Trinity River Vision and WHY?

Different city, same questions - WHO is being put in harm's way?  WHO is paying?  WHO profits?  WHY?

That's why this mess about the levees along the Trinity River is proving to be so personally difficult for Leppert and for Neumann, who is chairman of the city council's Trinity River Committee.

At the council meeting, Leppert and Neumann started riffing—again! for the third time in three days—about how furious they are with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. They say the corps keeps changing the rules on them, coming up with new requirements that delay repairs to the levee system. The levees are supposed to protect the city from flooding.

The levee problem is a huge deal. The city is up against a deadline next year. If the levees can't be fixed by then, an official notice will go out telling people that a major swath of the city, including some of the most valuable buildings downtown and near downtown, are subject to being wiped out in future floods.

Who knew?

Not the people who built the buildings. Not the people who put up the money to build the buildings. Not the people who own them now. They were told their investments were safe. For years the corps told everybody that the Trinity River levees were not only OK but excellent.

But then you have to remember: The corps is in the levee-building business. They sell levees. The corps is a half-civilian offshoot of the Army. It has to go out and drum up business.

The corps telling you that the levees they just sold you are in excellent shape is like a salesman telling you that the car he just sold you is excellent. The big wake-up would be if he said anything different.

But after Katrina, the rules changed. Congress directed the corps to go out, survey all of the nation's flood control levees and then come back and tell the truth about them.

So in April 2009, the corps came back to Dallas and said the levees along the Trinity River were not excellent any more. Actually, not good. In fact, no good. Specifically, worthless.

Without some kind of major repair or even replacement, according to the corps, the levees along the Trinity cannot be counted on to protect people from a catastrophic flood.  Actually, even from a big flood. In fact, from any flood.

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