|Is Obama All Wet? |
No mention of flooding in 2012
State of the Union
Obama's lack of focus on New Jersey's flooding disaster stood in stark contrast to the President Bush's 2006 State of the Union following Hurricane Katrina, in which he committed not only the $85 billion already paid out to the Gulf Coast, but further action to increase upward mobility in the region and to eliminate factors which had contributed to the disaster.
It would be wrong to ignore Obama's positive comments about the need to update our national infrastructure, to end the bi-partisan rift which has prevented political progress in the last year, and to revive Works Public Administration style projects, but those sitting on second hand couches watching his speech amid the plaster dust of their newly repaired family rooms want to know how any of that is going to help them when they're knee deep in river water 6 weeks from today.
In New Jersey, flooding has become the 3rd eternal standard, joining taxes and death. Quite frankly, no amount of jobs, solar panels, or public education is going to stand between people's homes and the rivers if federal funding is not devoted to finding a flood fix.
Obama also has a hard sell in New Jersey this upcoming election season: a state with dense pockets of strong Democratic influence throughout its numerous liberal urban strongholds proved it can still break red with its election of Governor Christie, the state's first Republican Governor in 5 terms. With that in the mix, one wonders if the president-candidate has underestimated the need to court voters in New Jersey or simply feels he doesn't need the state at all?
Federal funding, if acquired, would be key to finding a long-term fix to flooding in New Jersey. While the National Flood Insurance Policy has been well equipped to pay for repairs after the flooding, reservoir management legislation can help ease regional flooding, and the creation of additional flood stores can alleviate local flooding, a massive influx of federal cash is what's required to undertake a huge infrastructure project such as a flood tunnel or levee system to end flooding once and for all. This is exactly the project which has been recommended by those appointed by Governor Christie to address flooding. Unfortunately, for 2012 and perhaps even this presidency, that hope may have just gone down with the ship.
Full text of President Obama's 2012 State of the Union Speech here:
Christopher Lotito is a member of the Pequannock Environmental, Historic District, and Flood Control Advisory Commissions as well as the author of "Torrent," a book about flooding in the region. Lotito's personal mission is to reduce new taxes, drastically reduce flooding, and preserve more green spaces for our children. Christopher Lotito Profile