Friday, September 09, 2005

Katrina Breeds Hypocrisy

The horror that was Katrina and the horror that is the aftermath can only be exceeded by the hypocrisy spewing from the mouths of politicians of both parties. Two US Congressmen from Florida each raised hypocrisy to the level of a political anthem the other day. Each purports to represent districts in Florida. One I vote for and the other is only a district away. Each ranted about the necessity to find out the who and why the dikes surrounding New Orleans have not been strengthened in recent years.

Now, I would like to point out that the 2nd largest fresh water lake (after Lake Michigan) in the United States is Lake Okeechobee in Florida. It is surrounded by a 150 mile, 40-45 foot dike. This was built in the early 1930’s after a hurricane caused Lake O to flow over its banks. The result was 2300 plus deaths. At that time the total population of South Florida was only 50,000. That dike is apparently nothing more than piled up dirt, mud, sand, and pieces of rock and broken pieces of concrete. In other words, the contents of any “clean dirt” dump. There are no concrete supporting structures. It continually springs leaks which are patched using materials stocked and spaced nearby around the lake. The problem I have with that is that I can’t imagine repairs being attempted in winds exceeding one hundred miles per hour. Lake O is shallow and covers almost 700 square miles. In an ordinary breeze it can whip up some good size waves. The Army Corps of Engineers says that it is “highly unlikely” that a Category 5 hurricane would reach 30 miles inland to Lake O. The winds of the 1928 storm were estimated to hit the lake with winds of 140 miles per hour. The South Florida Water Management District allows as how it is remotely possible a hurricane could overwhelm the dike. In any event, the Corps says that rebuilding the dike to provide assurance would be “too expensive”. I hope Messrs Wexler and Foley are comfortable that their districts will not become the New Orleans of the future given their lack of action at home.


Marilyn said...

Well said.

east village idiot said...

How the heck can we build infrastructure in other countries when we aren't tending to our own?