Friday, September 28, 2007

Hurricane survivors lose homes to tough luck approach

It's hard to believe that 2 years after the hurricane that hit the New Orleans area that there's still people living in makeshift trailers because there's still no permanent housing for them (despite the government's promise to help them find that). But these improvised homes are the only homes they have now - and now they're being taken away anyway.

States, counties, and cities along the Gulf Coast are now decreeing that these trailers must close and that the 70,000 families who live there have to leave. Matthew Avara, Republicon (sic) mayor of Pascagoula, Mississippi, boasts, "It's an act of tough love." No it isn't, Matthew. It's a tough luck approach, not a tough love approach. If you love the people, you don't take their homes away without warning when they have nowhere else to go.

Haven't hurricane survivors been through enough already (much of it at the hands of the government)? It's like the state and local governments are actually trying to make life rougher than it already is. I'm sure that's the case, because I've known for years that's been the main goal of the Far Right. "Tough love" is a conservative code phrase for soaking the poor. (They used it in the welfare "reform" debacle too.)

Residents of the trailers have to demonstrate progress in rebuilding or get rid of the trailers - but they can't show any progress because they still haven't received money that was promised to them by insurers and the government. Furthermore, the local governments' actions are an illegal government taking. Folks had been issued these trailers and had been authorized to use them. Besides, some of them are on the property where their houses once stood! Are the cities saying you can't even live on your own property now?

That's the type of thing the so-called property rights movement should be focusing on. Not wealthy beachfront property owners on Lake Huron who expect the government to give them their own beach for free.

The nationwide housing shortage has hit the Gulf Coast especially hard, so that makes things even tougher for those who survived the hurricane.

What's really miserable are the excuses used by officials in a futile attempt to justify closing the trailers. They accuse the trailers and their inhabitants of bringing crime, hampering recovery efforts, and creating an unsafe situation in bad weather. But almost nobody's dumb enough to believe this bullshit, and even fewer actually believe that kicking people out of their trailers and into the streets reduces crime or makes them safer from the weather.

Exurbia speaks (rather, screams until it gets its way) again.

Also, a note to news organizations: It's not proper protocol to copy each other's articles almost verbatim. That means you, Sun Myung Moon's UPI.


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