Wednesday, September 17, 2008

PostHeaderIcon Competence Not Cronyism

It's funny how the national media's attention has pretty much moved on from the aftermath of Hurricane Ike.

Why?

The lack of drama? Not enough personal stories of utter tragedy? Lack of visuals?

Or is the loss of Galveston and surrounding coastal cities & towns just not enough? How much more destruction in Houston would be "newsworthy"?

I think there may be several factors -- along with disaster fatigue.

First and foremost: the competence of local officials.

Mayor White and County Judge Emmett have taken the lead on the recovery -- and the planning for this along with their particular competencies (and working relationship) have made sure that even the ongoing bureaucratic incompetencies of FEMA have been compensated for.

Think about it -- as of today, the fourth largest city and third largest metropolitan area in the U.S. was hit by a major hurricane (with an IKE rating higher than Katrina or Andrew) on Saturday. Within 1 week, the city is coming back to life -- and in an orderly manner.

Those aren't the kind of visuals that would match with the drama of New Orleans drowning.

Galveston, Boliver, Gilcrest and all the other coastal communities are lost for the most part. Galveston may return as a smaller town -- probably getting back to being mostly a seasonal community like it was when my family first moved to Texas back in the early 70's. That story has yet to be truly seen and told because no one can get there easily yet. (Unfortunately, the story may come too late after the national media's attention has all but moved on.)

I think that there's also a fundamental ignorance across this country about Houston and the key role our city plays in the nation's economy -- crude & refined products, natural gas, the Port of Houston, space, etc.. So we're essentially ignored.

Been there, done that -- and we'll get through this as we always do: with aplomb and grace and competence.

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