The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

Viewpoint-Disaster comparisons favor fiery California

By André Green/managing editor

As the wildfires in Southern California started spreading, relocation plans were quickly implemented.

Football stadiums, hotels and even military bases were used as evacuation points for displaced residents while more than 5,500 firefighters and volunteers battled the blazes.

The wildfires began Sunday, Oct. 21. The evacuations were running smoothly by Tuesday: just two days later and without significant warning.

But hours before Hurricane Katrina was to make landfall, many of the city’s inhabitants were still in their homes or trapped in New Orleans.

Many were without transportation or had neither the means nor a place to evacuate.

As the “evacuees” from California found refuge in places that provided them free breakfast and toiletries, the “refugees” from New Orleans were packed into airtight stadiums and convention centers, left to survive on what, in most cases, was only what they could bring with them.

After California was declared a disaster, President Bush pledged support, which arrived immediately.

This was in two days.

One news report showed firefighters placing their trucks in the driveways of undamaged homes in order to save them in the event the fires closed in.

However, for more than a week, the president and his administration were warned of the potential damage Katrina could cause if and when she struck.

The priority was on saving oil rigs instead of preparing to save lives.

The priority in California is to save possible campaign contributors, lavish homes and multi-million dollar tourist attractions.

The president toured the area Thursday, four days after the fires began. He had to tear himself away from an extended vacation in Crawford during the nation’s worst national disaster in history just to do a fly-over four days later.

Following the submersion of the Crescent City, help still did not come fast enough as more than 1,500 lost their lives because of incompetence. On the contrary, as more than 240,000 acres burned and thousands of homes were lost, so far only eight people have been reported killed.

Where are the critics who questioned why the poorer people of New Orleans continue to stay in a “basin” while California’s well to do remain in a tinderbox? More than $1 billion is spent on fire suppression each year, with much of it going to victims to rebuild. For all the money donated to the victims of Katrina, only one-third of the city’s inhabitants have returned while some funds still remain unaccounted for. (See Blackwater.)

Kanye West was incorrect when he proclaimed the president doesn’t care about black people. No, this country doesn’t care about its poor.

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