Texas Liberal

All People Matter

Recovery As An Act Both Of Rebuilding & Imagination —After Hurricane Ike Post #4

It’s evident enough to anybody in Houston that what we will narrowly define as “recovery” is still some weeks away from being completed. The restoration of power, cleaning of debris, and repair of homes and business places will be an involved process. 

( Above–Conditions as they were one week ago)  

For many school kids however, the gig may be up. Houston schools and the large suburban Cypress-Fairbanks school district will at least be partially open on Monday. The snow days I got as a kid were better than hurricane days I’d say. The snow would melt with little enough damage to people’s homes and lives.

In Houston, many traffic lights are still out or blinking red. Conversations I overhear on the street or in restaurants are still about who has power and who does not. Power may be on in a home, but the cable TV might still be out. 

Reports today from the island nation of Haiti show the effects of this year’s tropical storms and hurricanes, including Ike, on this poor part of the world. Floods have washed away much of the crops.

While most in Houston have taken the effects of Hurricane Ike in good stride, I wish we had the ability to better place events and problems in the fullest possible context. I say this about myself as well. We often don’t have much sense at all about what is a real problem and what is just a hassle.

In Galveston, of course, conditions are much worse than just a hassle.

At the top of this post I said we will likely use what I term a “narrow” definition of recovery to describe efforts to help Houston, Galveston, and other communities impacted by Ike. I say this because so much work was already needed in our communities to make the Houston area a more decent place to live.

I can’t place much trust in the same leaders and in the same civic structure, such as it is in Houston, that has so often been nowhere to be found when people need help.  

It would be great to see in upcoming weeks potential candidates for Mayor of Houston in next year’s election, such as Peter Brown and Annise Parker, outline a vision for Houston that helps people move away from being one bad hurricane away from economic and personal disaster. We know that before any hurricane, many in our area lived in what might as well be termed disaster conditions of poverty and hopelessness.

In Galveston, rebuilding must involve all people. It can’t be about just those who can build new and bigger homes more suitable to a weekend community. People are going to need a better Galveston for everyday living.

Recovery is about the needed work to fix things that are broken and blown away. It is also about the imagination required to help make our area better than what it was before the storm.

September 20, 2008 - Posted by | Galveston, Houston, Politics | , , , , , , ,

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