Thursday, November 05, 2009

Floods, Bread, and Circuses. The wealthy remodel. The real victims are overlooked.

Anyone who suffers any form of perceived loss, such as what has resulted from the recent floods in Atlanta, deserves compassion. Especially so for those in counties like Douglas and in North Georgia where they were taken by surprise.

What I do not understand is why anyone living along Peachtree Creek or the Chattahoochee River is surprised they have been flooded? This is isn't global warming. This is not new. This is not even a 100 year flood, much less a 20 year flood.

Though reported as the "Worst in Recorded History", the flooding which made all the headlines around Buckhead & Vinings occurs every 6-8 years. The event is appropriately deemed the "worst" owing to the flooding in the outlying counties which was widespread and unanticipated. People actually died in the outlying areas. People in Buckhead got to remodel. 

For ITP ATL, the flooding is a result of inadequate infrastructure to offset for the impermeable ground cover generated by development. Point the fingers at developers and you would be wrong. They build detention ponds according to code. They are shaken down for exorbitant impact fees in City of Atlanta. Those impact fees get funnelled into a general fund. The funds do not usually end up building infrastructure to offset the increased run off. Point the fingers at the municipal authorities. They have the inadequate codes. They misallocated the money. It is their responsibility to manage "proper" growth in their jurisdiction.

As for my fellow ITP residents, they already know the drill. Researching a given property using FEMA's website or will demonstrate the frequency and severity of flooding. The FEMA insurance rating should be a BOLD type hint. The main reason ITP houses were on national news is that it makes a much better photo opp to show a 1 million plus home 10 feet deep in chocolate soup. Meanwhile, the areas where people died lies 25 miles to the west of the homes on the news. 

Filming a flooded field where the livestock were swept away does not show well in a film. It is just a flooded field. They could not capture the action of the animals drowning, or the farmers attempting to save them. Showing the tail lights of a car that was swept away does not convey the action. They missed the chance to film the action of a person and their child dying.  What is left? An enormous mansion covered in muck for days. That is action. Someone lost their stuff in the first floor of their McMansion. 

These are the linkely choices news editors made when picking mansions for the news, instead of depicting the tragedy of real loss. That would be too much like work? The public wants action and drama. Given them "Bread and Circuses". "Let them eat cake". 

I have heard it said from joggers at Memorial Park, "People who live here must see it as a way to redecorate their houses at least once over 10 years, at the insurance company's expense." 

The insurance companies & FEMA Flood Insurance enable these people to rebuild, in the very same location, over and over again.

Intown residents chose their own hell. Call the contractor and decorators! Reserve a suite at the Four Seasons! We are remodeling the house with insurance money! Whee! Chaaarge It! 

Our ITP neighbors enjoyed all the headlines. The outlying county residents suffered huge losses, and some lost their lives.  Those are the ones who really are in hell. We don't see pictures of their "Gates of Hell", just the fancy mansions that are well-insured.

From my memory, these are the large recent floods for Buckhead over the last 20 years: 1990, 1994 (opel, 2004 (Ivan?), 2009

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