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Four Color Politics

Mainly the Quotes of the Morning, with occasional Other Crap.

Friday, August 04, 2006

Quotes of the Morning: To Live and Die in LA

“For nearly two months, Dekotha Devall and her five children were the only people living in a 198-trailer FEMA park in Morgan City.
City officials say the Federal Emergency Management Agency spent about $7.5 million to build it — and question why the 30-acre Lake End Trailer Park in St. Mary Parish, with row upon row of shiny new trailers, remains almost empty three months after being built.
‘We all wonder why no one lives there. FEMA spent $7.5 million to build it: electricity, gas, water, sewer, a lift-station, roads,’ said Morgan City Mayor Timothy Matte. ‘There’s about 50 more new FEMA trailers in various mobile home parks around town, and no one lives in those, either. It doesn’t really make much sense.’
FEMA, which says 15 families live in the Lake End facility now, refuses to say how much was spent to build the park or why 183 of the trailers are vacant.
-The Advocate (LA), July 16, 2006

“Whine, whine, whine… Just because millions upon millions of dollars have been spent to build trailers for those people devastated last year by Hurricane Katrina, people seem to think that those trailers should actually be used. Nothing could be further from the truth. The government is just trying to take care of these people.”

“For nearly a year now, the ubiquitous FEMA trailer has sheltered tens of thousands of Gulf Coast residents left homeless by Hurricane Katrina. But there is growing concern that even as it staved off the elements, it was exposing its inhabitants to a toxic gas that could pose both immediate and long-term health risks.
The gas is formaldehyde, the airborne form of a chemical used in a wide variety of products, including composite wood and plywood panels in the thousands of travel trailers that the Federal Emergency Management Agency purchased after Katrina to house hurricane victims. It also is considered a human carcinogen, or cancer-causing substance, by the International Agency for Research on Cancer and a probable human carcinogen by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
Air quality tests of 44 FEMA trailers conducted by the Sierra Club since April have found formaldehyde concentrations as high as 0.34 parts per million – a level nearly equal to what a professional embalmer would be exposed to on the job, according to one study of the chemical’s workplace effects.”
-MSNBC, July 25, 2006

“See? If people actually lived in these they could get really, really sick. We can’t have that. The government is just trying to help these poor people by not allowing them to move into the trailers that were built to house them. And don’t worry.. The government is trying to avoid panic that might further endanger these poor people by making sure that this whole toxic trailer thing stays under wraps.”

“And FEMA rules make it hard for reporters to talk freely to the few park residents about life there. During an interview in one trailer, a security guard knocked on the door, ordered the reporter out and eventually called police, saying residents aren’t allowed to talk to the media in the park.
Similar rules were enforced in Plaquemines Parish, where 242 new travel trailers in a FEMA park in Davant recently were empty. Security guards there allowed a reporter and photographer to drive through the two side-by-side parks, but ordered them not to talk to anyone or take pictures.”
-The Advocate (LA), July 16, 2006

“The restriction about talking to the press was lifted a few days back because it kind of, you know, sounded bad, but sometimes these things have a way of sorting themselves out.”

“A fire has engulfed a FEMA trailer, claiming the life of a Cameron Parish evacuee who lost her home during Hurricane Rita. The victim had previously gone to the news media with concerns about the trailer's safety. The fire's cause is unknown.
The Calcasieu Parish Coroner's Office identified the victim as 51-year-old Ellen Schools. Carlyss Fire Chief Jude Savoie says Wednesday's fire was heavily involved when firefighters arrived.
Schools had expressed problems with the FEMA trailer in the past. In May, she spoke to Lake Charles television station KPLC about exposure to formaldehyde in the two-bedroom mobile home. She said the exposure was causing headaches, a sore throat and sinus problems.
According to the report, Schools said FEMA suggested that she open her windows to alleviate the problem.
A FEMA official had no comment about whether Schools had reported problems in the past. He did say, however, that a FEMA safety group is investigating the fire.”
-Associated Press, August 3, 2006

“No one is claiming foul play though.. Sometimes these things just happen.”

“A recent outbreak of fires in FEMA trailers have sparked worries that the campers are risky to live in, especially when multiple electrical appliances are running at once.
But fire officials say as long as trailer occupants remain careful and vigilant, there shouldn’t be a reason for the camper to catch fire or explode.
There have been four trailer fires in three weeks in Terrebonne Parish. The fires have resulted in one death, another close call, and more pain and agony for families already suffering from not being able to live at home since the hurricanes
The problem is not unique to Terrebonne Parish. At least four other trailer fires have occurred in Louisiana, Mississippi and Texas. One local fire chief said he’s heard the number of trailer fires has topped 40, though the state Fire Marshal’s Office does not have a current count.
With the temperatures heating up people are cranking up air conditioners in the FEMA trailers, Quint Liner said. While occasion air conditioner use may be all right, constantly using the air-conditioning system could be problematic.
‘The air conditioning draws down a lot of juice,’ he said. ‘When people also flip on the television and computers, that’s a lot for the electric system to handle.’
Reech agreed the circuits can only handle so much electricity before they risk shorting.”
-The Courier (LA), April 24, 2006

“Really there is no one to blame. If these poor folks in Louisiana would just stop using air conditioning this summer in their formaldehyde-filled trailers this wouldn’t be a problem. They just don’t seem to be grateful enough for all that the government is doing for them.”


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