aftermath

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Leaving Ike Behind

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Eleven days after Ike headed north out of Texas, it’s time for me to remove my central Hurricane Ike Aftermath post from its sticky position at the top of aftermath, and let it recede into our past.

We’re not yet completely finished with Ike, not by a long shot.

Allstate is working really hard to make sure of that. After we made repeated fruitless calls attempting to get some action moving somewhere with our homeowners’ insurer, we were finally told, “Well, you do have your claim adjuster’s name and number….” Ummm, somewhere I must have missed Allstate’s new ESP policy, whereby the insured is supposed to simply know these things when nobody at Allstate cares to pass the information along. Meanwhile, our local agent remains completely AWOL, and this alleged claims agent is said to be “driving to Houston,” probably from Alaska or Brazil or some other distant location, and apparently without a cell phone or anyplace to stop where he could return our calls. How much would you like to bet that Allstate’s “good hands” will work really really fast once it comes time to trying to deny claims on all the additional damage being suffered by all the Houston homes that their neglect has been leaving exposed.

We’ve got fence and roof repairs to have done. And I’m still not comfortable turning that upstairs bathroom light on without having it looked at by a qualified electrician. But we still have upwards of two thirds of a million of our neighbors who don’t even have electricity restored yet, thousands who don’t even have homes left to light up, and countless other problems mounting up higher by the day.

And I had other issues on which I had wanted to waste time ranting and rambling. Criticism, for one. Sometimes I could have strangled some of the news reporters at some of the press conferences, whose criticism would have led absolutely nowhere, no matter what the answer was. In most instances, however, criticism was another way of saying, “Something very crucial is not getting done. It needs attention.” Once numbskulls like the Harris County judge got out of the comfort zone of his insulated bunker and got out here on his own to see the criticism to be real, worth attention, then things that should have already been moving finally started to.

And how unhelpful far too many officials were. From the lowest, epitomized by UH officials who dangerously rushed the decision for having students return to classes, all the way up to the very top. Too easily, the press bought off on the PR that President Bush visited Houston and Galveston. He did not. He met with a few officials at Ellington Field and Galveston, took a quick flyby over Galveston, and quickly left without so much as a glance at the 4th largest city of the nation he so poorly pretends to lead. “Mayor Bill White met with Mr. Bush on the tarmac at Ellington Field before the president flew home,” stated the Dallas Morning News. Sketch that picture more accurately, please. After Bush returned from Galveston, he strode as quickly as a man can do without breaking into a sprint, obviously anxious to get to Air Force One to get the hell out of town, overall spending less time in the region than the super-fast hurricane itself had spent. Mayor White had to literally run after the President like an unwanted stray dog, otherwise even that brief on-the-fly tarmac “meeting” would not have taken place.

Later, perhaps, some reassessment and preparation for that inevitable next time. For now, though, so long Ike.

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Written by macheide

24 September 2008 at 5:37 pm

Posted in Houstonian

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