Wednesday, November 23, 2005

words of wisdom from Carl Hiaasen

God I could not have said this better myself............I love Carl Hiaasen.
These words of wisdom were written by Carl Hiaasen published originally in the Miami Herald and then picked up by many other papers at a later date.
Reminder Mr. Hiaasen lives in Islamorada which is the Upper Keys.

When will we be ready for the next one? Never

With its usual foresight and timeliness, the Florida Legislature is now grappling with the issue of hurricane preparedness.
We all know what that means: absolutely nothing.
The Democrats are blaming the Republicans for the halting response to Hurricane Wilma, and the Republicans are blaming the citizens for not heeding calls to be ready.
There's a breath of truth in both arguments -- and plenty of hot air.
The fact is, urban South Florida will never be prepared for a major hurricane. The idea of evacuating six million people is ludicrous, and the vast majority will be either stuck on the highways or stuck in their homes.
If a slow-moving Category 4 or 5 storm strikes head-on any place from West Palm Beach to South Miami, plan on mass destruction, long-term shortages of fuel and food, disorder in the streets and, of course, darkness.
There's no other possible scenario, unless they bulldoze the whole peninsula, boot everybody out and start over. Catastrophic mistakes have literally been set in concrete, as has our fate.
How many cities and counties in South Florida govern development with future hurricanes in mind? The road systems are designed purely to feed growth. High-rises and subdivisions are mapped to maximize density.
The result is sprawl, suffocating congestion and -- when the storm hits -- the collapse of an overburdened infrastructure. Big surprise.
For decades the state's governors and legislative leaders have avidly encouraged reckless coastal growth, beholden as they've been to mega-developers, road builders, banks and others getting rich from cramming more people into Florida.
Now our lawmakers sit around, scrounging for somebody to blame for the havoc caused by Hurricane Wilma. What boneheads.
I love the comments from Sen. Alex Díaz de la Portilla of Miami and Sen. Paula Dockery of Lakeland. They say Floridians need to take more personal responsibility for hurricane preparation.
Are you slackers listening? Next time a tropical storm is brewing, rush out and buy your 72 hours worth of food, ice and D batteries. You'll be just fine after the storm hits.
For 72 measly hours at least. After that, good luck.
And here come the Democrats, carping about the Federal Emergency Management Agency and demanding to know why some supply trucks didn't get where they were supposed to go. Sure, there was some bungling and confusion, but it's hard to envision a smooth operation in the absence of traffic signals and fuel for the relief vehicles.
Meanwhile, Florida Power & Light has been asked to explain how so many of its substations got knocked out, and why so many of its power poles snapped like matchsticks, leaving more than 3.2 million people in the dark.
The utility probably isn't taking the inquiry too seriously, having been awarded last week a whopping rate increase of 20.6 percent for the average residential customers. Interestingly, the company had asked for less.
It was with the same unbridled generosity that the so-called Public Service Commission earlier decided that FPL should be handsomely compensated for revenues lost from the massive outages caused by the 2004 hurricanes.
So, even though your electricity was off, the meter was still running.
Many thousands of private businesses took huge hits from Wilma, yet only a select few are being rescued by our concerned leaders in Tallahassee.
Take Citizens Property Insurance, the shambling, state-run outfit that will likely receive a humongous rate hike, including increased assessments on innocent policy holders using other coverage.
Citizens was set up because real insurance companies were bailing out of Florida, which wasn't unexpected.
Only gamblers or fools would write windstorm policies in Hurricane Central, so it's fitting that the state leapt into the void.
You won't be shocked to learn that Citizens is teetering toward insolvency, with losses projected to exceed $1 billion. To bail out South Florida's largest home insurer, we'll all be opening our wallets.
See, it's not just the next hurricane we should prepare for. It's the inevitable reaming that follows.
Wilma wasn't a cataclysmic event on the scale of Katrina smashing the Gulf Coast. It was a Cat 1 storm swiftly raking across an insanely overpopulated swampland.
Imagine a hurricane exponentially stronger, and slower. Imagine sustained winds of 120 mph instead of 85 mph. Imagine four feet of rainfall and streets flooded for weeks.
When the big one arrives -- the really big one -- plan on the pits. Plan on devastation. Plan on mayhem. Plan on bungling by those who've been telling you how to plan. And plan on way more than 72 hours of grief and gouging.
Be prepared, they're warning us. Next time, you'd better be prepared. Know how to prepare? Stock up on Prozac, that's how.
Because it's going to be real bad, both miserable and tragic, and there's nothing to be done except wait.

No comments: