Friday, February 10, 2012

Evacuations And Quality Of Life

The Florida Department of Economic Opportunity was recently created by the state's governor, the one with the lowest popularity poll numbers in the history of these things, and those numbers seem likely to sink further in the Florida Keys.

The new state agency has come out in favor of lots more development in the Keys reversing a trend supported by the former Department of Community Affairs which used to try to slow down development in the Keys, an area of special state concern.

The idea is that state bean counters are supposed to figure out how many people can get out of the Keys in the hours before a hurricane lands and wrecks everything and that number is supposed to limit how many residential and commercial units can be built in the islands. That seems a sensible and simple enough formula to determine how much ravaging can be done on these small lumps of rock.

But it turns out those sneaky bean counters have figured out a way to ignore reality and realign things to the needs of developers. They now say lots of people don't evacuate from the Keys so we can assume lots won't and the highway won't be as clogged so we can build more and not worry.

Well that's a theory. It will be interesting to see what happens when we get one of those once a century category five direct hits when everybody does evacuate. There will be lots of recriminations afterward.

I remember when I lived in California winter storms would cause mud slides and homes would be washed away. The destitute occupants would announce proudly they would rebuild in exactly the same spot. Good job fellas, that way you know you will wash out again sooner or later.

Sooner or later is the defining paradigm of natural disasters. Sooner or later... The other amusing note comes from the governor's office once again, the ministry of magic.

There is this insurance company in Florida, publicly owned called Citizens and it was formed because free market capitalists declared Florida too risky and they all buggered off. So we got a state owned insurance company that has done quite nicely and has amassed, against the odds, sufficient billions to cover us for assorted hazards and all without wasting a red cent on a dividend or executive bonus.

Guess what? Free market capitalists observing the dearth of hurricanes for the past few years now want to get their hands on that cash cow and are asking Governor Cretin to disband Citizens. And I'm pretty sure he will because we elected a public servant who never saw a public service he believed in.

I wish North Dakota were a more benign place to live. They have no banking or loan crisis in North Dakota, they have a publicly owned bank. Almost as good as publicly owned home insurance.
Mind you this blog would look pretty silly: Bismark Diary indeed.

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