I’ve listened to more comments on the Ike Dike than I care to imagine, but Harris “Shrub” Kempner’s did me in (“Columnist’s rationale on ring levee was specious,” The Daily News, Jan. 8). For some time, I’ve been wondering what our chamber of commerce, George P. Bush, and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers have in common.
Actually, I wasn’t wondering too much; I suspected it was money, or said another way, a concern for money. After Kempner’s column, I now know it’s money. All this time, I thought it was about safety.
Explain to me how islanders can shuttle William Merrell in their personal cars to give speeches, council can donate massive amounts of money for Ike Dike promotional tours to Amsterdam for our famous and wealthy, claim the dike is for the benefit of the Houston port and ship channel, and otherwise promote a $30 billion U.S. funded project and not expect that the engineering of it might fit to their initial demands instead of some “attractive” downgraded alternative?
What were you thinking folks? You must have been crazy to think our economics and tourist world would fit into sound construction of the monstrous project you fear-mongered about.
Between the chamber of commerce, the West End beachfront homeowners, Shrub and Merrell, we have a group of folks that don’t like the huge economic and cultural impact any design will make on this city. All I can say in response is “Duh!” 32 billion times.
They’re telling the folks who professionally design such hardened structures how to build and where to build. I find that one fact both terrifying and stupefying.
Here’s what I got so far from Shrub, et al: please let the cruise ships come with no inconvenience to the passengers; please put the wall in front of the beach houses and take what little remains of public beach for around $2 billion more; please don’t cut south down 103 Street because it would define west versus east in a horrible way (cashing in the north levees for funds to move the wall to the public beach doesn’t?); and please don’t build the north levee, because only the beach houses are worth saving. Oh, and make it pretty so people still want to come and pay/park on our seawall; eight more feet added to the seawall simply won’t do.
Here’s what I say to the corps: When 50 people die in a storm, not a single one of these wise men will end up on the hot seat in federal court — but you sure will. I don’t think a federal court judge will take “We built the chamber of commerce and Shrub Kempner’s plan, and it failed” as an excuse.
Build it in any way you see fit to make it as safe as possible. Engineer it so that it will not fail. Do what you have to do to let me, Shrub and Merrell live on this island with confidence. Don’t lure victims here with a weakened plan.
Or don’t build it at all.