Thursday, September 30, 2021


They're not even pretending to be fair:
Houston, epicenter of Harvey damage, still would get $0 under Texas' latest disaster aid plan

Harris County and the city of Houston this week blasted the Texas General Land Office’s revised plan for distributing billions in federal Hurricane Harvey aid, saying that while it is an improvement over the $0 the state originally awarded the local governments, it still is woefully inadequate.

Mayor Sylvester Turner and Steve Costello, Houston’s chief recovery officer, said in a letter Wednesday that GLO’s proposal to send $750 million to Harris County and still nothing to Houston ignores what Congress wanted when lawmakers approved the aid package for Texas in 2019 — to help communities devastated by [Hurricane] Harvey.
We're told that Harris County, which includes Houston, "has about half of all the residents in the 49 counties eligible for the funds" -- but the county is receiving 17% of the federal money (none going directly to the city of Houston).
A Houston Chronicle investigation found that the scoring criteria GLO used discriminated against populous areas and that the state disproportionately steered aid to inland counties with a lower risk of disasters than coastal ones most vulnerable to hurricanes and flooding. Land Commissioner George P. Bush claimed falsely that federal rules were to blame for the result.
The right has ideologically dominated America for more than forty years. It appears that it will dominate America forever. That's not so bad if, like me, you live in a part of the country that resists conservative hegemony. New York? New England? We'll be okay.

But what can non-coastal cities do? They tend to be liberal, yet they're stuck in right-wing states all across the Midwest, South, and non-coastal West.

I work for a company that's still allowing its employees to do their jobs from home. We're scattered, but we're one company. If that's possible, why couldn't there be states made up of several far-flung liberal metropolitan areas? Why should Houston and Dallas have to be part of Texas? Why should Oklahoma City have to be part of the state of Oklahoma? These cities could be like West Berlin, which was physically situated in the midst of Cold War East Germany but wasn't under communist rule.

I know this will never happen. But the fact that it will never happen means millions of urban heartlanders will never have a state government that truly represents them.

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