Rebuilding Place in the Urban Space

"A community’s physical form, rather than its land uses, is its most intrinsic and enduring characteristic." [Katz, EPA] This blog focuses on place and placemaking and all that makes it work--historic preservation, urban design, transportation, asset-based community development, arts & cultural development, commercial district revitalization, tourism & destination development, and quality of life advocacy--along with doses of civic engagement and good governance watchdogging.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

"Good" government in Texas means not investing in risk management

While this is not about "urbanism" per se, the issue of government priorities is one of the areas covered by the blog.

From "Politics of fighting wildfires: Did Rick Perry's Texas do enough on its own?:
Wildfires have taxed the capabilities of Texas to the limit, forcing Gov. Rick Perry, who has slashed firefighting budgets, to press President Obama for millions in federal aid
" in the Christian Science Monitor:

“Because so many fires are burning across the state, our resources are spread pretty thin,” Texas Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst said in a statement. “That's why we need the federal government to step up to the plate immediately.”

Gov. Rick Perry, currently the frontrunner among GOP presidential candidates, has been forced to press President Obama for more than $50 million in federal aid. At the same time, he defends the state's decision to slash by 74 percent the funding for the volunteer fire departments who do most of the work, and to cut the Texas Forest Service's budget by 34 percent, down to its 2008 level.

Money from the state's rainy day fund will be used to fund the current wildfire fighting efforts, Governor Perry says. State legislators will have to reconcile the costs later. The fires are costing the state about $1.5 million a day, 75 percent of which could be recouped from Washington.

It's not like the conditions that "promote" wildfires go away by government fiat and budget reduction...

It does remind me of DC Councilmember Jim Graham's statement in the New York Times that rather than increase water and sewerage rates to cover the cost of deteriorating infrastructure and new requirements for stormwater collection from the EPA, the infrastructure should be "reformed".

From "Saving U.S. Water and Sewer Systems Would Be Costly":

“Subway systems need repairs, and so do roads, but you don’t see fares or tolls skyrocketing,” D.C. city council member Jim Graham said at a February 2010 meeting, according to the New York Times. “Providing inexpensive, reliable water is a fundamental obligation of government. If they can’t do that, they need to reform themselves, instead of just charging more.” Hawkins disagrees, pointing out that increased mandates from the EPA and a 300-year pipe replacement system make investment a moral imperative.

A free lunch goes only so far. Eventually, the bill comes due.

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