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Sunday, November 26, 2006

As the Deluge Continues, Where's Dave Reichert?

Much of this is old news, but there is a point in that.

When all is said and done November 2006 will likely be remembered as the rainiest month in recorded Seattle area history. So far Seattle is at 14 plus inches and counting (it has been raining most of today).

The Seattle area is made up of a lot of micro-climates. The amount of rainfall in any given area will differ. If you live in North Bend, at the foot of Mt. Si, you've seen over 21 inches of rain this month, and we still have four more days to go.

Anyway, needless to say it has been wet.

Yet, with the rain comes flooding and erosion, and with flooding and erosion comes the loss of lives, property and infrastructure, and there has unfortunately been too much of all three.

Earlier this month the rivers were already swollen and homes were under water.

More recent reports indicate that Mt. Rainier National Park alone may have up to $30 million of damage.

The Seattle Times recently ran a photo of congressman Norm Dicks along with an article that stated:
Dicks, who is expected to chair the congressional committee responsible for spending in national parks and national forests when his party takes control in January, said securing money to repair Mount Rainier will be his first priority.

"As the new chairman, I'm going to be in a good position to see that it does get done," he said.

Road-repair money could be the easiest to find for the parks and the national forests. The Federal Highway Administration often pays to fix forest roads damaged in floods. But money for trails and campgrounds could be more scarce because that spending is usually part of annual budgets that take months to hammer out.

The National Park Service doesn't have enough money to pay for all the repairs right now, said Mount Rainier Superintendent Dave Uberuaga. It will have to turn to the highway administration and Congress for help.
On Saturday The Seattle Times ran a frustrated editorial at the incessant rain:
Enough already. A break in the weather will only mean insurance adjusters, disaster-assessment teams and highway engineers will stay a bit dryer as they survey the flood damage. Gov. Christine Gregoire's pursuit this week of a federal disaster declaration punctuates the moment for a state whacked by storms, with the Election Day deluge only the most dramatic episode.

A preliminary tally in 11 hard-hit counties found 104 homes destroyed, 206 homes had major damage and 572 homes received minor damage. Every one is a tale of heartache, anguish and loss.

The governor is asking the federal government for aid through the Individuals and Households Programs and from the Hazard Mitigation Program, which looks at ways to prevent future losses.


The repair bill for [Mt. Rainier National Park] alone could run $30 million, and even a congressman as well-placed to help as Dicks counsels patience about expecting a torrent of federal repair dollars.

November's record rains have fallen. The damage is done and abundantly evident. The spirit to rebuild needs to be sustained by outside dollars. Gregoire and Dicks — and legions of emergency workers and generous neighbors helping neighbors — have started that process well.
So here's my question: where is Dave Reichert during all this? After all, so much of the damage, including that to Mt. Rainier National Park is within the 8th District.

Yet, while his district has been inundated, with disastrous effect to lives, property and infrastructure, it has been Governor Gregoire and congressman Norm Dicks that we've heard from regarding the need for federal aid. From Reichert we haven't heard a peep.

I can only imagine that we haven't heard anything from Reichert because he is perhaps still "skeptical" about the damage. Perhaps he is still "investigating" the cause. Maybe we should expect to hear from him on this in about, say, 19 years, after he has had time to weigh all the facts for himself, and perhaps see each and every raindrop that has fallen.

The irony of all this is that The Seattle Times endorsed Reichert as the best person to represent the 8th District. If that is so, then shouldn't he, rather than the congressman from a neighboring district, be speaking up about the record rainfall that has severely hit the 8th? Or has he already become an irrelevant and ineffective congressmen before the Democratic led 110th Congress even begins?

This of course will not be the least bit surprising to half of the voters in the 8th District who recognized that Reichert was already ineffectual in his first term, and see him becoming marginalized and unimportant within a minority Republican caucus. This is to the detriment of his constituents who will lack the kind of representation that could have made a difference for their district, and in the case of the November rains, could have helped them remake their lives, and rebuild their parks and roads.

3 Comment(s):

Comment by: Blogger Jeffrey Richardson

Something tells me Reichert will investigate this situation at least as intensely as he's investigated claims that Cheney and Bush had a hand in 9/11.

Which is to say, he won't.

11/26/2006 9:21 PM PT  
Comment by: Anonymous Anonymous

Coindidentally, I blogged on the nearly the same subject.

Pete @ CoolAqua

11/26/2006 10:56 PM PT  
Comment by: Blogger Daniel Kirkdorffer

I don't call that a coincidence - I call that paying attention to an issue that's important and that our congressman has dropped the ball on.

11/26/2006 11:12 PM PT  

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