What Gulf Coast Congressman Gene Taylor wanted the Easter Bunny to bring him.
South Mississippi Living 4/07

Friday, October 12, 2007

Hey, Toledo Blade, you first

by Ana Maria

Oh good grief! I just read an editorial in the Toledo Blade praising Bush’s land grab and political punishment project. What I have to say is this.

"You first, Toledo Blade"

Northern Ohio has had quite a few black outs and tornadoes over the years needing all kinds of repairs to phone lines and roads. I’m sure that plenty of business expenses for those utility repairs come straight off the businesses bottom lines thus reducing their tax liabilities.

I’m sure, too, that there are all kinds of government grants associated with the hazards of living in an area that has extreme weather conditions that the area experiences with such regularity that hearing the tornado alarm going off in the background has been rather common when I’ve talked with a great friend of mine who had lived in the area for a number of years.

Stan Zeleski uses a leaf blower to clear the driveway of his Beverly Drive home after yesterday’s snow, but he may need a snowblower to handle the amount forecast for today and tonight.

Since the editorial board feels that the veiled political revenge posing as a government act of fiscal kindness both to the fed’s coffers and to the families who live here, I say, “you first.” Yeah, that’s right. You and yours get the Bush Administration breathing down your neck talking about buying up various parts of your city. Heck, over the years, how much money has been spent plowing the roads, looking for people stuck in the snow, buried under the many feet of that lofty dust of cold stuff.

Let’s see, what was it the paper wrote?

"FOR those who live along U.S. coastlines, the feel of sand between their toes, the year-round ocean view, and falling asleep to the sound of gentle waves are experiences just this side of heaven.

Unfortunately, the ability of the few to live in paradise has been subsidized for decades by the rest of the country in the form of higher insurance premiums, federal insurance subsidies, and disaster-relief payments because many of these same areas are prone to hurricane-related storm damage."
Tow operators prepare to upright a vehicle following a rollover accident on southbound I-75.

So let’s change this up to fit Toledo, shall we?
"FOR those who live near the beauty of Lake Michigan, the feel of the gentle snow, the falling asleep to the winter picture perfect beauty on the roof and covering of the terrain are experiences just this side of heaven.

Unfortunately, the ability of the few to live in paradise has been subsidized for decades by the rest of the country in the form of higher insurance premiums, federal insurance subsidies, and disaster-relief payments because many of these same areas are prone to blizzard and tornado-related storm damage."
There, I feel better. So, Toledo editors, I am not much into the cold weather. I have on my flannels when the temperature outside dips below 70 degrees. For the life of me, I cannot understand the desire for anyone to live in any area where the conditions are like living in a deep freeze. Now that you no longer wish to burden the rest of us with your whining about the hardships of living in that god-forsaken place.

Yes, it’s beautiful with the snow on the ground during the winter holiday season. But you don’t have to actually live there. Geeze, Louise! Look, you’ve known about the treacherousness of the area’s winter months. Here’s a USA Today article from February of this year.

The monster snow and ice storm that hit the Midwest and Northeast blew out to sea, leaving behind huge snow piles, frigid temperatures, highway logjams Thursday. The storm was blamed for at least 15 deaths.
"You can't even shovel it," said Wes Velker, an electrician who had to dig out from a foot of snow so he could go to work fixing busted water pipes and furnaces in Toledo, Ohio. "You have to take it off in layers."
The article provided an example of the foolish behavior of those living there, folks who apparently don’t pay attention to the authorities.

In Toledo, Ohio, Derrick Jones managed to deliver red roses and heart-shaped balloons even though authorities had ordered everyone but emergency workers to stay off the roads.

So, there, now, you should all be happy that the Toledo Blade’s editorial board has piped up and volunteered to be the first in line to beg Bush’s bottom bargain basement bullies to bulldoze your homes to turn it into the winter playground for others.

Here’s a headline from the Toledo Blade itself in February of this year.

The snowy weather also was blamed on a power outage that struck downtown Toledo and much of North Toledo shortly before 7:30 p.m. The outage area of concentration was Lagrange and Huron to Lagrange and Manhattan and everything east to the river, Toledo police said.

** *

Meanwhile, most public and parochial schools closed today in advance of the storm. In addition, classes were canceled at Owens Community College and Bowling Green State.
Police said? Police are paid from the government coffers funded with money from taxpayers. Scrap that, Toledo. From now on, perhaps the Toledo Blade should fund all the information gathering having your reporters figure out all of these things without relying for its information on any government funded organization be it the police or school system.
The heavy snow made driving treacherous, causing fender benders throughout Toledo all day. Sliding cars and jackknifed trucks snarled traffic on I-75. Police departments responded to only injury accidents.
And here was a nice sentence.

See? The Toledo Blade editorial board should not be running a business in the area. It’s dangerous and it relies on government funding for safety in an area that is, well, treacherous. Besides, if the government funded agencies like the police didn't provide accurate and timely information to the Toledo Blade, the paper would not have the information from which to write reliable and authoritative articles for its readers. The paper's ad revenue may see a dip were the readers not able to turn to it for timely, reliable, and authoritative information. A dip in ad revenue may mean layoffs and eventually, the business may no longer be profitable. Since the paper relies on government funded activities--police, public schools, etc.--then the paper is relying on our tax dollars to provide it with a basis for it to be in business. Tss. Tss. Tss.

Perhaps it is irresponsible of the Blade to open its doors and employ folks because isn't that encouraging Americans to live in the area, put their children in schools that require tax funding and that will end up being closed because of the routinely bad winter weather? Doesn't living in a blizzard and tornado-prone area cost taxpayers in the form of higher premiums across the nation and higher taxes as well?

Get my point?

Of course, I don’t really think this way. I have friends and family from Cleveland, Ohio, to Detroit, Michigan. While I personally turn into an ice cube thinking of their kind of cold weather and cannot imagine living daily with their weather conditions, I support their decision to live there and access all the resources—government and otherwise—to live there.

Heck, I couldn’t have imagined myself living with the threat of earthquakes, yet I lived in the greater Bay area of California for five years. Tornadoes, blizzards, earthquakes, hurricanes, floods, dust storms. Pick any area of the country and some form of non-Utopian weather exists. Leveraging the power of our local, state, and federal governments, we come together to protect our families, businesses, communities, schools, houses of worship. We insure our homes and businesses. When we file a legitimate claim, we expect tour insurance company to pay up be it for a blizzard or tornado or hurricane winds. Across the nation, though, that is not happening.

Imagine if all the Toledo area commercial and residential insurance claims were not paid. Really, not a dime. Period. Residents would be up in arms just as we have been down here. How in the living heck are families to live, work, play in the Toledo area if their homes and businesses had to rely solely on their own savings to fund all damages? What would be the point of insurance?!

Moreover, how would those families and business owners feel if after they had experienced some horrible weather conditions, after they had been betrayed by their insurance companies who deliberately failed to pay on their claims, after their leaders in the White House sent in clowns rather than a professionally managed federal emergency agency, after the man living in the White House let his buddies in the insurance industry have its way with the area’s people for the sake of corporate greed? Then after two years of this kind of insanity, Bush’s buffoons sprung a two-year secret plan to buy up the area. The White House propaganda so good that as you are awakening with your morning reading, you read an editorial cheering on Bush’s plan. This from an area that routinely relies on government to work through the disaster and insurance to pay for any damages.

Good grief! You know that the areas residents would feel just as we do down here. Tired, exhausted, betrayed . . . determined to keep their lives, homes, and communities . . . determined to help the rest of our nation see that what is happening could happen to them in the blink of an eye. In other words, the Toledo Blade’s area residents would feel like they were in the same boat as those of us here inside the Katrina-ravaged region.

The Blade's readers would understand that if the insurance companies had done as they were supposed to have done and paid off its claims, no one would be talking about Bush’s BS land grab—which seems to really be about political revenge targeting Congressman Gene Taylor whose vision and backbone of steel has combined to lead the nation in rectifying the severe problems with going after the insurance industry.

Can it be merely coincidental that Bush’s buyout plan is targeting the hometown of the man spearheading the effort to ensure that whenever an American family or business owner purchases insurance for both wind and flood, that they actually get paid on their wind policy for the damages wind causes? In a word, no.

Libby Garcia, one of the few residents to rebuild . . ., wonders why the Corps is singling out the Gulf Coast for buyouts when so many other coastal areas face the same flood risks.

"Why don't they go buy Key West?" she asked.

Think about it. If the insurance companies had simply done as they should have, would we be having these conversations? No, we would not.

That is our point. We’re all in the same boat with insurance companies that betray us and with a White House that betrays us in so many ways many of us quit counting. We’re in the same boat. So before you find yourselves in a sea of insurance insanity, start paddling with us if not because it is the right thing to do then because of strictly selfish reasons. We don’t care about your reasons. Just start paddling so we all go in the direction of protecting the financial security for American families and businesses. Given today’s circumstances, it’s the only insurance we can count on.

© 2007 Ana Maria Rosato. All rights reserved.
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