We still don't know all about Ike

October 10th, 2008

Tom Curtis, a friend of mine from Galveston who evacuated during Ike, writes a “Letter from Galveston” in the latest Texas Observer issue. Tom points out that Texans and Americans haven’t seen the full destruction and tragedy from hurrican Ike because, “[C]ity leaders don’t even seem to want their own citizens, much less outsiders, to see their island in this sad state of dishabille or, worse, battered and stark nakedness.”

And Tom suggests that the reason officials don’t want the world to see what Galveston really looks like post-Ike is because they’re afraid it will impact the election. The local newspaper publisher is quoted as saying the efforts to keep eyes shut to Galveston is, “a desparate effort to avoid embarassment for the Republican administration in charge of FEMA.” He goes on: “It is, after all, about six weeks from a presidential election. Nobody wants another Katrina this time.” Indeed.

There are local elections going on, too, including an interesting one for state senate that pits incumbent Senator Mike Jackson against challenger Joe Jaworski (the League has endorsed Jaworski). Perhaps the candidates could debate and lay out their visions for hurricane recovery, even discuss how to minimize the damage from future storms? Not gonna happen. Jackson failed to show up for a debate yesterday. Apparently, the strategy – from FEMA on down to Mike Jackson – is to keep the cameras off, don’t talk about it, close their eyes and keep their fingers crossed until Election Day.

I’m reminded of folks who chose to ignore the threat of Ike and stayed on the island. They, too, crossed fingers, closed their eyes and hoped for a minimal damage. No doubt some of them now regret their choice.