BMEWS
 
Sarah Palin is the reason compasses point North.

calendar   Friday - November 16, 2007

LOST (money that is)

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You are looking at nearly half a billion dollars of your tax money going to waste. 18,000 trailers and mobile homes. These are most - but not all - of the emergency housing trailers that FEMA purchased to help the people down on the Gulf Coast that were devastated by hurricanes Katrina and Rita. Two years ago. They sit idle, unused, undistributed, slowly rotting away, around the airport in Hope Arkansas. FEMA bought them all then decided they couldn’t be distributed locally to the flooding victims because they live on a flood plain! Then there was that business about how they all could be opened with the same key. Next we hear that -oh, the horrors! - 11,000 of the trailers may have been made with insulation containing formaldehyde!

Let’s not forget that the government is STILL paying the rent and living expenses of thousands of those poor displaced victims. I have no idea if the NOLA cops are still living on a cruise ship, but that wouldn’t surprise me either.

Heather Crawford from KATV has a nice roundup on the story with a decent video (which only wants to run in IE on my PC):

FEMA is storing thousands of mobile homes in Hope, and what may surprise you is practically all of them are brand new. They have never been lived in and have just sat here unoccupied for more than two years.

(Congressman Mike Ross, (D) 4th District) “After they bought them, they decided they wouldn’t locate them in a flood plain. And guess what? Everybody who lost their home and needed housing lived in a flood plain.”

So instead of being put to use, they sit empty.

(Senator Mark Pryor, (D) Arkansas) “It’s a story of incompetence. It’s a story of very very bad government policy and just the inability for FEMA to function the way it should.”

In addition to the mobile homes, FEMA is also storing about 11,000 travel-trailers in Hope that have been used. They were being auctioned off, but due to the presence of potentially dangerous levels of formaldehyde they are now no longer being sold.

(Eric Smith, FEMA Head of Logistics) “We’re working with Centers for Disease Control and Health and Human Services to complete an assessment on the feasibility of standards that are acceptable for formaldehyde, and based on that assessment--when we receive that assessment--a decision will be made as to whether we will continue the sales of the travel-trailers or dispose of them by some other means.”

Hope isn’t the only location in the country where FEMA is storing its emergency housing units, but it is by far the largest. FEMA originally signed a two-year lease with the city of Hope to use the land, and the mayor says the agency is now in the process of extending it for at least another year.

The cost is $300,000 annually--money that can only be used for the Hope Municipal Airport.

(Dennis Ramsey, Hope Mayor) “We’ve been in discussion for the last year that this may be what’s called a semi-permanent facility. We’ve heard talk of 8-10 years, but at a reduced inventory out here than what’s here now.”

The cost to the lease the land is just a small fraction of what the mobile homes cost. FEMA says the price tag for each one in 2005 was about $33,000. Today about 7,000 are sitting in Hope unused--that’s $231 million worth.

Plus, FEMA spent $4.5 million to put down gravel on 140 acres so the mobile homes and trailers wouldn’t sink.

(Ross) “I mean this stuff is so crazy you couldn’t make it up. Again, it’s a symbol of what’s wrong with FEMA.”

Tack on the cost of the 11,000 used travel-trailers that aren’t being sold because of formaldehyde, and that’s an additional $187 million (travel-trailers cost $17,000 each).

And then there are 45 employees who are paid to work at the site, and operational costs, which FEMA says totals more than a half-million annually. That’s a total of more than $424 million out of taxpayers pockets.

My calculator adds up these numbers at 434.1 million, including 2 years rent and running expenses. So it isn’t quite a full half billion sitting in Hope, but I don’t have the costs at the other storage areas so it probably does add up to that much.

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Now, as for that formaldehyde situation: The eeevviill government raced out and bought whatever trailers they could find. Most of them are second hand. They were NOT built to FEMA spec; they’re the same trailers you or I could purchase if we wanted to. FEMA then did an expensive study to find ways of combatting this awful outgassing (/sarcasm) and concluded that the best high tech solution would be to open the damn windows. I kid you not!

Naturally, because FEMA (and anyone else who has a trailer) knew about the outgassing problem ahead of time, they are being sued. You know, because FEMA is the government, and the government is Bush, and of course because

Bush Hates Black Peopletm.

UPDATE: These units seem to have been built by the Gulf Stream Coach company, who admits to “having” to use cheaper building materials because of the pressure to build as many as they could in such a short time period.

Terry Sloan was a floor supervisor at a Gulf Stream Coach factory in Etna Green, Ind. Gulf Stream Coach built more than 50,000 stripped-down travel trailers.  Sloane says his crew worked at a breakneck pace for months, which, he says, forced the company to use cheaper wood products. “Quality suffered dramatically because of the drive and pressure to put these trailers out,” Sloan said.

So if FEMA contracted Gulf Stream to build the things, and Gulf Stream cut corners and used low grade materials (don’t ask me why low grade parts make production any faster than regular parts) then isn’t it Gulf Stream who ought to be the party named in the lawsuit? And if the formaldehyde situation is really all that bad, then why are these kinds of materials even on the market? Which would imply that it’s the building materials companies that really ought to be the target of any lawsuits? It’s a big can of worms fer shure!

UPDATE: KATV has run part two of the story, with more video. Not much new info, but more video. Some of the units are falling apart already. Duh. They also get a look inside the mobile homes, and we see that they are pre-furnished with brand new furniture and appliances. Never used. Go here for the story.



It looks to me like FEMA has managed to pack more moonbattery into this situation than was previously possible.

batbatbatbatbatbatbatbatbatbatbatbat


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Posted by Drew458   United States  on 11/16/2007 at 12:31 PM   
Filed Under: • Climate-WeatherMiscellaneousTaxes •  
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Oh, and here's some kind of visitor flag counter thingy. Hey, all the cool blogs have one, so I should too. The Visitors Online thingy up at the top doesn't count anything, but it looks neat. It had better, since I paid actual money for it.
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