Speaking as a retired FEMA disaster assistance employee and an emergency manager in several New England posts, I can suggest things the flooding victims can do to improve their situations.
Be persistent. Escalate your issues up the FEMA management ladder (preferably to Washington). Keep a paper trail of all contacts with FEMA, and the results. Hold FEMA to deadlines and promises.
Bring your congressman and Georgia senators on board, and ask for their assistance. Make specific requests of those who represent you in Congress. It is their job to cut through red tape.
Contact the White House and raise your issues with the president and vice president, whose e-mail addresses and public phone numbers are available on the White House Web site.
If possible, contact Janet Napolitano, the secretary of homeland security, whose federal department now supposedly supervises FEMA.
Creativity and persistence are likely to pay off, as I’ve seen firsthand. Never give in, and never give up.
Eugene Elander, Dahlonega
Alabama, Florida didn’t plan ahead as we did
Regarding water wars, it was 30 years ago when all this started, that the real problem came to light: greed and laziness on the part of the politicians from Alabama and Florida. Looking only at their current problem and not toward the future, they took the lazy way out of their situation: take what we already had.
Georgia built Lake Lanier with an eye toward the future to help Atlanta grow. Alabama and Florida could have also built reservoirs in their own states, and today there would be no war, with water for all.
Not wanting to spend any money in the last 30 years, Florida and Alabama have cheated their citizens, and now wish to rob Georgia of our planned resource. The lawyers are the only ones to come out on top in this war.
Alabama and Florida need to build their own futures — and not jump on Georgia’s back for a free ride.
Paul Peters, Cumming
Take to Task shouldn’t be necessary
One of my favorite features of the AJC is the “Take to Task” column. Things get done fast when the AJC is making the call, and the problem is highlighted in the paper, along with who is responsible for getting it fixed.
What upsets me is that the problem may have existed for weeks and sometime months after being reported.
Why does it take the AJC’s intervention to get something done?
Why aren’t our public servants more sensitive to the individual citizen’s legitimate request?
Jerry Schwartz, Alpharetta