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Thread: Hurricane Katrina

  1. #226
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    HK Anniversary Counter-Progamming???

    I Think We Make a Real Sharp Couple of Coconuts

    Andrew Sullivan
    23 Aug 2006 05:40 pm
    by David Weigel


    Liberal Philadelphia blogger Will Bunch does a modicum of legwork and discovers that Rockey Vaccarella, the Katrina survivor who travelled to DC to thank the president is - quelle surprise! - a devoted Republican.
    Turns out that the earthy Vaccarella -- a highly successful businessman in the fast-food industry -- is indeed a Republican pol, having run unsuccessfully under the GOP banner for a seat on the St. Bernard Parish commission back in 1999... and in fact, Vaccarella seemed very confident that he would be meeting with Bush when he left home, to the point where he had a date scheduled and everything.
    Even if this deep, dark secret never matriculates outside the blogs, I'm wracking my brains to understand the point of this "PR coup." Is a cheerful white guy really the mascot who can erase Bush's Katrina problem? Is his sing-song praise of federal spending going to motivate the GOP base? More evidence that Rove's touch has lost any of its Midas-like qualities.

  2. #227
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    Anniversary Draws Bush to Gulf Coast

    His visit next week aims to counter Democrats' plans to focus on the slow Katrina response.

    latimes.com
    By Peter Wallsten and Maura Reynolds
    Times Staff Writers
    August 23, 2006

    WASHINGTON As next week's anniversary of Hurricane Katrina triggers recollections of rooftop refugees and massive devastation along the Gulf Coast, the White House has begun a public relations blitz to counteract Democrats' plans to use the government's tardy response and the region's slow recovery in the coming congressional elections.

    President Bush will visit the area Monday and Tuesday, including an overnight stay in New Orleans. He probably will visit the city's Lower 9th Ward, the heavily black area that remains mired in debris, and is expected to meet with storm victims.

    The trip will force Bush to revisit sensitive racial issues that arose with the flooding of New Orleans; at that time, civil rights leaders charged that the White House was slow to respond because so many victims were black. GOP strategists acknowledged that the administration's failure to act quickly was a significant setback in their efforts to court traditionally Democratic African American voters.

    The White House announced Bush's visit Tuesday as a phalanx of administration officials stood before reporters to argue that billions of dollars had flowed to the region and millions more was on the way. The plans for the trip were disclosed one day after Atty. Gen. Alberto R. Gonzales announced that he was sending additional lawyers and resources to the city to fight fraud and abuse.

    At Tuesday's briefing, White House aides passed out folders and fact sheets that painted a picture of aggressive recovery efforts. A packet from the Army Corps of Engineers, responsible for the levees that were breached after the storm, carried the slogan: "One Team: Relevant, Ready, Responsible, Reliable."

    Donald E. Powell, the White House official in charge of recovery plans, declared that Bush was "fulfilling his commitment to rebuild the Gulf Coast better and stronger."

    The administration's coordinated response is the latest example of White House officials maneuvering to cast a positive light on a campaign issue expected to hurt Republicans. Just this week, Bush acknowledged public anxiety over Katrina, along with concern about the war in Iraq and rising gasoline prices. But he defended his record and accused the Democrats of weakness, particularly on national security issues.

    The White House effort comes as the Democrats, who plan to challenge Republicans on national security in this year's midterm election campaign, are portraying the government's response to Katrina as evidence that Bush failed to fix inadequacies exposed by the Sept. 11 attacks.

    A report being released today by top Democrats, titled "Broken Promises: The Republican Response to Katrina," features a picture of Bush during his Sept. 15, 2005, speech in New Orleans' Jackson Square, in which he promised to oversee "one of the largest reconstruction efforts the world has ever seen."

    The report argues that every aspect of recovery including housing, business loans, healthcare, education and preparedness "suffers from a failed Republican response marked by unfulfilled promises, cronyism, waste, fraud, and abuse."

    Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid of Nevada is scheduled to spend Thursday in New Orleans with fellow Democratic Sen. Mary L. Landrieu of Louisiana to kick off what they call the "Hope and Recovery Tour." House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi of San Francisco plans to arrive this weekend with about 20 other Democrats for additional events.

    White House officials declined Tuesday to offer many details of Bush's trip. Spokeswoman Dana Perino said Bush would travel Monday to two Mississippi towns devastated by the storm, Gulfport and Biloxi, before arriving in New Orleans. He is expected to attend an ecumenical worship service at New Orleans' St. Louis Cathedral, the backdrop to his Jackson Square address.

    Leaders of the recovery effort said Tuesday that although progress had been slow in some areas, Bush would be able to point to successes in some New Orleans neighborhoods, including the famed French Quarter and the Garden District. However, neither area was damaged as severely as the Lower 9th Ward. The question for White House schedulers is how much to accentuate the positives while acknowledging the negatives.

    "If you go to most of the city you see enormous progress," said Walter Isaacson, president of the Aspen Institute and vice chairman of the Louisiana Recovery Authority. "They are probably going to go to the Lower 9th Ward, which is very honest of them, because that's the place you see the least progress."

    Isaacson, a New Orleans native, said he considered many of the Democrats' critiques to be unfair. He credited the White House with safeguarding millions of dollars in grants for housing and levee reconstruction, some of which was only approved this summer amid a contentious budget debate.

    "They protected that housing money and the levee money in the appropriation process when every congressman was looking at it greedily," he said.

    On Monday, Bush offered a preview of his anniversary message, contending at a news conference that despite frustrations about the slow arrival of housing funds and delays in debris removal, "the money has been appropriated, the formula is in place, and now it's time to move forward."

    He suggested that $110 billion in federal funds had been "committed" to help the region rebuild, but confusion persisted Tuesday over what portion of that money had actually been spent.

    During the White House briefing, Powell said that about $44 billion, about 40% of the total, had been distributed to hurricane victims, but suggested that state and local governments were mostly to blame for the gap.

    The director of the Federal Emergency Management Agency, R. David Paulison, was contrite about mistakes made during the disaster aftermath. Paulison, who won Senate confirmation in May, a week before the 2006 hurricane season began, was named acting director in September after Michael D. Brown was forced to resign as FEMA director amid criticism of the federal response.

    "Our communications system was broken it was broken between the local community and the state, it was broken between the state and the federal government, and it was broken within the federal government," Paulison said. "That was the first thing we had to fix."

    *
    Times staff writer Janet Hook contributed to this report.

    Copyright 2006 Los Angeles Times

  3. #228
    Disgruntled Optimist lofter1's Avatar
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    Billie Holiday & Louis Armstrong

    Do You Know What It Means To Miss New Orleans

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fX8OLqHYAgE

  4. #229
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    Former FEMA head in NYC:
    party politics played role in Katrina response

    nola.com
    1/20/2007, 8:58 a.m. CT
    By NAHAL TOOSI
    The Associated Press

    NEW YORK (AP) Political storm clouds gathered again over the federal government's response to Hurricane Katrina as former Federal Emergency Management Agency Director Michael Brown said party politics influenced decisions on whether to take federal control of Louisiana and other areas affected by the hurricane.

    Louisiana Gov. Kathleen Blanco said the partisanship Brown described was "disgusting," while a White House spokeswoman said Brown was making "false statements."

    Brown told a group of graduate students Friday that some in the White House had suggested the federal government should take charge in Louisiana because Blanco was a Democrat, while leaving Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour, a Republican, in control in his state.

    Brown, speaking at the Metropolitan College of New York, said he had recommended to President Bush that all 90,000 square miles along the Gulf Coast affected by the devastating hurricane be federalized a term Brown explained as placing the federal government in charge of all agencies responding to the disaster.


    "Unbeknownst to me, certain people in the White House were thinking, 'We had to federalize Louisiana because she's a white, female Democratic governor, and we have a chance to rub her nose in it,'" he said, without naming names. "'We can't do it to Haley (Barbour) because Haley's a white male Republican governor. And we can't do a thing to him. So we're just gonna federalize Louisiana.'"

    Brown, 52, declined to say who in the White House had argued for federalizing the response only in Louisiana. He said that he'd later learned of the machinations through Blanco's office and from federal officials.
    Blanco reacted sharply to Brown's remarks.

    "This is exactly what we were living but could not bring ourselves to believe. Karl Rove was playing politics while our people were dying," Blanco said through a spokeswoman, referring to Bush's top political strategist. "The federal effort was delayed, and now the public knows why. It's disgusting."

    Eryn Witcher, a White House spokeswoman, denied Brown's claims.

    "It is unfortunate that Mike Brown is still hurling false statements about the events surrounding Hurricane Katrina," she said. "The only consideration made by the administration at the time of this tragedy and since are those in the best interests of the citizens of the Gulf region."

    Calls made late Friday seeking comment from the federal Department of Homeland Security were not immediately returned. A spokesman for Barbour, Pete Smith, had no immediate comment.

    The question of federal control became a source of contention after Katrina.

    Bush asked to put military relief efforts in Louisiana under federal oversight, but Louisiana officials rejected that idea, keeping state control over National Guard troops. They worked together with federal forces.

    Associated Press writer Chevel Johnson contributed to this report from New Orleans.

    2006 New OrleansNet LLC.

  5. #230
    Disgruntled Optimist lofter1's Avatar
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    Bizarre things can happen when corporate support / control gets involved with the arts ...

    Dispute Leads to Removal of Art Work

    tribecatrib.com
    By Andrea Appleton
    POSTED FEB. 2, 2007

    One of the art installations in the lobby of 125 Maiden Lane is a forest of found objects — chair legs, tree limbs, bedposts — nailed together into a freestanding web of wood. In the far corner a small broken rocking horse sits on the floor, facing the wall. The piece, versions of which have appeared in other shows under different names, is called Why is the Horse Facing East? It is not a rhetorical question.

    “The horse has never faced the wall before,” said artist Sook Jin Jo, the piece’s creator. “It’s my form of protest.”

    The 2,000 invitations sent out in early January to announce Jo’s solo show, on view until April 20, featured a photo of Resurrection II, a wall-mounted installation of found dresser drawers. But by the time the show opened in mid-January, Resurrection II, the show’s centerpiece, had been removed. Instead, another piece stood in one corner, next to a blank wall where Resurrection II was to have hung. Jo, bowing to pressure from the show’s organizers, grudgingly agreed not to include it. That is why the horse is facing east.

    The piece’s removal was the culmination of a complicated dispute involving several Downtown entities, including the World Financial Center and the Lower Manhattan Cultural Council (LMCC).

    It began in November when Jo learned that another artwork, Floodwall, by New Orleans artist Jana Napoli, would soon be shown on the Liberty Street Bridge. Floodwall is also an installation of found dresser drawers. (An article about Floodwall, on display until Feb. 9, appeared in the January issue of the Trib.)

    Napoli collected her drawers in the shambles of New Orleans left by Hurricane Katrina. In this exhibit they sit upright along a platform.



    Sook Jin Jo claims that Napoli stole the idea for Floodwall from Resurrection II, which she created in 1996. She cites two photos as her strongest evidence (see below): one depicts her piece, the other, a Floodwall prototype that formerly appeared on the Floodwall Web site and was reproduced in The New York Times.

    “The pieces are so strikingly alike,” said Jo, “that I cannot imagine that Floodwall was created without being influenced by my work.” She contends that Napoli must have been inspired by Resurrection II, which has appeared in several galleries, catalogs, and art magazines.




    In mid-November, with her show already planned, Jo wrote a letter to both Napoli and the World Financial Center, co-sponsor of Floodwall along with the LMCC. She accused Napoli of copying her work.

    A flurry of letters and meetings followed. Jo demanded that the Floodwall prototype photo most resembling Resurrection II be taken out of circulation. She also demanded that Napoli cite Resurrection II as her inspiration. Napoli contended that she had never heard of Resurrection II, and refused to give Jo acknowledgement (though the prototype photo did disappear from her Web site).

    “Prior to receiving your letter 24 hours ago, I had never heard of, seen, nor had any knowledge of you or your body of works as an artist,” Napoli wrote Jo in a letter dated Nov. 30. “I can further assure you...that, when presented in its entirety, Floodwall is not similar to Resurrection and any semblance of the two works is purely coincidental.”




    (Napoli declined to be interviewed about the dispute, but in a recent e-mail to the Trib, she wrote: “It is all pretty astonishing, but really there is nothing else to say. We have work to do...New Orleans needs my attention for whatever little I can do for my city.”)

    Jo said suing would be too expensive and time-consuming. So, having reached an impasse, the matter might have ended there — if it hadn’t been for the removal of Resurrection II from Jo’s show. In early January, Jo received word from Elizabeth Akkerman, her curator, that the piece would have to go.

    The decision was precipitated by a call from the LMCC, when Akkerman first learned of Jo’s dispute with Jana Napoli. “Suddenly I was in the middle of something,” Akkerman told the Trib. “And these aren’t my questions as a curator. I’m not interested in people using my space as a battlefield.”

    Jo was given three alternatives: to have the show in another space; to have it later in the year; or to pull Resurrection II. She chose the last option.

    “It made no sense to postpone the show or have it somewhere else,” Jo says. “The invitation cards had already been sent out.”

    Time Equities owns 125 Maiden Lane where Jo’s work is displayed in the lobby. Art philanthropist Francis Greenburger, CEO of the company and an LMCC board member, said he favored pulling Resurrection II from his space.

    “It was simple common courtesy,” said Greenburger, who sponsored Jo’s show. “We were contacted by the director [Tom Healy] of LMCC, who indicated that he was uncomfortable with the piece being in the lobby because of the controversy.” The LMCC’s offices are on the second floor of 125 Maiden Lane.

    “I didn’t want to do anything that was immediately in the face of the LMCC,” Greenburger said.

    Neither the LMCC nor the World Financial Center would comment for this story, but both organizations have close ties with Floodwall. After Hurricane Katrina, the WFC gave 15 displaced Gulf Coast artists a nine-month residency in Manhattan. Napoli was one of them, and Floodwall was the result. Tom Healy, president of the LMCC, went to New Orleans and helped Napoli collect some of the drawers.

    For Jo’s part, she is angry that the LMCC had a say in the pieces she showed, and she stands by her decision to protest the action.

    “Let the people judge,” she says. “If they think it’s just a coincidence that the two works are alike, why do they prevent me from showing mine?”

    (C) The Tribeca Trib

  6. #231
    Disgruntled Optimist lofter1's Avatar
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    Jana Napoli's "Floodwall" as it appears on the pedestrian south bridge ...




    FLOODWALL
    Jan. 4 - Feb. 9, 2007
    7AM - 11PM Daily
    On the Liberty Street Bridge of the World Financial Center


    FREE



    Photos by Wendy Giffords

  7. #232
    Chief Antagonist Ninjahedge's Avatar
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    >sigh<

    This is so analy stupid I cannot believe it.

    It is a bunch of drawers nailed to a plank! Yes it says something, but their arrangement does not stir anything in me beyond "ooh, drawers".

    If these drawers did NOT come from anywhere, would they have the same meaning? If not, then it is really not a piece of art. If art relies on the importance of the pieces it is comprised of to define its own importance than it is not truly are, but rather a memorial to the peices it is comprised of.



    And this whole thing about having and removing is rediculous. They all need a serious reality check.

  8. #233

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ninjahedge View Post
    It is a bunch of drawers nailed to a plank! Yes it says something, but their arrangement does not stir anything in me beyond "ooh, drawers".

    If these drawers did NOT come from anywhere, would they have the same meaning? If not, then it is really not a piece of art. If art relies on the importance of the pieces it is comprised of to define its own importance than it is not truly are, but rather a memorial to the peices it is comprised of.
    I couldn't dissagree more.

  9. #234
    Chief Antagonist Ninjahedge's Avatar
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    So what you are telling me is that if the piece was said to be commemorating all the empty lives of the people in NO it would somehow mean less to you, artistically, than if they told you that these came from the site?

    We get a little hung up on mementos sometimes Jason. We forget that the object itself is not what is important, but what WE as humans put behind it.

    If you need someone to tell you something is important by connecting it physically to an event, you need to see why this is.

    I am not totally immune to this myself. I have a bolt from the WTC site. But the bolt itself is not important, but the memory of what it was, and where I found it is.

    I could switch it and tell my grandkids later that it was the same and the meaning would still be there for them.

    Humans are the important part, not the physical objects they leave behind. That is our own fear of mortality creeping in. Our desire to leave something permanent on our environment. To deny our own depressing realization that we are one of many, and that few will be effected by anything we do, or have done once we are gone.


    Geez. I am beginning to sound a bit like Sartre here.... I better not turn into a giant roach...

  10. #235
    Disgruntled Optimist lofter1's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ninjahedge View Post

    ... I have a bolt from the WTC site. But the bolt itself is not important, but the memory of what it was, and where I found it is.

    I could switch it and tell my grandkids later that it was the same and the meaning would still be there for them.
    Not necesarily. Your attitude toward the object would probably change (whether you realize it or not). Your story about the object would now be false (as it would not be what you are claiming it to be).

    In some ways a true telling of the story without the addition of an imitation object could be more profound. The impact of your story might not land with the same reverberations if you switch it.

    Truth is a funny thing. Many people can sense truth -- and sense BS / falseness.

    I find that compositions of found objects can be very evocative. They tell a story. If the person who composes the objects is clear in their mind regarding the story that they want to tell then something is communicated.

    Feelings and ideas are shared.

    That's the magic of art -- whether it be sculpture, painting, dance, whatever.

    Regarding the pieces above: The politics behind the decision that required Ms. Jo remove her piece from her exhibition is still bizarre to me.

  11. #236

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    One fundamental difference between Resurrection II and Flood Wall is the quality of the drawers. The latter are disembodied heirloom quality drawers that certainly beg the question; "why are these fine drawers separated from their dressers?" The former are merely low quality street trash employed as a shallow one-liner.

    I can see how exposure to these vacuous one liners could cause the cynicism that would dimiss the more evocative found object art.

  12. #237
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    Default http://www.nytimes.com/2009/04/21/us/21katrina.html?ref=us

    April 21, 2009
    Civil Lawsuit Over Katrina Begins

    By JOHN SCHWARTZ

    NEW ORLEANS — A groundbreaking civil suit began in federal court here Monday to consider claims by property owners that the Army Corps of Engineers amplified the destructive effects of Hurricane Katrina by building a poorly designed navigation channel adjacent to the city.

    The Mississippi River Gulf Outlet, a 76-mile-long channel known locally as MR-GO and pronounced “Mister Go,” was completed in 1968 and created a straight shot to the Gulf of Mexico from New Orleans. The suit claims that the channel was flawed in its design, construction and operation, and that those flaws intensified the flood damage to the eastern parts of New Orleans and St. Bernard Parish.
    One geological expert testified on behalf of the plaintiffs that the channel was “one of the greatest catastrophes in the history of the United States.”

    The federal government argued that Hurricane Katrina would have devastated the region whether or not the channel had ever been dug. The government’s filings in the case say the plaintiffs’ assertions that the taxpayers are liable for the damage are based on “misguided and internally inconsistent arguments.”

    If they win, the plaintiffs — a local newscaster, Norman Robinson, and five others whose homes or businesses were destroyed by the 2005 storm — could receive hundreds of thousands of dollars each as compensation for their losses. More broadly, a victory could pave the way for more than 400,000 other plaintiffs who have also filed claims against the government over the hurricane’s destruction.

    The government has historically enjoyed strong legal protection against lawsuits related to collapsing levees. The Flood Control Act of 1928 bans suits against the United States for damages resulting from floods or floodwaters. In January 2008, a federal judge, Stanwood R. Duval Jr., ruled that the corps was immune in a different lawsuit related directly to the levee and floodwall failures during Hurricane Katrina in the city’s major drainage canals.

    This case, however, is different because MR-GO is a navigation canal, not a flood-control project. In March, Judge Duval allowed the suit to go forward — over repeated efforts by the Justice Department to get him to dismiss it — based largely on a 1971 case, Graci v. United States, that found there was no immunity for flooding caused by a federal project unrelated to flood control.

    The Graci decision did warn that the lack of immunity still left a “heavy burden” on plaintiffs to prove that the government was negligent in building its projects, and that this negligence, not a hurricane, was the cause of the damage.

    The trial is expected to take four weeks. In his opening comments, Judge Duval, who is hearing the case without a jury, called it “significant” and “the first real trial” about Hurricane Katrina, the levees and the role of the federal government.

    The canal has been controversial from the start; critics had long called it a “hurricane highway” and warned that it would help carry storm surges into New Orleans. The suit alleges that the channel killed the protective wetlands and cypress swamps to the east of the city by allowing the intrusion of salt water from the gulf and caused the adjacent levees to subside. That, the plaintiffs say, exacerbated the effects of waves coming across the channel.

    The corps has consistently argued that the canal’s effect during Hurricane Katrina was insignificant. At the direction of Congress, however, the corps has begun to close the MR-GO canal using 434,000 tons of rock.

    During the trial’s opening session, the plaintiffs’ expert on geology and the coastal environment, Sherwood M. Gagliano, cited reports from as early as 1957 that claimed the canal would pose a danger to the people of St. Bernard Parish and reports of his own dating from 1972 that warned of the increased flooding risk from wetlands destruction.

    Mr. Gagliano testified that the corps was aware of such research and even prepared a report in 1988 that mentioned “the possibility of catastrophic damage to urban areas” from the channel but did little to reduce the risk.

    Under questioning by Kara K. Miller, a lawyer for the government, Mr. Gagliano acknowledged that the corps had agreed to some of his recommendations to improve the canal, like planting grass atop some of the levees to stabilize them.

    The plaintiffs say they hope a victory in the case can open the door for a broader class action in which more than 400,000 claims have been filed against the government. A financial projection by the Army has concluded there is a reasonable possibility that potential government losses could ultimately range from $10 billion to $100 billion.

    Beyond the monetary damages, many in New Orleans hope the lawsuit could put an end to the search for someone to blame for the flood damage during Hurricane Katrina, a quest that has haunted many who remain angry at the loss of their homes and businesses.

    Like so many in the New Orleans area, Lucille Franz, one of the plaintiffs in the case, lost everything in the storm. Mrs. Franz and her husband, Anthony, came back from their evacuation to Texas during Hurricanes Katrina and Rita to find that their home on St. Claude Avenue in the Lower Ninth Ward had steeped for three weeks in 18 to 22 feet of water. The water came three feet up the walls of the second floor.

    “I’ve been through a lot,” she said in an interview.

    The home, which the family owned, was deemed a total loss. The Franzes do not have the money to tear it down, much less to rebuild it. Family photographs, furniture and the accumulations of a lifetime were ruined; a community of neighbors was scattered.

    Mrs. Franz is 75, her husband, 80. They were uninsured; she said that they did not have flood insurance, and that the $80,000 they received from the Road Home program was not enough to start again.
    “You might purchase a trailer, but you can’t get a house,” she said. The money pays their rent for an apartment in Harahan, west of the city. “We need a home,” she said.

    Jonathan Beauregard Andry, one of the lawyers representing the Franzes and other plaintiffs in the case, said the Franzes were typical of those who suffered damage and showed why the suit was important.
    “Their whole life is changed,” Mr. Andry said, “and they should be compensated for that.”

    Mr. Andry, whose father argued the Graci case in 1971, is a native of St. Bernard Parish and among more than 50 lawyers from 20 law firms around the nation working on the case. The people of the Lower Ninth Ward and St. Bernard Parish, he said, “don’t want sympathy, and they don’t want something for nothing.”

  13. #238
    Chief Antagonist Ninjahedge's Avatar
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    I think it was more a lack of maintainance and an overall degrading of the situation that made this happen, not the original design.

    If these people are suing for money due to the destruction, maybe a study should be made seeing how much the canal actually helped the economy there.

    If the canal was responsible for bringing buisness in and providing jobs and salaries....well... it might be responsible for more wealth and development than damages.....


    Now the care and maintainance is a different matter.

    I just hate these money grubbing lawyers trying to sue for anything they think they can get a chunk out of......

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