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Coastal criticism of Perry hurricane plan

Not everyone thinks that the hurricane task force plan that Governor Perry recently mandated is a good idea; in particular, the recommendation to make the governor the sole decision-maker on when evacuations should occur was criticized.

Giving the governor the authority to order evacuations would require a change in state law.

That is a change that Galveston Mayor Lyda Ann Thomas does not want to see.

Thomas said that as mayor of Galveston, she and the county judge would have firsthand knowledge of the happenings on the island and in Galveston County.

“The authority given to mayors and county judges should not be diminished and turned over to the governor,” she said. “As a Category 4 storm approaches the city of Galveston, a governor sitting in Austin and a president sitting in Washington will not know what is actually going on in that particular community.”

Just remember those three little words: “Heckuva job, Brownie”.

Brazoria County Judge John Willy concurs with Thomas, saying local officials are better qualified to determine the needs of residents.

“Brazoria County has been having storms for as long as people have been here. We know how to handle ourselves during the storm. We know when to get the people out of the area that is going to be affected by floods. If they know better than us in Austin, and he (Perry) puts it into law then, of course, we’ll abide by it.”

He added: “Bottom line is, we want to work with the governor and our neighboring counties. We want to have a traffic management in place so when it crosses the jurisdictional lines that the people north or west of us understand what the needs are and how we can help people move.”

I can understand the reason for this recommendation, but I’m not sold on it, either. If a bill to make it happen gets filed this year or next, I expect it will come under vigorous debate, which is how it should be. Stay tuned.

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3 Comments

  1. Jim D says:

    Why don’t they just change the law so that either the governor or local officials could order an evacuation? It’d be better to be safe than sorry.

    I see why Perry wants the law changed, namely, to prevent conflicting declarations or ones that would unnecessarily clog up the highways. That is where planning and coordination come in to play – and that is why the governor should have a “first strike” power to order evacuations on a pre-planned time-table. But what if the governor fails, or the emergency is too urgent or localized (or both)? Clearly I think the local officials should have a fall-back power.

  2. JWilson says:

    Or what if Kinky is elected, and decides to throw a big hurricane party instead of an evacuation?

    (I’m just joking, no flames please.)

  3. Jeb says:

    I would hope that a bill on this would be the subject of a lengthy commmittee hearing and that it never again see the light of day.