Monday, September 29, 2008

Recovering From Ike and From Bad Leadership

Monday, September 29, 2008

Dear Friends & Neighbors,

As I write these lines, I wish I could say that we all have our lives back in order after dealing with the aftermath of Hurricane IKE, but the truth is that many of us are continuing to live with no light, bottled water, the costly re-fueling of our generators (at least those of us lucky to have one) and a ton of frustration.

Personally, my family and I sat in the dark for 11 days (with the exception of three nights that we were lucky enough to get a hotel room) and I know that there are a number of families still sitting and living in the dark.

This morning, I was told by a neighbor in Crosby that CenterPoint had advised her that power would not be restored to her street until November. She then told me that the neighborhood consists of retirees in their 70s and that one resident was a woman that was 92 years old.

I find this situation unacceptable and understood her frustration but I also had to remind her that I was a candidate and not an elected official. I referred this neighbor to Harris County Commissioner Sylvia Garcia's office who has a long history of taking immediate action to correct situations such as this one.

She seemed to take some relief in my response and asked what actions had been taken by our other elected officials and I had no answer.

The truth is my opponent Joe Crabb has made no statement before or after the storm. No one knows where he is or what he has done to help the district during this crisis. I've even heard some neighbors say that he has been staying at his ranch in Gonzalez county while his district lived (and continues to live) in the dark.

Congressman Ted Poe, before the storm, claimed that he and County Judge Emmett had organized matters with FEMA and were well prepared to assist the district with any of their needs when the storm passed. Later, he was very critical at the lack of response from FEMA and the judgments of Judge Emmett when FEMA PODs were failing to release supplies at various locations.

Judge Emmett seemed to be more concerned with media coverage, instead of attending to the needs of our district. Case in point, District 127 received their first POD in the Highlands area two days after the initial FEMA PODs were established by Judge Emmett's office. I question Judge Emmett’s reasoning behind area placements of PODs, and not just the fact that these locations were running out of supplies only hours after opening.

During the peak of the crisis, I spoke with my campaign manager Stace Medellin, and we both were concerned with the lack of response for the citizens in our district and after our conference, he made a call to various elected officials' offices and provided blog space in his call requesting assistance for people in the district. Someone must have been reading because after Highlands came Channelview, then a location in Crosby. Our friends in Humble also had one open; however, they also had to deal with supplies running out or delays in delivery.
I must give kudos to Commissioner Sylvia Garcia and her staff for their quick response to the needs of the southern part of the district.

Those criticizing citizens most (Gov. Perry and Judge Emmett) thought that residents who were complaining about the lack of leadership were doing so without cause; however, I point to the fact that most of the district had prepared as our elected officials had instructed with bottled water, food and extra cash, but no one anticipated power to be interrupted for so long. This fact made it impossible for residents to buy supplies and gas even with cash in hand when supplies ran out; thus, making accessibility to PODs vital. But slow reactions and political miscalculations showed us the lack of leadership evident within the County and District.

Friends, mistakes have been made, but the failure to recognize and repair these mistakes falls on the current Republican leadership. They have failed from the top to the bottom of the ballot.

Several of you are not happy with the leadership that has been displayed during this crisis, but you must remember that you have a choice come November to demonstrate your disapproval and demand change in our government.

Please remember early voting start October 20th.

Your Democratic Candidate for Texas House District 127,
Joe A. Montemayor

No comments: