Failure to fix Birdland levee warrants investigation

This column by Marc Hansen should be required reading:

John Morrissey, president of the Highland Park Neighborhood Association, asks a good question.

“Here we have a levee the Corps of Engineers said would fail, and yet it hasn’t been rebuilt in 15 years. And why is that? Why have our leaders not taken up the banner to protect the people who live and work and put their sweat and tears in this town every day?”

[…]

Improvements were made to the Birdland-area levee. Money was spent after the 1993 soaking, but obviously not enough. Why?

These are some of the most vulnerable residents in the metro area. We’re talking about people who might not be getting paychecks for weeks or months, people who have the most to lose.

[…]

Zero in on the north side of town, however, and something wasn’t so right. Morrissey wants to know why the focus is on cosmetic projects like the Principal Riverwalk, at the expense of essential needs like keeping working-class neighborhoods dry.

[…]

The Birdland levee was approved for renovation. But when the flood arrived, it was still on the waiting list.

Here’s hoping the Des Moines Register will devote some investigative reporting to this matter in the coming months. The damage to the Birdland neighborhood caused more human suffering and will cost a lot more public money to fix than crimes committed at the Central Iowa Employment and Training Consortium (CIETC), which the Register covered at great length.

Also worth reading regarding the flooding:

href=”http://www.desmoinesregister.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20080618/OPINION01/806180345/1166/OPINION01″>This column by former Register editorial writer Bill Leonard, called “Eroded soil sends message: Step up conservation.”

This diary by Matthew Grimm on a benefit concert scheduled for tonight (Thursday, June 19) in Iowa City.

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