Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Dispatch From The City of Poor Oversight And Communication And of Profit Over People

So we got the all clear to use the water, even in Zone Three where low class folks like myself live, on Sunday.  We flushed the lines, re-washed the dishes and clothes we had washed on Wednesday a bunch of times, pledged to drink bottled water at home for all the good it will do, packed up a closet with supplies for the next apocalypse and tried to move on.

 The City has a lot of work to do and we are going to have to make sure they do it.  

All of the places where industry can touch the City's water supply need to have back flow preventers and the City has got to inspect the ones that connect to the refineries and other toxic industries much more regularly.  If this sort of regulation means there needs to be a change in our relationship to the industrial zone, then make the change.  Annex them and regulate them and tax them.  They cannot be allowed to keep getting tax incentives while endangering the tax payers.

The City needs to know all of the chemicals being used in the toxic industries, needs to know what is in them and what they do and needs to know how to test for them.

The City needs to stop protecting the "bad actors".  Only Council Member Carolyn Vaughn, who has usually been an awful Teabagger, had the ovaries to call them out.  Many of us are shocked to find ourselves grateful to her, but we are - we are grateful.  Name them, go after them, stop them.

Ergon must pay.

Valero must pay.

Boycott Stripes for their immoral prices during our crisis.

If Valero's timeline is to be believed at all (big If believing Valero on anything), the City made numerous dirty water checks before issuing the ban but saw nothing particularly amiss.  That sort of treatment of industrial dirty water checks will no longer fly.  If the City gets a dirty water call from the toxic industries, even if it looks like it is okay, the City Manager and Council all need to be notified and extra caution should be taken to make sure it is okay.

In emergencies, the City needs alert the public immediately through both Reverse Alert and the 911 system and through sending out emergency vehicles to neighborhoods with bull horns spreading the word.....not just through the media and not hours later.

The City needs to publicize in all the above ways the ways that people who cannot get out to free water distribution sites can call and get water delivered to them. The Red Cross and others were mobilized to provide this service but communication of that was so poor that most people were relying on friends and neighbors and grassroots volunteers like members of The Greater Good and The South Texas Colonias Initiative to find out about them by word of mouth and deliver water.  There should be 911 calls with the contact information and bull horns in the neighborhoods.

Kudos to the Caller Times for coverage (could have done a better job with headlines but great information).  Kudos to The Greater Good and The South Texas Colonias Initiative for distributing water to those the City was not reaching.  Kudos to HEB for keeping the shipments of water and hand sanitizer coming in continuously.  Kudos to all of those in other communities - too many to name - who sent us water - thank you so much for having our backs. 

 We all deserve to have holidays and a decent life and all the things we want to have when we are not in the midst of an apocalyptic crisis, but we can't forget.  We can't let up the pressure on the City to make the changes needed to be sure this never happens again.

Remember also that Hillcrest and Washington-Coles and Dona Park have been living with all of this dangerous pollution for decades and they deserve to be safe too.  Remember that the colonias do not have clean water and they deserve to be safe.  

Do not stop fighting.  Every day, do something.  Don't forget.


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