Monday, December 05, 2005

Sacramento Flooding, Part Eight

The Bee, in an editorial Saturday, highlighted the absurdity of the reasoning keeping vital flood scenario maps relatively unavailable to the public, and in so doing reminds us of why we need to pay attention to the local follow up of the increased scrutiny around flooding issues since New Orleans.

The Bee has also done a valuable public service by posting the map information and we applaud that but question why the Bee needs to do the job public administrators are hired, and paid quite well, (recent research by the Employee Benefits Research Institute shows that public employees now make 46% more in average wages and benefits than private sector employees) to do.

We’ll continue to track this entire flood/water supply/water storage issue, as it has huge implications for the long-term preservation, protection, and strengthening of the Parkway.

Editorial: Flood planning for all
Why does the city keep maps under wraps?
Published 2:15 am PST Saturday, December 3, 2005

Sacramento is ahead of many Central Valley communities in mapping for flood disaster. The city and county have prepared 18 maps that depict how deep - and how fast - the water would flow in various neighborhoods, if and when levees break.

This cartography, while grim, is a vital tool for emergency planners. It is also helpful for everyone in the flood plain. More than any official pronouncement, these maps hammer home the imperative for residents and business owners to plan for disaster and evacuate early.

Given their impact, you might expect these maps to be easily accessible to residents. Sadly, they are not. City and county officials have been displaying some maps at recent meetings, but have declined for years to put some or all of them on their respective Web sites.

Why? One official excuse is that digital versions of the maps are too large for people to easily download them. Another recent claim is that residents might use the maps to make predetermined - and possibly foolhardy - decisions about where they should evacuate. Neither excuse stands up to scrutiny.

For the rest of the editorial: