Sunday, April 01, 2007

Building in Floodplains?

One has to assume public leadership provides the safety the public needs in their communities, and safety from earthquakes, tornados, drought, fire, flooding and other natural disasters are obviously the things that should remain at the top of the list.

Stronger building codes, adequate water storage, well funded fire and police are also obvious responses; and providing 500 year level of flood protection, other major river cities like Tacoma, St. Louis, Dallas, & Kansas City already have, should be the direction our public leadership takes rather than restricting the building of communities which lie at the core of creating the economic strength able to pay for public safety needs.

The question then becomes, not should we be building in floodplains, but why do we still have flood plains in the city limits of the capital city of the largest state in the country?

Another View: Solution is better levees, not building moratorium
By Wes Keusder -
Published 12:00 am PDT Sunday, April 1, 2007

We're all wiser now about flood risk in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans, but it's time to stop using the disaster as a guise for promoting limits on growth in areas like Sacramento, where Californians want to live, work and play.

The issue is public safety -- everyone's -- so just saying, "No more housing," as the column says, won't fix levees or improve flood protection. Flooding at any depth is undesirable but with housing in such high demand in the region, fixing levees and making it safe to build new homes should be the objective.

In the aftermath of natural disasters such as the Loma Prieta and Northridge earthquakes, most Californians ignored calls for limits and instead insisted that freeways be fixed and homes be rebuilt. San Francisco would be no more than pastureland today had the "let's-give-up" attitude prevailed following the devastating earthquake and fires of 1906. What San Franciscans said then has been the typical response of Americans throughout history to catastrophes of all kinds, including natural disasters: "Let's rebuild."

California has used ingenuity, technology and a sense of public interest to meet challenges created by its geography, seismology and climate. As a result, California has more durable roadways and safer buildings. This kind of can-do attitude has been at work in California for decades -- building a transcontinental railroad, a bridge over the state's Golden Gate and 1,600 miles of levees, which allowed the city of Sacramento and other Central Valley communities to flourish.