After I was discharged from the Army and learned I couldn’t collect unemployment because everyone was hiring, I went to see the Chief Judge of the Circuit Court because I had worked there before the Army drafted me on Valentine’s Day, 1966.
He said I looked liked a fine young man, i.e., my hair was short, and he was required by law to rehire me. He assigned me a 1963 Studebaker that burned 2 quarts of oil every hundred miles and sent me off to work.
Every business day I drove to a small motel and picked up an elderly gentleman who was a crony of the Democratic boss in the state. Most mornings he was still in bed drunk so I had to help him get dressed and put him in the car. One morning I walked in and found an ugly prostitute next to him, condom on the floor (no Viagra back then).
And off we would go a court twenty miles away where I would plunk him in his chair in the courtroom and he would “clerk” the court. This is when my second task often would kick in. If court wasn’t over by the luncheon recess I was tasked with making sure he didn’t get drunk during the lunch hour. I succeed most of the time. When I failed, I took over his duties and clerked the court. That how I learned the job.
I knew from this first “major” assignment this was going to be an interesting career.
For the last decade or more FEMA and our county government in the Florida Keys have been locked in a battle. Many stilt homes in the Keys have livable downstairs’ enclosures most often rented to workforce folks that cannot afford their own abode. Until recently the county has looked the other way on this issue. Now FEMA demands that all livable downstairs enclosures be destroyed or they will take away FEMA flood insurance for all. The irony of FEMA’s demand is they don’t cover insurance at the ground level. DUH!
Now let’s look at Louisiana. As the floodwaters roll down the mighty Mississippi, we are opening flood spillways that will destroy thousands of rural acres to save urban areas. Folks that lived in these areas knew about the potential to open these gates and destroy what they own, but do they have FEMA flood insurance? Who will reimburse them for their loss? Was flood insurance a requirement for the Louisiana folks who had mortgages? The farmers are also facing the issue of crop insurance. At the present time it appears the government’s position is: if no flood insurance, sorry.
Just because it will ultimately be a government decision to flood one area in order to save Baton Rouge and New Orleans from extensive damages does not mean flooded homes without FEMA flood insurance will be covered. Is it a natural disaster or a manmade one?
Under federal law, only homeowners with federally backed mortgages and living in high-risk areas (1 percent chance of flooding every year and 26 percent chance during the life of a 30-year mortgage) are required to buy flood insurance. People in moderate to low-risk areas are not.
There is presently legislation in Congress to tighten the FEMA flood insurance program. But, there is an upcoming election. Stay tuned.
Florida plans to switch from paper textbooks to digital readers for all students from K-12 by 2015. The payoff includes course content that can be easily updated and interactive between students and educators. Internet capable readers provide students with a massive resource.