COMMENTS: Watts Under Water

On the flood watch, NBC's Ron Allen showed us New Jersey suburbanites clean up from last weekend's nor'easter; ABC's Barbara Pinto and NBC's Kevin Tibbles watched North Dakotans sandbagging along the banks of the Red River as it swells from snowmelt. Then George Lewis demonstrated the most unlikely flood plain of all for NBC's Fleecing of America. FEMA geographers designated a neighborhood of South Central Los Angeles to be flood prone, making homeowners liable for an extra $200 in monthly insurance premiums. Why the new map? Lewis noted that FEMA's flood fund found itself $17bn in debt in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. "Is the agency trying to balance the books by soaking the public?" he wondered.

Lewis gave a tip of the hat to KCET, the PBS affiliate in Los Angeles, for persuading FEMA to admit that its map was faulty. The flood zone was redrawn and the levee levy was rescinded.


Click on the URL for the full extent of this story. If you head toward the end of the FreshInk story, you'll get to the 4/15/10 update. The woman mentioned in the update is a single black woman who made a subsistence income working for the large Christian non-profit world-wide child poverty provider Compassion International. She went bankrupt and the bank foreclosed on her small house. FEMA maps were so wrong that on 3/3/10 FEMA admitted that they "never became effective". Bottom line: a major $15,000,000 flood abatement project physically lowered the flood zone in 2004, but her mortgage company made up maps "based on" FEMA maps that showed a higher flood elevation. And they got away with it. So far.

The far-reaching effects of this issue will be felt by the American public for decades. Predatory mortgage companies are sucking citizens dry because of FEMA mistakes and policies.

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