I got a press release about an interesting event coming up on the fourth anniversary of Katrina. My comments follow.

Gulf Coast Rally to Demand Speaker Pelosi Take Action on 4th Anniversary of Katrina

This Friday supporters of the Gulf Coast Civic Works Act (HR 2269) will gather for a noon rally and press conference on the 4th Anniversary of Hurricane Katrina to demand passage of this federal bill.

The rally will include:

  • a theatrical performance of “President Obama” and “Speaker Pelosi” announcing an important new policy on the 4th Anniversary of Katrina;
  • reflections from survivors of Hurricane Katrina;
  • the reading of the names of the 1,836 people who died in Hurricane Katrina, and the planting of 1836 white flags with the names of each person and age on the flag;
  • the delivering of an open letter to Speaker Pelosi;
  • and the delivering of over 10,000 signed petitions in support of HR 2269.

Specifically, Speaker Pelosi will be asked to take two small, but powerful actions:

  1. To request that she asks the five committee chairs where the Gulf Coast Civic Works Act sits to report back to her office on HR 2269 before the Congressional winter recess;
  2. To sign on as a co-sponsor HR 2269.

The Gulf Coast Civic Works Act — which is co-sponsored by a bipartisan group of 30 Congress members and supported by more than 240 diverse regional and national student, faith, environmental and community organizations — would create a minimum of 100,000 prevailing wage jobs and training opportunities for local and displaced workers to rebuild Gulf Coast infrastructure and restore the coastal environment utilizing green building technologies.

Sounds great. Sign me up! Oh, wait, one last little detail. Where’s this rally taking place?

The rally and press conference will be held this Friday, 12 pm, in front of Speaker Pelosi’s office at the Phillip Burton Federal Building at 450 Golden Gate Avenue on the plaza in front of the flag poles.

That’s in San Francisco if you’re not aware.

I’m sure there are many fine events being planned here on the Gulf Coast. But I’m guessing we won’t have anything quite like this. That’s a shame. The Gulf Coast Civic Works Act is still the best proposal I’ve seen for rebuilding the Gulf Coast and revitalizing the economy. I’m frankly amazed that it’s even made it to Congress, since our system seems to filter good ideas away from the legislature. But this came up from the grassroots — in California. I’ve watched this idea percolate out in California for years, and slowly work its way up to Washington DC. I have to wonder why it doesn’t seem to garner more interest locally. I can’t recall ever hearing from local politicians about this bill.

It is a shame that, as a region, we can’t seem to come together in recognition of a good idea. It’s almost like we’ve given up. Nevertheless I appreciate the show of support from people on the other side of the country.

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