Monday, September 08, 2008

Clarifications by Dr. Cigler (Monday Edition)

Beverly Cigler, a public policy professor at Penn State University, took issue with our editing of Sundays blog.

She referred to her quote "My own personal opinion is that you shouldn't rebuild in areas unless you can make them safe," she said. "And nobody's had the willingness to confront these kinds of issues."Her clarification: ""Areas" refers to the most low lying, unsafe areas and I suggested making them safe before rebuilding. Much of what I told the interviewer (Lara Jakes Jordan) about "these kinds of issues" was omitted. Specifically, I discussed trade-offs among and between economic development, private property rights, and wise environmental and land use policies (vs. solely structural solutions such as levees.)"

Professor Cigler clarified another point from her interview with Lara:

"Lara--I...Some people think I said things I didn't say or infer, such as New Orleans across the board should not be rebuilt. That's likely because of the title of the article and the way that interviewee comments were ordered.

"Readers aren't aware of my explanation of the pro's and con's of structural (levees) vs. non-structural (land use, etc.) options, concluding that the levees will be be fully strengthened across 350 miles of levees for the next 3 years. They miss the fact that parts of the city are at different elevations and that the tough decisions regarding areas of lowest elevation have not been well addressed. My comments on wetlands, building codes, and other land use measures were to say that structural options aren't the only concern; instead, a mix is needed in rebuilding and rebuilding in particular areas should not be done unless the areas are safe.

"People are interpreting my comments to say simply that NOLA should not be rebuilt because it is a soup bowl. It is a soup bowl, but I made all kinds of comments regarding how to make it safe. My comments to you were focused on explaining the difficult trade-offs among and between economics, property rights, wise planning, and other choices for the areas of lowest elevation.My sending the material to you on Congressional appropriations vs. how much has been spent was to further the argument that there's a long way to go to say that NOLA is safe.

"I never said or implied that NOLA wasn't worth rebuilding. If anything, I've argued for a faster and more competent pace of rebuilding. I remember mentioning that 75 million people live in coastal areas in the U.S. I wouldn't suggest that they be moved or not allowed to live there, akin to arguing that NOLA shouldn't be rebuilt....I think it's time for a report on the tough decisions that need to be made along our coasts, along California's canyons, etc.”


jbv's Competitive Edge 


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