I want to start off this post by apologizing for writing it. It’s low to start finger-pointing while a crisis is underway, I know. I didn’t like it when it was done to Bush during Hurricane Katrina and I hate to be doing it now. Surely there’ll be time for a reckoning down the road.
It’s just that…well…crap. Mayor Sylvester Turner seems to have graduated from the Ray Nagin Academy of Ethical and Capable Statesmanship with a minor in Effective Disaster Management. I don’t think it’s too soon to say so.
First off, you could possibly excuse the failure of the city to evacuate ahead of Hurricane Harvey by considering Turner’s argument that evacuating Houston would have been a logistical nightmare. Yes, it would have resulted in massive traffic backups and all sorts of injuries and illnesses, unless the city opted for a limited evacuation rather than putting 6 million people on the roads at once. Wouldn’t it have been a better outcome than leaving people stranded in the city? Couldn’t the mayor have at least encouraged people to self-evacuate as Governor Abbott had been doing all week?
Well, maybe the mayor didn’t know the disaster would be that bad, right? If this woman is to be believed, he did:
Rebecca Reisig’s reward for accurately describing the scale of the destruction to come and wisely advising people to evacuate was to be branded a fake news hoaxer and I hear that her Facebook account was deactivated. The city government pushed back hard against Reisig’s claims, but she was right. She even correctly pegged the rainfall amount.
If Mayor Turner knew that this disaster was going to be so terrible, he has no excuse. This is Nero grade negligence. If Reisig is right that the mayor knew what was coming, refused to tell the public, attacked her for speaking the truth, and decided to just hope for the best instead of evacuating then I think he should be charged criminally for each death that results from this disaster. Hell, if he conducts business in this way, I have no doubt he’ll end up in prison for something sooner or later. So far, it’s 15 counts of manslaughter as far as I’m concerned and it’s going to get worse.
The other story that’s emerged that makes me wonder if Houston is in the grip of a deranged supervillain is Mayor Turner’s comment about Houston remaining a sanctuary city during the disaster.
“There is absolutely no reason why anyone should not call [for help]. And I and others will be the first ones to stand up with you,” Turner, an attorney, said to reporters. “If someone comes and they require help and then for some reason [someone] tries to deport them, I will represent them myself.”
This is where I should say that law enforcement shouldn’t be worrying about immigration status at this moment. They have much more important things to worry about with rescue efforts, stopping looters, and
secretly executing gang members. It should be common sense, but maybe it isn’t. I agree with Turner that it would be a horrible tragedy if an illegal immigrant chose not to contact law enforcement to get help for a family member out of fear of deportation.
That said, if I were in Houston right now I’d be begging to be deported just to get out of there. I mean, never mind that many vulnerable people are only there because Mayor Turner refused to evacuate the city. Worth keeping in mind that he bears some measure of responsibility for this state of affairs.
This is the worst disaster in his city’s history, possibly the worst urban disaster since 9/11 (if not ever), and the mayor is talking about taking time away from dealing with it to personally attend to the needs of illegal aliens. The payoff from speaking this drivel, I guess, is to score political points against the governor (whom he apparently refused to take phone calls from or coordinate with over the weekend) and the new Texas law that blocks sanctuary cities from existing. It’s for this reason that I don’t feel the least bit bad for condemning him mid-crisis.
Mayor Turner is a bumbling asshole, maybe even an evil one. If this event doesn’t terminate his political career, there is no justice. Should he somehow escape prosecution for his depraved negligence, the City of Houston owes it to itself and to the rest of us to ensure that he is never placed in a position of trust or responsibility ever again.