The Big “D” Apparently Stands for Don’t

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As in “don’t send us your poor, your tired, your huddled masses yearning to escape a hurricane.”

The Houston Chronicle is reporting that Dallas has balked at the idea of taking as many as 40,000 evacuees in the event of a hurricane in the Houston/Galveston area. After shouldering the massive burden of 3000 evacuees during Katrina before turning others away, they have said they have no way they can take on the 40,000 special needs folks the state has asked for.

On the other hand, Austin is ready and willing to take up to 23,000 people AND THEIR PETS! Austin is about one-quarter the size of the “Metroplex.”

“It would be a little bit of a chaotic situation if we got 40,000 people,” Shaw said. “We are not going to be able to house anywhere near a 40,000 special needs population.”

The state can’t make any city take special needs evacuees, meaning if “Big D” ultimately refuses to open shelters for them, they’ll have to be transported even farther away to wait out the storm.

Chaotic? Uh, ya think? I can’t remember anyone here in Houston saying, “You know what, it’s WAY to chaotic to take on these quarter of a million evacuees from New Orleans,” when Katrina hit. We did EXACTLY what you are supposed to do as a good neighbor during a crisis – we helped. We even had the first emergency response teams on the ground in NOLA before even the state of Louisiana could get there.

But Dallas instead has decided it’s just too much for them. I know everything reminds me of quote from a movie, but this modification of the classic Stripes dialogue seems highly appropriate…

Austin: Lighten up, Dallas. We’re all in this together. One of these cities may save your life one of these days, you understand that?
Houston: Then again, maybe one of us won’t.

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