A letter of Monumental Negligence

The Flood Recovery Open House put on by the Cedar Rapids City Manager’s Office was a nice gesture but in all honesty I have to wonder, as a flood victim and survivor, if I would have ever known about this open house if I wasn’t internet savvy.

Fact of it is, the city can hire all the consultants they want create all these programs that want to help us but no one really feels helped because not one person on this council has encouraged us to rebuild our neighborhoods or our lives.

I have gone above and beyond as a citizen of this city.  I have participated in several events where I have given my ‘feedback’ and honestly I don’t believe or feel that anyone listened to feedback that was given by the flood survivors.

Flood survivors have even met with flood director Greg Eyerly, who seems to get a lot done for the city but has no interest whatsoever in helping neighborhoods.  I think that his attempt to quiet us may have worked temporarily, but after sending him several emails he has yet to provide us with anything but a list of our needs!  I went to the public meetings regarding the flood manager position and again wasn’t heard.  We have not been included or given any sense of direction.  The information we do have is comprised of a chart with some chicken scratches made on it.

Drawing arbitrary lines and telling us that the Army Corps of Engineers are the ones responsible will not fly!  For the record, I have made certain my voice recorder was on and that I received business cards whenever I make contact with any federal, state, or local official. I feel the treatment we have been given, or not given is unjust to the people who were affected by this disaster.

With the zoning office denying people building permits to fix their homes,  boarding up and locking homeowners out of their property,  is undeniably a violation of the 14th Amendment that guarantees “No state shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any state deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.” Greg Everly sent out an email to some of my neighbors that said he wasn’t versed on 14th Amendment or its details. So, I filled him in.  I can see you have protected your own hides by hiring a fall guy.  Nothing has been done to protect our rights as citizens and homeowners of Cedar Rapids.

I think the judge’s ruling regarding the faulty levees in New Orleans should remind this council that the city will be held responsible for not heeding the advice and counsel upon realization of the faulty levee problem many years ago. The Army Corps of Engineers warnings were intentionally ignored by this city government.  An informant stood in front of Mayor Pate and talked of the problems with the Cedar Rapids levee and Mayor Pate brought in Dave Elgin, from the Cedar Rapids City Engineering Office to tell everyone ‘the levee was fine” and that we needed no improvements. But yet the reports from the core of engineers were clear when they stated there was a problem with the levee in the Time Check area and predicted a flood of this very magnitude. While I know we cannot hold David Elgin personally responsible for this tragedy, as the city indemnifies them.

The City of Cedar Rapids does however owe us all for our individual losses and we intend on pursuing whatever actions are necessary to hold the city responsible for this tragedy. The city council has rejected these issues and for many years while blatantly ignoring warnings. I would imagine that somewhere buried in the council records, recorded in the minutes are the discussions that were had and the very fact that Dave Elgin (city engineer) was called in to dispel concerns should have raised red flags. They knew full well “or should have” known that a flood of this magnitude would breach the levees and the consequences if the problem was not rectified.

I am certain we have a case of monumental negligence in Cedar Rapids due to the deliberate sabotage of our levee in the Time Check area that I can prove with photos that were taken on the day of the flood. These same pictures can also corroborate with stories printed in the Cedar Rapids Gazette by other residents in the opinion section over the last 18 months.

People I formerly lived by have given up hope on having our voices heard and problems resolved and yet I see people like Robert Bates all over town. I hope Ron Corbett will be able to turn this mess around. This disaster could and should have been handled better but city council once again was too busy spending millions looking for outsiders opinions to hear what “we the people had to say” for free.

Aren’t most of you lawyers? Last I heard you were and so I don’t think I need to further explain the other laws you are in violation of. Perhaps as city council members will recognize that it is time to address these issues before you leave office so you can have a clear conscious. Remember the travesty you all have created can and will be your legacy to this city.

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About Ajai Dittmar

There is nothing 'radical' about wanting to save your historical neighborhood! There is nothing 'negative' for wanting an 'outside investigation' done a public service that has had a lot of embarrassing news, especially when they don't do their jobs! There is nothing 'odd' about wanting politicians to uphold the Constitution they swear to uphold when they are sworn into office! Follow @sibzianna View all posts by Ajai Dittmar

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