Tag Archives: FEMA

FEMA denies the City of Cedar Rapids funding for the Time Check Recreation Center- Again

Well well, FEMA denied the City of Cedar Rapids funding for the Time Check Recreation Center, again. What is your opinion on this? Do you think it’s a good idea to give the city money to build a brand new recreation center in the 100 year flood plain after the city neglected to clean out the original recreation center for three years? These photos show the recreation center three years after the flood:
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The city wouldn’t clean this building that was blowing mold all over the city for three years until it was time to start discussing the replacement of the building! When the city finally did decide to clean it out they hired an out of state company even though nearby residents offered to clean it out for free.
Don Karr told FEMA Tuesday morning at a meeting, “You’re not helping us put the city back to the way it was before the flood, “said city council member Don Karr. “I’m asking you to stand by your word.”

Flood impacted people were told “not to expect FEMA to make us whole” yet, city officials expect just that! FEMA is expected to make things better than ever for the city. FEMA has done a lot for Cedar Rapids already! They paid for all the buyouts (after the houses were demolished- the city received $27 Million dollars just to acquire approximately 192 properties in the “green-way”), we have a new library, a new fire department being built, refurbished Sheriffs Department, the Paramount Theater has been rebuilt,and many other projects have all been built new and all better than they were before!

How much more will the city leaders demand from FEMA? Especially since city leaders are merely spending the money because it is there? This while disasters such as Hurricane Sandy is fresh in our minds. What about these disaster victims? What about the new FEMA recipients in California? One must ask why didn’t the city make due with what they had instead of expecting FEMA to buy and build them a brand new city? When will Cedar Rapids leaders consider the other disaster areas that will need that money to recover? Who is paying for all of this? Taxpayers need to know where their money is going in these hard times!
“We’re going to keep fighting it,” Karr said. “We’re going to keep fighting to get this built.” The city has 60 days to appeal FEMA’s decision. They say because the plan was rejected, rebuilding efforts may be pushed back another year.

The Preferred Scam and The Local Option Sales Tax

Homeowners residing on 1st Street, NW, like myself, chose to live by the river and know the risks. That is why we have flood insurance. The city’s so-called “voluntary” buyout would have forced us to take a $50,000 loss.

The 2008 flood did not begin with the river over-topping the earthen levee on the west bank, as many think. Neighborhoods were flooded through the storm and sanitary sewer systems.

During the evacuation, Ellis Boulevard, from Penn Avenue to 1st Avenue, seven blocks from my house, water was 2 feet deep, while 3rd Street NW was dry. The city’s plan wants a levee on 4th Street NW. Even with a wall, neighborhoods far from the river will still flood through the sewers, making it harder for the water to drain.

I was on the Local Option Sales Tax “Oversight Committee.” This “oversight” committee has absolutely no authority. The only thing this committee does is give a recommendation. The Committee voted down using L.O.S.T. for public facilities every time, yet the Council used it anyway.

In my opinion, the city did not use L.O.S.T. correctly. Was 90% of it used for acquisition and rehabilitation of flood-damaged housing, as sold to the voters in 2009? No.

Is Cedar Rapids, Iowa Dragging America down with its Expensive Facelift?

In June, 2008 the “city that would never floodwent 12 feet under and has dragged the rest of the country down with it ever since! The city invests millions of dollars on its east side leaving the west side without flood protection or investment.

City leaders took advantage of FEMA funding to turn our disaster into an “opportunity” for themselves. Why does Cedar Rapids continue to receive FEMA funding when FEMA is BROKE? Officials started projects based on ‘potential’ FEMA funds were spent before any funding was approved or received..
City Officials had a plan.

Instead of allowing people to recover, officials created and fostered a division between the East and West side of town. They have done this by design by burying residents/homeowners in red tape, drawing arbitrary lines through historical neighborhoods (120 year old tax bases), and blaming FEMA for drawing the lines through the neighborhoods and that they are at fault for the slow recovery. I called FEMA and they deny drawing lines through our neighborhoods and said that our city officials who applied for the buyout.

I know this much is true. Cedar Rapids officials drew arbitrary lines in the name of FEMA and the United States Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) in the name of flood protection. Again, I called FEMA and USACE about the historical neighborhoods and both agencies say that the city, drew the lines. One man from the USACE even went as far as calling the scenario that I was explaining to him sounded illegal and would qualify as ‘coercion in a voluntary property acquisition’.

Conversations with the Council meeting at Roosevelt Middle School in Cedar Rapids 2009

Officials have since given property where the original property owners could not rebuild on to developers who can and will profit from after millions of tax dollars from FEMA and HUD were used to acquire the properties. Non-profits with incestuous connections and city staff have taken advantage of funding meant for disaster victims for their own profit.

Buildings that were barely touched by flood water, like Public Works, will be razed (and replaced with brand new buildings) while buildings like the Time Check Recreation Center sit abandoned and untouched for the last three years.

Millions of dollars of tax payers dollars have been invested/promised to a small area within a three block radius on the east side of the river in the name of “flood recovery” no one located in the Greedway or CONstruction (the areas people lived in) zone will be helped. Instead of being helped their Constitutional Rights have been violated and they are labeled as ‘stubborn‘ and ‘radical’ for wanting to save what’s left of the American dream.

Please allow me to explain my position. I love my 111 year old riverfront home in NW Cedar Rapids. The city offered a buyout. This buyout was supposedly ‘voluntary‘ but people who lived in my area were denied assistance. People were told they couldn’t rebuild. This after ONE major flood.

People’s houses were ‘tested’ by environmental companies hired by the city who deemed them environmental risks. In turn city inspectors came by and wrote tickets for these houses being ‘nuisances’ so that FEMA funds could be used to demolish them.

We were under a ‘revitalization’ program (more federal money) at the same time that this flood happened. In fact, our last inspection was to take place on June 17, 2008 because we were part of the Weed and Seed initiative in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. I did turn it in but got the run around over the phone. The house I refer to in this video was demolished before the homeowner was paid. The homeowner couldn’t back out of the buyout if they wanted to!

I was born and raised in this city and I firmly believe that we would have fully recovered from the 2008 flood if we weren’t taken advantage of during this time of chaos. Many people were told that they couldn’t rebuild and were forced to move into houses they couldn’t afford. If given the chance to do it over we could have done this without tearing down our best houses because we are “can do” kind of people.

Cedar Rapids residents have been fighting the city and FEMA and will continue to stand up for American tax payers because we understand the value of our freedom and know first hand how fast it can be taken.

About a minute in Mike Augustine at a neighborhood meeting in NW Cedar Rapids complains about the mayor after mayor says tax payers won’t pay “diddly squat” in local newspaper.

(all we have done is pay)

Below are some questions I asked the United States Army Corps of Engineers during their presentation of the CEDAR RIVER CEDAR RAPIDS, IOWA FLOOD RISK MANAGEMENT PROJECT page 18 explains that the city’s “Preferred Plan” is not supported by the United States Army Corps of Engineers- the most important statement they made was this one: “Specific to the Time Check neighborhood, alternatives containing river’s edge alignments cannot impact
land purchased with funds from the FEMA Hazard Mitigation Grant Program (HMGP). FEMA rules do not allow construction of a flood damage reduction project or protection of lands purchased with HMGP funds. Alignments evaluated through this area, therefore, had to be set back accordingly and could not be placed near the river’s bankline.

None of the flood damage reduction alignments along the west side of the river met required economic criteria in order to establish a Federal interest. Economic justification was found for a few of the alternative alignments on the east side, out of which a Recommended Plan was identified. The local sponsor, City of Cedar Rapids, ultimately has the decision whether or not to proceed with the Recommended Plan.”

The following video is from one of the open forums put on by the United States Army Corps of Engineers in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. This is Larry. Larry’s house is gone while just two blocks away millions of dollars have been invested in a two block area known as Czech Village. What kind of village has no villagers? The “village of GREED”!

This video is not a plea for donations because these homes are no longer standing. This video is to show the world that there used to be a Village here.

Comparing East and West Cedar Rapids

I spent part of my day in class and the rest of it shooting and editing video. Here is the video I made.

FEMA cut wasteful spending in Cedar Rapids, IA and FUND Joplin, MI

With less than $1 billion currently available for federal disaster assistance, the Federal Emergency Management Agency is temporarily suspending payments to rebuild roads, schools and other structures destroyed during spring tornadoes in Joplin, Mo. and southern states in order to pay for damage caused by Hurricane Irene.

WOW, while the whole country is going broke and FEMA funding is low, my city, Cedar Rapids, Iowa, continues to spend like there is no tomorrow– in the name of “flood recovery” when buildings like Public Works were barely touched by flood waters yet are going to demolish it and build new? Why is FEMA talking about cutting off Joplin, MI while they continue to funnel millions of dollars to fund Cedar Rapids ‘face-lift’? We didn’t lose any lives and our city officials and media KNEW there was a flood coming!

Cedar Rapids city council members openly admit they are spending FEMA money because it’s available. It doesn’t matter that the people don’t want the city to use these funds “they are going to do whatever they want, because they can”. While we lose our history/heritage city officials continue to abuse FEMA and the people of Cedar Rapids, so that they can make their friends rich! When will this end?

While FEMA goes broke Cedar Rapids has been giving away property that was acquired with FEMA funding to developers so that developers could profit without going through a bidding process! Not only is this ILLEGAL but it is unethical! One-hundred-twenty year old tax bases were destroyed in the name of “flood recovery” and now we supposedly have a “housing crisis”! Generations of family homes were destroyed for the “preferred plan” a plan that even city workers didn’t know about.

Click here to see the money tree. Tell FEMA to not stop funding Joplin, MI but to stop sending money to Cedar Rapids, Iowa! I love my city but I hate what’s been done to it in the name of FEMA and for our ‘own protection’. Disaster by design? I think so! Plans from 1961 were taken off the shelf and dusted off and greed filled the minds and pockets of those who knew! Click here to see the “vision” for Cedar Rapids, Iowa.

We could have recovered by now if money wasn’t given to these non-profits! Money was sent in from people all over the country to help us but we never got a dime of it! The people in charge of the Greater Cedar Rapids Community Foundation instead ‘donated’ $1,200,000 to Block by Block (a group that should be called Block by OOPS I missed a Block). Some might say what’s wrong with the Greater Cedar Rapids Community Foundation donating money to Block by Block? Well, first of all the two men who run Block by Block are married to two women who work for the Greater Foundation of Cedar Rapids!

The plot thickens but I don’t have time to go into that today! Visit CRSMELLS.ORG for more information.

Update: Did someone hear me up in the office?

I thought they had until I read this! Let’s just hope that Dubuque doesn’t use the money the same way Cedar Rapids did, as an opportunity!