Why Not Disney?

Your editorial on the last page of the October 2005 Sourcebook was spot on for the requirement that the rebuilding of New Orleans "Requires Vision." My vision, however, is somewhat counter to yours, particularly when you mention that a Disney-like environment would be an unhappy outcome. New Orleans is unsupportable as a normal city. What engineer would design a structure that was doomed to fail before the first foundation was poured?

My vision would turn New Orleans into a theme park. In fact, who better to be the construction managers and operators than Disney? Their track record in central Florida is impressive. They seem to be able to build cost-effective housing and recreation areas, coupled with the necessary infrastructure and transportation networks. It’s certainly a better option than giving $200 billion federal tax dollars haphazardly to local and state governments that haven’t a clue as to a vision.

Stick to Engineering

Incredulous. That’s the word I think best describes my feelings after I read this editorial, "Some Disasters Are Real and Ready to Roll" (ENR 9/12 p. 52.) The reason is that I have come to expect that one of our leading professional engineering information sources will, as it has done so well in the past, use its editorial might to focus key engineering issues for the community’s contemplation and action.

Instead, this tome left me thinking that I was reading a weekly political rag on a subject not within the professional expertise of its author or that I had been listening to some left-wing professor talking liberal ideas and nasty politics at some aloof academic institution.

I found particularly disconcerting the use of hyperbole such as we often see in the liberal media. What right do you have to tell us [in your opinion] the response was a "political disaster of Biblical proportions," or that there has been "pathetic or miserly funding of flood defenses?"

You question the competency of decision makers, yet you leave them un-named. You also say they have been short-sighted in their investment strategy. Who are these terrible and short-sighted people and at which level of government? What are your qualifications (as a sociologist) to render such an opinion in the context of race or economics?

Your final and most infuriating statement suggests that the U.S. investment in regime change in Iraq was foolish, implying that we would better have spent the money on our own infrastructure. Just as you don’t look to your doctor for professional advise on non-health related problems, we readers don’t look to you to render an opinion about how the federal government spends its money overseas on matters of national security, and I’m sure most of your readers won’t look to you for insights on sociology.