Open Letters to the President of the United States
May 27, 2010 10:00 PM

Dear Mr. President,

The Washington administration needs to understand that what has happened here is essentially a rural story. It has a deep history. For well over a century, food and fuel have been extracted from our land and waters by Louisiana's hard-working families to feed and energize a nation only to be left with rusty pipes running through our swamps, channels cut through our marshes - left with the debris from corporations that marketed to our metro centers as our very land and livelihood disappears.

If the power of this rural story and its good peoples is not understood and honored then all the metro-centric policies will not be successful as a strategy that purports to re-vitalize the engines of society.

Our metro-centers can only revitalize our nation's economies by being fed and fueled by the rural parts of America. There are no oil rigs in Times Square, nor wheat fields in Washington, DC.

It is the cattle in Nebraska's sandhills, the fish from our waters, the fuel from our mountains and marshes and, yes, our gulf that is the engine of America's bounty and future. That must be honored by law, by proper compensation for the takings and by sustained stewardship.

With respect and hopefulness,

Lorna Bourg
Southern Mutual Help Association, Inc.
Gulf Coast of Louisiana

May 31, 2010

Another Case for a National Disaster Recovery Bond

So many of us are so angry. Something's been broken that can't be fixed not really fixed. This disaster can by castigated, mitigated and compensated but not really fixed. Something worthy of all this destruction and suffering needs to be put in place for our nation.

SMHA believes, as we did after the 2005 hurricanes of Katrina and Rita, that America needs a National Disaster Recovery Bond (NDRB) similar to the war bonds in the 1940's. The bonds should be issued at every bank, should pay a modest return which would be incentivized to be part of every balanced portfolio.

The NDRB would not underwrite the financial responsibility of nationally declared disasters caused by companies such as the BP oil spill. Rather it would allow monies from the bond pool to get out quickly to those impacted by any disaster until proper compensation would be made, which in the case of hurricanes and likely in the BP oil spill, takes years.

Call your U.S. Representatives and introduce the idea of a NDRB.

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Southern Mutual Help Association, Inc.

June 1, 2010

Unsolicited Advice to the President and His Team

While Louisiana's coastal communities welcomed America's President and appreciate the effort to share our suffering, the frustration, anger and anxiety could have been better responded to by two things:

First: A series of photo ops with real meaning

1) the president in an airboat in the inundated marshes,

2) a picture of our President meeting with a room full of white-booted fishers telling him directly of their situation from their own voices and hearts,

3) and that visual followed by the president meeting with and listening to the eight parish presidents who are having to respond to this mess on their shores.

Second: A speech that was very specific in what he'll do such as directing the following to be done immediately:

1) direct the Attorney General to determine if there has been criminal negligence, and if so, to bring the full force of the law to bear,

2) request congress to raise the liability limit from $75M to $10B,

3) appoint a national commission to work with Governor Jindal to help sustain and preserve the cultures of the coastal communities of Louisiana and to preserve and sustain the finest example of America's wetlands and fishers,

4) supply the parish presidents with all materials and assistance they require to get the job done and deploy 3,500 National Guard personnel to work directly with the parish presidents and the local fishers to a) prevent more oil from getting into the marshes and beaches and b) to clean up that which has already breached our shores.

5) Finally, the President could state, "I continue to listen and learn directly from those most affected, I will take further action as warranted. I am committed to the full remediation of and compensation for this national tragedy."

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Southern Mutual Help Association, Inc.



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