Vindictive Trump dragged on providing aid to 188,000 Americans displaced by Oroville dam crisis

Declaring a State of Emergency authorizes agencies to start mobilizing resources so that they can be deployed at a moment’s notice. If you wait until after the predicted/expected disaster (hurricane, flooding, etc) you lose valuable time on organizing the logistics.


I can’t recall how I stumbled across it but since last Friday I’ve been following this thread to keep up with and understand the situation up in Oroville.


New here and came just to talk about “libs,” eh? You’re not going to last long.

Real people are going to be hurt if we lose this damn. The irony is that the people there are mostly conservatives and Trump supporters. Us big city liberals in the Bay Area won’t be hurt by this.


The fact that you didn’t read about something doesn’t mean it didn’t happen:

LA Times, FEB. 13, 2017, 4:19 A.M.:

All 23,000 California National Guard soldiers and airmen ordered to be on alert for Oroville

The last time officials sent out such a broad notification was during the 1992 riots in Los Angeles, he said.

The California National Guard would deploy eight helicopters to assist with spillway reconstruction; military police would also be deployed to Yuba County, Baldwin said.


I’m pretty sure the Army Corp of Engineers has materials and procedures to handle a broken spillway, even a big one. So why don’t they use them? Maybe The big deal was only the opinion of a cautious local sheriff.

You know what? Very little went wrong on 1st Jan 2000. So all the effort we put in on Y2K was wasted, was it?
At the time it was not known how big was the emergency. Once water flow starts to erode any part of a dam things can get out of control very fast, and having to dump a lot of water can create its own problems. Fortunately they were able to keep things under control. But arguing post hoc that it wasn’t such a big emergency is like saying “Well, we defeated Japan in WW2 so perhaps we didn’t need to take Pearl Harbor so seriously.”


How long does it take to tweet? That long.
It’s obvious at this point that his narcissism is such that he doesn’t see any need to do anything that might make him look less bad.


Pre-position staff and resources? Make a contingency plan? Assure the public?


Hurricanes, tornadoes, earthquakes, are acts of nature or of God depending on your point of view.

The dam failure (if it occurs) will be an act of incompetence by California’s government and by neither of the above entities. That eliminates “emergency” as a descriptor for the current situation.

What is going to take $150 million to fix now might have been prevented with a million or two in maintenance a couple of years ago. This is not a unique circumstance, I have worked for a couple of organizations which spent their capital budgets on new and shiny stuff rather than fixing infrastructure.

But what the facts do is to fail to fit the narrative that Republicans, who have been a minority in California politics for decades, are at fault.


How? It is an emergency. It makes no difference whether it’s due to random nature or random political failure (which, since politicians at least started off human, can be called an act of nature - we are not outside it looking in). The fact remains that unless urgent action is taken there is a possibility of 200 000 people being killed, and arguing about semantics at that point is purely…sociopathic? Lacking in empathy? Putting point scoring above people?


Well, it’s an emergency in the sense that if a drunk driver hits a school bus, you have to call emergency responders.

The managers of the dam system play the drunk driver role here, due to their failure to maintain the spillways properly and to their irresponsible public communications. “Everything is fine, no danger…Everything is fine, no danger…Everything is fine, no danger…Everything is fine, no danger…ZOMG GET OUT INSTANTLY!!!”

They are not to be trusted either in future communications on the dam’s situation, or to make the necessary repairs.

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So trump worked fast enough on this issue for you?


He said he was going to drain the swamp.


Well, he 's Donnie, so…

It’s great how this mess is all Trump’s fault when there’s been 5 yrs of drought with apparently little to no maintenance of the dam or spillways. California with the 5th largest economy in the world spent all that time pissing away money on taking care of illegals and now the chickens come home to roost. So of course it’s all Trump’s fault. He’s been in office for 3 whole weeks!

Well, it is possible that successive Californian governments ignored dam maintenance and that the Trump administration has been less than quick in declaring a state of emergency. Which is really what this is about, is it not?

That said, I’m not sure whether the lag between the federal declaration of an emergency and the onset of the emergency is all that unusual. In my corner of Canada there was an ice storm that left >200,000 customers without power for periods as long as two weeks this winter. It still took Trudeau about 4 days to declare a federal emergency and make the military available to provide relief - few people were grumbling about the delay though.

I wouldn’t put it past Trump to be vindictive about California, but am not yet convinced that his response in this case was abnormal.


Welcome back to Boing Boing!

Nobody is blaming Trump for the Oroville dam failing. The question is whether his response to what any sane person would consider an emergency has been prompt enough.


On a side note, I’m glad to see Lake Oroville full again. In recent years I felt sick every time I saw how badly it was affected by the drought. The before/after photos were alarming. It’s encouraging to know that bodies of water can rebound so quickly. I hope Lake Meade is able to recover at some point as well. I wish the best to the people working on this and hope they get the spillway fixed and stabilized soon.


“Emergency” doesn’t mean that the situation was unavoidable, or shouldn’t have been responded to earlier. It just means that it absolutely must to be responded to now.