Off Beat: Flood insurance? Forget about it
There's good news for those of you who live behind levees: No need for flood insurance!
Strange as it may seem, that's the decision Congress made last month when it approved the federal transportation bill, which included a reauthorization of the National Flood Insurance Program.
On the Senate floor, according to the Congressional Record, Sen. Dianne Feinstein praised her colleagues for removing the "residual risk" provision from the bill.
"That provision was a real concern to me and more than a dozen cities and counties in California," she said. "It would have required nearly 1 million residents in my state to purchase flood insurance even though they live behind fully functioning levees that meet or exceed federal safety standards."
It's bad timing, she said, "when homeowners are struggling to pay their mortgages ... (and) housing starts are near all-time lows."
And, as everybody knows, a federally certified levee could never, ever fail. Ever.
That provision would have "quadrupled the number of homeowners in my state who have to buy flood insurance," Feinstein said, and would have a "devastating effect on communities in California and across the nation."
Who opposed residual risk? Feinstein said she received letters from elected officials across the state, including Sutter County, Yuba City and Butte County. No flooding issues there.
"In Sutter County, an estimated 28,000 of the 34,308 parcels would have been affected," Feinstein said. "That is 81.6 percent of all parcels in the county."
The senator observed, "This policy wasn't proposed because homeowners lived behind unsafe levees. These were safe levees that meet federal standards. Some believe this provision was added to the original bill to restore the fiscal solvency of the program. By bringing in new, low-risk properties, it is true that the fiscal health of the Flood Insurance Program would have improved."
The senator, however, said she opposed "propping up the Flood Insurance Program on the backs of constituents who played by the rules."
So those of you behind federally certified levees, you can feel safe in knowing they're much better than any other levees. Forever.
Quote of the year
This gem comes from the Willows Journal. The city is putting a hotel tax on the ballot in November to raise money.
Roger Kumar, a hotel owner in Willows, observed: "I don't believe in taxes. It is a communist way of making money. When my expenses go up, I work harder and smarter."