If you’ve not had a chance to see HBO’s latest show, “Treme”, by author/ex-journalist/blogger hater David Simon (he of “The Wire” fame), I strongly urge you to do so, by any means necessary. If you have HBO and OnDemand, it should be there, if not, well wait for the DVDs or explore (ahem) alternate means of content delivery or whatever, but you really need to see this.
The Short Recap: it’s a story about people from various parts of New Orleans in the immediate aftermath of Hurrcaine Katrina in 2005-2006. We all know what a supreme f*ck up FEMA and the feds were after this disaster, and we’ve all seen the pictures on TV. What Treme manages to do is to personalize those stories and do that expertly woven tapestry of lives and events that Simon pioneered in The Wire.
It’s both fascinating, and horrifying to see what can happen to an American city in the 21st century, and how “shock doctrine” ideologues, good old fashioned corruption and racism, and the economic realities of a debt-ridden nation of do-nothings can collide and create the mess that we still have to this day.
Now, while I enjoy the drama and a well written TV series, and so on, Treme still scares the Hell out of me every week I watch the show. That’s because I truly fear what is going to happen to San Francisco when the inevitable Big F*cking Earthquake hits us.
We are not prepared for what people will do to our city after the quake, and after years of rule by Prince Gavin Newsom and the Board of Supervisors, I genuinely believe that the only line of defense we have against a horrifying immediate aftermath is going to be the citizens of SF, and them alone, helping each other out. What’s scarier though, is how this corrupt city will no doubt use the disaster as a way to destroy neighborhoods and create “Suburbia By the Sea,” and historical anything be damned.
Mayor Gavin Newsom let politics, not objectivity, decide who to give the (well paid) Director of Office of Emergency Services job ages ago – something I wrote about in 2005. The mainstream media clapped like seals at Sea World for the “triple play” that ousted Supervisor Tony Hall and placed a totally unqualified political hack in charge of our disaster plans. We also have a Fire Chief that thinks we can simply have checkpoints at the city limits so we can outfit surrounding fire departments’ trucks with “adapters” so they can use our fire hydrants. Yeah, that’ll work.
I wasn’t the only one worried about this – others also investigated the immense swindling of taxpayer funds and Boy Gavin’s response was to defends big ass salaries to unqualified political hacks. Little did we know in 2005 that this would be the signature of Newsom’s administration.
If you can do so, I strongly advise you take any of the NERT training courses and learn how to work with your neighbors in light of a natural disaster or terrorist attack. Prepare. Buy canned food and water. Get a solar charger for your cell phone (or better yet, get a satellite phone). Get to know your neighbors and if there are those like seniors or the disabled that will need special help.
But whatever you do, know this: Mayor Newsom never gave a damn about you or this city, and the Board of Supervisors is too wrapped up in endless “nonbinding advisory measures” to be of any use. And the federal government, regardless of who’s president, will do nothing to help you, and outside interests will use the disaster to do what they can to hurt Our Fair City.
Anyone who was in the Bay Area after the 1989 Loma Prieta quake can recall just how f*cked FEMA was post-quake, and KQED even made a kick-ass documentary about just how awful things were. Keep this in mind when you’re casting a ballot in the Democratic primary for Lieutenant Governor and ask yourself “Does Gavin Newsom REALLY deserve a promotion after the many, many failures to perform as Mayor of a city of less than a million people?”