CHICANO AUTHORS We wish to purchase short stories, poems, articles, biographies & plays in English BY CHICANO AUTHORS. All themes: joy, family, love, prejudice, protest, rage, achievement, etc. To be included in anthologies. Either unpublished works or reprints. Book-length manuscripts also wanted. PENDULUM PRESS SOUTHWEST 1186 East Menlo Drive Altadena, Calif. 91001 W—-41111-1114111111111111-disaster victims by the Small Business Administration, there are poor families who cannot qualify. Robert Pierpont, disaster chief of the National Red Cross, said after Camille, “We’re not dealing with the poor, we’re dealing with Mr. and Mrs. Average America.” Dan Bachman, director of Nueces County relief services after Celia, said the Red Cross’s policies have not changed since Camille. “The policies are flexible,” he said. “For replacement costs, it can be up to the discretion of the case worker to some degree. We get price lists from the merchants and try to give what the average family need. No, we don’t have any figure we use as an average income. The average family income in some instances is high, in some instances it’s low.” While Red Cross payments to homeowners can go up to cover replacement costs, no matter how great the worth of the home, for renters the Red Cross allows only one month’s payment. A report by the Southern Regional Council of the American Friends Service Committee on the role of the Red Cross after Hurricane Camille concluded that a disproportionate amount of the agency’s disaster budget goes to those who are not poor. Many poor people are simply referred by the Red Cross to the public welfare agencies. The Red Cross provides not only disaster relief to those . in need, but copious amounts of information on the work it does. Outside Red Cross centers in towns like Aransas Pass, one sees continually updated charts of how many articles of clothing have been given out, persons fed, etc. There are stacks of 8 The Texas Observer ATHENA MONTESSORI SCHOOL integrated, non-sectarian creative non-graded program 7500 Woodrow Austin 4544239 public relations material available including a handsome, illustrated booklet on the agency’s role in aiding Celia’s victims. After Corpus Christi’s municipal emergency facilities proved inadequate, the Red Cross moved its headquarters to the basement of the Corpus Christi cathedral. Long queues formed as hundreds waited in the blistering sun, afraid to leave the line for water or food or a trip to the bathroom for fear of losing their places. Rep. Carlos Truan asked a church official if the people might wait in the air-conditioned cathedral. The official said the people might get the church dirty. VISTA volunteers offered to clean it up, to no avail. When Truan complained publicly about the situation, Bishop Thomas Drury in turn criticized Truan, pointing to all the mighty good works done by the church. And so it went in the disaster area: every criticism was met with a mountain of statistics to show how much had been done. On Aug. 11, when the Red Cross moved to the city’s coliseum there were still hundreds in the waiting lines who were told to leave at midafternoon because the workers already had as many people inside as they could handle before 5. The Red Cross decided to close its operations at the coliseum for the weekend of Aug. 22-23, despite protests that many working people had no other opportunity to go to the center except on the weekend. Red Cross officials said the city wanted to make repairs on the coliseum roof and insisted the Red Cross be out. City officials said the Red Cross could remain as long as it liked. Then Red Cross officials said the Shrine circus was using the coliseum. But the Red Cross had worked for two days before the weekend without being noticeably deranged by the circus, which started its stand in mid-week. IN ANOTHER bureaucratic hassle at Taft, local officials who had been given food by the U.S. Department of Agriculture refused to give it out because they hadn’t the complete commodity list recommended by the U.S.D.A. they were minus beans or something. The result was a “mini-riot” by about 65 homeless families, some of whom had had nothing to eat for three days. In other areas local officials with food waited for word from higher ups on how to distribute it. Visiting politicians enlivened the scene, appearing to survey the mess and pronouncing it a mess. Gov . Preston Smith was early on the scene, addressing a bevy of local mayors, some of whom were dramatically encased in parachute jump suits. Smith kept pronouncing the “s” in “debris” and the mayors loyally followed suit. Ralph Yarborough came, saw and forthwith sent for four of his aides who actually stayed to help untangle red tape. What one lady in Rockport calls “the buzzards” profiteers and swindlers always come after a disaster. Ice was sold for $15 a chest in Corpus Christi and gas for $1.50 a gallon. Fly-by-night home repairmen arrived in droves. The bureaucracy of mercy still has no coordinated way of dealing with the buzzards. After Celia they were handled by the Corpus Christi city council, warnings in the media and public indignation. There are surprisingly few complaints about the insurance settlements being made in the wake of Celia, in contrast to the furor over insurance company weasling after Beulah. But there are a few exceptions. Lehman Harris, an elderly resident of Rockport, insured his small shorefront home on July 31 for a little over twice the normal storm-damage premium and was assured by the local agent that he would be safe “just as soon as this check is postmarked.” The check was forwarded to the insurance company the same day and when Celia developed the following day Harris said, “I was just as relieved as I could be that I had my insurance and that I was safe.” The morning Celia hit, the local agent reappeared at Harris’ home to tell him the insurance company had just called to say they were not accepting the check. John McKenrick, consultant for the American Insurance Association, said, “Maybe not every one of the adjustors has been specifically instructed to be considerate, but it’s been implied.” And it’s also been inferred that the reason for this considerate attitude lies in a statement made Aug. 11 by Baxter Jackson, executive secretary of the Corpus Christi Association of Independent Insurance Agents. Baxter, addressing his troops, said, “I will guarantee you rates will be raised 25% next July 1.” Molly Ivins
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