WHcomposite460.jpgThe new White House Web site unveiled Tuesday by President Barack Obama's administration announces that "Change has Come to America." It also criticizes former-President Bush's failed response to Hurricane Katrina and makes a strong statement of support for rebuilding the region.

The new whitehouse.gov Web site details:
President Obama will keep the broken promises made by President Bush to rebuild New Orleans and the Gulf Coast. He and Vice President Biden will take steps to ensure that the federal government will never again allow such catastrophic failures in emergency planning and response to occur.

President Obama swiftly responded to Hurricane Katrina. Citing the Bush Administration's "unconscionable ineptitude" in responding to Hurricane Katrina, then-Senator Obama introduced legislation requiring disaster planners to take into account the specific needs of low-income hurricane victims. Obama visited thousands of Hurricane survivors in the Houston Convention Center and later took three more trips to the region. He worked with members of the Congressional Black Caucus to introduce legislation to address the immediate income, employment, business, and housing needs of Gulf Coast communities.

President Barack Obama will partner with the people of the Gulf Coast to rebuild now, stronger than ever.
On the Gulf Coast these are promises activists are ready to see put into action as advocates hope to work in partnership with the new administration to rebuild New Orleans and the Gulf Coast region.

As Facing South reported last week, a coalition of Gulf Coast advocates and law makers have been campaigning for a Gulf Coast Civic Works program to be included in Obama's economic stimulus plan that could quickly create jobs and jump-start much-needed rebuilding efforts. More than over 130 organizations signed a letter last week to President Obama calling on him to act now within first 100 hours of office.

As we reported, the plan calls on Congress to authorize $6.7 billion for the program, which would be run out of the Gulf Recovery Office set up by Bush (currently in the Department of Homeland Security, but the order calls for it to be moved directly to the White House).

 "During the New Deal, the federal government partnered with communities to create 4 million jobs in two months building or repairing thousands of hospitals, schools and playgrounds through public-works programs," Dr. Scott Myers-Lipton, a San Jose State professor and Gulf Coast Civic Works Campaign organizer said in a 2007 statement. "This is exactly what the Gulf Coast now needs."

Houma Today recently reported on some of the highlights of the proposed program, which would:

  • Establish the Gulf Coast Recovery Authority to implement and coordinate the necessary federal response to the devastation of the Gulf Coast.
  • Authorize and provide money to rebuild vital infrastructure and develop the local workforce benefiting workers, residents and local businesses.
  • Encourage displaced families to return with quality jobs rebuilding their communities.
  • Rebuild and repair community assets including housing, schools, police and fire stations, city halls, court houses, roads, utilities and cultural centers.
  • Build an adequate levee system and restore marshes, wetlands and other environmental features to provide flood protection.
  • Ensure local community groups and officials have a say in decisions affecting their neighborhoods through innovative local advisory councils.
  • Support sustainable industrial and commercial development of the Gulf Coast region and the greater Mississippi River corridor.