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Keep Houston Press Free
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Are You Taking Over, Or Are You Taking Orders?

Trouble is brewing.

A group of Galveston evacuees says they are planning a bit of civil disobedience in the fight to get into their island homes to assess and fix damage.

"We are planning to caravan to Galveston and disobey the police when they tell us that we cannot have access to our homes," says the e-mail that is circulating, signed by a person named Charles Earley, who did not return our phone calls.

Like all good revolutions, this one will start in a Wal-Mart parking lot.

Here's their manifesto, their call to arms:

1. Our mayor is allowing contractors on the island to make repairs and clean up. If a citizen wants their home cleaned or repaired, they must pay someone. So if you are in a rented home, you must either hope your landlord hires someone and they try to salvage what might be important to you or you must hire someone and trust them. Yet the Attorney General is telling us to be skeptical of contractors.

2. Mold abatement is expensive after the growth reaches a certain point. Homes require extensive abatement or condemnation if they are not cleaned early. By keeping people off the island, she is causing the homes they rent or own to reach a point where they must sell them at a bargain price or come up with a lot of money they may not have. Food on the table or mold abatement, which shall we choose?

3. People who listened to her are stuck in shelters or paying for rooms they cannot afford. FEMA is approving people for housing, but none is available within 200 miles of Galveston. Lets send them to Dallas and maybe those who cannot afford to come back may not. That seems to be the attitude of our leaders. Some are being denied benefits and then have to appeal. They are broke and homeless by the time they actually get benefits.

4. People who relied on her look and leave program may have driven for miles, spending $4 a gallon on gas, to be turned away. They wasted money and resources they did not have on the false hopes given to them by the mayor.

Earley doesn't mind getting a little personal.

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"We are all aware that the mayor comes from a wealthy family," he writes. "None of these things would even be an issue for her, but for the person on Social Security or working an hourly job (for which they are not currently being paid), these issues are major. The average person should have the right to save their home."

Sparks may fly. We'll be there.

-- Richard Connelly

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