When I hear city governments talking about hiring “resilience directors” – like Minneapolis and Saint Paul – the job usually involves…

…well, let’s let the City of Minneapolis explain it:

…expanding access to affordable housing, and the impact that would have on our other goals, including building an inclusive economy and strengthening police-community relations,

In other words, it’s a non-profit executive being paid for directly by the taxpayer.

Of course, when I originally heard the term “resiliency officer”, I thought they meant something like this – actually working to make their cities more, y’know, resilient:

In the wake of Harvey, Houston has become a prominent test case for resilient rebuilding. Last month, the Houston City Council approved regulations requiring new buildings in the 100- and 500-year floodplains be built 2 feet above ground level or above the projected water level of a 500-year flood. The city previously mandated a 1-foot height for homeowners in the 100-year floodplain, and a report earlier this year found that 84 percent of Harvey-damaged homes in the area’s floodplains could have been spared with the higher height standard.

Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner, who originally proposed the new height rule, also is seeking funding to build a third reservoir for the city, though such a project would take years to complete.This year’s hurricane season, which begins June 1, is forecast to be “slightly above average.”

Leave it to the DFL to pervert the term “Resilience” beyond all recognition.


9 thoughts on “Resilience

  1. Kudos to Houston for raising the height of homes. Having lived in a town with a very high water level–digging holes for fence posts in Waseca might as well have been digging a well–it just plain baffles me why builders don’t leave the soil they dig up on site and build the houses a few feet higher. Yes, it’s “cheaper” in the short run to just truck it away, but doesn’t a dry basement that doesn’t rely on several horsepower in the sump count for something?

  2. Leave it to the DFL to pervert the term “Resilience” beyond all recognition.

    No, you just misunderstand the resilience to which they’re referring. They’re referring to the resilience of their political operative who might be going through some kind of a funding issue and need protection. They’re just making their own resilient to temporary downturns. Otherwise you might expect them to work rather than twiddle their thumbs for 7 months before another longer term gig shows up.

  3. Nerdbert has it half right. By “resilience” they mean moving public policy that favors progressives outside of the democratic process. For example, It means writing “green” energy policies into the city charter rather than into a political party’s platform.

  4. Agree with Nerdbert- has everything to do with making sure the political class has work.

    Will be interesting to see what resilience means if the city meets its goals of increased density. I keep asking if our sewer systems have been updated enough to handle increased demands. No one seems to know.

  5. Bike, I asked that question once. The answer had something to do with compaction. Can’t build on loose soil? Must be compacted to a certain density for stability and it costs more to compact it than to haul it away? Something like that.

    A bigger danger than flooding, at least around here, is sanitary sewer lift stations. They’re always at the lowest point in the development for obvious reasons. When the power is knocked out for a day or two, the pump stops pushing sewage out of the development but the residents keep flushing. After the tank is full, the sewage has to go somewhere. That’s when you get a feces geyser in the neighbor’s basement and mold climbing up the walls. No, it’s not covered by homeowner’s insurance and no, the city isn’t liable for repairs.

    If “resilience” included installing backflow preventer valves on sanitary sewer connections, nobody would ever know how smart the city had been so there’s no publicity value in it. But it’d be a wiser investment than most of the feces on the city’s present list of projects.

  6. Joe, I’d actually suggest using it in the yard, not under the home. You dig, put down sand and the foundation, big issue is simply whether you get below topsoil, no?

    So in my view, the big downside is not compaction, but rather that the street could become your storm sewer because all the houses would be above the street. Or, worse yet, the one house on the block that didn’t build right would become the stormwater drainage, which might be more the issue.

    Either way, lots of places don’t have much of a clue about drainage. Growing up, my road would typically be blocked at both ends each spring for a day or so because the county never quite figured out that water doesn’t flow uphill. In their defense, I’m guessing that fixing the problem in a marshy area would require placating the Corps of Engineers, so they might have had their hands tied.

  7. Bike: I think my thoughts are in line with yours. Obama’s regulatory overreach on the CWA and “navigable waters” could and would leave a lot of folks in miserable straights. Thank God Trump ordered the EPA to rollback the insane land grabs. The resilient are the poor folks that suffered and survived Barry’s B.S.

  8. Pingback: In The Mailbox: 05.08.18 : The Other McCain

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