Sunday, September 04, 2005

a letter from poet Brenda Iijima 

Below is the letter being sent around by Brenda Iijima, who can be reached at yoyolabs@yahoo.com

Thanks Brenda,


Hi everyone:

I'm sending letters such as this one to media outlets hoping it will urge the press to report as frankly as as possible and with as much fortitude about the various dubious issues at large. Here is a sample letter. Maybe you'd like to join in. There is so much I am leaving out, but it points to several key issues.

xo, Brenda

To: 60m@cbsnews.com

Dear 60 Minutes Team,

PLEASE when you present the question of "Why did the Levee Break?" on this upcoming Sunday’s show, report the facts with honesty as the America public deserves this.

— The Federal Emergency Management Agency ranked the potential damage to New Orleans as among the three likeliest, most catastrophic disasters facing this country although President Bush declared that ‘no one knew this would happen’

—Although President Bush declared that ‘no one knew this would happen’, earlier this year the Bush administration drastically cut the New Orleans district of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers by a record $71.2 million dollars. These cuts clearly affected hurricane and flood and hurricane protection and planning abilities. Contractors were out there working for free to try to complete the levees.

These are not ‘partisan criticisms’- the policies of the administration are not abstract; they have direct consequences for the US citizenry and for our national security, and they need to be discussed.

It is your duty as journalists to serve the public. Please honor that duty and those who are suffering by telling the truth, and let the public debate it and come to their own conclusions.

I truly believe there is a racial issue underlying these poorly made decisions--at the basis for these avoidances of responsibility by the government to a civic population. This needs to be addressed. It will also be interesting to watch the rate at which the oil refineries are rebuilt and compare it to the speed in which these civic communities are rebuilt. And what kind of government monies goes where.

Presses are the veins of our democracy.

Thank you so much.

Sincerely yours,
Brenda Iijima
Brooklyn, NY 11238

“I think it’s extremely shortsighted,...When the Corps of Engineers’ budget is cut, Louisiana bleeds. These projects are literally life-and-death projects to the people of south Louisiana.”
--Mary Landrieu, D-La

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