Hurricane Ike left the energy capital of the world in the dark and the roads snarled with traffic, and Harris County needs new leadership to stop that misery from happening in the future, a new television advertisement in the race for County Judge says.
An ad for David Mincberg, who is running to unseat appointed Judge Ed Emmett, praises Harris County residents for helping their neighbors during the storm and its aftermath.
“Hurricane Ike was devastating. I was proud of our community’s response – neighbor helping neighbor. It’s the Texas way,” Mincberg said in the ad, which began airing today.
But the long power outages and major traffic jams should not have happened, the candidate said.
“It’s wrong that so many in the energy capital of the world were left in the dark. And now traffic’s a mess. I’m David Mincberg — a businessman, not a career politician. I’ll work for new standards and infrastructure to keep the lights on, because you deserve a government that works as hard as you do,” Mincberg said in the advertisement.
Mincberg, the Democratic nominee, believes that a long-term failure of leadership in Harris County has left the county with the kinds of infrastructure problems that allowed long power blackouts and massive traffic jams to remain after the storm. Mincberg believes that disaster recovery begins with disaster planning, that traffic problems and power outage problems should be solved well before millions of homeowners are stranded for weeks without power and motorists are stuck in traffic jams. “The county needs strong, forward-thinking leadership and a plan for new standards and an infrastructure to make sure a hurricane doesn’t shut the county down”, Mincberg said.
In the days after Hurricane Ike, Emmett dismissed the massive power outages as an inconvenience and downplayed the plight of the more than two million people without power, many without water and ice.
The traffic jams in the days after the storm caught Emmett by surprise. In a television interview Tuesday, Emmett acknowledged the traffic problems. “Yesterday was horrible out on the highways. It was unbelievable,” Emmett said.
Unbelievably, Emmett said on September 23 he waited until that very day to start talking with other agencies about Harris County’s traffic mess. In a news conference that day, 10 days after Hurricane Ike hit and days after the traffic snarls began, Emmett said “today, all the entities involved started communicating with each other.”
“Ten days after the hurricane hits is too late to start talking about what to do about traffic problems,” Mincberg said.
The appointed county judge has touted himself as a transportation expert, yet appeared to only take action on the traffic problem when the public outcry reached a boiling point.