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GW Worker and Shelter Volunteer Austin 09/16/05

I was swabbing showers there at the Convention Center. I didn’t like the fact that they didn’t have disinfectant or anything like that. Not that I’m trained for it, but I took care of business: helping the old people in wheelchairs get cleaned up and shower.

At first they wanted me to shake bunks and tell people breakfast was ready. Then this lady—you, actually, Abe—came and asked me to help out at the showers.

As far as the people coming together, it was a great thing. Austin was in the top 1%. They’re not going to get the same treatment in North Carolina. Seventy percent of the evacuees are unemployed or on fixed incomes, and we’re going to take them in and take good care of them. Seventy percent of New Orleans was below poverty level.

But you know when to go, when to get out. You can be a Democrat or a Liberator or a Republican or a Liberal, but when you’re dead, you’re dead. Who are you going to point a finger at?

I’m a GW fan. They call me GW. So GW takes the blame, because he appointed the people to do the job. City didn’t do it; state didn’t do it; governor didn’t do it; so it comes then to government.

I made a point to stop and talk, especially to people in wheelchairs, or bound up. I said, “Hey, Welcome to Austin!” Take them, sit, and hold their hands. Try to tell them, “I feel you.” But it’s like somebody dying: you can’t know what they feel. For the most part, people here are in good spirits. The bottom line is, they got an opportunity.

There should have been a plan for helping them invalid people out. They should have handed them the keys to every damn city bus and police car and taxi cab. People said, “Oh, the drivers all left.” But you know what I would do if somebody handed me the keys? I’d drive the bus. Did you hear about that eighteen year-old boy who drove the schoolbus full of kids to Houston? They should have let the people get themselves out.

The bottom line is, the City of Austin needs to take them in, but watch where they’re throwing their dollars. Whose keeping track of this money? Tell me that.

I don’t believe it is the taxpayer’s obligation to rebuild New Orleans as it was. Y’all need to fill that puppy up with some dirt! Build higher! Run some canals!

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