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*** UPDATED x6 - Bradley: Vaccines needed now - Kentucky intervenes with Illinois - Rep. Bradley: Sue Missouri - Quinn talks about Missouri suit - Tilley apology video - Tilley apologizes *** Missouri House Speaker to Cairo: Drop dead

Thursday, Apr 28, 2011

* Missouri’s House Speaker Steve Tilley was asked this week whether he’d rather see Missouri farmland flooded or see Cairo under water. As you already know by now, the Army Corps of Engineers is planning to blow up a “fuseplug” levee in Missouri to relieve flooding pressure on Cairo.

“Cairo,” Tilley replied without hesitation as reporters laughed. “I’ve been there. Trust me. Cairo.”

“Have you been to Cairo?” Tilley asked a reporter, who said he had. “OK, then you know what I’m saying then.”

Watch

Cairo is mostly poor and black. Apparently, there are a few nice (white owned) homes in that federal floodway zone. I’ve tried to give Missouri the benefit of the doubt here, but Speaker Tilley pretty much showed what this is all about.

* State Sen. Gary Forby is not amused. From a press release…

“During a time when people are being asked to evacuate their homes and leave behind their belongings, it absolutely blows my mind that that type of dialogue is being thrown around by the Missouri Speaker. Not only is it in poor taste, but it absolutely disgusting that Speaker Tilley would joke about putting the lives of Cairo residents at risk by choosing farmland over a community.”

*** UPDATE 1 *** Tilley has apologized. From an e-mailed press release…

In a recent interview I was asked about a proposal that would blow-up a dam in Missouri and impact on Mississippi County and Cairo Illinois. As the Speaker of the Missouri House I came to the defense of Missouri, but in doing so I said some inappropriate and hurtful comments about the community of Cairo. I first want to apologize for my insensitive remark and personally apologize to anyone that I offended.

My commitment to the residents and farmers of southeast Missouri should not have led me to insult another community and for that I am sincerely regretful.

That’s actually a pretty decent apology for a politician.

…Adding… Maybe the reporters who laughed so hard at Tilley’s jokes should apologize themselves. Sheesh, what a mess.

*** UPDATE 2 *** Apology video

*** UPDATE 3 *** My former intern Barton Lorimor went to Gov. Quinn’s press conference in southern Illinois today. Here is the Q&A from that event, including the governor speaking about Missouri’s lawsuit to try and stop the Corps of Engineers from blowing the fuseplug levee. Watch

*** UPDATE 4 *** Rep. John Bradley told reporters today “We need to consider suing Missouri for putting Illinois lives at stake.” Watch

*** UPDATE 5 *** The hearing on Missouri’s lawsuit to stop the levee being blown is still ongoing as of 3:40 this afternoon. However, we do have some new news. Kentucky has filed a motion to intervene in the case. Kentucky is standing with Illinois and against Missouri. From the motion

Moreover, residents of and property in Hickman, Kentucky and Fulton County, Kentucky, (which sits on the eastern bank of the Mississippi River) will be at substantial risk of harm if the Corps’ Operations Plan is not implemented.

*** UPDATE 6 *** I just got off the phone with Rep. John Bradley. I asked him if anything was lacking so far in the state’s response. He said tons of people from all walks of life are helping sandbag throughout southern Illinois and they’re often working in septic water. Injuries happen, he said, so the state needs to quickly make sure these volunteers get tetanus shots.

Rep. Bradley, by the way, said that the Big Muddy river rose four feet overnight and he’s heading home as quickly as he can. At the end of the conversation, however, he said the road was closed because of the flooding and wasn’t sure he would make it. Best of luck to him - and to everybody down there.

[ *** End Of Updates *** ]

* Also, in case you missed the update below, here are Attorney General Lisa Madigan’s court filings from today.

* AG Madigan press release

* Madigan’s response to motion for restraining order and injunction

* Memorandum in support of motion to intervene with affidavits

You can also find a good history of this floodway by clicking here.

…Adding… Just in case you’d like to contact Speaker Tilley and politely express your opinion…

Phone: 573-751-1488
E-Mail: Steven.Tilley@house.mo.gov

…Adding more… Gov. Pat Quinn calls up more National Guard troops…

Governor Pat Quinn today activated an additional 200 Illinois National Guard troops, bringing the total to more than 320 Guard personnel engaged in the state’s efforts to protect citizens and critical facilities from rapidly-rising flood waters. Governor Quinn also commended private companies for donating needed supplies to the flood response.

The Governor made the announcements after he and Lt. Governor Sheila Simon attended a situational briefing at the state’s Unified Area Command in Marion.

“We’re dealing with very serious flooding throughout southern Illinois,” said Governor Quinn. “I’ve committed all available state resources to help protect threatened communities and will continue to provide personnel and other assets until the threat has passed.”

The additional 200 Illinois Guardsmen from southern Illinois National Guard companies will perform route reconnaissance, levee surveillance and maintenance and evacuation support in Gallatin and Alexander counties. More than 120 troops were deployed earlier this week to support the flood effort.

- Posted by Rich Miller        


83 Comments
  1. - Publius - Thursday, Apr 28, 11 @ 1:14 pm:

    I’m thinking a well planned “invasion” is necessary to solve this matter. We can call the land “New Illinois” or “West Illinois”


  2. - piling on - Thursday, Apr 28, 11 @ 1:16 pm:

    Nice that the Missouri press corps laughs along. Sheesh.


  3. - bored now - Thursday, Apr 28, 11 @ 1:20 pm:

    i’m sorry, why would we care what missouri thinks? has anyone been THERE? might be one step up from indiana, but clearly not much of a step up. flood missouri. no one will miss it…


  4. - Cuban Pilot - Thursday, Apr 28, 11 @ 1:20 pm:

    I guess this is what term limits gets you….an immature speaker, who looks like he just graduated college


  5. - Bring Back Boone's - Thursday, Apr 28, 11 @ 1:31 pm:

    Wow that’s indefensible. I concur with bored now, seriously have you been to Missouri? Steve Tilley sounds real edu-ma-cated.


  6. - Old Shepherd - Thursday, Apr 28, 11 @ 1:31 pm:

    I just called Speaker Tilley’s office and expressed my anger that an elected official would make such comments. The person to whom I spoke said he just released a statement “clarifying” what he said. Personally, I don’t believe his comments require clarification. They were pretty clear to me.


  7. - piling on - Thursday, Apr 28, 11 @ 1:32 pm:

    Nice to see Jason Plummer moved across the river and had some electoral success.


  8. - Are Ya Kiddin' Me? - Thursday, Apr 28, 11 @ 1:33 pm:

    President from Illinois, Senate Majority Whip (2nd highest position)from Illinois, Missouri a red, republican backwater state……good bye farmland!


  9. - hawksfan - Thursday, Apr 28, 11 @ 1:34 pm:

    Aboslutely despicable. The fact that the Speaker would trivialize the potential loss of life by making disparaging comments about Cairo is just beyond belief.


  10. - matt jones - Thursday, Apr 28, 11 @ 1:34 pm:

    Mr. Tilley (using the term loosely) is from the BOOMINGLY diverse metropolis of Perryville, (97.47% White, 0.25% African American, 0.17% Native American, 1.32% Asian, 0.01% Pacific Islander, 0.16% from other races, and 0.63% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 0.70% of the population)
    and he is now listed as a candidate for lite Gov in 2012, so apparently drowning Illinoisan’s is good statewide politics.


  11. - wordslinger - Thursday, Apr 28, 11 @ 1:38 pm:

    Okay, that’s enough.

    The folks in Cairo may be poor, but they don’t deserve this abuse, and not from this smarmy punk.

    What kind of person puts farmland over people?

    Everyone in and from Illinois — from the White House on down — needs to be behind the folks in Cairo. Let’s “Show” them what political hardball is.

    Got a match?


  12. - Cincinnatus - Thursday, Apr 28, 11 @ 1:39 pm:

    Was that the Cee Lo song I hear Speaker Tilley whistling in the background?


  13. - TJ - Thursday, Apr 28, 11 @ 1:43 pm:

    I’m liking your idea to invade Missouri more and more, Rich…. but do we really want that state? I mean…. Missouri. I’ve been there. Trust me. Missouri. Have you been to Missouri? Okay, then you know what I’m saying then.


  14. - Elmhurst - Thursday, Apr 28, 11 @ 1:44 pm:

    New plan: pipeline floodwater to his house.


  15. - Curious - Thursday, Apr 28, 11 @ 1:45 pm:

    Speaker Tilley’s response to an e-mailed comment.

    “Thank you for your email.

    In a recent interview I was asked about a proposal that would blow-up a dam in Missouri and impact on Mississippi County and Cairo Illinois. As the Speaker of the Missouri House I came to the defense of Missouri, but in doing so I said some inappropriate and hurtful comments about the community of Cairo. I first want to apologize for my insensitive remark and personally apologize to anyone that I offended.

    My commitment to the residents and farmers of southeast Missouri should not have led me to insult another community and for that I am sincerely regretful.”


  16. - Peter - Thursday, Apr 28, 11 @ 1:46 pm:

    If devastated, East Saint could and would be rebuilt. If destroyed, Madison, Granite City or Cahokia would experience a rebirth. Their location is prime for development. Cairo, if inundated, is dead, and along with it go some of the best architecture in Southern Illinois and a lot of history. The alternative is an unfortunate flooding of a much smaller group of people who chose to stand in Mother Nature’s way (and she is ANGRY right now.) This should be a no-brainer, much like, apparently, the gentleman from across the river from me.


  17. - Rich Miller - Thursday, Apr 28, 11 @ 1:47 pm:

    Curious, forward me that e-mail, please.


  18. - Old Shepherd - Thursday, Apr 28, 11 @ 1:48 pm:

    I just received the canned apology email as well. Something tells me that the power of the Capitol Fax is reaching Missouri!


  19. - Bill F. - Thursday, Apr 28, 11 @ 1:50 pm:

    I can’t say what I really think of this guy without getting my post deleted, but if I use the initials JO, hopefully my post will remain. If it can not, I apologize to Rich and to all others.

    You know, it’s one thing to stand up for your state’s constituents’ farmland. I get that.

    But to laugh off the loss of people’s homes, businesses, and even possibly their lives in such a crass manner speaks volumes about this guy.

    I hope this gets national attention if only to embarrass this jerk enough to keep him from attaining higher office.


  20. - Harpy - Thursday, Apr 28, 11 @ 1:52 pm:

    This is one case where the racist card is appropriate. I been to Cairo many times. Cairo and it people do have value!


  21. - Jake From Elwood - Thursday, Apr 28, 11 @ 1:53 pm:

    This guy looks really young to be speaker of the Missouri House, no? Maybe I have just been looking at Mike Madigan for too long.


  22. - Interested Observer - Thursday, Apr 28, 11 @ 1:56 pm:

    As a born and bred former Missourian, I am totally embarrassed to say that these people are representing my family still living there. These representatives are a joke. How can they, in good conscious defend their actions - destroy a town in order to save a few acres? Unbelievable.
    And, for all of you putting down Missouri - there are a great number of GOOD people in the Land of the Ozarks that a lot of you love to go on your vacations. Don’t ridicule the entire state because of a few bad apples.


  23. - TJ - Thursday, Apr 28, 11 @ 1:59 pm:

    ==Don’t ridicule the entire state because of a few bad apples. ==

    Sweet, does that mean that Hoosiers, Cheeseheads, and Missourians (sp?) can’t make fun of Illinois any more because of a few bad apples in the General Assembly, governor’s office, and Chicago City Hall over the years?


  24. - Montrose - Thursday, Apr 28, 11 @ 2:00 pm:

    That is one of the most hollow and disingenuous apologies I have ever heard. What he said to those reporters is how he truly feels about the people of Cairo. They have no value to him. He was not making a comment because of his commitment to farmland. He was making a comment about how he feels a poor, primarily black town has no value.


  25. - ArchPundit - Thursday, Apr 28, 11 @ 2:02 pm:

    Tilley is actually a fairly reasonable person by Missouri standards…

    The apology is good–yes, a bit canned, but it’s an actual apology which is pretty unusual.


  26. - ArchPundit - Thursday, Apr 28, 11 @ 2:03 pm:

    ===This guy looks really young to be speaker of the Missouri House, no? Maybe I have just been looking at Mike Madigan for too long.

    Term Limits.


  27. - He Makes Ryan Look Like a Saint - Thursday, Apr 28, 11 @ 2:05 pm:

    Is the National Guard going to invade Missouri? We can declare Albert P a POW and send him to the Wrigley Field POW camp!


  28. - Left Leaner - Thursday, Apr 28, 11 @ 2:05 pm:

    Who knew that Missouri’s Speaker of the House position is a college internship?!


  29. - Peggy R - Thursday, Apr 28, 11 @ 2:06 pm:

    The MO Speaker’s comments are terrible. His apology is forthright and pretty good, for a pol, indeed. Cairo may be poor, but it is their town, their homes and their lives.

    Cahokia encompasses some historical French colonial architecture including a courthouse (I think some first state capitol structures/artifacts) and a French colonial Catholic Church which is in use today.

    I never thought I’d side with IL Dem pols over MO pols. Poor Claire, O isn’t likely to help her over IL.


  30. - 47th Ward - Thursday, Apr 28, 11 @ 2:10 pm:

    Apology noted, if not necessarily accepted. Now that Cairo is back on the radar screen, maybe we can restart a conversation about how to help its residents help themselves and improve that poor, long-ignored community.

    If everyone here who was offended by Tilley’s bone-headed remarks spent some time learning about Cairo, we might actually get some ideas on the table. If not, then after the waters recede, it’ll go back to being a forgotton community.

    Teddy Roosevelt had “Remember the Maine!” Maybe Quinn can use “Don’t Forget Cairo” as a rallying cry.

    But just to be on the safe side, let’s mass our troops on the border in case the Corps gets cold feet this weekend with its barge of explosives. We’ve got a couple of hundred troops called up so far, plus some F-15s in Springfield on hand for Operation Missouri Loves Company.


  31. - SouthernIL - Thursday, Apr 28, 11 @ 2:12 pm:

    Dang….Tilley just may sway me to be a Cub fan…and I love the Cardinals! But!!!!


  32. - Bill F. - Thursday, Apr 28, 11 @ 2:16 pm:

    “a fairly reasonable person by Missouri standards…”

    That is a heck of a qualifier.

    That said, the comments were out of line, the apology –to add a qualified statement of my own– was pretty sincere, by politician standards.


  33. - piling on - Thursday, Apr 28, 11 @ 2:19 pm:

    Reminds me of Denny Hastert questioning why New Orleans should be rebuilt after Katrina.


  34. - ArchPundit - Thursday, Apr 28, 11 @ 2:20 pm:

    —That is a heck of a qualifier.

    It’s a heck of a state.


  35. - Montrose - Thursday, Apr 28, 11 @ 2:21 pm:

    You are all being to nice about his apology. I see no sincerity in it. I see a man that is sorry he made that comment in front of a camera.


  36. - get real - Thursday, Apr 28, 11 @ 2:28 pm:

    Ok this is way out of hand. The fine people of Cairo have plenty of time to evacuate. The farmers in Missouri already have. I understand there is no good choice in all of this but everyone talks about the greater good of the people. I see it in that flooding the farm land and destroying large crops and furture crops does more damage. The price of food will rise. There will be loss of jobs and ultimately more people will be hurt by this than if Cairo were to flood. I love Cairo and don’t want to see it but the truth is all who live there know it is a possibility as there are constant water problems. It is between two rivers for goodness sake. Again there is plenty of time to evacuate and most of what is there has survived several floods already. I say leave the levee and let what happens happen.


  37. - the Patriot - Thursday, Apr 28, 11 @ 2:30 pm:

    The MO politicians are purely playing to fears and not facts. They also may be doing so to the detriment of their own constituents. Yea, there ain’t much of value in Cairo, we get it. But this plan also takes pressure off of the flood wall at Cape and other MO towns as well. Not to mention how it helps KY towns like Paducah. HOw many towns is it acceptable to sink to save the MO farmers who were paid for the right to flood their land?


  38. - get real - Thursday, Apr 28, 11 @ 2:33 pm:

    Leave the racial issues out of it. This is not racial. This same argument would be going on if everyone were purple.


  39. - TJ - Thursday, Apr 28, 11 @ 2:34 pm:

    ==Ok this is way out of hand. The fine people of Cairo have plenty of time to evacuate. The farmers in Missouri already have. I understand there is no good choice in all of this but everyone talks about the greater good of the people. I see it in that flooding the farm land and destroying large crops and furture crops does more damage. The price of food will rise. There will be loss of jobs and ultimately more people will be hurt by this than if Cairo were to flood. I love Cairo and don’t want to see it but the truth is all who live there know it is a possibility as there are constant water problems. It is between two rivers for goodness sake. Again there is plenty of time to evacuate and most of what is there has survived several floods already. I say leave the levee and let what happens happen.==

    …. are you serious? It takes a heck of a lot more effort to rebuilt an actual town than it does for a farm to recover from major flooding. Plus, it might cause food prices to rise? Are you joking? We’re talking about a tiny speck of farmland when compared to the vast amount of farmland in the United States. If the price of any food in the U.S. rises so much as a nickle because of about 160,000 flooded Missouri acres, I would be absolutely astonished.

    Plus, you know…. it’s specifically a floodplain. Getting flooded to save Cairo in the event of a flood is that area’s entire purpose.


  40. - Bill F. - Thursday, Apr 28, 11 @ 2:35 pm:

    “It’s a heck of a state.”

    Hilarious.


  41. - 47th Ward - Thursday, Apr 28, 11 @ 2:35 pm:

    ===I say leave the levee and let what happens happen.===

    Another history major heard from.

    Missouri farmers sold the flood rights to the federal government long ago Einstein. In return, the federal government gets to decide when and where to breach levees to ease the flooding elsewhere. This time, they’ve chosen Mississippi County. Deal with it.

    And I’m not an agronomist, but I highly doubt this flooding will result in higher food prices, so spare us your silly scare tactics and move to higher ground.

    Also, pay no attention to the soldiers from Illinois. It’s just an excercise…


  42. - Rich Miller - Thursday, Apr 28, 11 @ 2:39 pm:

    ===This same argument would be going on if everyone were purple. ===

    Yeah. Right.


  43. - ArchPundit - Thursday, Apr 28, 11 @ 2:47 pm:

    The thing about those farms–they are in flood plains. The farmers should have crop insurance and it shouldn’t hurt them that badly. I have family who farm in a floodplain and 1993 wasn’t that bad of a financial year for them. Not great, but not terrible.

    And it is a flood plain. We all know that new development in flood plains is stupid and leads to worse flooding, but Cairo isn’t a new or even expanded city requiring more and more levies. It’s a historical river city and is a reasonable space to attempt to protect.

    Now, if they wanted to blow some levees along the Missouri to protect the Target and Walmart in a flood plain along Highway 40, heck no.


  44. - AlphaBettor - Thursday, Apr 28, 11 @ 2:51 pm:

    Also, tell him it’s pronounced CARE-o, not CAY-ro.


  45. - dupage dan - Thursday, Apr 28, 11 @ 2:54 pm:

    Obviously farm land being flooded is preferable to a town where folks live. But, like other towns along the Mississippi, Cairo is vulnerable to flooding. Some small towns have completely moved once inundated. There was some talk that New Orleans should have moved once large swaths were destroyed. Find a bluff somewhere and rebuild high enough to avoid the flooding.

    On the other hand, it is the levees themselves that create the problems downstream. The levees only move the problem, they don’t solve them. If the rivers were allowed to flood where they will, and folk avoided building in the floodplains then nature would take its’ course. I know that sounds easy, and moving folk who have lived a long time in their hometown seems harsh. More levess ain’t the answer either. Just move that problem downstream - down to New Orleans.

    Short term issue here - easy for me. Flood the farmland - I hear there is some reimbursement for loss income in that event. Easier than reimbursing folk for their lives.

    Cairo is in tough shape - hard to endorse such a town given the current conditions. I love old towns with their old buildings. I hope they can bring it back, tho. Lots of towns in Missouri became antique hotspots and the like. Open some delta blues music venues - get that town back on the map!


  46. - Jimmy CrackCorn - Thursday, Apr 28, 11 @ 2:57 pm:

    Who says there is no more fight left in the “Fightin 47th?” You’re right on today (and cracking me up)!

    As for the apology… It looked much better on paper. He could hardly contain his smirk throughout the entire apology video.


  47. - sal-says - Thursday, Apr 28, 11 @ 2:57 pm:

    Maybe we’ve finally reached the evolved state so that humanity has been bred out of politicians. Who could have seen it coming?

    “…and personally apologize to anyone that I offended.”

    Another political-sort-of-non-apology; he could have said: ‘…and personally apologize for my offensive remarks.”


  48. - Lester Holt's Mustache - Thursday, Apr 28, 11 @ 3:00 pm:

    ===This same argument would be going on if everyone were purple. ===

    Sure, just like every US President gets accused of being born in Kenya.

    If the Missouri Gov. had left it at “Cairo. Definitely Cairo.” it wouldn’t be as bad. The fact that he specifically points out that he has been there causes one to believe he had some idea of the (being polite here) socio-economic make-up of Cairo when he made that statement.

    And it is a pretty good politician apology. I would replace “apologize to anyone who was offended” with “apologize to everyone who was offended”. Other than that, pretty good.


  49. - get real - Thursday, Apr 28, 11 @ 3:08 pm:

    ==Sure, just like every US President gets accused of being born in Kenya.

    If the Missouri Gov. had left it at “Cairo. Definitely Cairo.” it wouldn’t be as bad. The fact that he specifically points out that he has been there causes one to believe he had some idea of the (being polite here) socio-economic make-up of Cairo when he made that statement.

    And it is a pretty good politician apology. I would replace “apologize to anyone who was offended” with “apologize to everyone who was offended”. Other than that, pretty good. ==

    If the birth certificate is such an issue why not produce it and put all of the controversy to rest.

    As for the socio-economic make up of Cairo. I would say he was speaking about that. Not the racial composition which are entirely different topics.


  50. - Curious - Thursday, Apr 28, 11 @ 3:10 pm:

    @Jimmy CrackCorn

    Agreed about him not being able to contain his smirk. He shouldn’t have bothered with the video. Just made him look amused at the reaction instead of truly apologetic.


  51. - Ryan from Carrollton - Thursday, Apr 28, 11 @ 3:30 pm:

    There are a number of factors to think about in this issue. First, should the Corps of Engineers destroy the dam and destroy property and farmground in Missouri to protect property in Illinois. Second, should the Corps not blow the dam and risk the failure of the flood wall protecting Cairo.

    Presently we know that citizens in the floodway have property there and are unable to obtain flood insurance. We also know that the dam in that area was designed to break in the event of a flood. At present time, the floodwall protecting Cairo is not expected to be topped by the flood waters. Additionally, given the time of year a number of crops may be planted on the property in question in Missouri.

    A number of unknowns exist too. First, I do not know if the citizens in and around Cairo are able to obtain flood insurance for their property. Secondly, the structural integrity of the floodwall is unknown. Third, I am unaware of the transportation network in the floodway.

    So, if the transportation network in the floodway is poor, I would argue that individuals building machine sheds, grainbins, etc. are justified in doing so. Farm machinery as we all know is very heavy and moves slowly. If the road network is poor in the area and the distance to the nearest shed that is capable of being covered by flood insurance is far, then I would say that these individuals are justified in building in the floodway. Should this not be the case, then the individuals involved ought not to have built in the region.

    Additionally, let us assume that a large number of crops have been planted in the affected region. The farmers in this area in all likelihood are unable to obtain any form of flood insurance for their crops either. Planting crops is a large investment for the farmers involved. The cost in seed, fertilizer, and fuel can quickly add up to several thousand dollars even in a small field. In addition, many of these farmers are probably paying for all of these materials through an operating loan that is required to be paid before next year’s crops are put in.

    In Cairo, the property is protected by a 60 feet tall flood wall. A number of homes, business, etc. would be affected by flood waters in the case that the flood wall fails.

    Without knowing if the residents in and around the affected area in Illinois are capable of buying I cannot come to a solid conclusion. If the residents in Illinois are capable of buying flood insurance and the transportion network in the affected Missouri floodway is poor I would have to side with Missouri in this instance.

    However, should neither side be capable of obtaining flood insurance and the affected Missouri area has a good transportation network, I would have to side with Illinois on this issue


  52. - bored now - Thursday, Apr 28, 11 @ 3:35 pm:

    i forgot that archpundit was in st. louis. we should certainly try to save him and his family. as for the rest of the state…


  53. - the Patriot - Thursday, Apr 28, 11 @ 3:36 pm:

    So when will the good people in Cape and all of the other MO towns who get relief from this plan weigh in? Cairo has been the center of this, but they are by far not the only town who gets relief.

    This is not a diversion from Cairo IL to farmland in MO. It is a relief valve that takes pressure off the entire system.


  54. - 47th Ward - Thursday, Apr 28, 11 @ 3:40 pm:

    ===There are a number of factors to think about in this issue.===

    Ryan, with all due respect, there is only one factor to consider: the federal law that lets the US Army Corps of Engineers decide which levees to breach. The property owners whose land will be flooded have already been compensated.


  55. - Ryan from Carrollton - Thursday, Apr 28, 11 @ 3:50 pm:

    47th, I wasn’t aware of this, who compensated them, when and how much?


  56. - Rich Miller - Thursday, Apr 28, 11 @ 3:51 pm:

    Ryan, don’t be so lazy. Go look at the post from earlier today. Sheesh.


  57. - ArchPundit - Thursday, Apr 28, 11 @ 3:52 pm:

    ===are unable to obtain any form of flood insurance for their crops either

    This is generally not true. They may have to pay a higher premium, but crop insurance is available in such areas.

    The only places you can’t get flood insurance for property are places where people have been made well aware of the danger by now. In the case of Missouri, they have not been pro-active in clearing those areas compared to Illinois. After 1993 Missouri pretended they wouldn’t have another big problem and they probably bet wrong.

    This is minor though, wait until the year we get Missouri trying to save the Chesterfield Valley from flooding after building bigger levees and developing it.


  58. - ArchPundit - Thursday, Apr 28, 11 @ 3:54 pm:

    ===i forgot that archpundit was in st. louis. we should certainly try to save him and his family. as for the rest of the state…

    I believe Rich and I came up with the plan based on my residence in part. I’m only a few blocks from the Loop. I’d probably extend it to 170 though to make it easier to defend.


  59. - get real - Thursday, Apr 28, 11 @ 3:55 pm:

    The law was made years ago when there was a little more of a town in Cairo than there is now. Time to evaluate if it is still needed. Looks like the water is not going to get high enough for this to be an issue anyway.


  60. - Jimmy CrackCorn - Thursday, Apr 28, 11 @ 3:56 pm:

    Ryan-
    Rich made it really easy to find this information.
    Read the report Rich linked to.

    From the report:
    “It was not until January 1942—fourteen years after the passage of the 1928 Flood
    Control Act—that the federal government completed the acquisition of flowage rights on the
    necessary 106,858 acres within the floodway at an average price of $17 per acre.”


  61. - ArchPundit - Thursday, Apr 28, 11 @ 3:56 pm:

    Ryan–think of how the fields by Eldred look now compared to pre-1993. The buildings are largely gone other than sheds and the houses not right next to the bluffs are largely gone. That’s not what Missouri did and that’s why this is a problem for them.


  62. - formerpolitico - Thursday, Apr 28, 11 @ 4:05 pm:

    The legal system and the rule of law have failed. It’s time for the Governor to defend his state and his people - let’s invade Missouri for their act of war. The National Guard could move in NOW and seize St. Louis and Jefferson City quickly before the enemy is ready. Then he could dictate the peace terms. This is what Thomas Jefferson would do. Gov. Quinn would be a hero forever!


  63. - Ryan from Carrollton - Thursday, Apr 28, 11 @ 4:08 pm:

    You are right, there are quite a few sheds in the river bottom and those were the buildings I was referring too. Most of the houses are on the west side of the second levee. But the sheds still are costly to replace. People were not wise building homes in a designated flood plain.


  64. - Small Town Liberal - Thursday, Apr 28, 11 @ 4:37 pm:

    - People were not wise building homes in a designated flood plain. -

    I’m sure all of the povery stricken folks in Cairo had a lot of options to build elsewhere. Get a clue.


  65. - Both Sides Now - Thursday, Apr 28, 11 @ 4:54 pm:

    Upon checking, there is 16,405,595 acres of cropland (not farmland) where crops are actually grown in Missouri. The amount of land is less than 1%. However, for those who keep talking about the farmers that were compensated for the right to blow the levee and flood the land - it is highly doubtful that the property is still owned by the same people 63 years later.


  66. - El Conquistador - Thursday, Apr 28, 11 @ 4:56 pm:

    ArchPundit - Where is the resistance meeting? Live in Illinois, but I work out in west county, so I would appreciate advancing the line out to 270. Patiently awaiting orders from Gen. Miller.


  67. - Park - Thursday, Apr 28, 11 @ 4:57 pm:

    Tilley sounds like a lot of posters here yesterday. Any of you want to mea culpa a little?


  68. - 47th Ward - Thursday, Apr 28, 11 @ 5:04 pm:

    ===it is highly doubtful that the property is still owned by the same people 63 years later.===

    It doesn’t matter. The floodway rights come with the title to the land. The new buyers are well aware that they have no rights in these cases.


  69. - Ryan from Carrollton - Thursday, Apr 28, 11 @ 5:13 pm:

    Small Town, I was referring to the folks in Missouri


  70. - Jane from Cairo - Thursday, Apr 28, 11 @ 5:19 pm:

    Thanks your support. We have long thought that we were forgotten Illinoisians. You have rallied my spirit tremendously! I emailed Tilley the following and got a ‘form apology’.

    Mr. Tilley,

    This little town you would like to see destroyed to save dirt, is my home. It has been my families home since 1884. I don’t live here because I have to, I live here because I choose to. I have raised my children here. I work here as does my husband, son, sister, brother and father.

    I am glad you got a chance to visit Cairo in the past. I invite you back to have a BBQ and maybe some manners would rub off. Bless your heart.

    I called your office and your secretary felt your comments were as funny as you did. She laughed as I explained that your words were hurtful and rude.

    This is the UNITED States of America. So I believe that instead of taking jabs at my home town, you should be trying to find a solution that would preserve human life.

    Humility is a trait you would do well to learn.

    Jane Kobler
    614 27th St
    Cairo, IL 62914


  71. - Louise - Thursday, Apr 28, 11 @ 5:34 pm:

    Former politico:
    “The legal system and the rule of law have failed. It’s time for the Governor to defend his state and his people - let’s invade Missouri for their act of war. The National Guard could move in NOW and seize St. Louis and Jefferson City quickly before the enemy is ready. Then he could dictate the peace terms. This is what Thomas Jefferson would do. Gov. Quinn would be a hero forever!”

    Former politico: Great a grip on reality. Alot of the talk on this site is a stupid discussion of state vs state. Did you study the Civil War?? You don’t want to go there…seriously.

    This Tilley is an idiot. Being from Missouri I’m embarrassed. But every state has these idiots — even Illinois. Shall we start with a list of Illinois’ Governors?

    Going back to the ACTUAL issue:
    Everyone that I know who lives near the rivers knows that floods happen. They are prepared. Cairo was built between TWO rivers–two major rivers. Flooding is to be expected. Same is true for the people in SE MO…after all, until it was drained the area was swamp. But then again so was/is New Orleans…check that out while you’re at the library reading about the Civil War.

    In any case, there is a dramatic difference between water coming over a flood wall or levee and the flash flood that occurs when a levee breaks. Remember the 1993 video of the Illinois levee that broke near Chester (I believe)and how it demolished that farmhouse like it was toothpick??? That alleviated alot of pressure on cities upstream, including St. Louis. So maybe now Missouri owes Illinois.

    However, my concern is how well the backup levee in Missouri will hold once this volume of water rushes in. If the backup levee doesn’t hold then 6 counties will be flooded — and unexpectedly so. Talk about a “Holy crap!” situation and the deaths of more than Cairo’s population.

    Rather than BLOWING UP a levee maybe it would be better to have a more controlled means of releasing floodwater into designated farmland. Perhaps if the levee is blown apart the Corps of Engineers will better plan for a future levee. I just hope that the levee doesn’t have to be blown up.


  72. - 47th Ward - Thursday, Apr 28, 11 @ 5:49 pm:

    Louise,

    I and some of the other regular commenters here have been using the “invade Missouri” imagery as part of a long-running joke on this website. Given the seriousness of the flooding situation, jokes maybe aren’t the best idea.

    But this particular site attracts a wide and loyal following. We like to lighten things up from time to time by being snarky and having some fun with the news. Given that this is a site devoted to Illinois politics and government, and thus there isn’t a lot of good news here, we have some moments of gallows humor.

    One thing we all agree on is that we love Illinois. So it’s natural for us to put aside our differences and rally around a common enemy, even if Missouri is really not an enemy (except for the Cardinals).

    Besides, we’ve had our eye on St. Louis for quite some time and now we have a pretext to seize it and add it to our tax base. Plus, you can’t get decent fried ravioli in southern Illinois, so you can understand our desire to invade, can’t you?


  73. - Jane from Cairo - Thursday, Apr 28, 11 @ 6:01 pm:

    Louise,
    Yes Cairo was built between TWO rivers. Does that mean that we should just throw up the white flag and surrender? I think not. As for BLOWING up the levee…. That is why it’s there. Plain and simple. The federal gov bought and paid for that land, and then it GAVE it right back to the farmers. Futhermore, Cairo is not the only area that would reap from this. Kentucky is in dire straits also. Should they be ignored also? There are pros and cons BUT this was made LAW in 1928 and last approved by BOTH states in 1985.


  74. - Barry Aldridge - Thursday, Apr 28, 11 @ 6:04 pm:

    I don’t think it’s funny to discuss adding Missouri to Illinois. To paraphrase the Missouri Speaker: Have you been to Missouri? OK, then you know what I’m saying then.


  75. - Jane from Cairo - Thursday, Apr 28, 11 @ 6:07 pm:

    @Publis I like New Illinois… ;)


  76. - 4 percent - Thursday, Apr 28, 11 @ 6:14 pm:

    Why was John Bradley speaking, and not Brandon Phelps or Gary Forby, since its in their district? Were they at the event and ended up on the cutting room floor?”


  77. - wordslinger - Thursday, Apr 28, 11 @ 6:24 pm:

    –Plus, you can’t get decent fried ravioli in southern Illinois, so you can understand our desire to invade, can’t you?–

    I volunteer to take The Hill. I’ll set up my occupation headquarters at Lorenzo’s.


  78. - way south of chicago - Thursday, Apr 28, 11 @ 6:26 pm:

    its evident by reading the posts on this blog over the past several years that northern illinois cares little about southern illinois and vice versa…just wonder if u would care about cairo if it was 99% white and republican?


  79. - wordslinger - Thursday, Apr 28, 11 @ 6:29 pm:

    –its evident by reading the posts on this blog over the past several years that northern illinois cares little about southern illinois and vice versa…just wonder if u would care about cairo if it was 99% white and republican?–

    Speak for yourself. And some of my best friends are 99% white and Republican.

    What are you accusing folks of, anyway?


  80. - ArchPundit - Thursday, Apr 28, 11 @ 6:41 pm:

    —ArchPundit - Where is the resistance meeting? Live in Illinois, but I work out in west county, so I would appreciate advancing the line out to 270. Patiently awaiting orders from Gen. Miller.

    We can probably do that. The resistance meetings are held at Blueberry Hill (walking distance home for me), Tap Room, or the Cat’s Meow depending on my mood.


  81. - meritocracy - Thursday, Apr 28, 11 @ 7:08 pm:

    There have been some questions about who is eligible to purchase flood insurance. The basics are:
    1. The private companies pulled out of the flood insurance business after Hurricane Camille in the late ’60’s.
    2. The Federal government established the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) that allowed people to buy flood insurance as long as the jurisdiction did not allow new construction in the floodplain.
    3. You can purchase flood insurance whether or not you are in the floodplain as long as your jurisdiction participates in the NFIP.
    4. Cairo and Alexander County participate in the NFIP. Alexander County dropped out of the program in the early ’90’s but worked hard to get back in the program. Miller City by Cape Girardeau incorporated just so their citizens wouldn’t have to abide by the NFIP rules.
    5. If you have a federally insured loan on a structure in the floodplain, you are required to have flood insurance; regardless of whether or not your community belongs to the NFIP.
    6. If you are protected by a certified levee, the area behind the levee is not considered floodplain and you don’t have a flood insurance requirement. If you do want it, you can get it at a cheaper rate.
    7. If a jurisdiction does not participate in the NFIP, neither they nor their citizens can get “permanent” repair funds from FEMA. They can get temporary assistance.
    8. Illinois has the best State NFIP coordinator, Paul Osman, in the Country. He makes sure the rules are enforced. Illinois has dropped from being in the top 5 for properties that make repeat flood claims to being in the mid 20’s. In Illinois only about 1% of the flood claims are on construction after the 1970’s when the flood maps came about (post-FIRM). Other states have post-FIRM claims up to percentages in the mid-40’s.
    This is why you don’t see new buildings in the floodplain in Illinois like you do Missouri.
    9. I don’t know if the people in the path in Missouri can purchase insurance. I’m sure it was not considered when the rights were purchased.


  82. - Former Cairoite - Thursday, Apr 28, 11 @ 9:30 pm:

    Speaker Tilley should ask Lt. Governor Kinder how the Lt. Governor’s family members (who live in Cairo) feel about Tilley’s insensitive and rude comments. Perhaps they are grateful Tilley has no authority on the issue. However, they probably can not be reached for comment due to the evacuations.


  83. - MemphisBob - Friday, Apr 29, 11 @ 7:44 am:

    It is the US Army Corp of ENGINEERS. Their perspective is not political. It is based upon hydrolics and the situation on the ground. And they are onsite. They are not sitting in their office typing on the internet. They have been modeling this environment for DECADES. They and only they know what should be done. I have no doubt that they will do what needs to be done.


Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.


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