This is, indeed, a city with a heart.
After sustaining our own disaster just over three months ago, and
mounting extraordinary efforts to help some dozen families left
homeless, Lagunans are now leaping to assist the victims of Hurricane
From children to adults, animal control workers to restaurateurs,
locals are doing everything they can -- bake sales, concerts, even
food convoys with portable kitchens -- to help those who lost not
just their homes but their jobs, schools, and entire neighborhoods to
Despite the differences in size and scope of the disaster, there
are some similarities.
Both are natural disasters where only the forces of nature can be
And there's the ineffective response of the Federal Emergency
Management Agency, FEMA, which left Laguna in the lurch just as it
failed to respond effectively to Hurricane Katrina.
While FEMA had responded with sterling success to several big
hurricane disasters in the 1990s, this time the agency failed
miserably and left thousands to fend for themselves during the worst
disaster of our time.
Ironically, just as Laguna was coming to grips with the failure of
the agency to come to the city's aid in the relatively small-scale
disaster here -- with city officials even now desperately trying to
come up with various ways to raise emergency cash -- Hurricane
Katrina was proving FEMA's shortfalls here to be unmistakable in the
Now that the agency has a new head, perhaps Laguna can again have
hope that disaster relief will be forthcoming -- if there is anything
left in the government's coffers after the billions that will be
needed to restore and repair the Gulf Coast states.