Local Pols Push Obama to Fast Track Disaster Aid to Earthquake Zone

Napa Congressman Mike Thompson today called on President Barack Obama to not waste time and open the FEMA coffers to individuals who took a hit in the Aug. 24 temblor that shook Napa, Sonoma and Solano counties.

Thompson joined Sen. Barbara Boxer in tag-team statements issued this afternoon. Obama yesterday said the quake zone was a major disaster site—a key declaration that opened the doors to federal assistance, but not for individuals. At least not yet.

The local pols’ statements follow on Gov. Jerry Brown’s declaration of a state of emergency—and a state push on Obama to declare the area a disaster zone.

“The approval of these federal disaster funds is an important step in our recovery, wrote Thompson.
“They will help our cities and towns repair the damage that was caused by the earthquake. However, these funds do not help individuals in our community who are still struggling to get back on their feet. I urge the White House to take the next important step and approve federal disaster assistance for individual families as requested by the State of California.”

A key stat underlying the Thompson and Boxer statements is the difference in public and private damage wrought by the earth-rocker: “Local assessments show the earthquake caused $55 million in public damage ad $362 million in private damage,” notes Thompson. Much of that was born by wineries and other businesses—most of whom were not carrying earthquake insurance.

California’s request for individual assistance is under review by the federal disaster agency, which has been on-scene in Napa and the affected region for weeks, inspecting homes and other properties affected by the quake.

Sonoma County Library