NPR logo
Houston Mayor: Don't Forget Ike Victims
  • Download
  • <iframe src="" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript
Houston Mayor: Don't Forget Ike Victims


Houston Mayor: Don't Forget Ike Victims
  • Download
  • <iframe src="" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript


This is Day to Day, I'm Alex Cohen.


I'm Alex Chadwick. Coming up, we're going to have more on the big financial bailout and the presidential politics swirling around it.

COHEN: But first, banks aren't the only ones looking to Federal Government for funding. Officials in Texas are asking for money too, to help recover from the devastation caused by Hurricane Ike. Among them, Houston mayor, Bill White who recently traveled to Washington D.C. to ask Congress for help. Mayor White joins us now by a phone from Houston. Welcome to Day to Day and tell us, how is your city fairing right now.

Mayor BILL WHITE (Houston, Texas): Well, Houston's coming back, but we still have somewhere between one-and-five and one-and-four people without power, almost two weeks after storm in. I might say, Alex, that the property damage will be in the tens of millions of dollars. Now a lot of that will be insured, but some of it is - people had their entire life savings and their house torn down.

Debris removal will be hundreds of millions of dollars. So we just want to make sure that Congress doesn't forget when their bailing out some of these financial institutions and strengthen the financial markets. That there's actually Americans right now - you know, they can't go back to their home because their home is gone, or there's a tree in their living room and bedroom. And we have real homeland and security needs right here.

COHEN: When you went to Washington D.C., how much did you ask for and how would you use that to help get back on track?

Mayor WHITE: We've given some numbers we think that for the Houston area somewhat over $2 billion could reach it. And there is some outline areas within our county that would require more. There's other parts of our state like Galveston that large parts (unintelligible) are going to have to rebuild from scratch.

COHEN: So, what sort of response did you get when you ask for that amount?

Mayor WHITE: Well, nobody sort of publicly disagrees or pushes back for areas that are in real need. But I have to tell you that we're told that Congress is trying to get out of town every day. And the numbers that I heard talked about, particularly for the community development funds, just will not be adequate. And we're going to have to go back to Congress after the recess.

COHEN: Mayor White, what are you hearing right now from the people of Houston? How are they holding up?

Mayor WHITE: Well, their spirits are high because we've had a lot of neighbors helping neighbors. Neighborhoods that haven't had power have had block parties and outings, and there's a lot of barbecuing going on when people don't have the electrical ranges. People have been reading to their kids around lanterns at night when they didn't have television, and some of that is about the community together. But I can tell you this, we do depend on the refrigeration system for public sanitation. They are seniors who are shut in without electricity and this, you know, the everyday that it goes on, the more I expect nerves to be a little frayed.

COHEN: Bill White is the mayor of Houston where they are currently recovering from Hurricane Ike. Thank you so much, Mayor White.

Mayor WHITE: You bet. Thanks Alex.

Copyright © 2008 NPR. All rights reserved. Visit our website terms of use and permissions pages at for further information.

NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by Verb8tm, Inc., an NPR contractor, and produced using a proprietary transcription process developed with NPR. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of NPR’s programming is the audio record.



Please keep your community civil. All comments must follow the Community rules and terms of use, and will be moderated prior to posting. NPR reserves the right to use the comments we receive, in whole or in part, and to use the commenter's name and location, in any medium. See also the Terms of Use, Privacy Policy and Community FAQ.