After the deep freeze, I set out to learn about how disabled and medically fragile Texans fared in the blackout. My story is out today, but I’d like to share a couple of stories from people I spoke to but couldn’t quote in my story.…
This is Gary Lynn, 28, from Spring. He suffers from cerebral palsy, and can’t walk or move very well, so he needs a power chair to get around. During the storm, his feet swelled up and turned purple, and he worried he was going to lose them to frostbite.
Gary didn't mince words about the state's performance during the storm: “There needs to be some kind of plan in the future to protect vulnerable people like me, especially people with chronic disease and disabilities.”
Advocates were particularly frustrated because there are programs meant to help disabled people, such as a state registry – where disabled people can alert local emergency managers about their needs to help them prepare for disasters.
Power companies have "critical care" lists, that medically fragile customers can register for, and gives some customers protections from having their power cut off. But power companies (and state) are quick to issue disclaimers, saying they DO NOT assure people will be rescued.
They say, everyone needs to have a plan in disasters or power registries. In short, everyone’s on their own – even if they are paralyzed and can’t move.
This is Kemi Yemi-Ese, who lives in Austin. She’s paralyzed. During the storm, her brother walked into er room to check on her, only to find water flooding the apartment.
She got lucky -- she managed to get some help.
But here's what she had to say about the statewide response: “I felt like I had support from individuals who know me personally. As far as larger entities, I did not feel supported at all. … It felt very discouraging to see how other people fared.”
Then there’s Olivia Esparza. She has a daughter, Diana, who has Rett syndrome. She can’t move, and needs a machine to help suction away her saliva and to help her breathe, and she has a very difficult time regulating her body temperature.
During the storm, Olivia tried to go to a hotel, only to find it had run out of power. Finally, she loaded Diana into her car and drove for 20 hours to get to Florida to get away from the storm.
I found widespread problems with the state's registry: some counties used it to help their emergency response efforts; others ignored it. TDEM has also ignored multiple recommendations to hire staff specifically focused on emergency responses for disabled Texans.
Here's how @a_fredriksen from the AARP summed it up: “We’ve got this centralized list but the use of it is totally decentralized. After every hurricane, there’s a review of these issues, people wring their hands and wish they'd done things differently.”
There's a lot more in the story, which I hope you will read:…

• • •

Missing some Tweet in this thread? You can try to force a refresh

Keep Current with St. John Barned-Smith ⚔️

St. John Barned-Smith ⚔️ Profile picture

Stay in touch and get notified when new unrolls are available from this author!

Read all threads

This Thread may be Removed Anytime!


Twitter may remove this content at anytime! Save it as PDF for later use!

Try unrolling a thread yourself!

how to unroll video
  1. Follow @ThreadReaderApp to mention us!

  2. From a Twitter thread mention us with a keyword "unroll"
@threadreaderapp unroll

Practice here first or read more on our help page!

More from @stjbs

20 Jan
In November, I asked the Houston Police Department for 10 years of clearance rates and annual reports for the six investigative divisions and its trucking enforcement unit. Today, the department sent me this invoice for the information:
And y'all, they want 260 business days to comply with the request.
The divisions were: Burglary and Theft, Robbery, Major Assaults & Family Violence, Juvenile, Special Victims, Homicide
Read 5 tweets
19 Jan
When federal agents interviewed HPD Ofc. Tam Pham, they found photos of the officer in the U.S. Capitol in his phone's "deleted images" folder. From new court docs filed in federal court in DC:
BREAKING: Former HPD Ofc. Tam Pham entered U.S. Capitol with pro-Trump mob, then lied to federal investigators about the incident -- according to new charging documents filed in DC federal court Tuesday…
Pham is charged with knowingly entering or remaining in a restricted building or grounds without lawful authority and violence entry and disorderly conduct on Capitol grounds. In this case, the charges appear to carry a penalty of up to 18 months combined.
Read 7 tweets
15 Dec 20
Prosecutors: A former HPD captain faces assault charges after accosting an A/C repairman at gunpoint who he believed was involved in a ballot fraud scheme…
The former captain, Mark Aguirre, was fired from HPD in 2003 for his role in the Kmart mass arrests of 270 people during an operation meant to crack down on illegal street-racing and which turned into a complete debacle.
The Kmart scandal led to lawsuits and the suspension of 13 police supervisors, as well as perjury charges against then-chief C.O. Bradford. (I mean, truly, the thing was an incredible mess.)
Here's a story @SchwartzChron wrote about the whole thing!…
Read 9 tweets
22 Sep 20
Y’all I’m back in Floodtown, down near Meyerland. Bayou in its banks, water moving fast. Lmk if there are spots near you underwater/were flooded
The humidity following apocalyptic rains is always a particular delight of our beloved metropolis.
For a better grasp of how fast that water is moving, check out this KAYAKER who just zipped by. (Thx to Michael Kaplan for the video)
Read 5 tweets
21 Sep 20
In Surfside, high tide sent water 18 inches above a some roads. It’s dropped one but left debris all over the place. ImageImageImageImage
And yes that’s a porta-John in the road.
Tidal surge inundated Surfside shores, still under water. Alas, I’m not able to get over there. (Cheers to Surfside PD Chief Gary Phillips for schlepping me all over town) Image
Read 6 tweets
17 Sep 20
For HOU CJ peeps, @dylmcguinness and I are covering today's @HOUPublicSafety meeting, where HPD is rolling out its new cite-and-release program.
Story tk.
Here's a link to the meeting agenda:…
This is a topic of much interest for proponents for criminal justice reform.

Here's some background:……
Activists have urged for a strong ordinance that gives officers little discretion over whether they can make arrests with low-level offenses, instead requiring them to issue citations.
Police say that inappropriately hamstrings them. ...
Read 6 tweets

Did Thread Reader help you today?

Support us! We are indie developers!

This site is made by just two indie developers on a laptop doing marketing, support and development! Read more about the story.

Become a Premium Member ($3/month or $30/year) and get exclusive features!

Become Premium

Too expensive? Make a small donation by buying us coffee ($5) or help with server cost ($10)

Donate via Paypal Become our Patreon

Thank you for your support!

Follow Us on Twitter!