This Is Why Ohio
needs to be able to recall incompetent Governors and other elected officials.
An aerial view of the destruction in Moscow, Ohio, on the morning after a tornado, Saturday, March, 3, 2012. The Enquirer/Gary Landers
Ohio Gov. John Kasich said thanks but no thanks to immediate federal disaster relief Saturday, even as governors in Indiana and Kentucky welcomed the help.
Kasich did not rule out asking for assistance later, but his decision means tornado-ravaged towns in Ohio will not get federal aid now and are not eligible at this time for potentially millions of dollars in payments and loans.
The governor said Ohio can respond to the crisis without federal help and he would not ask federal authorities to declare the region a disaster area.
“I believe that we can handle this,” Kasich said while visiting a shelter for storm victims at New Richmond High School. “We’ll have down here all the assets of the state.”
Clermont County Commissioner Bob Proud said he is confident the state can handle cleanup in hard-hit areas, such as Moscow. But he said federal help might be needed in the near future, especially with temporary housing for residents.
The county’s Democratic Party chairman, Dave Lane, said there is no reason to wait to ask for help. He said Kasich, a Republican who has been critical of the federal government in the past, may be trying to score political points at the expense of residents.
“I question his judgment,” he said. “It would appear at first blush that he’s probably playing politics.”
A Kasich spokesman and a state emergency management official said the state will do its own assessment before determining whether to seek federal aid.
They said there is no benefit to allowing teams from the Federal Emergency Management Agency to do an immediate assessment. FEMA teams typically arrive soon after states ask for help and begin evaluating whether the states meet the threshold for a disaster relief declaration, which qualifies them for aid.
That’s what happened in Kentucky and Indiana on Saturday after the governors of those states sought help. Kentucky Gov. Steve Beshear took a call from President Barack Obama while viewing storm damage in Kenton County and said he welcomed federal aid.
“Thanks for the involvement that everybody in the federal government is having with us,” Beshear said. “It is really making a difference here on an hourly basis, so we appreciate it.”
Kasich’s heart is as hard as a piece of fossilized dinosaur dung.