This article about contaminated drywall was published in Ft Myers News-press.
Saturday, February 27, 2010
Drywall victims confront Gov. Crist
“No help, no vote,” they chanted, waving home-made protest signs, as Crist arrived at the Cultural Center of Charlotte County for a $150-per-plate dinner.
He walked to meet the group, who are from Cape Coral, Punta Gorda, North Port, Venice, Sun City Center and Tampa.
“I hear you,” Crist said.
He asked for confirmation that the drywall affects copper pipes – something known for more than a year.
“All right, well, let’s create another way,” Crist said.
“We don’t understand why you haven’t given an answer back, why you have not issued a declaration of emergency,” Brynn said.
Hummer broke in: “But we’re living in homes that are killing us.”
“I don’t want to give you false hope,” he said. “I want to give you real hope. You’ve had false hope before.”
He can declare an emergency by executive order and ask President Barack Obama for help. But first the state has to activate its own emergency plan and Crist has to show in detail why the crisis is so severe that it has overwhelmed state and local abilities to handle it.
Crist turned to enter the center for his fundraiser and the group took up the chant again, raising placards with sayings such as: “No Florida Dream Home Just Toxic Nightmare” and “Silent Hurricane Disaster.”
The homeowners aren’t convinced Crist was sincere.
Gayle Cardiello of Cape Coral said her opinion is that Crist could care less.
Jim Silverblatt of Venice said that if their roofs were covered with blue tarps like those of hurricane victims and electric appliances were scattered along with damaged furniture in their front yards, things would be different.
“We’d have Charlie and Barack flying here in helicopters looking at us,” Silverblatt said. “Then they’d help.”
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