A bill that would change formulas to make it easier for cities in large jurisidictions like L.A. County receive disaster aid has been introduced to Congress by Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Burbank.
According to Schiff's release, the bill was introduced in response to the damage caused by November's windstorms, which was not enough for local cities to qualify for aid from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).
The problem, according to Schiff, is that for natural disaster damage to qaulify for federal aid, certain state-wide or county-wide thresholds for the costs of damage have to be reached. For larger states or larger counties, the thresholds or higher, which makes it difficult for a highly localized event like November's windstorms to qualify.
“Natural disasters strike communities indiscriminately, but federal law need not be so capricious," wrote Schiff in the release. "We need to reform the process so that small and medium sized cities in more populous states like California are not penalized when it comes to disaster aid."
Schiff's release claims that the storm cost the City of Pasadena $14 million alone. In December, county officials .
Schiff's bill would change FEMA rules to allow cities to qualify on the basis of per-capita cost, setting the number at $100 damage cost per person in the affected communities. Schiff calculated the per-capita cost of the wind storms at $125.
The bill would not retroactively grant federal relief dollars for the windstorms, but would change FEMA's rules for any future event.