Guy Goodson, mayor of Beaumont, held a press conference this morning, Monday, September 26, on Clear Channel AM 560, the only media available here. Goodson stated, "You are on your own.... You should have evacuated.... You should not have returned.... You are burdens.... You are hindering the clean-up efforts.... Get out of town."
Yesterday the National Guard and Red Cross started giving out supplies in Beaumont. Today we know from citizen reports on Clear Channel AM 560 that all such operations have ceased. We have reports of trucks on Interstate 10 trying to come in with food, water, ice, and generators; we have reports of offers of church and private aid. People have called city hall seeking permission to open businesses or provide volunteer assistance of all kinds, and they are being told no.
Yet two grocery stores in the mayor's part of Beaumont, the affluent West End, are open. We are in the North End, the poorest part of town. We don't have fuel to travel to the West End grocery stores. At Ford Park, just outside of Beaumont, the Feds have massive amounts of supplies which they will distribute to those who can get there. However, even if we can get there, we will not be allowed back into Beaumont from I-10. We are in a "closed city." The Beaumont Police Department and the Texas Department of Public Safety have barricades on all exits of I-10 in the Beaumont area.
Other area cities, including Lumberton, Newton, West Orange, Pinehurst, Woodville, Vidor, Jasper, and Orange, are making sure their citizens have access to the aid that is available. Note that Orange was the worst hit in the area, yet the Orange mayor is allowing aid supplies to get to his citizens.
To follow the mayor's orders and get out of town would require fuel, supplies, and a place to go. We would be following in the footsteps of those who obeyed the original evacuation order and are now homeless without money, fuel, power, or aid of any kind. Those who remained in the city or who managed to return after the storm passed are being denied access to MOUNTAINS of federal and private aid.
The citizens of Beaumont need ice, water, MREs (Meals Ready to Eat from the military), mosquito repellant, and gasoline.
We hope that if we can make the state and national media aware of the situation, we may shame Mayor Goodson into releasing the desperately needed aid to the poorest parts of Beaumont.
Names are being withheld due to fear of retaliation.