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<DOC> [Weekly Compilation of Presidential Documents] [frwais.access.gpo.gov] [Page i-ii] Monday, January 31, 1994 Volume 30--Number 4 Pages 135-165 Contents [[Page i]] Weekly Compilation of Presidential Documents [[Page ii]] Addresses to the Nation State of the Union--148 Addresses and Remarks See also Appointments and Nominations Los Angeles earthquake Roundtable discussion--135 Teleconference--141 Radio address--139 Appointments and Nominations Air Force Department, Assistant Secretary--147 Army Department, Assistant Secretaries--147 Defense Department, Secretary, remarks--144 Environmental Protection Agency, Region I Administrator--160 Federal Maritime Commission, Commissioner--147 Transportation Department, U.S. Coast Guard, Commandant--157 U.S. Court of Appeals, judges--160 U.S. District Court, judges--160 Veterans Affairs Department, Deputy Assistant Secretary--159 Communications to Congress Bulgaria, message--157 Communications to Congress--Continued Cyprus, letter--146 Greece, agreement on Social Security, message transmitting--158 Organization of American States protocols, message transmitting to the Senate--158 Executive Orders North Pacific Anadromous Fish Commission--159 North Pacific Marine Science Organization--159 Principles for Federal Infrastructure Investments--160 Interviews With the News Media Exchanges with reporters Oval Office--143 State Floor--144 Statements by the President See Appointments and Nominations Supplementary Materials Acts approved by the President--165 Checklist of White House press releases--164 Digest of other White House announcements--162 Nominations submitted to the Senate--163 WEEKLY COMPILATION OF ------------------------------ PRESIDENTIAL DOCUMENTS Published every Monday by the Office of the Federal Register, National Archives and Records Administration, Washington, DC 20408, the Weekly Compilation of Presidential Documents contains statements, messages, and other Presidential materials released by the White House during the preceding week. The Weekly Compilation of Presidential Documents is published pursuant to the authority contained in the Federal Register Act (49 Stat. 500, as amended; 44 U.S.C. Ch. 15), under regulations prescribed by the Administrative Committee of the Federal Register, approved by the President (37 FR 23607; 1 CFR Part 10). Distribution is made only by the Superintendent of Documents, Government Printing Office, Washington, DC 20402. The Weekly Compilation of Presidential Documents will be furnished by mail to domestic subscribers for $80.00 per year ($137.00 for mailing first class) and to foreign subscribers for $93.75 per year, payable to the Superintendent of Documents, Government Printing Office, Washington, DC 20402. The charge for a single copy is $3.00 ($3.75 for foreign mailing). There are no restrictions on the republication of material appearing in the Weekly Compilation of Presidential Documents. [[Page 135]] <DOC> [Weekly Compilation of Presidential Documents] [frwais.access.gpo.gov] [Page 135-139] Monday, January 31, 1994 Volume 30--Number 4 Pages 135-165 Week Ending Friday, January 28, 1994 Remarks in a Roundtable Discussion on the Los Angeles Earthquake in Burbank, California January 19, 1994 The President. Thank you very much. Thank you very much, Mayor. Ladies and gentlemen, first let me say that I always learn something when I come to southern California. Very often in the last 2 years I have come here when things were difficult for people, and I always walk away utterly astonished. I would like to say two things by way of introduction. First, on behalf of all the people on our Federal team, we want to thank the Mayor and the members of the City Council and city government, the Governor and the State legislators, Senator Boxer, Senator Feinstein, the Members of the United States Congress, the members of the county government, people I have already met with here today. The sense of teamwork here has been truly extraordinary. And I appreciate all of you doing that so much. When I became President, one of the things I most wanted to do was to give the American people a high level of confidence that their Government at least would work in basic ways and that they could trust us at least to do the basic human things right without regard to party, philosophy, whatever fights we were having over economic policy or anything else in the world, that when the chips were down, the basic things that people were entitled to have that done by their National Government, they would feel that. And I suppose there's no more important area than in an emergency for people to have that kind of feeling. The second thing I want to say is, I never cease to be amazed by the energy and the optimism, the courage and the constant good humor of so many millions of people in this State against all odds. And I walked the crowds today--through these crowds. I saw public workers that haven't slept more than 2 or 3 hours in 3 days working on the roads, the water lines, the gas lines. We saw countless numbers of people who had lost their homes, who didn't know when they were going to be able to go back to work. We saw children asking us to help get their schools fixed so they could go back to school. I met a man who had saved three homes in his neighborhood, along with a team of firemen. I met a woman who had lost her home--this is unbelievable--lost her home, who said to me, ``You know, I lost my home, and I'm really grateful you folks are coming here to help, but when you go to that meeting this afternoon, I hope you'll just ask everybody to do the right thing.'' She said, ``Ask people not to overcharge us for water. But ask all the people who are hurt not to take advantage of FEMA.'' She said, ``You know, somebody in the rest of this country might get in trouble later this year. And I lost my home, but we're going to do some of this ourselves. And I heard some people who were asking for reimbursement for things that were already broken in their homes.'' And she said, ``We just all ought to do the right thing, and we'll come out okay.'' And so I say to all of you who are elected, you've got a lot to be proud of just in the people that you represent. The Mayor has already mentioned all the people in the Federal team who came out here, but I would like to thank them. FEMA Director James Lee Witt and Secretary Cisneros, Secretary Pena, the Federal Highway Administrator Rodney Slater, the Deputy Secretary of Commerce David Barram, John Emerson, from my staff, came out here early. All told, we've had about 1,500 Federal personnel in California, Washington, and at the teleregistration center in Denton, Texas, working on this. And as I said, it's really been a joy to work with the local and the State officials. I think we're all about to get the hang of working with each other, but we [[Page 136]] hope we don't have another chance to do it very soon. As you know, I was asked to declare a disaster declaration on the day that the earthquake occurred, and I did that. And we'll be talking later in this meeting about the whole range of Federal services that are available and about the disaster assistance centers that FEMA will set up and how people can access them. I ask all of you who are Federal officials and State officials and county officials and local officials to help us with this. I looked at those people today, and a lot of those folks are not used to fooling with the Government for anything. They're not used to asking for help, they're not--they can't be charged with the knowledge of what is in a FEMA program, or in an SBA program or some other agency program. We're going to do our very best to make it easy and accessible for them. And they'll talk more about that in a minute. But you can help us a lot, Mayor, all of you can help us a lot by simply telling us if it's reaching people. And when this is all over, Leon Panetta and I have to go back to Washington and figure out how to pay for it--[laughter]-- and that's our job. But it won't work unless it actually works. When I was walking up and down those lines today looking at those folks, I thought most of these people are just good hard-working people trying to do the right thing. And it never occurred to them that they would ever have to figure out how to work their way through a maze of any sort of Federal program, whatever. So one of the things that all of you can do to help us is to be good intermediaries, and if it's not working to let us know. If we need to be some place we're not, let us know. And that's, I think, very, very important. The other point I want to make is that we'll be talking a lot about emergency aid today, but we recognize that it's going to take a good while to finish this work. When I was out at the place where the highway broke down, one of many, I asked how long it would take to fix it. And the highway engineer said, ``Oh, probably about a year.'' And I said, ``Well, what do you have to do to fix it in less time?'' It's not just a question of money, it's also a question of organization. We'll talk more about that today. I want to make three specific announcements today, but to make this point: This is a national problem, and we have a national responsibility and we will be in it for the long run. This is not something where all of us from the Federal Government just showed up while this is an issue in the headlines, gripping the hearts and emotions of all your countrymen and women who feel for you all the way to the tip of northern Maine and the tip of southern Florida. This is something we intend to stay with until the job is over. And in that connection, I have been authorized to say that today the Small Business Administration will be releasing enough money to support about $240 million in new low-interest loans to people who qualify for them. We will release $45 million in new funds from the Department of Transportation to support the beginning of all the cleanup and the beginning of the repair movement. You know, there's a lot of, unfortunately, a lot of destruction now that has to be done on those roads before the construction can start. So that will accelerate that process. And the third thing I want to say is that as soon as we get good cost estimates, and the Governor and the Mayor have given us some today, but as soon as we get good cost estimates on what the losses are and what kinds of things fall within the responsibility of the Federal Government, we will then see how much money we now have already appropriated for disasters. And then, along with your congressional delegation, I expect to ask the Congress for an emergency supplemental appropriation for California as soon as the Congress returns on January the 25th. And I believe the Congress will do the right thing. And I want to tell you that this is something I think the California delegation will be absolutely united on. And we've already had the conversations with them. I'm grateful that so many members of the delegation are here today. Let me just say one final thing. I have been asked also by several people, by the Mayor, the Governor, the Senators among others today, about the matching requirement. Generally, in any emergency, there's a 25-percent match requirement which the Federal Government can waive--can be waived [[Page 137]] so that the match requirement goes down to 10 percent for State and local contribution to disaster assistance. I wish I could just come here today and tell you that I could waive that. We waived it in the Midwest flood, when we had the floods earlier this year. We had a 500-year flood, the worst flood that we hope it only comes along every 500 years. I think you have a very strong case for waiver, but before we can approve it, under the law we have to have a realistic assessment of what the costs are, because the criteria established by Congress for waiver is that the burdens on the State and local resources will be too great to reasonably bear, given the other problems. Now, if you look at the economic problems that California and southern California have had alone in the last 4 years, I don't think it will be too difficult for you to make that case. But it is not legally possible for me to say until I see the numbers and the arguments. So you have to make the case, we will work with you to help you make that case. But that's a commitment I can't make today until we see the evidence under the law. We will proceed with the emergency supplemental. And I'd like to spend the rest of the meeting just sort of listening to what's going on, what the problems are, because when I leave here today, I want to have a clear sense that we have our act together and that when we go back to Washington we'll be able to do our part there while you're doing your part here. And the last point I want to make, again, is that we have no intention, none, of letting this be a short-term thing. We will stay with you until this job is finished. Thank you very much. [At this point, Gov. Pete Wilson, Senator Dianne Feinstein, and Senator Barbara Boxer thanked the administration for their response and discussed efforts being made to assist victims and repair damage. Los Angeles Mayor Richard Riordan outlined areas of concern, and Dick Andrews, director of the office of State emergency services, discussed
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