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Homework answers / question archive / City of Greensburg Kansas Summary: A tornado devastated Greensburg, Kansas

City of Greensburg Kansas Summary: A tornado devastated Greensburg, Kansas


City of Greensburg Kansas Summary: A tornado devastated Greensburg, Kansas. The mayor stated the tornado was actually an opportunity to rebuild a “green town.” There was opposition from the town residents. Task: Read the “City of Greensburg Kansas” case below and then consider the following questions. >> We gathered up over there in the corner of the basement. And it really -- a lot of debris started flying around. And I said well I think maybe the house is coming apart. And I thought, you know, meaning we were losing shingles and stuff like that. Hello, I'm Lonnie McCollum. I'm a former resident of Greensburg. Once I got up into our kitchen area it was -- I could see the sky. So I knew this is not good. >> Tornadoes are like hit and miss. One house good. One house gone. This house is find not touched. No, no, no, no, no. This was a war zone. My name is Steve Hewitt. I'm the city administrator for Greensburg. Before the storm I think we had put ourselves in a position that we're trying to look at new ways to be a better town. One of the things we began to look at was being more efficient, more effective, less, you know, less waste in our materials and what we do. Unfortunately we weren't building many new buildings and new construction wasn't happening in this small town out in rural America out here in Kansas before the storm. After the storm you have a blank canvas. New direction needs to happen. How can we take it? >> In the end we lost three homes and about three businesses. Three homes and three businesses. I'm Elana, and I'm a Greensburg resident. We didn't question it much as to whether we were going to leave. We wanted to stay here because we loved the people. We loved the community for what it was. About two weeks after the storm the mayor at the time, Lonnie McCullum said that the city was going to rebuild green. That was kind of the definite yeah we're going to stay in Greensburg. We want to be pioneers of this green city and help them rebuild it. I had gone to a lot of meetings after the tornado, to be there to see what was going on, voice my opinion when it was needed. And I was just really pleased at the way things were going. >> You know, I think it's exciting. Where are you going to go in rural America that you have a brand new town? I'm Pharrell Allison, and I'm a Greensburg resident. To have brand new schools. Brand new city buildings. Brand new museums. Brand new dealerships. Brand new homes. Where can you go, you know, with -- you can't go anywhere. When you build a -- a town's destroyed like this one, you know, why not do it the best you can? Why not, instead of going with an 85% efficient furnace, why not go for the best because it's a few, you know, a few dollars more. You know, you just have -- you know, I think it's the right thing to do. >> It never was given to us as a choice whether we wanted our town to go green or not. I'm Janice Hayne. I'm a resident of Kiowa County and our address is Greensburg. They'd hold these town hall meetings and they'd all want you-all to come, but when it was time to actually have any comments they shut you down and just like walk away like we don't want to hear what you people have to say. >> I never felt like the community ever felt like we had to have a massive vote. How many people would say what does green mean? So no, no. Education had to happen. What we had to do was have a series of events where people could come in and give their input. I need to know what you want to see in your community. I mean, what's your future look like? How do you feel about parks? How do you feel about energy? How do you feel about your buildings? How do you feel about your schools and your hospitals? Those kind of meetings had to happen. If you wanted to be involved about your community you had an opportunity to be involved. And if from that, then the city council then could then vote on exactly what the people were telling them. And they voted that we're going to go green. We're going to go sustainable. And then they went another step forward. They said, you know what? We're going to show the world we're not just talking about going green, we're going to implement that. And they passed a resolution that states every single facility that the city builds is going to be the highest sustainable level you can go. >> I just don't believe in some of the decision making has been what we really truly needed. We should be more concerned about getting downtown businesses put up. That actually has -- going to support our tax base. Instead of, you know, we're worried about well we don't have the funding for this platinum green building. We don't have money for that one. I don't think at this point we should be worried about that. And everybody says oh, you're just being negative. Well, I don't know. Is it being negative or is it being realistic about the situation that's upon us? I worry about, you know, are we going to be able to afford the taxes on our land because they're going to tax us so high because they are putting things in that -- at the same time is it really necessary at this time to do it like that? >> You have a return in investment. But what you have to do is fight through this initial oh my goodness, it cost a million more dollars to build this building. Okay, it does. Every decision we make is not a decision that's just going to affect us over the next ten to twenty years. We're making hundred year decisions. >> There's all kinds of different ways to solve problems, but you have to understand they may all work. You know, a problem's a problem. It's how you design to solve the problem that will determine how successful you are. But you are going to make some mistakes. That's just going to happen. Probably some things were said and done that probably weren't very productive. And to this day, I think if we could have just slowed down things a little bit, you know, might have helped that. I resigned as mayor because this issue here was going to take everything I had, 24 hours a day 7 days a week. It was time to think about somebody else besides myself. I feel guilty about it. Not that I could have done anything one bit better. I might have done it different, but it wouldn't have been any better. >> Listen, every decision I make at my own house affects my family. I have a twoand-a-half-year-old son. I have to be very, very aware that every decision that I make is going to affect his future. And I can't drop the ball with the new mayor and new council so I've got to keep pushing and keep fighting through. I don't want to look back and have the future generations patching up and correcting mistakes we made. Now if they think somebody else can do better then let them bring somebody else in. While I'm here we're making good diligent long-term decisions.

Questions: 1.
(a) Cite reasons for and against rebuilding Greensburg as a “green town.”

(b) Which reasons do you find most convincing and why?

2. (a) Do you think Greensburg’s decision-making process was effective?

(b) Explain

3. (a) Describe rational decision making.

(b) What prevented the City of Greensburg from making purely rational decisions?

Option 1

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