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Title: Oral History Interview with Richard H. Moore, August 2, 2002. Interview K-0598. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007): Electronic Edition.
Author: Moore, Richard H., interviewee
Interview conducted by Hartman, Leda
Funding from the Institute of Museum and Library Services supported the electronic publication of this interview.
Text encoded by Jennifer Joyner
Sound recordings digitized by Aaron Smithers Southern Folklife Collection
First edition, 2007
Size of electronic edition: 120 Kb
Publisher: The University Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Chapel Hill, North Carolina
2007.
© This work is the property of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. It may be used freely by individuals for research, teaching and personal use as long as this statement of availability is included in the text.
The electronic edition is a part of the UNC-Chapel Hill digital library, Documenting the American South.
Languages used in the text: English
Revision history:
2007-00-00, Celine Noel, Wanda Gunther, and Kristin Martin revised TEIHeader and created catalog record for the electronic edition.
2007-09-04, Jennifer Joyner finished TEI-conformant encoding and final proofing.
Source(s):
Title of recording: Oral History Interview with Richard H. Moore, August 2, 2002. Interview K-0598. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007)
Title of series: Series K. Southern Communities. Southern Oral History Program Collection (K-0598)
Author: Leda Hartman
Title of transcript: Oral History Interview with Richard H. Moore, August 2, 2002. Interview K-0598. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007)
Title of series: Series K. Southern Communities. Southern Oral History Program Collection (K-0598)
Author: Richard H. Moore
Description: 103 Mb
Description: 33 p.
Note: Interview conducted on August 2, 2002, by Leda Hartman; recorded in Unknown.
Note: Transcribed by Sharon Caughill.
Note: Forms part of: Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007): Series K. Southern Communities, Manuscripts Department, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
Note: Original transcript on deposit at the Southern Historical Collection, The Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
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The text has been entered using double-keying and verified against the original.
The text has been encoded using the recommendations for Level 4 of the TEI in Libraries Guidelines.
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Interview with Richard H. Moore, August 2, 2002.
Interview K-0598. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007)
Moore, Richard H., interviewee


Interview Participants

    RICHARD H. MOORE, interviewee
    LEDA HARTMAN, interviewer

[TAPE 1, SIDE A]


Page 1
[START OF TAPE 1, SIDE A]
LEDA HARTMAN:
My notepad
RICHARD H. MOORE:
That's fine.
LEDA HARTMAN:
Okay, terrific. I'm going to ask you about the book at the end.
I'm so glad you told me that, but to start at the beginning if you could describe your position at the time that Floyd hit and what that meant in terms of emergency response.
RICHARD H. MOORE:
Okay. At the time that Floyd hit us I was Governor Hunt's Secretary of Crime Control and Public Safety. What that meant was both for that storm and, unfortunately many, many storms in the preceding three and a half years of the four years that I was in that position, I was the chief emergency management official for the State of North Carolina, and in all presidential declarations I was delegated the authority by the governor to work whatever mechanisms in state government in conjunction with the federal government. That involved a lot of detail on a lot of programs. The other part of my position as far as legally and statutorily, North Carolina has a wonderful provision that when the governor of North Carolina declares an emergency, separate from the President—now in most of these the governor declared an emergency and then the President declared emergency very, very quickly thereafter—part of that declaration embodies putting all the resources of the state government under whoever the Secretary of Crime Control and Public Safety is at that time. So in essence it's a unique mechanism in state government. For that period of time, all the other cabinet officials, all branches of government, everything, are at the disposal of one person, of course, acting in the auspices of the governor. It's been a wonderful set up. It's served the state very well.

Page 2
LEDA HARTMAN:
Now is that unique to North Carolina, or is this pretty much common in other states?
RICHARD H. MOORE:
You know, that's a good question. I don't know. I know for a federal declaration you always have a counterpart, a chief state person, who is delegated along with a senior person within FEMA, but I don't know. I don't know. I would hope that other states have it because the last thing that you ever want when your people are in trouble are bureaucratical squabbles. I think North Carolina as a government and as a people got very high marks through most of these disasters. I don't think any of our missteps or mishaps were ever because a chain of command, or two different people say, "No. I'm not going to listen to you. I work for the Department of Transportation. Somebody else has got to tell me that." We never had an instance like that, so it's worked very well for our people.
LEDA HARTMAN:
Okay, that's great. So what you're telling me is that because of this provision during an emergency you were the number one guy below Governor Hunt?
RICHARD H. MOORE:
That's right.
LEDA HARTMAN:
Okay.
RICHARD H. MOORE:
And the person charged with twenty-four hour a day responsibility even in a crisis situation and for a period of time thereafter. The governor's still got other responsibilities, but at this particular point whoever is in that chair, this is their sole duty and we had many instances over my four years where it truly was twenty-four hours a day for day after day, after day, after day, after day.
LEDA HARTMAN:
I can't imagine what that must have been like personally with Floyd because I'm sure that was the storm to beat all the others.

Page 3
RICHARD H. MOORE:
It really was. The unbelievable part about Floyd was, you know, Floyd was a monster when it was formed. Floyd was a storm that approached Andrew and Hugo, the kind of storm that can kill tens of thousands of people. As it formed and you saw the satellite images of it, and it was a category five which is the most powerful, it's really quite frightening. Rarely do we have a perfect storm form, and when I mean perfect I mean the size of it and the shape of it. It's almost beautiful in a powerful, scary kind of way.
LEDA HARTMAN:
A macabre way.
RICHARD H. MOORE:
That's right. That's right, but to know that nature can create something with that perfect symmetry of the power. As it began to form and as it began to threaten Florida, and then Georgia, and then South Carolina, and then North Carolina, and I'll get into more detail in this but the path within North Carolina changed itself three times. Then ultimately the wind part of the storm was really no big deal. I remember having watched through this having a tremendous sigh of relief and heading home about three o'clock in the morning to take a break, change clothes, take a shower, grab a nap, and I walk in—this is a home that my wife and I have here in Raleigh—and I walk in, and I'm just about to go up the steps, and I hear the sound of a waterfall, and I can't imagine what it is. So I go down the basement steps, and that was a waterfall in my basement rapidly filling up. Apparently the storm drains, the sewer system was backing into our home which, of course, happened all over North Carolina, but that was my first personal indication that something different was going on in this storm.
LEDA HARTMAN:
You didn't get off as easily as you thought you were going to.
RICHARD H. MOORE:
No, no, no. Like a lot of people in the emergency management business, I had a couple of neighbors come over. We moved a couple of pieces of furniture up, but

Page 4
basically I had to tell my wife, "You've got to handle this. I've got millions of folks counting on stuff I've got to do," and basically left a mess at home, as did many, many, many National Guardsmen, and law enforcement and emergency workers.
LEDA HARTMAN:
Absolutely, and I've actually talked with some in the eastern part of the state who had their own homes flooded, and they didn't know where all their family members were, and they were going out and helping other people. It's quite remarkable.
RICHARD H. MOORE:
It really is.
LEDA HARTMAN:
It happened with you, too.
RICHARD H. MOORE:
It did. It did. It happened with me, and that's just the thing that is just so remarkable about Floyd in particular, that you see the very, very best in human nature. I think that's what's been so powerful for me because in many ways because of the time I spent on TV and radio in my role, I kind of became the public face of the storm, and I'm the person that got all the thank yous, and I didn't deserve them. I had a real connection that you rarely have in government or public policy to feel the outpouring of gratitude from tens of thousands of people all over eastern North Carolina because of all these Herculean efforts. People just didn't care. They wanted to do whatever it took to help their neighbor, who they didn't even know.
LEDA HARTMAN:
Right, right, but got to know. Can you describe the bureaucracy for me?
RICHARD H. MOORE:
Sure.
LEDA HARTMAN:
In terms of the organizational structure in the state, what agency was charged with providing what relief service?
RICHARD H. MOORE:
Sure, and it's actually one of the things that I'm most proud of. We, with the help of Eric Tolbert who I hired to be the Director of Emergency Management, with

Page 5
Governor Hunt's blessing of course, a North Carolina native who had gone down to Florida after Andrew and really had incredible organizational skills. One of the things that we had done between the time that Hurricane Fran hit and the time Hurricane Floyd hit is we had changed the way we were organized from a bureaucratic standpoint. The emergency management system in North Carolina and, indeed, in the country is set up as a chain of command. The on-the-ground position is a county emergency management coordinator. The only way that the system works and the reason that it works so well is if you're in a county and you've got a problem with the school, or with the city, stop lights, or anything you need to channel those requests through one person in a county, and then that person channels that request to emergency management here in Raleigh in the basement of the administrative building, the bunker over there where we've all spent so many hours. Thank goodness no one has spent any time there the last couple of years. So the problem or the needs come up through the county. We did a lot of education [of] the principal of the school or the mayor of the town so they knew they didn't need to call Raleigh directly. They needed to get that person, and most of the counties had an emergency center, and most people knew where it was. Then at the receiving end we control the tasking of all state, federal, and local resources. We prioritized and then send it back down. That, in a nutshell, is the way the system worked. But one of the things that we had changed tremendously is we used to do business by telephone. Gosh, we'd have seventy-five phones over there in the basement of the administration building. Just that summer we had gotten software written. We had gotten

Page 6
a grant from the Federal Government. We'd given a laptop to every county emergency management coordinator. We had training on how to use it, so when the request came in at the county level they were typed in by the EM coordinator, and in many instances we have regional EM state employees that were out there with those folks, but then the software automatically prioritized the request. It was so weird to have been through Fran, Bonnie, Bertha, not Dennis because we had the new system in place for Dennis but Dennis was just so concentrated on one area, so instead of hearing the phone ring like crazy and having all these people, we took this whole room, and we gave all the agencies a room outside, and there were about four of us sitting, and just about as quiet as it is now at this table, with the clicking of a laptop looking at the screen helping prioritize with the computer. But we cut our response time down from, in some instances, ninety-minutes, two hours to always less than five minutes. It's great comfort that I know as we were battling against this slow tidal wave of Floyd, sending volunteer fire departments into towns in the middle of the night, waking people up, getting them out of their house[s], that that time savings in that software I know saved lives. It's a wonderful feeling.
LEDA HARTMAN:
It's amazing. So one of the big decision makers was the computer?
RICHARD H. MOORE:
Absolutely.
LEDA HARTMAN:
Very interesting, not just the elected officials or appointed officials?
RICHARD H. MOORE:
No, but it was very easy for us to prioritize. You have real commonsense priorities, and it was easy to write the software. You looked after, obviously, an immediate life or death situation. It went to the top where you requisitioned a helicopter. Oftentimes that was getting somebody to the hospital or, in many instances, making sure

Page 7
that the hospital had what they need to treat the patients they already had, whether that was making sure that you dispatched a power crew to get the power back on or if a generator failed at a hospital. That's another thing that happened between Fran and Floyd. We went from having almost no generators whatsoever in eastern North Carolina to by the time Floyd hit most of the major institutions had a generator in good working order.
LEDA HARTMAN:
So there were actually some lessons learned from Fran that stood you in good stead for Floyd?
RICHARD H. MOORE:
Oh, absolutely. It's a long list from having contracts in place in advance for ice, water, cots, to doing a complete inventory on where our shelters were. We actually had some shelters during Fran that would have been flooded during Floyd, but we had gone back over all of our official shelter sites that we do in conjunction with the Red Cross, and we'd actually taken a lot of vulnerable shelters off the list that no one had really looked at closely before. The changes go on, and on, and on. As I said, I think it culminated in extremely good customer service for our people in a life and death situation when they needed good customer service. I mean, government worked.
LEDA HARTMAN:
Good deal. What agency was responsible for what, because for a lay person it's kind of hard to figure out?
RICHARD H. MOORE:
Sure, okay. Well, Emergency Management, once the governor issues that declaration, Emergency Management is the tasker of everything. That small division of people, it's about a hundred people, a hundred and fifty people. When there's not an emergency they spend their time planning, making contingency plans. Actually, in the last few years starting back when I was still secretary, we focused on bioterrorism and a lot of

Page 8
planning. Emergency Management has many roles, but when you kick into a hurricane declaration they task everybody else. Now the resources that are available to us, the primary responders in a situation like this are the Department of Transportation in moving their equipment from the western part of the state to the eastern part of the state. The Department of Transportation, the Highway Patrol who has the responsibility for roads that become lifelines in that situation.
LEDA HARTMAN:
Or death traps if you go through them.
RICHARD H. MOORE:
That's exactly right. We also have a fleet of military surplus helicopters that we can blanket the skies to see what's open and what's not open, and that happened during Floyd. Then the other primary responder, the one that I don't know on the government side of things, I don't know how our people would have done without them, are the North Carolina National Guard. The neat thing about the Guard, the Guard are volunteers. They are North Carolinians themselves. We can draw them from the western part of the state as we did particularly on some of these. There was expertise in the western part of the state on rapid water rescue which is not uncommon in the mountains where you have valleys that channel water.
LEDA HARTMAN:
And the Nantahala River.
RICHARD H. MOORE:
That's right.
LEDA HARTMAN:
That's extremely powerful.
RICHARD H. MOORE:
But it's very uncommon. In eastern North Carolina it's flat as a pancake, and that's something that I don't think we'll ever see again in our lifetime, rapid water in eastern North Carolina. Those were the primary responder agencies.

Page 9
In the phases that come after, then you have the public health officials that step in, and [unclear] that steps in. In this particular instance I became the barbecue king of North Carolina. I think we set a record. I barbecued thirty thousand pigs in one day. We incinerated thirty thousand pigs that were dead, from a public safety standpoint. That's one that I used to catch—no pun intended—a lot of ribbing on.
LEDA HARTMAN:
Barbecue, but nobody got to eat it.
RICHARD H. MOORE:
Nobody ate it. We cooked them, but boy we overcooked them.
LEDA HARTMAN:
You skipped the vinegar, and the tomato, and all those good spices.
RICHARD H. MOORE:
That's right.
LEDA HARTMAN:
Okay. All right. I'm curious about one thing. What was it like down there in that bunker, the officials that were coordinating this thing? Did you all get closer because you were sort of comrades-in-arms? Was there a lot of stress in the room? What was it like?
RICHARD H. MOORE:
An atmosphere of consummate professionalism, and the reason for that was so much practice, so many storms. I mean it was a markedly different atmosphere than I guess Bertha which preceded Fran by about five weeks, six weeks. Bertha was primarily an agricultural storm, but really the first storm that had laid North Carolina out in a while.
LEDA HARTMAN:
In a long time, yeah.
RICHARD H. MOORE:
By the time we got to Floyd people knew their role. We were all friends. We spent a lot of time together. From time to time doing away with the Department of Crime Control and Public Safety comes up, and its the main reason that I think it's a horrible idea. These people know each other. They get around a table for staff meetings every two weeks. They're comfortable. They know each other's strengths and

Page 10
weaknesses. They know how to let off steam with each other. And when you get to a time of crisis, or particularly from an economic standpoint, if you get the beaches open one day sooner because the team knows what they're doing, that's fifteen years worth of savings, possible savings, of doing away with the Department. I don't know that we got closer. I think with every one of these storms we gained even more respect, I know I did, for the folks who were carrying out just incredible missions and doing it with such professionalism.
LEDA HARTMAN:
Exactly.
RICHARD H. MOORE:
And you do have a lot of people shouting at you. It's part of the job that you let it roll off, and you kind of know who to key in, and who not to. I won't say there wasn't a tremendous amount of stress there. That was there also, but professionalism ruled.
LEDA HARTMAN:
How did it feel to you personally having to face such a daunting disaster that was unprecedented, just as a human being?
RICHARD H. MOORE:
As a human being, I tell you, it's the most peaks and valleys that I've ever had in my life, ever had in my professional life, and close in my personal life. The peaks and valleys go from standing in somebody's front yard with them in Chinquapin in Duplin County, and hearing them tell a story about this elderly couple who both found out recently that they were terminally ill, knowing that they're never going to set foot in their home again, and knowing there's nothing you can do for them. Or finding out that people who you knew had been swept to their death, versus then the exhilaration of knowing that you successfully evacuated fifteen hundred people, and they're all safe, and dry, and getting a warm meal in a high school in Tarboro, and that

Page 11
people are coming from all over the country, and sending money from all over the world to help you. I mean it's peaks and valleys like you cannot imagine. As I said, for me in many instances it was magnified because I became, along with Governor Hunt, the public face of the storm.
LEDA HARTMAN:
Yeah, exactly. And you and Governor Hunt took that helicopter ride the day after the storm when the flooding was just beginning, right? What was that like? What do you remember seeing?
RICHARD H. MOORE:
Oh, gosh. I'm not much of a photographer, but there were two things that we saw. I took an unbelievable photograph that I still have of a quarry between Rocky Mount and Tarboro that was just beginning to fill up. The water was pouring in from several sides, and it was louder than Niagara Falls. You could hear it over the helicopter. So you could see the power of the storm. We knew that we were getting a lot of rainfall. About five or six in the morning, the morning after, the meteorologists knew that something really unusual was going on. They were getting very strange rainfall readings, but we went out really not knowing what to expect. I remember seeing that waterfall. The other one that I think that I'll never forget was flying over, it wasn't even on our route, a private aircraft radioed our helicopter and said, "You have to go see Trenton in Jones County." We went, and it was something like out of an ebola virus movie or something. The sun was out. It was a beautiful day, and you approached this beautiful little town of Trenton with the courthouse downtown, and manicured homes, cars, but everything was covered with about three or four feet of water. It wasn't like some places where it was over the tops of the houses. You could see the store front windows, but the water was up to the front. The really spooky thing, not one person in the entire town.

Page 12
Nothing moving. Now, we found out later on that everybody had gotten out that night, and they were all in the civic center which was just outside of town, but just the image of that bizarre, still ghost town with nobody. That's the other weird thing about hurricanes and storms. They clear out all the birds. It's a really weird thing if you've never experienced it before. That next morning you go out, and the sun is pretty, but there are no birds. There's no chirping.
LEDA HARTMAN:
I know very little about birds, but one thing I think I do know is that they can sense barometric pressure falling before, well maybe meteorologists can, but before we can, obviously, and they scoot. They know how to get out of harms way before it hits.
RICHARD H. MOORE:
You're exactly right, and that's one of the weird things that happens about hurricanes, having spent so much time close to them. Two things happen before they hit. On the many, many, many trips that I've taken flying one end of the coast to the other before storms come, you're right, the birds know to leave. The other thing that happens is the storm, the power of the hurricane acts as a vacuum cleaner on smog and dirt in our atmosphere. The evening before a hurricane comes the stars are crystal clear. The sky is crystal clear. I'll never forget that sensation before all of the storms hit.
LEDA HARTMAN:
Wow. Okay, just a little bit of a history question. I'm curious about Emergency Management. When was it created, and what did people do before that?
RICHARD H. MOORE:
Ah, Emergency Management is a successor entity here in North Carolina, and I think in most states, to the old Civil Defense.
LEDA HARTMAN:
Ah, okay.
RICHARD H. MOORE:
Civil Defense came about during the Cold War when people built bunkers in their back yard. Actually during Governor Hunt's first administration, and my deputy

Page 13
secretary at the time of Floyd, David Kelly, was an assistant secretary in the Department of Crime Control and Public Safety when it was first founded. He was one of the founders of Emergency Management. They took it from Civil Defense and changed the role of it for modern-day emergency management.
LEDA HARTMAN:
What year would that have been, or approximately?
RICHARD H. MOORE:
That would have been, let me see. Governor Hunt became governor for the first time in 1977.
LEDA HARTMAN:
Yeah, so it was in the 70s. Okay. You've got a good memory.
RICHARD H. MOORE:
One of the things that Governor Hunt gives me a hard time for is it's very easy for me to remember Governor Hunt's career because I was in junior high when he was lieutenant governor, and in high school when he was governor the first time. I was unique among his cabinet of having that perspective, being significantly younger than most of them.
LEDA HARTMAN:
I can imagine.
RICHARD H. MOORE:
We joke about that.
LEDA HARTMAN:
Great. The reason I was asking what people did before that is because you hear all these stories of, say, how devastating Hurricane Hazel was in 1954. You hear old people say, "Well, we didn't have any emergency management then. We just relied on our neighbors. We had to fend for ourselves." That kind of thing. I'm just wondering how the response has changed, how government became much more active whereas a couple of generations ago people maybe didn't expect that from government.
RICHARD H. MOORE:
Well, that's a great question and a great perspective. I think what has changed is the amount of people living in vulnerable environments. That's the big thing.

Page 14
Florida really kind of leads in that. Florida has I don't know how many million people. I think they have more than 20 million people in the State of Florida. I know they're significantly larger than North Carolina. But the strange thing about Florida is ninety percent of their population lives within eight miles of an ocean on one side or the other. North Carolina, and all of the states in hurricane alley, have experienced similar growth. I grew up with the stories of Hurricane Hazel. We had a place at the coast. My grandparents had a place at Virginia Beach. My uncle had a place at Atlantic Beach, and I heard all the stories about where it was flooded and how. But people in those days didn't have the quality of homes. When you built a home at the beach you kind of took a gamble that it was gone. There was no federal insurance program. There was no anything. And there were not a lot of jobs. Tourism was not a huge engine in those days. As hurricanes came inland, I remember as a small child having fairly severe storms where we just didn't have power for a week. You just made do. What has changed, we have multi-billion dollar infrastructures that have been so good for our economy, and tourism is an important part of this state, that now require us to be more sophisticated. We have a tremendous population of retirees, of elderly people, who are living in our coastal areas, so government has conformed to those needs.
LEDA HARTMAN:
Right, right, and you also have industrialized agriculture that maybe you didn't have a couple of generations ago where there's millions of dollars at stake in terms of the economy, so it's another sector.
RICHARD H. MOORE:
That's exactly right.
LEDA HARTMAN:
Okay.
RICHARD H. MOORE:
That's exactly right.

Page 15
LEDA HARTMAN:
That's good. Thank you. That's a really interesting answer. Where did you grow up, by the way?
RICHARD H. MOORE:
I grew up in Oxford.
LEDA HARTMAN:
Okay.
RICHARD H. MOORE:
Just about forty miles north of here.
LEDA HARTMAN:
I know it well.
RICHARD H. MOORE:
My family's been in North Carolina a long time.
LEDA HARTMAN:
Yes, yes, and Oxford actually wasn't immune from Floyd.
RICHARD H. MOORE:
No. No, no, no. I think there were forty-two or forty-three counties that put at least one claim in, a federal claim, and it showed how far it went.
LEDA HARTMAN:
How far west.
RICHARD H. MOORE:
Yeah. The Raleigh area got hammered much more by Fran, but it was not immune to Floyd.
LEDA HARTMAN:
Okay, I'm just going to go down the list and ask you your perspective on different aspects of what got impacted, starting with housing. By the way, you're a terrific interview. This is very colorful and accessible. It's a plus when it works that way, so thank you.
RICHARD H. MOORE:
Thank you. I appreciate that.
LEDA HARTMAN:
Well, we do, too. The impact of the flood on housing. What was that, given that people say that there already was a shortage of affordable and/or decent housing in eastern North Carolina? What was the impact of the flood, and what are the different ways that the government responded?

Page 16
RICHARD H. MOORE:
Well, Floyd knocked out housing stock in an unprecedented manner. I can't remember the number of thousands of homes for some reason.
LEDA HARTMAN:
Sixty-seven thousand jumps out at me.
RICHARD H. MOORE:
That's what I was going to say, it's in excess of fifty-thousand, and it seems to me about twenty thousand of those were rendered uninhabitable. It really showed the difference. It was another one of those lessons learned, it showed the difference between wind driven damage and flooding. Wind driven damage does a lot of cosmetic damage. Sometimes it can do structural damage. Usually your grandmother's afghan, and your wedding pictures, and wedding video, they're usually okay. Flooding is so destructive, particularly with modern insulation, the way rolled insulation acts as a wick in a wall. All you have to do is get a few inches of water in your home. It acts very much as an old lantern wick. It wicks it up through the insulation up into the attic of the home, and then mold takes over. It's a complete and total disaster. Floyd knocked out so much housing stock that I remember one of the first decisions we made—as a matter of fact, about two days later because we had our first park open for housing within five days which is really pretty incredible if you thing about that.
LEDA HARTMAN:
FEMA [Federal Emergency Management Agency] trailer park?
RICHARD H. MOORE:
Our first FEMA trailer park. I think on the third day I pulled the trigger, and Eric started buying every camper trailer he could find. Then we had them hooked up with water and sewer within two more days after that. Really, that's pretty incredible.
LEDA HARTMAN:
Where was the first one?

Page 17
RICHARD H. MOORE:
It was at the Fountain Industrial Park between Rocky Mount and Tarboro. The reason we put it there was because they had water and sewer already to the site, and we could line them up. But we literally ran back hoes twenty-four hours a day, brought in gravel, built the roads. As I said, we raided the market in camper trailers. So government went in the housing business. It's not something that government's equipped to do. I don't know that we did such a good job. I think you can see today that there are probably things we should have handled differently, but it's really not something we were equipped to do. I would rather have ventured in on the experiments that we did than sit back and say, "No, we can't help you. That's not what we do." The silver lining in it though is that a lot of the housing stock that was wiped out was really breeding grounds for generational abject poverty. Some of the places I went took me back to the homes I used to visit when I was a child with my parents to deliver a Christmas or a Thanksgiving turkey. It's places that if there is a silver lining, really nobody should have been living in those. Now the challenge is to replace them with affordable, quality, decent housing, and we're making some progress.
LEDA HARTMAN:
What's been done so far? What remains to be done as you see it in terms of the buyouts, the rental assistance, all of that stuff?
RICHARD H. MOORE:
Well, the buyout was a program that we pushed really hard to get the money for.
LEDA HARTMAN:
And that's Federal money?
RICHARD H. MOORE:
And that's Federal money.
LEDA HARTMAN:
Okay.

Page 18
RICHARD H. MOORE:
Once again, we'd had a lot of experience in that. We'd gotten a lot of buyouts in the town of Belhaven in previous storms. We'd piloted the program on elevating homes. Instead of buying them out we jacked them up on foundations, and it was cheaper for everybody, and the homes were fine.
LEDA HARTMAN:
And nobody had to go.
RICHARD H. MOORE:
I visited some of those homes that we had raised in Belhaven after subsequent floods, and they're in great shape. They're up. They're going to be fine. So we had the buyout program going. I guess over all it's mixed reviews, but clearly everything we bought is going to be a long-term benefit to tax payers. It's not fair for someone who owns that home who plays by the rules, and all of the sudden they're left with the biggest asset in their life that no one's going to buy. Once you know that something is a repeated flood victim, your sixty, seventy, eighty, hundred and fifty thousand dollar home is rendered worthless. I'm glad to live in a society that we can all pitch in and try alleviate those type things. The communities that we tried to build from scratch, where we gave developers incentives, and we tried to force people to live in a particular area, I think we've learned some lessons on human nature. Our society doesn't take very well to being told where to live.
LEDA HARTMAN:
Where did that happen?
RICHARD H. MOORE:
It happened in a lot of places. I know that it's happened outside of Tarboro. It's happened outside of Grifton and in Grifton. There have been several examples of where there are developers out there who tried to do the right thing, and the state said,

Page 19
"At least fifty percent of the people who live there have got to be flood victims." We found out that that kind of social engineering just doesn't work very well, but we tried.
LEDA HARTMAN:
What happened in those cases? I would imagine that the shortage would be so great that people really wouldn't care. You know, are you a flood victim? They would really just take the opportunity to live in a new place.
RICHARD H. MOORE:
You ask a great question. We don't know. We don't know where they went. We suspect a lot of people either left, moved in with family. I think that one of the things that we'll never be able to track from a census standpoint is just how many people left these communities. We've had a slow migration my entire life of people leaving small towns in eastern North Carolina, going to Raleigh, Durham, Charlotte, Richmond, Atlanta. Who knows how much this accelerates it?
LEDA HARTMAN:
That was going to be a later question that I was going to ask you, but let me ask it now. Having grown up in eastern North Carolina and coming through all this hurricane experiences that you have, what is your concern for the overall region given the fact that traditionally the conventional wisdom says that region has always lagged behind the rest of the state in income, education, health care, you name it. So what is your concern about how this terrible flood impacted the region and the fact that it's prone to hurricanes in the future?
RICHARD H. MOORE:
This flood in about the eleven or twelve counties that it hit the hardest, there is no doubt that they lost five years on whatever they're trying to do. Wherever they were trying to go they've had a set back for five years. Now the hope is that with the investment that the infrastructure is going to be even better off. They've got some wonderful new public buildings, some wonderful new infrastructure.

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The people in eastern North Carolina are incredibly resilient. They're great people. But you have to overlay on that the way society changes over periods of time. There was a period of time when those cities in that part of North Carolina were its wealthiest, as we filtered south from Virginia and west from the coast places like Roanoke Rapids and Kinston—.
LEDA HARTMAN:
New Bern.
RICHARD H. MOORE:
And New Bern which is where my family originally settled. They were the leading engines of our economy. It's only been as tobacco and textiles have begun to lose their luster in say the 1930s, 1940s that it has been a slow spiral. But certainly for most North Carolinians, who either live here today or grew up here today, the east has lagged in its economic prowess. It's going to be a challenge. I think that I'm an eternal optimist. In many places we have excess water, we have excess sewer capacity, things that economically are going to be very valuable. We have tremendous infrastructure, and we have really better trained people with every generation that goes by. Our schools, I believe, have gotten remarkably better, particularly in some of our rural areas. I think we'll start to see the dividends from that.
LEDA HARTMAN:
Okay. Can I have fifteen more minutes? I just want to gauge—.
RICHARD H. MOORE:
Sure. Sure.
LEDA HARTMAN:
Are you sure?
RICHARD H. MOORE:
Yeah. This has gone very quickly. I appreciate your telling me that. This is something that I feel very passionate about.
LEDA HARTMAN:
It's so fascinating that I want to be able to ask you the most important things.

Page 21
RICHARD H. MOORE:
Okay.
LEDA HARTMAN:
And not scrimp, but I also am conscious of your time. So great, thank you. Let's talk about then the really rural areas. Do you see a difference between the ability of the cities in the region to have responded to the crisis versus the really outlying areas? You know, I'm talking about the really rural counties like Edgecombe County outside of Princeville and Tarboro, or Jones County, the really small areas that may not have resources, the expertise to deal with all the complicated bureaucratic steps they need to take to take advantage of some of the recovery. Do you see any split there in terms of the capacity to recover?
RICHARD H. MOORE:
I can tell you based on history. I left Emergency Management in December after Floyd hit to file for office and run for the position of treasurer which I now hold.
LEDA HARTMAN:
December of 1999?
RICHARD H. MOORE:
Of 1999, yes. So I'm not intimately familiar with what happened after that, but I can tell you from previous experience we overcompensated from a staffing standpoint for the areas that we felt needed the most help. In other words, there were places that we knew we needed to basically take over the paperwork and be the liaison to FEMA and state help. And absolutely no disrespect towards these area. I think as you know it's just purely from a resource standpoint. If we didn't do it, it wasn't going to get done. That's actually reflected by whether counties have a full-time emergency management coordinator, how well they're paid. We still have counties that have part time, and we may still have one or two, although I think they are in the western part of the state, that have a volunteer county emergency management coordinator. It is a problem.
LEDA HARTMAN:
That's one of the things that could be improved on for the future.

Page 22
RICHARD H. MOORE:
I think most counties have reevaluated the value of that position since all these hurricanes, and it's drastically better today than it was, say, in 1996.
LEDA HARTMAN:
Okay. That's great. Let me go back and just ask you a little bit more about specific sectors of the economy. Agriculture. A lot of farmers were not eligible for all the FEMA assistance that the ordinary person could get. How did the flood then impact agriculture and its viability as an industry? Of course, this comes in conjunction with the decline in tobacco. What's your perspective on the impact?
RICHARD H. MOORE:
I think long term most segments of agriculture withstood the hit fairly well. I think there were, not necessarily FEMA programs, but there was Department of Agriculture crop insurance, other programs that did try to bend over backwards to help them. Although I will tell you, there is one gaping hole there, and I know this because I am a tree farmer myself. There was a tremendous amount of forestry damage, and that is the one segment that was not reimbursed, compensated, tax credit, tax deduction, nothing, for any of these storms, and there were tens of billions of dollars worth of forest land damaged.
LEDA HARTMAN:
Pines especially, timber trees, or—?
RICHARD H. MOORE:
Actually hurricanes spawn tornadoes, and these tornadoes can get in valleys in forests. This actually happened on a farm of my own where it got in there, and it went through, and it just threw huge—these were all hardwoods, hundred year-old hardwoods—they threw them like toothpicks, hundreds and hundreds of trees. There were many, many. Floyd had less of a concentration than some of the other storms, but there was a tremendous amount of forestry damage.

Page 23
I think the remnant that we're seeing of that now, one of the problems that's still out there, is we had all this rain. If you think back to high school physics, you've had all of theses logs. Actually in a lot of places you've had road construction that blocked the flow of water. We need now somehow for these logs to break down and rot, purge themselves clean. We got some money from the federal government that the state matched to clean out streams, but I think the last estimate was we did less than one percent of the streams that were needed. That's a problem for the future. We've got a lot of clogged waterways out there.
LEDA HARTMAN:
Oh, great.
RICHARD H. MOORE:
I know.
LEDA HARTMAN:
When you talk about sustaining a flood again in the future.
RICHARD H. MOORE:
That's right.
LEDA HARTMAN:
Okay. That's interesting. Business. Were large businesses able to bounce back better than small businesses do you think, or was it about equal? How do you think they did?
RICHARD H. MOORE:
I think all the businesses did pretty well. I think we had a very, very aggressive SBA program, Small Business Administration, that came in with some very liberal underwriting rules, and if a business was making money before the storm hit—and I'm not going to say that there are not some exceptions to this—but I think all of them, large business are obviously able quicker to get up and running, but all of them were able to within a fairly reasonable amount of time—it's another one of the great things about our society—get their doors back open I believe.

Page 24
And, of course, there were both the federal taxes and state taxes. There were allowances made. There were ways that those businesses were helped. They were given more time, and in many cases their taxes were forgiven on some things. Credits and deductions increased. I'd have to say from my perspective they all recovered in a decent amount of time. All I know is we put the money out there in a hurry. We put the loans out there. That's another one of the lessons we learned. It's a time where if you scrimp in the programs that are out there, you will pay for it. One of the most important things you have to do in a storm, after that, is get in there and stimulate that economy. Make sure the money is there for people to rebuild their business, rebuild their towns, and get those sales tax dollars flowing, and get that economy back up and wide open.
LEDA HARTMAN:
Well that's great. Why don't we talk about the money part of things now. The Feds [Federal government] gave more than two billion dollars in aid, the state more than eight hundred million. What was it? Eight hundred sixteen million, something like that?
RICHARD H. MOORE:
That sounds about right.
LEDA HARTMAN:
Where did the money come from? How did the state appropriate it so quickly, from where?
RICHARD H. MOORE:
Well, it's actually one of the reasons we're suffering a budget crisis today. The State of North Carolina, before the economy had its downturn, had just under a billion dollars worth of hurricane damage. We also had a couple of large law suits that ate into our reserves. The money came from our reserves. We had an extremely robust

Page 25
economy during the second half of the 90s. This is actually one of the things that I think about today, and it bothers me very much. If we had these storms right now we'd find the money for our people somehow, but I don't think we could do it without stepping up and putting a special tax on to recover. And I think the people of North Carolina wouldn't hesitate to do it if they had to do it. Now, the Federal Government—.
LEDA HARTMAN:
It would be more painful.
RICHARD H. MOORE:
It would be more painful, but you've got to do it. We're all in this boat together, and if you didn't get harmed in this storm, it doesn't mean you won't be the one that gets harmed in the next storm. I think that's one of the things that I think we all understand as a people. I never heard anybody—and I represent all eight million people of North Carolina now in this wonderful elected position—and I've never heard anybody say, "I wish we hadn't wasted all that money in the east." All I ever hear is, "We had an obligation to help those folks out because who knows when we're going to get hit by a blizzard, or we're going to get hit by the hurricane. We want to help everybody else out." Now that's the beauty of the Stafford Act, the Stafford Act that set up FEMA. FEMA is a national insurance policy. As a part of your property taxes you don't insure the water lines and the power lines in your town. Wherever you live there is no insurance on your water lines. FEMA is your insurance policy, and I think it's one of the best insurance policies that the people of the United States give to each other. We all understand that for some reason or another, whether it's a forest fire, a rock slide, a volcano, a tsunami, whatever it is, the three hundred million of us will need to help each other out at some point.

Page 26
LEDA HARTMAN:
Okay, so now I need to ask you this troublesome question given the fact that you said that you don't think anybody begrudges the money that the state had to raise, and thankfully could raise at that time without too much difficulty. Do you think the governor's call to rescind some of the flood relief money is appropriate?
RICHARD H. MOORE:
Yes, I do, because I wouldn't agree with the characterization as a call to rescind it. These are balances that have not been spent. I'm not aware of anybody unraveling a legitimate aid. All the state is doing at this point is saying, "Look, we appropriated the money to a bank account, and the money is still sitting in the bank account, county for whatever reason, city for whatever reason. You haven't implemented the plan that you gave us on how to spend this money, so we as the banker of the people, we're going to take that money back right now. But if you come back to the table and show us," and I know the governor feels very strongly about this, "If you come back to the table and show us, here's the need. You did it for these people over here, don't punish me because my city took so long to do this." I haven't heard one legislator say that they won't find the money to put it back if the need is still there.
LEDA HARTMAN:
Okay, well one example I was reading of quite recently, within the past month, was in Greene County in Snow Hill where they are literally in the middle of building one of these housing developments, these new housing developments that you described where fifty percent of the residents will be flood victims. They may have to stop in mid-stream. Now that seems like a perfect example of people who are trying to do the right thing, and they got it together maybe a little bit late because maybe they didn't have the resources, or so on right away.

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[END OF TAPE 1, SIDE A]

[TAPE 1, SIDE B]

[START OF TAPE 1, SIDE B]
RICHARD H. MOORE:
I hope that there's an easy way out of that. I'm not familiar with that, but I guess what I would say is with the problems that we've had selling out those type of things that have already been built, and I have tremendous sympathy for these developers who came in to do this, perhaps building another one of them is not a good idea.
LEDA HARTMAN:
Why on earth are they so hard to sell or to rent?
RICHARD H. MOORE:
The people who would qualify, that fifty percent, some of these developers, and a couple of them are acquaintances of mine, tell me they just don't exist. They can't find them. What they're saying is, "Look, we're providing quality housing at an affordable price. Why does it matter whether these people are flood victims or not, whether they were directly or indirectly, we're still replacing the housing stock." My response to that has been, "If we had this to do all over again, I think we should have better utilized. Instead of building a special housing program in the Department of Commerce, we would have been far better off utilizing the North Carolina Housing Finance Agency, one of the best affordable home agencies in the country."
LEDA HARTMAN:
And, perhaps, not having that fifty percent requirement?
RICHARD H. MOORE:
That's right. That's right. In going at this another way, and saying, "We will buy down the value of homes," basically do what I did on my teacher mortgage program, the way I got a couple of hundred mortgages for teachers last year. I got a four point nine-nine percent mortgage, and got a second zero percent financing. Bought down the rate. Made the home more affordable, but didn't target this group.
LEDA HARTMAN:
And that would have alleviated the pressure on housing overall?

Page 28
RICHARD H. MOORE:
It would have accomplished the same thing. We had an existing agency that the general assembly could have taken fifty or a hundred millions dollars and said, "In these areas we want you to bring the cost down even further." But, hindsight is twenty-twenty. I don't want to be critical of anybody's good faith efforts here. I hope the situation in Greene County, if there is a need for it, I suspect those folks will find the resources to get that built.
LEDA HARTMAN:
Government resources?
RICHARD H. MOORE:
Yes. Yes, because there are a lot of sources. But I hope that someone really understands whether there's a need there or not.
LEDA HARTMAN:
Or whether what they're offering is perhaps the right fit for the community?
RICHARD H. MOORE:
A need for that product. That's right. Oh, my gosh, there is a tremendous need for affordable housing all over this nation and this state.
LEDA HARTMAN:
From what you're describing it sounds like the sticking point is that fifty percent flood victim requirement.
RICHARD H. MOORE:
That's right.
LEDA HARTMAN:
So perhaps if those were lifted it would be a lot easier to occupy that housing?
RICHARD H. MOORE:
That wasn't the way the programs were designed and the way the money was appropriated.
LEDA HARTMAN:
And envisioned. Okay. Is it too late to change that? I don't know.
RICHARD H. MOORE:
I don't know either. I don't think I could offer you an informed opinion on that.

Page 29
LEDA HARTMAN:
Okay, that's fine. Just one last question about the recision. A lot of other communities that have been through terrible floods, Grand Forks, North Dakota, Albany, Georgia, have said it takes it takes five to ten years to really recover.
RICHARD H. MOORE:
Yep.
LEDA HARTMAN:
We're not even three years out. Is it fair at this relatively early stage then to say, "Well, you haven't done everything you're supposed to do. We're going to take some of that money back."
RICHARD H. MOORE:
Well, from my understanding of those other situations, none of them made the local investment and spent the kind of state dollars that the State of North Carolina did. Most of the Grand Forks recovery was provided by the federal government. They may have had some incentive programs. I think we have overlaid a period of intervention and aid that was unprecedented from a state level.
LEDA HARTMAN:
So things should have gotten done quicker, perhaps?
RICHARD H. MOORE:
Well, yes. In my understanding, and that's the first thing that James Lee Witt said, the very first time he got off the plane after Floyd, he compared it to Grand Forks. Actually, we arranged a group. North Carolinians actually flew and visited with the folks out there. Most of what they were talking about was from a visual standpoint, and an economic stimulation standpoint, and a psychological standpoint, that five to ten year period. That just to heal the scars on the side of trees and those kinds of thing, that it was much more than this direct. I'm not quite sure how appropriate—I think the State of North Carolina, I think we learned a lot. I think we may have stumbled in some areas, but, boy, we went at it pretty hard, and I don't see anybody really turning their back on a genuine, legitimate need. I would be shocked if the governor that this state has right now,

Page 30
and the leadership in the general assembly that we have right now, many of them from eastern communities, really turn their back on a verifiable need.
LEDA HARTMAN:
Okay, this is great. I need to ask you two devil's advocate questions.
RICHARD H. MOORE:
Okay. All right.
LEDA HARTMAN:
Just to be balanced. I am sure you know this more than I do, but a lot of the people on the ground who were waiting to get out of those FEMA trailers, or waiting to get their checks so they could reopen their business, whatever, so many people expressed frustration at the delay of government, and said, "If we hadn't had private organizations working with us, churches, charities, volunteers, we wouldn't have gotten anywhere. The government was so slow, and there was so much frustration." What's your response? I know you've heard that many times before.
RICHARD H. MOORE:
And my response to that is six-hundred dollar toilet seats and five-hundred dollar hammers. And the reason I say that is because government has a fiduciary responsibility to the rest of the tax payers whose money they're spending, and most of the bureaucratical delay—now I have to say, I think we've cut that delay down tremendously over the years—most of that delay is verifying that you're owed the money. I know that that is very, very frustrating but when you're on this side of the counter, that's part of what the people who put you there expect from you.
LEDA HARTMAN:
Accountability.
RICHARD H. MOORE:
Accountability. It's a luxury, and it's a flexibility that private charities and industry have that you don't have when you're spending government dollars. Is that always a legitimate excuse? No, but it's oftentimes. I've watched the process of these claims. I've studied these systems. I've tried to figure out, how do you cut out some of

Page 31
the delays? Some of it you just can't. If somebody's qualifying for a twenty thousand dollar grant, and they can't earn more than this money, you've got to have the financial data, and you've got to check to make sure that it's accurate financial data before you can let that check go.
LEDA HARTMAN:
Okay. Great. I'm glad I asked you that. The other one is about the people who have fallen between the cracks, the people who are too wealthy to qualify for a lot of assistance, but not wealthy enough to compensate for all their losses.
RICHARD H. MOORE:
And that's what some of North Carolina's programs tried, were designed to hit the people who were between the cracks. I can remember Governor Hunt saying very early on that there were a lot of people in this storm who paid their taxes, played by the rules, had some assets, and really we wanted some blind, some non-needs based aid. I think some of the programs were conditioned that way, and if people did fall between the cracks, you know, you would like to never see that happen. It always happens in our society, and the best that you can do is to be vigilant, and come back, and try to make sure that there's no way that you can't help them now.
LEDA HARTMAN:
So learn for the future?
RICHARD H. MOORE:
Well, yeah, gosh. You know, we've learned a lot. This is a building thing. I think we have learned if the State of North Carolina ever has to go in the housing business again, I think we've learned a tremendous amount on what works and what does not work. I think we'll have a whole lot better product if, God forbid, we ever have to do that again. And I really think we saw the storm of a lifetime. I really think it was a hundred-year storm. While we'll see hurricanes again, and while we'll see killer storms, we will not see tidal waves in eastern North Carolina.

Page 32
LEDA HARTMAN:
Let us hope you're right.
If I could just ask one last question?
RICHARD H. MOORE:
Okay.
LEDA HARTMAN:
And then we are done.
RICHARD H. MOORE:
All right.
LEDA HARTMAN:
Okay, I'm wondering how much you really can mitigate against what nature is going to do because, as you said, we are going to see hurricanes again. We may even see flooding again, and I know there are policies that have been put in place by the general assembly to encourage local governments not to develop in the flood zone.
RICHARD H. MOORE:
Absolutely. That's just a no-brainer minimum. We have to figure out. It's in everybody's best interest, particularly polluting industries that are in the flood plains, the junk yards, the other things. I know that that has not gone very well in buying that out. One of the things that gets in the way is just greed. When somebody finds out that there's a public program that will buy them out, all of a sudden what the fair market value is changes very much, and that's very disheartening. But we have courts. We have things set up for eminent domain and how you establish that value. It takes a long time, but I think both [unclear] rules, and where you can build on the coastal properties and then inland. One of the great things we've learned in this storm is that our flood plain maps were not as accurate, and we spent a lot of money getting the state-of-the-art flood plain maps. We have to push that through the mortgage industry, the banking industry, zoning authorities in towns, put those areas off limits forever.
LEDA HARTMAN:
Okay. This is great. Thank you.
RICHARD H. MOORE:
Okay.
END OF INTERVIEW