View Full Version : Documents Prove FEMA Knew Response Was Broken
L.A. BRONCOS FAN
12-05-2005, 11:32 PM
By LARA JAKES JORDAN, Associated Press Writer 1 minute ago
WASHINGTON - FEMA realized its response to Hurricane Katrina was "broken" and braced for rioting over woefully low supplies in Mississippi in the days just after the storm, according to new documents released Monday.
The correspondence among Federal Emergency Management Agency officials, provided by a special House committee investigating the government response to the storm, follows the release last week of more than 100,000 documents by Louisiana Gov. Kathleen Blanco. Taken together, the details from both states provide evidence that FEMA was unable to provide fast help at disaster sites — even when the needs were obvious.
12-06-2005, 08:27 AM
yeah, but Lousiana's asking for like 250 BILLION in aide has totally logjammed the realitively "modest" 34Billion request from Miss, which in itself is prolly just hoping for 20 Billion. Why don't you post what the dems in LA asked for?
12-06-2005, 09:21 AM
actually, here you go, though vitter the jr. senator is a goper too
I also read from those released documents that Blanco's aides appeared to be consumed by giving her the best image possible - trying to make her look tough and decisive, when in fact we know that she dithered and dallied as much (or more than) the feds.
It's safe to say that the whole Katrina thing epitomises government (at all levels) at it worst. As a libertarian, I'm not at all surprised.
12-06-2005, 10:06 AM
Oddly, Haley Barbour did a decent job. It was hilarious cause lateer in the evening around 6-8pm he'd start slurring his words with the cocktails. He also did a decent job in putting an aid request together that was a realitively modest 34 Billion, and prolly could do with less. Lot of it was realtively realistic, with letting people retroactively buy into flood insurance, when they'd been assured they were not in flood plains.
Conversely, LA put in every pork project they'd been turned down for for years, and pretty much dashed the good will the Senate had for the hurricane states.
12-06-2005, 12:54 PM
Plenty of incompetence to go around... I think Katrina has really come to show not just how fundamentally broken FEMA was/is, but how our entire political ethos is screwed up at this point. The people of New Orleans elected their mayor because they had screwed things up so badly in the previous 3 decades (at least) that they'd elect anyone who was an outsider (or a political opportunist.. take your pick). He did take on city corruption, but was woefully underqualified to take on the larger city issues as seen in his response to Katrina. For decades the people of New Orleans have been mired in self-interest and government hand-outs. As a result, the established system became so broken that the only way out was to elect someone who didn't have the experience to know what he was doing.. in short the political environment of New Orleans was so screwed up that the government couldn't respond when it really needed to. By all accounts the new mayor is a great guy, just not ready to be mayor of a major metropolis.
The people of Lousiania elected Blanco.. who while again an admirable person.. seems to lack to the conviction of ideals and the general ability of execution to actually govern anything. The lesser of two evils I suppose.
The people of the United States elected a president for all the wrong reasons. In 2004 we listed 'leadership' ahead of pesky things like 'Issues' or 'ability' as the most important criteria for picking a president. We got a president who is a leader, the only problem is he has no idea what the hell he's leading. Instead of choosing the best person for any particular job, he's instead relied on a formula that boils down to how much he likes you.
As a result of this... Katrina exposed breakdowns at literally every level. FEMA (under the leadership of the idiot crony) was in dissaray, the state of LA was handcuffed by indecision, and the city of New Orleans spent 48 hours of valuable time fretting about being sued because of an evacuation order.
If that doesn't expose a larger problem (choosing candidates over how they look more than what they can actually do), then I don't know what does.
12-06-2005, 01:52 PM
Yeah. Couple of things. Nawlins is simply too big. You cannot get people out of there fast enough. Any way out is over water, and there are only two major interstates going out. Even with contraflow (which they did) you only get a max of 16 lanes for a lot of folks, and you have to close the roads 8-12 hours before landfall cause any car on a causeway will be washed away.
Nagin and Blanco, idiots both. But the true idiocy is them not facing up to that. And then asking for 250 Billion.
In Miss I ddint' vote for Barbour. I don't expect a lot, but if you lobby for cigarette maftrs to have easier access to kids ... that's too scummy evne for me. Sex with interns, even mail (-: interns, I just don't care. Cocaine in the past, abortions, drunk driving.... I just don't care. but no messing with kids. However, Barbour took very tough positions on no taxes and budget cuts, and the state was turning around in a budget mess, then Katrina. He's been effective policy wise. ANd his past doesn't really show that. He's been more involved with getting power than using it wisely. He's surprised me. I won't vote for him, but I might not vote against him.
I have read that thad cochran of Miss who chairs the senate appropriations committee will, if its the last resort, attach Miss's relief check to the appropriation bill for the military, regardless of what the whitehouse wants.
L.A. BRONCOS FAN
12-06-2005, 05:05 PM
Louisiana is the second poorest state in the U.S., and Bush had already decimated the state's hurricane and flood preparedness budget - even though it was common knowledge that a category five hurricane in LA was high on FEMA's list of natural disasters that were likely to happen.
And the right-wing handjobs try to cover Bush's flank by blaming the state government?
Here's a timeline that outlines the fate of both FEMA and flood control projects in New Orleans under the Bush administration:
January 2001: Bush appoints Joe Allbaugh, a crony from Texas, as head of FEMA. Allbaugh has no previous experience in disaster management.
April 2001: Budget Director Mitch Daniels announces the Bush administration's goal of privatizing much of FEMA's work. In May, Allbaugh confirms that FEMA will be downsized: "Many are concerned that federal disaster assistance may have evolved into both an oversized entitlement program...." he said. "Expectations of when the federal government should be involved and the degree of involvement may have ballooned beyond what is an appropriate level."
2001: FEMA designates a major hurricane hitting New Orleans as one of the three "likeliest, most catastrophic disasters facing this country."
December 2002: After less than two years at FEMA, Allbaugh announces he is leaving to start up a consulting firm that advises companies seeking to do business in Iraq. He is succeeded by his deputy, Michael Brown, who, like Allbaugh, has no previous experience in disaster management.
March 2003: FEMA is downgraded from a cabinet level position and folded into the Department of Homeland Security. Its mission is refocused on fighting acts of terrorism.
2003: Under its new organization chart within DHS, FEMA's preparation and planning functions are reassigned to a new Office of Preparedness and Response. FEMA will henceforth focus only on response and recovery.
Summer 2004: FEMA denies Louisiana's pre-disaster mitigation funding requests. Says Jefferson Parish flood zone manager Tom Rodrigue: "You would think we would get maximum consideration....This is what the grant program called for. We were more than qualified for it."
June 2004: The Army Corps of Engineers budget for levee construction in New Orleans is slashed. Jefferson Parish emergency management chiefs Walter Maestri comments: "It appears that the money has been moved in the president's budget to handle homeland security and the war in Iraq, and I suppose that's the price we pay."
June 2005: Funding for the New Orleans district of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is cut by a record $71.2 million. One of the hardest-hit areas is the Southeast Louisiana Urban Flood Control Project, which was created after the May 1995 flood to improve drainage in Jefferson, Orleans and St. Tammany parishes.
August 2005: While New Orleans is undergoing a slow motion catastrophe, Bush mugs for the cameras, cuts a cake for John McCain, plays the guitar for Mark Wills, delivers an address about V-J day, and continues with his vacation. When he finally gets around to acknowledging the scope of the unfolding disaster, he delivers only a photo op on Air Force One and a flat, defensive, laundry list speech in the Rose Garden.
So: A crony with no relevant experience was installed as head of FEMA. Mitigation budgets for New Orleans were slashed even though it was known to be one of the top three risks in the country. FEMA was deliberately downsized as part of the Bush administration's conservative agenda to reduce the role of government. After DHS was created, FEMA's preparation and planning functions were taken away.
Actions have consequences. No one could predict that a hurricane the size of Katrina would hit this year, but the slow federal response when it did happen was no accident. It was the result of four years of deliberate Republican policy and budget choices that favor ideology and partisan loyalty at the expense of operational competence. It's the Bush administration in a nutshell.