Skip to comments.Blame Amid the Tragedy: Gov. Blanco and Mayor Nagin failed their constituents.
Posted on 09/07/2005 6:05:01 AM PDT by freelancer
"As the devastation of Hurricane Katrina continues to shock and sadden the nation, the question on many lips is, Who is to blame for the inadequate response?
As a former state legislator who represented the legislative district most impacted by the eruption of Mount St. Helens in 1980, I can fully understand and empathize with the people and public officials over the loss of life and property.
Many in the media are turning their eyes toward the federal government, rather than considering the culpability of city and state officials. I am fully aware of the challenges of having a quick and responsive emergency response to a major disaster. And there is definitely a time for accountability; but what isn't fair is to dump on the federal officials and avoid those most responsible--local and state officials who failed to do their job as the first responders. The plain fact is, lives were needlessly lost in New Orleans due to the failure of Louisiana's governor, Kathleen Blanco, and the city's mayor, Ray Nagin."
(Excerpt) Read more at opinionjournal.com ...
The link might require registration. I hope I have followed the right procedures for posting.
People in the US seem to expect federal disaster relief effort to be flawless, no mater the circumstances.
Federal emergency relief plans for hurricanes assume that the local and state governments would be competent, and that the federal government would play a supporting role at the request of the local governments. That model worked fairly well during 9/11, for last year's four hurricanes in Florida, and for the Mississippi and Alabama gulf coast regions during hurricane Katrina.
However, federal plans apparently do not provide for the contingency that the local and state governments would be worse than incompetent, and would, in fact, actually hinder response to the disaster. It took too long for the feds to adjust to the required change in role from "support of local efforts" to "primary responder" in New Orleans following hurricane Katrina.
Nevertheless, the US public expects the federal government emergency response to be flawless, no mater what the circumstances. Therefore, President Bush is, in effect, being bashed for not anticipating the inadequate performance of the New Orleans mayor and the governor of Louisiana.
At the risk of being flamed, that particular criticism may have merit. Federal emergency response, in the broad sense, should not depend on the competence of first responders. We need to rethink our model for federal disaster relief.
Right now, the feds are the third tier, following local and the state response. There needs to be the legal and structural mechanism for the feds to jump into the primary role quickly when it is apparent the the local and state governments are unable to act, or incompetent in their ability to act.
I disagree. First responders know they lay of the land, they are aware of the particular resources on the ground and are the face that people know. Secondly, it creates incentives for local politicians to make the federal government responsible for their citizens and frees them up to divert tax money to waste on less important projects. Third, and most importantly, it would allow the feds to usurp state authority which is not a healthy thing in our structure of government. There were proceedures in place to handle the situation, the mayor and governor fell down on the job and the first responders didn't all show up to do their jobs. Lastly, let's not forget that plenty of people in the city committed suicide by electing to stay.
I think your post pretty much summarizes the circumstances of Katrina and the local, state and fed response.
The best defense is a strong offense. Watch the liberals rally behind Nagin and Blanco and the attacks against Bush and Brown increase. Has anyone heard one Democrat being critical of Nagin or Blanco?
I believe when the post-mortem is done, we will find that most of the people drowned inside their homes because they were unable to get into their attics. Unfortunately, I expect we will find that most died within the first few hours after the levees broke.
What matters most is the people were not evacuated before the storm. The liberals can rally all they want with their words, but the picture of those buses sitting in a flooded parking lot are worth 10,000 liberal words.
This morning on C-SPAN I heard some idiot Rat Congressman Brown from Ohio respond to a very well informed woman caller that her precise criticism of the New Orleans and Louisiana governments was "Karl Rove talking points".
Yes. Fortunately, the bus situation made the MSM yesterday. There is criminal negligence there and I think this will be an important factor in the end. It is clear someone made a policy decision to protect the buses unstead of deploying them as was required in the evacuation plan.
Keep up the good work.
Have you considered that the current tier of disaster response has worked just fine in numerous other disasters that have required FEMA assistance? The main reason that we should keep the current system is very simple. Those closest to the disaster have the most SELF INTEREST in preparing for and responding to that disaster. They have the highest risk from the disaster so they should be willing to take the highest burden in preventing it. They have knowledge of their communities strengths and weaknesses and are can best apply that knowledge to disaster planning and prevention.
It is human nature that I am going to make a better effort to care for my own than I am for others.
Compare it to fire safety. We do the most we can to prevent a fire in our home. We are the ones who practice fire prevention. We prepare for if there ever is a fire. And we make sure our family is safe if fire strikes. The fire department's role is mainly reactive. Our role since it is our family, our home is mostly proactive.
I am in no hurry to have those with less personal interest in my loss be the ones charged with first response.
Being "reactive" is the biggest part of this whole situation with government. Government 'reacts' it is NOT by nature PROACTIVE. Police, fire, EMS all are mainly 'reactive' forces, as is FEMA.
A Rat congressman was on the C-SPAN call-in program this morning blaming the criticism of the mayor and the governor on Karl Rove. Apparently he has been orchestrating it behind the scenes.
The tragedy is that Bobby Jindal would have handled this crisis in an exemplary manner. His strengths have always been planning and execution. But Louisiana had to elect the Good Ol' Boy (or Girl, in this case), and now must pay the price.
If Congress and the citizenry want the Federal government to cope with incompetent local and state government and be able to respond faster, despite local inadequacies, the need to do two things.
A. Put FEMA under DOD and Northern Command.
B. Allow the President to put an area under emergency status/martial law as soon as a natural disaster is anticipated. This would include putting all state and local resources under COMNORTHCOM.
I don't think this will happen in the near future.
Yep. By failing to execute those procedures, which were thought out beforehand and laid out in writing, the mayor and governer failed to lay the foundation of the disaster response. The Feds had to add their efforts to a situation that was fundamentally screwed up from the getgo.
The analogy that comes to my mind regarding the flak the Feds are taking now is of a guest guitarist being called in to improvise a solo at some high-pressure gig but the backing band isn't playing the right chords and the drummer has fallen off his stool. Unfortunately it's the guitarist's off-balance solo that catches the criticism (the good news is that according to the latest polls on NO, it looks like people realize that the backing band has to bear some blame).
Rush just mentioned another failure of local authorities in New Orleans. Apparently the federal money that was allocated to levee repair was not spent by NOLA. The federal money had to be matched, but the state matching funds for levee repair were spent on other projects. So, the federal funds went unspent.
Texas is getting more refugees than any other state -- that's fine, we'll take them all -- but we need help providing them with food, clothing, and shelter.
If you are a refugee, you can information that will help you find relief. If you want to donate or volunteer, you can find someone who needs you.
Right now the site mostly covers Houston, Dallas, and San Antonio but I will add various churches, schools, and other charities in Ft. Worth and Lubbock tonight. My wife spent yesterday at Reunion Arena in Dallas handing out care packages and otherwise ministering to the refugees as a representative of her employer.
There are a lot of churches and other organizations in Texas that need help in dealing with the problem and I would greatly appreciate it if you would get the word out.
Posted earlier here:
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