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pineda

Nola Could've Used Busses, But Didn't

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Like I have been saying over and over again. The local city and state officials didn't follow their own plan to help these people. They assume the federal government would do a job it is not assigned to do.

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Nobody said otherwise. The city and state did not even follow their own plans. They will endure withering assaults in the final analysis.

The only difference is that we also see the monumental failures of FEMA and the feds. They will endure well earned criticism, too.

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Did you see the CNN article about the 3 Duke college student that entered New Orleans. When they found out nobody could get there they tried by themselves. They forged media passes and drove directly to the Superdome - since they got there (from Duke) so easily, they wondered why the cilty couldn't. They also said they past serveral school buses going the other direction EMPTY.

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FEMA and the feds went through the exact same processes that are required of them for every disaster I can remember since I've been a newshound. It takes 3-5 days to get mobilized and see where the need is most dire. The first responders tell the feds where to go. The first responders were not there to do their jobs in many cases. The feds did not know where to begin. Getting into New Orleans is/was a logistical nighmare. There are tens of thousands of square miles to cover in the disaster area. Blaming FEMA and the feds at this point is a media contrived perception issue. To cast blame at this point on a federal entity is premature. Knowing of buses that were to be used to move people out of NO were parked in place, unused and blaming the NO authorities is another matter.

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It's hard for me to blame the feds that are following the same procedures they've always used. Everything I'm turning up and reading from various places all points to local and state officials. After know the politics of Louisiana and particularly NO, I really not surprised. Why was it so hard to evacuate NO and not Metarie and Kenner? If you've been to NO or looked at maps, Metarie and Kenner look almost homogenous to NO except for the 17th St canal, but you'll have to know that was the boundary to tell.

The westbank, south of NO across the river, had no problems of evacuating either.

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I would think the Governor of Louisiana should take the brunt of the blame.

"Blank-O..Blayaaayyaaaynk-O.. Katrina come and we want to leave home..."

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bachanon and kjb, you two crack me up. But, quit wasting your time telling me that FEMA is wonderful. Start telling Sean Hannity, the other Fox people, Trent Lott, the mayor of Pascagoula, former FEMA officials, and all the other Republicans that said the feds stunk it up. They're the ones giving FEMA a bad name. I'm just a schmuck on a forum who thought the US government was as good as it said it was.

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I never thought the federal government was good at moving fast to take care of things outside of the military.

I just never want to rely on the feds. FEMA and the RedCross were waiting to get into New Orleans, but were told not too. The were moving into Mississippi's hard hit areas as they waited to go into Louisiana's. Governor Barbour asked for the assistance and the help, Gov Blanco refused and wanted to think it over. Those are the actual instances.

I don't think the feds are completely out of the blame, I think congress (repubs and dems) should get lots of blame for putting all the red tape into the Homeland Security department. They both should be ashamed. I think if I were FEMA, would have started yelling at Gov Blanco to let them in. It's not like they didn't want to go.

Outside the Homeland Security step, FEMA under the previous configuration had to operate the same way. I remember Clinton having to call Florida after Huricanes hit. Florida said come on over and FEMA went in an did a great job. There's a process that is annoying and was followed, but I'm so aggravated at my former state's politicians and cringe.

My other fear is the after math with funds. FEMA is notorious in all emergency situations at getting funds to people, states, cities and organizations that assisted after the disaster. Those 2000 debit cards they are going to hand out. The concept is great, but the red tape to get the card is hard. The person applying has to be dilligent and checkup on FEMA to get it. You aren't just handed one.

Over and over again in FEMA and many government bureacracies demonstrate ineffectiveness. It's just too big move with the needs of the country. It great at defending and international relations, but getting specific help to specific communities it is not. The states are much more equiped to handle this. This is why it was setup that the feds have to ask the governors to help and the governors have to request it. The answer is always yes (except for this last case in Louisiana). The US government under the constitution also doesn't have the right to take over the responsibilities of the state. It doing so would violate the Federalism in place within our constitution. Very few times have the federal government intervene in a state such as in the civil rights era. Even then, special approval needed to be granted by other fed officials in congress, the judiciary, and the deparment of justice to ensure the constitution isn't violated.

So yes, FEMA isn't perfect, but they absolutely couldn't do anything. I don't care who the director was or the president, the state was at fault.

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I can speak from experience that its not FEMA's fault in the sense of the amount of time it took to deploy. The only thing that should be the fault of FEMA is being umbrella'd under Homeland Security (joke of a department) and having that retard Brown aka the "mute horse whisperer" in charge. But, you can't blame FEMA for those things, you have to keep travelling up the ladder. We all know who's at the top - trust me, I voted for him (don't even say it Red!)..

I was deployed as a member of the National Guard to New Orleans in 1998 for hurricane Georges. The state (Governer Foster at the time - and a damn good governer I might add) activated us, and sent us down 24 hours before. We staged 1 hour outside the city, and then 6 hours before the storm hit land, we moved in to the city, linking up with the State Police and NOPD. This was because the storm had shifted east.

All said, we only got 40-50 mile an hour winds, but no surprise, we still made HUNDREDS of arrests with in 24 hours of the storm passing. The "bad" residents of New Orleans look at hurricanes as a chance to loot - and they've proved themselves to be creatures of habit 2 storms in a row. Yes, in 98 we found people only stealling food - but due to the minimal damage incurred by the hurricane we arrested them.

My point being.. Where was the Louisiana National Guard 24 hours before the Katrina? 12 hours before the storm? During the storm? It takes the governor's order to activate them. Why did Blank-O wait 72 hours after the storm to do so, when 1998 we were activated 36 hours before?

Blank-O is to blame. Sure you can point the finger at Nagin for not using the buses - but the proof is in the pudding: Armed soldiers are having a hard time removing these same people from their homes now. Do you really think they would have loaded up on a bus 24 hours before, for another "false alarm"? The answer is "no", and they are proving on every news channel as I type this by not getting in those boats.

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What is FEMA's track record for responding to these kinds of emergencies? I haven't seen anything comparing this event to past ones. IOW, were they slower than usual or is this par for the course?

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FEMA is strictly REACTIVE. They are the last resort. It is up to first the local (city or county), then the state, and then finally federal.

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Posted Monday September 5, 2005 on halfgeek.net:

*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 and former college roommate, Michael Brown, who has no previous experience in disaster management and was fired from his previous job for mismanagement.

*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. [...]

*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.

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seeing people suffer, live on television, moves us greatly. knowing it's within our national borders makes us REALLY want to go take care of business. knowing that we have the resources to help and not seeing it happen immediately distresses us. it is unfortunate what occurred. i do not think anything good or bad of fema. i believe that what we are witnessing is our national conscience at work. blaming a bureaucracy for a tragedy that would've occurred regardless of it's presence is knee-jerk. examining our bureaucracy after rebuilding has resumed, people are fed and housed, etc. is our responsibility.

if conservatives are attacking fema and the administration i feel that they too are jumping on the emotional bandwagon.

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Red: where was your timeline post going? I got to the bottom and found no summary or editorial. :huh:

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Thank you. I now know that if the Woodlands floods and you and your family are sitting on your roof without food and water, I'll have a week or so before I should feel moved to help you. Hope you don't have any sick or elderly parents with you, because that won't get me out there any quicker. You see, as an American, you just don't deserve any quicker response from me, even though I could rearrange my schedule to do so.

If you guys advocate every man for himself policies by the US, that is certainly your perogative. But, as every isolationist always finds, there will come a day when you hope others don't follow that same policy.

I do find it incredibly interesting that some of you are going to such great lengths to downplay the abilities and responsibilities of the US government. It is as if FEMA is a Republican committee. But, it doesn't matter. Polls are showing 85% of the public expects more of the feds than we got. I am not going to write about the lame response anymore. Your ignoring of the elephant in the room was amusing for awhile. Now, it is just tired. So, the board is yours.

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I am a liberal, and I blame Local, State, AND Federal response on this. Having liberals prop up Nagin and denigrate Brown, and vice-versa for conservatives, defeats the purpose of finding out why. There is plenty of blame to go around on this one.

To say this is FEMA doing what they always do is wrong however. After 9/11 and being folded into Homeland Security, their disaster prep book was entirely rewritten. This was the first real test. It failed. Still, that doesn't excuse the local and state authorities. The picture of the flooded school buses is a bulls-eye right on Nagin's noggin.

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Thank you.  I now know that if the Woodlands floods and you and your family are sitting on your roof without food and water, I'll have a week or so before I should feel moved to help you.  Hope you don't have any sick or elderly parents with you, because that won't get me out there any quicker.  You see, as an American, you just don't deserve any quicker response from me, even though I could rearrange my schedule to do so.

If you guys advocate every man for himself policies by the US, that is certainly your perogative.  But, as every isolationist always finds, there will come a day when you hope others don't follow that same policy.

I do find it incredibly interesting that some of you are going to such great lengths to downplay the abilities and responsibilities of the US government.  It is as if FEMA is a Republican committee.  But, it doesn't matter.  Polls are showing 85% of the public expects more of the feds than we got.  I am not going to write about the lame response anymore.  Your ignoring of the elephant in the room was amusing for awhile.  Now, it is just tired.  So, the board is yours.

Red, your post is too emotional. There are no politics behind my thoughts on FEMA. I am not an isolationist either. The goal of any U.S. citizen should be independence. We shouldn't have to rely on the government to take care of us - not unless we're incapable. So then why there thousands apon thousands of people sreaming at the cameras from the superdome and the convention center? They (90% of them) were not parentless children from orphanages, they were not the handicapped, they were not mentally ill, and they were not the geriatric. They were able body U.S. citizens who have made the choice to live off what the government has provided them instead of dying trying to exceed what is free and build their wealth.

At this point you're (whoever feels I'm being cold-hearted) rolling your eyes at my thoughts thinking I'm a right-wing nut-job. No, I'm simply saying that the more we let the government spoil us with free programs, the more likely we will become victim to the eventual short-falls of our government.

The point? Look at the thousands who fled when they could - because they knew to protect themselves. They didn't have to sit on rooftops, deficate in the dark confines of the super-dome, or sleep on the wet concrete of I-10. And now, they too will get government assistance checks.

The difference is that the people who self-evacuated depended on themselves first and the government second. If those on the rooftops had depended on themselves first, and the government second, they would have ensured their safety.

I understand that there were some that couldn't leave - but over 100,000 people? No, those are not the helpless - those are the dependant. I'm not saying its wrong - but I know that I'll never depend on the government first - and events like this are proof why.

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Also, the charge of Bush cutting the funding for levees is red herring. Louisiana gets the most army corps money at nearly $2 billion. California comes in at a distant second. Mary Landrieu along with Louisiana state legislators redirected the funding from New Orleans levees to other projects.

The money allocated during the Bush adminstration for levee and flood control improvements were the highest ever and more than ever allocated during the Clinton adminstration. Check out the Washington Post article detailing all of the events regarding this. The money was there, the state as usual wastes it.

Also, the white house is prepared to release the tapes of the conversations between the president and governor Blanco along tapes with Nagin and governor Barbour from Mississippi. The decision was made after reporters were asking crazy questions implicating Bush at a white house press conference. The press secretary said we can release all the tapes of exactly what happened showing how Louisiana denied federal assistance until the end of the week after the storm hit. The press corps shut up and retracted all of there acusatory questions.

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Also, the white house is prepared to release the tapes of the conversations between the president and governor Blanco along tapes with Nagin and governor Barbour from Mississippi. The decision was made after reporters were asking crazy questions implicating Bush at a white house press conference. The press secretary said we can release all the tapes of exactly what happened showing how Louisiana denied federal assistance until the end of the week after the storm hit. The press corps shut up and retracted all of there acusatory questions.

Very interesting, kjb!

Who or what is your source for this piece of information?

I haven't heard this reported in the mainstream press yet.

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KJB, you keep going on about how the governor denied federal assistance til the end of the week. What are we then to make of this letter to the president from the governor dated Saturday 8/28 requesting that the president declare a State of Emergency in Louisiana, a full two days before the storm hit?

"Based on the predictions we have received from the National Weather Service and other sources, I have determined that this incident will be of such severity and magnitude that effective response will be beyond the capabilities of the state and the affected local governments and that supplementary Federal assistance will be necessary."

Louisiana Disaster Relief Request 2 days before the storm

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KJB, you keep going on about how the governor denied federal assistance til the end of the week. What are we then to make of this letter to the president from the governor dated Saturday 8/28 requesting that the president declare a State of Emergency in Louisiana, a full two days before the storm hit?

"Based on the predictions we have received from the National Weather Service and other sources, I have determined that this incident will be of such severity and magnitude that effective response will be beyond the capabilities of the state and the affected local governments and that supplementary Federal assistance will be necessary."

Louisiana Disaster Relief Request 2 days before the storm

HeightsGuy:

Confusing kjb with the facts doesn't help anyone in this forum... ;)

B)

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KJB, you keep going on about how the governor denied federal assistance til the end of the week. What are we then to make of this letter to the president from the governor dated Saturday 8/28 requesting that the president declare a State of Emergency in Louisiana, a full two days before the storm hit?

Thats fine and dandy that she asked for help, but right after writing the letter why in the world did she not activate the National Guard as Foster did 36 hours before George hit in 1998?

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She did activate the national guard, but she can only activate her own (Louisiana). She has to "ask" for other state's troops. I read that Bill Richardson offered NM troops that Saturday, but didn't get Washington approval til the next Thursday 3 days after the storm.

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She did activate the national guard, but she can only activate her own (Louisiana). She has to "ask" for other state's troops. I read that Bill Richardson offered NM troops that Saturday, but didn't get Washington approval til the next Thursday 3 days after the storm.

You're right, she did activate them, but not until Sunday. This gave troops all over the state only 24 hours to: muster, equip, deploy, and stage.

She was 36 hours late. Looking through old records, I found that we were activated approximately 48 hours before Hurricane Georges was to strike land. We were called at our work that Friday and told to report to our Armory the next morning for activation. We reported that Saturday morning and spent the day prepping and packing. We left in the afternoon, and staged in some small town that night in a high-school gymnasium, along with other units who were with us & at the local Armory - all about an hour outside New Orleans.

The next morning (Sunday) we travelled into New Orleans and setup at various points through-out the city. My platoon was assigned with NOPD SOD (Special Operations Division). This is where they kept all the motorcyle cops, mounted patrol, aviation, & SWAT team. We did 3 man patrols that afternoon enforcing martial law curfew of 6pm. While our Company, along with other Infantry Companies, patrolled with NOPD - other support Guard units helped people evacuate to the Superdome.

That night we made a few arrests, but not many. The next morning the storm hit, and then immediately afterwards we began patrolling the streets again. We (my Company along with NOPD) made hundreds of arrests of brazen - but stupid, criminals trying to loot.

All said however, we were activated with plenty of time to muster, equip, deploy, and stage. This time they did not have that same luxury.

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