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Tuesday, September 06, 2005

Very Interesting...

This is taken from the Drudge Report today. I think this is a truly shocking development, considering the "desperate SOS's" being called for by the mayor of New Orleans, state senators threatening violent action against the President (!), etc.

NEW ORLEANS FLASHBACK: OFFICALS WARNED RESIDENTS 'YOU'LL BE ON YOUR OWN'Mon Sep 05 2005 18:57:15 ETBefore residents had ever heard the words "Hurricane Katrina," the New Orleans TIMES-PICAYUNE ran a story warning residents: If you stay behind during a big storm, you'll be on your own!Editors at TIMES-PICAYUNE on Monday called for every official at the Federal Emergency Management Agency to be fired. In an open letter to President Bush, the paper said: "Our people deserved rescuing. Many who could have been were not. That's to the government's shame." But the TIMES-PICAYUNE published a story on July 24, 2005 stating: City, state and federal emergency officials are preparing to give a historically blunt message: "In the event of a major hurricane, you're on your own."Staff writer Bruce Nolan reported some 7 weeks before Katrina: "In scripted appearances being recorded now, officials such as Mayor Ray Nagin, local Red Cross Executive Director Kay Wilkins and City Council President Oliver Thomas drive home the word that the city does not have the resources to move out of harm's way an estimated 134,000 people without transportation.""In the video, made by the anti-poverty agency Total Community Action, they urge those people to make arrangements now by finding their own ways to leave the city in the event of an evacuation."You're responsible for your safety, and you should be responsible for the person next to you," Wilkins said in an interview. "If you have some room to get that person out of town, the Red Cross will have a space for that person outside the area. We can help you."Developing...

Now, I am certainly not saying that we should not have gotten more troops/Coast Guard/National Guard/etc in there sooner whatsoever. But, upon reading this, how on earth are these people acting so shocked this happened? They knew it would happen? And how this hasn't been reported on by anyone in the media is, well, I guess not shocking, but it should be.

So the question stands as this: how does someone become a mayor when he/she has no solutions to the city's problems? Because, it is becoming more and more clear, that is exactly who they have. "You're responsible for your safety..." is not a plan. That's code for "we don't have a got damned clue as to what to do in the event of a hurricane."

New Orleans is a great, great city. Easily one of my favorites (if not the favorite) that I have ever travelled to. But that is easily said being a sales guy that goes in and stays in the French Quarter. It takes all of five minutes of driving around there to see that there are some major problems there--it is a very poor and dirty city, once you get out of the tourist spots. I knew this by spending, at most, about four weeks worth of time there in my life. And this mayor, Ray Nagin, is running around with his head cut off not knowing that A) this could happen and B) why the government isn't there rescuing people is just beyond me. You told all these people that need rescued that they wouldn't be rescued! You had no plan in place to do anything about it! You had 10,000 buses that went unused and are now underwater! You wouldn't call for a required evacuation until Saturday, when everyone in the world knew that this could be the big one on Thursday! And now it is the Federal Government's fault?

I know there is problems from city to state to federal levels of government here. But when you have a city that is located in a 6-foot deep bowl, surrounded by water, computer-generated videos showing exactly what would happen in the evento of a hurricane (SIX YEARS AGO) and you don't have a plan as to what to do in the event of a giant hurricane....well, it takes the shock away from "I can't believe this happened" to "how are these people in office."

Comments:
That being said, most severe hurricanes do not hit New Orleans head on. Many residents felt that Katrina would be no different. Apparently so did the government agencies. It's weird because you always see hurricane reports of Brian Fantana or Anderson Cooper in their CNN raincoats telling tales of the one or two stalwarts who refuse to evacuate. I don't remember that part of Katrina.
 
Every news outlet in America was reporting what was likely to happen with this hurricane. The White House suggested to New Orleans to have a mandatory evacuation Friday. There is just no denying this.

And you don't remember "that part of Katrina" because there was NO PLAN TO GET PEOPLE OUT!
 
And to make matters worse the appropiate local agencies did not request the help they obviously needed from the Federal government. Several federal agencies, such as FEMA, who are talking alot of flack for not being better prepared are not at fault. They can only come in with a request from the local government which was not placed before it was really needed. They not only need a plan but to be accountable to their consitutients for this lack of judgement. Saying they thought it would miss is not going to make matters any better.
 
^^^^Exactly. Also, did you know that most of the supplies and troops that were needed were ready and waiting 30 miles outside New Orleans? And the Governor would not hand over power to the Feds?

Now, I'm a big proponent of letting states figure stuff out on their own, but come on!
 
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