05 September 2005
Chip Johnson makes claims of racism in Katrina response...but points the finger at the wrong people
Chip Johnson makes some very confusing claims in the San Francisco Chronicle today. He makes claims against the federal government and echoes statements and sentiments by Barabara Lee, stating that she was "...right on in her description of the New Orleans situation."

"If anyone ever doubted that there were two Americas, this disaster has made this division clear,'' she said in a statement. "Is this an example of the administration's idea of homeland security? If so, we are in trouble.''

-Representative Barbara Lee, D-California

But presents information that is to the contrary to that opinion as it lays the blame (rightly in large part) on the local and state government. For example:

"The Category 4 hurricane ripped through the Gulf Coast on Monday, leveled buildings, ripped oil rigs from their moorings and collapsed some of the levees that had protected the below-sea-level Dixieland city from flooding.
When the levees broke, about 80 percent of the city was submerged and the scene on the streets quickly descended into chaos. Local officials directed stranded residents to the Louisiana Superdome, only to discover there were no emergency supplies to handle the crush of humanity. By Thursday, an estimated 25,000 people had gathered in the stadium -- many languishing, some dying. "

Notice that Mr. Johnson is apparently very aware that local officials directed people to the Superdome (of course he has the timeline more than just a little off, Mayor Nagin directed people to the Superdome before Katrina struck and told people to bring food, water and blankets.) but he implies that it's a federal problem.

Mr. Johnson continues:
"Federal officials have said that the vast flooding in the city has slowed the pace of the rescue efforts, and apparently the city's own hurricane preparedness was just woeful."
At least Mr.Johnson admits that the "city's own hurricane preparedness was just woeful", however the overall slant of his piece is that the federal government is to blame somehow.
As I've discussed before, the local and state governments are the "first responders." It is up to them to bridge the gap until the feds can step in.

Mr. Johnson appears to be aware that the local and state governments are hugely to blame but seems to gloss over it in his willingness to lay blame on the President and to cry racism.
Why is it that the media is so willing to place blame on the federal response (and by extension or directly President Bush) but not examine the many failures of the local and state government. Is it because Mayor Nagin and Governor Blanco are Democrats?

Why did Mayor Nagin take so long to order an evacuation when the New Orleans emergency plan calls for an evacuation 72 hours in advance? Why didn't Mayor Nagin use the various school and municipal busses that were available to him (and are now lying flooded in New Orleans?)? Why didn't Governor Blanco activate the multi-state mutual aid program before Wednesday? Why didn't Governor Blanco send in more National Guard troops before Friday?

Why isn't the MEDIA asking these questions?
A Republican in San Francisco (Yes, he's under deep cover) relays his tales of interest... ...ok, "interest" is a strong and subjective word but you get the point.
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