02 September 2005
New Orleans and FEMA
I just wanted to jot down a quick thought / rant. Why are people so quick to bash the federal government for the failings of the municipal government of New Orleans? The New Orleans city government is the one primarily responsible for the city of New Orleans no? Why is Mayor Nagin so quick to condemn the feds when his OWN forces are so obviously failing?

I am sure that some people are going to say "Oh but it's FEMA's responsiblity!" How so? The NOPD can't respond to criminal acts? Well, based on crime statistics for New Orleans they can't even without a hurricane. It has one of the highest crime rates in the country normally, the murder rate is ten times the national average. New Orleans has chronic budget problems, an apathetic populace and lies in a tenuous position (it's below sea level after all).

FEMA is responding to at least three states. In some of these states entires towns have completely disappeared. There is massive damage across the Gulf states and tens of thousands of refugees. But FEMA is supposed to concentrate all of its resources on New Orleans?

"Oh but Bush cut funding to the levee programs that would have prevented this disaster!" How exactly? The funding would have what? Magically strengthened levees designed to withstand a Cat 3 hurricane to protect against a Cat 4 / 5? The funding that was cut to the SELA projects would have gone to areas that WERE NOT AFFECTED BY THE HURRICANE and the flooding was unavoidable. Therefore logic dictates that the funding cuts had nothing to do with this situation.

Try telling that to Mayor Nagin of New Orleans though. His city screwed up, pure and simple. He issued an evacuation warning (good), the city set up "shelters of last resort" (good), the city didn't plan on the possiblity of the levee's breaking (even though they weren't designed to withstand a Cat 4 hurricane), Bad. The city didn't lay in emergency supplies for the people at the "shelters of last resort", Bad. The Superdome (a "shelter of last resort") filled up and the city of New Orleans told people to go to the convention center...and didn't provide them with food or water or tell FEMA that they were there (very very very bad).

Now Mayor Nagin is blaming the feds. Obviously when the fecal matter hits the rotary impeller it's the feds fault that the city can't manage themselves.

Update: Wellsie wellsie, looks like someone found the dirty laundry about flood control monies for New Orleans. Eu Rota points out that federal funds for New Orleans Corps projects were cut numerous times by the Clinton administration
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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