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Monday, September 05, 2005

Just Stop It...

The finger pointing and political backstabbing has to stop concerning the Hurricane Katrina Catastrophe. President Bush is not 100% at fault here. In fact, if you look at the facts, President Bush isn’t at fault at all. I personally am holding the news media responsible for negligent reporting and misinformation. Additionally, all those people in Congress, the House of Representatives and wherever else one may find a politician, who want to make this thing part of their political agenda should be directing their attention to how they can help in this horrible tragedy. Not only have Louisiana, Alabama, and Mississippi been declared as major disaster states, but ten other states that are helping with the refugees have been recognized and accepted as Emergency Declarations. We are talking about a huge problem here and I am tired of listening to the politicians, Jessie Jackson, Celine Dion, et al, offering criticism, racist points of view and everything else in between. This is not helping the situation.

Hopefully, most of America can see through all of the rhetoric. One thing is apparent and that is that the American people see the real and relevant needs and are giving unprecedented amounts of money, goods, and volunteered time.

The people who are pointing fingers of blame should step up to the plate and accept their share of the credits. The mayor of New Orleans, Ray Nagin, and his Office of Emergency Preparedness are ultimately responsible for any immediate mismanagement of the crisis at “ground zero”. Secondly, the governor of Louisiana should have recognized the lack of leadership within New Orleans. Governor Blanco was slow to respond to her own constituents’ needs. The Louisiana National Guard was at her disposal, all she had to do was deploy them.

I understand that some do not know that the governor is the individual who issues the mandatory evacuation within the state. What is it about the word “mandatory” that was not understood? If you know that you have a considerable amount of impoverished and immobile citizens, then you must send the trucks in to get them out. If you are unable to get these people out, and instead elect to send them to a building to ride out the storm within the city, then you must have the provisions and manpower available to take care of these people. The National Weather Service gave Louisiana several days to be prepared. Additionally, the catastrophe that Katrina personally delivered has been predicted for many, many years and long before President Bush took office. This calamity was not a total surprise folks. More recently, The Times-Picayune had won national awards and recognition for a five part series that they had published on the subject. The five part series Washing Away, complete with pictures and graphics, was first published in June of 2002.

The State of Louisiana and the City of New Orleans, with or without federal funds to shore up Category 3 resistant levees, knew their predicament and their situation. They refused to act in their own best interests. They exhibited a blatant attitude of, “Oh well, we’ll just let the federal government clean it all up after the fact.” This attitude was displayed shortly after they realized their short sightedness and how they had placed their people into the middle of life threatening danger. Both the mayor and the governor verbalized their Plan A to the public via the media crying out, “Where’s the federal government? Where’s the National Guard? Where’s our assistance? We need them now!”

Lack of leadership at both the local and state level is an understatement. The verbiage and slander from both Mayor Nagin and Governor Blanco towards President Bush was completely uncalled for in a situation as this. Mayor Nagin’s attitude, tone and vocalizations echoed of a person who has depended on the government to meet his every need. He did not convey an attitude of self-sufficiency at all. And why would Governor Blanco threaten to strike the President? She was acting like a spoiled child having a temper tantrum. Both were trying to use the tragedy to cover up their shortcomings. All one can say is that a person’s true character is exhibited in a time of crisis. Is there anyone who can convince former New York City mayor Rudy Giuliani to run for office in Louisiana? Maybe the State of Louisiana could hire him to manage the entire horrible situation.

President Bush has certainly stepped up to the plate to take on the responsibility that the Louisiana officials have shrugged. Americans should be proud of him.

Finally, I want to share with you some facts about FEMA. The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) was created in 1979. What a lot of people do not know, or realize is that the governor of the state must first request help from FEMA. The federal government, by law, cannot impose upon the state government. Also, FEMA gives training and guidelines to state and local governments and gives them the tools and information they need to deal with these situations immediately. Local and state governments are trained to maintain, control and handle the situation. They are also given this training and information because FEMA needs 24 to 72 hours to get manpower, equipment, and a plan deployed after the president has approved the declaration. There are a lot of other guidelines that must be met also. You can read all about it if you want at their website: http://www.fema.gov


The Major Disaster Process

Major Disaster Declaration usually follows these steps:

Local Government Responds, supplemented by neighboring communities and volunteer agencies. If overwhelmed, turn to the state for assistance;

The State Responds with state resources, such as the National Guard and state agencies;

Damage Assessment by local, state, federal, and volunteer organizations determines losses and recovery needs;

A Major Disaster Declaration is requested by the governor, based on the damage assessment, and an agreement to commit state funds and resources to the long-term recovery;

FEMA Evaluates the request and recommends action to the White House based on the disaster, the local community and the state's ability to recover;

The President approves the request or FEMA informs the governor it has been denied. This decision process could take a few hours or several weeks depending on the nature of the disaster.


Blogger seddy said...

Hhhmmm...I agree that there is enough blame to go around at all levels...however, I just wonder if John Kerry were president right now, you wouldn't be finding a little more fault with the federal government. I think your criticism would have more validity if you didn't direct it entirely towards Nagin and Blanco, who (guess what?) are Democrats. From the general tone of your blog, I would venture to guess that you probably aren't a Democrat. You complain about those who are using this crisis as part of their political agenda, but to me, it sounds like you're doing the same thing.

With that being said, kudos on your post about the VMAT teams. As a pet lover, animal rescue is extraordinarily important to me, and I 100% support the efforts being made to save the animals in the disaster areas. Guess I'm just another bleeding-heart liberal. :)

September 10, 2005 9:06 AM  
Blogger It's me, T.J. said...

Thank you for your nice comments. I would just like to really encourage you to look at what FEMA is all about. Specifically, look at what the purpose of FEMA is. A lot of people have a misunderstanding about what FEMA's responsibilities are as well as the roles of the local and state governments.

Yes... I am a registered Republican voter and I like to think of myself as someone who uses common sense and thinks things through. What I mean by that is that all Republicans aren't 'right' and all Democrats aren't 'wrong'.


September 10, 2005 9:50 AM  

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