Who's To Blame
Much is being made over President Bush's "failures" after Katrina and the political fallout. But who is really to blame for the situation in New Orleans?SondraK
says, "On Saturday, two days before the storm, The Director of the Hurricane Center called Mayer Nagin and Gov.. Blanco pleading with them to evacuate. Nothing. The President personally called and strongly urged Mayor Nagin and Gov. Blanco to order evacuations. Finally, on Sunday, less than one day before the storm hit, evacuations were called for.
"However, The Mayor and the Governor failed to provide any form of transportation for the poor and the needy. There are hundreds of school buses in the New Orleans Metro area that could have been put into use. Instead those buses sit under water, destroyed. And the good citizens of New Orleans were left to fend for themselves while the Mayor hid in another city.
"After the storm passed, Mayor Nagin was clueless as to what was happening in New Orleans. Why? Because he was sitting in Baton Rouge, not in New Orleans where he should have been. You cannot lead disaster recovery from out of town. From the time the storm left the area on Monday night until Thursday afternoon, Mayor Nagin stood in another City and complained that he was not getting any assistance when he never asked for it in the first place! Once Mayor Nagin and Gov. Blanco asked for Federal Assistance, that assistance was set in motion within an hour.
"FEMA had pre-positioned equipment and personnel before the storm hit. FEMA could not legally act without being asked. The majority of the Gulf Coast was devastated by Hurricane Katrina. Gulfport and Biloxi are cleaning up. Emergency Services are being restored. The difference between Gulfport and Biloxi and New Orleans is that the Mayors and the Governor of Mississippi reacted properly and asked for aid right away. In New Orleans, the elected Officials failed to act in the Public Interest, before, during, and after the storm.
"You can’t blame the Federal Government for the failures of the Local and State elected Officials. There is no excuse for Gov. Blanco not ordering the LA NG into the afflicted areas on Monday evening to provide aid and security. That responsibility falls on the Governor’s shoulders and no where else. The failure to mobilize the school buses to evacuate those without transportation falls on Mayor Nagin and nowhere else."
And Ed at Captains Quarters
weighs in, "When the storm reached Cat-5 status in the Gulf of Mexico, what did George Bush do? He declared the entire Gulf coast an emergency area and mobilized FEMA. ... The city of New Orleans and the state of Louisiana asked people to evacuate, but made no preparations to assist people in that endeavor. By Friday the outbound roads clogged with people in cars looking to escape, which all did. However, an entire fleet of school buses -- hundreds of them -- sat in their parking lots, gathering dust. Until George Bush called Governor Blanco personally and pleaded with her to make the evacuation order mandatory on Saturday, neither Mayor Nagin nor Blanco told people they had to leave. Apparently, that order only went out over the TV and radio from their press conference; no attempt was made to direct people out of their homes and onto the road.... Lousiana's governor had not called out her National Guard units, only 25% of which have deployed to Iraq. ... Nagin only ordered the PD to take on looting as a high priority on Thursday.
What did George Bush do? ... He does not have the authority to call out anyone's National Guard until he federalizes the units, a move usually reserved for use when governors prove recalcitrant in mobilization. Yet within three days of the levee burst and the drowning of New Orleans, Bush had 40,000 troops entering the city to take over the management from Nagin and Blanco...
"We work within a federal system, where cities and states control the allocation of resources used within their borders. We do this because we recognize that, for the most part, federalism works. Local decisions about resource allocation usually create better results than top-down bureaucratic management. The main requirement for that to work is local leadership. ... The main failure in New Orleans came when the local and state governments refused to recognize that the storm had a high chance to cause catastrophic damage and use its assets to get the poor and infirm out of its way. They had plenty of resources (in vehicles) with which to do that, but left them right where the floods would destroy them. All the rest of the damage would have been mere property destruction, difficult to rebuild but nonetheless easier to accept than the unbelievable hardship we've seen this week."