Friday, September 02, 2005

Thoughts on Accountability

As I read the coverage of the disaster unfolding in New Orleans I see a lot being written about the failures of the federal government to provide timely support to the people trapped in the city. It occurs to me that there were an awful lot of people apparently trapped in the city...
One wonders if Mayor Nagin or Governor Blanco were appropriately mindful of the 50,000 New Orleans households (that they knew of) without cars. One wonders if they were appropriately mindful of those invalids receiving home health care from local agencies.
To order the evacuation of a metropolitan area and somewhat off-handedly refer those who perhaps can't make it to the corner of their block to make their way to the Superdome sounds like some folks were being written off at the local level.
I'm no more fond of Dubya this week than I was last week, but really...

One might suggest to Mayor Nagin that before he gets too... may I borrow his French word and say pissy?... he might want to reflect on what he might have done better.
Ray, there should have been busses before the hurricane.

I came across this article in Raw Story citing Mayor Nagin's... acknowledgement?... back in July that the poor of New Orleans... an estimated 134,000 people... would be left to their own devices in the event of a catastrophic event such as Katrina.
In what must have been a "let them eat cake" inspired moment, this information was to be distributed to the community churches and civic groups on DVDs? (There are a lot of DVD players in those neighborhoods?)
Winston, far be it from me to cut Dubya a bit of slack... the federal disaster recovery effort has been FUBAR... but I sincerely hope that the city's municipal and school busses aren't forming an artificial reef in the Mississippi delta as we speak.


Anonymous Winston said...

There are so many details that we will never know, even with the multi-layered congressional investigations that are most certain to happen over the next few months and years.

Maybe they did have a local plan for bussing or whatever. We don't know. Maybe accomodation of all those incapable of taking care of themselves was part of the plan and budget request that was so severely cut by Bush. We don't know.

Nagin has in his own odd way had some entertainment value, "calling a spade a spade", as it were. Wish more politicians would do that publicly. He appears quite undignified and "un-mayor-like". Could he have done more. We don't know. The miserable failing of the Feds in this case (we do not know where to specifically place the blame) cannot be forgiven, is not diminished, by any failures at the local level. In the face of previous hurricanes, FEMA, the military, etc. were on alert and in some severe cases with adequate warning like this one, were actually moved into advance positions to be ready to move in immediately.

You have a point I had not thought of, but I am not ready to shift any blame from Bush (because he's the head Fed) to Nagin.

8:25 AM  
Anonymous Ronni Bennett said...

Like Winston, I am unwilling to shift blame from the federal administrators to the local officials, particularly in one of the poorest cities in the United States. Their tax base is woeful and normal expenses are high; something like one-third live below the poverty line.

In addition, New Orleans is the largest port in the U.S. supplying our country and much of the the world with grain from the midwest, about a third of the seafood produced in the U.S., god knows how much of the oil and uncounted imports flowing to the rest of us through their port.

There will be plenty of blame to go around. Undoubtedly the City of New Orleans and the State of Louisiana could have done better beforehand, but given their importance to the country's overall economy, not alone. And for the feds to leave the mayor and governor on their own for days when there are two agencies whose job it is to be prepared for just such a disaster as this, is unforgiveable.

Some accountability will be apportioned to Louisiana in time. Until then, let's allow them bury up their dead before we start bashing them.

10:19 AM  

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