[saymaListserv] Fwd:The Truth about FEMA and Flood Control Projects in New Orleans

Janet Minshall jhminshall at comcast.net
Mon Sep 12 13:57:40 JEST 2005

Dear Friends, I have sent out a couple of messages about New Orleans 
in the wake of the hurricane.  More and more is now getting out from 
those who were involved with emergency planning and are distraught 
over the misinformation being spread as coverup on all of the 
networks. Here is a chronology of the misguided planning and the 
fatal neglect and inaction on the part of the federal government 
which produced the tragedy we have all been watching for the past 
twelve days.
			Janet Minshall

Subject: FEMA and flood control projects in New Orleans

Henry Breitrose
Professor of Communication
Department of Communication
Stanford University

CHRONOLOGY.... Here's a timeline that outlines the fate of both FEMA
and flood control projects in New Orleans under the Bush
administration.  Read it and weep:

January 2001: Bush appoints Joe Allbaugh, a crony from Texas, as head
of FEMA.  Allbaugh has no previous experience in disaster management.

April 2001: Budget Director Mitch Daniels announces the Bush
administration's goal of privatizing much of FEMA's work.  In May,
Allbaugh confirms that FEMA will be downsized: "Many are concerned
that federal disaster assistance may have evolved into both an
oversized entitlement program...." he said. "Expectations of when the
federal government should be involved and the degree of involvement
may have ballooned beyond what is an appropriate level."

2001: FEMA designates a major hurricane hitting New Orleans as one of
the three "likeliest, most catastrophic disasters facing this

December 2002: After less than two years at FEMA, Allbaugh announces
he is leaving to start up a consulting firm that advises companies
seeking to do business in Iraq.  He is succeeded by his deputy,
Michael Brown, who, like Allbaugh, has no previous experience in
disaster management.

March 2003: FEMA is downgraded from a cabinet level position and
folded into the Department of Homeland Security.  Its mission is
refocused on fighting acts of terrorism.

2003: Under its new organization chart within DHS, FEMA's preparation
and planning functions are reassigned to a new Office of Preparedness
and Response.  FEMA will henceforth focus only on response and

Summer 2004: FEMA denies Louisiana's pre-disaster mitigation funding
requests.  Says Jefferson Parish flood zone manager Tom Rodrigue: "You
would think we would get maximum consideration....This is what the
grant program called for. We were more than qualified for it."

June 2004: The Army Corps of Engineers budget for levee construction
in New Orleans is slashed.  Jefferson Parish emergency management
chiefs Walter Maestri comments: "It appears that the money has been
moved in the president's budget to handle homeland security and the
war in Iraq, and I suppose that's the price we pay."

June 2005: Funding for the New Orleans district of the U.S. Army Corps
of Engineers is cut by a record $71.2 million.  One of the hardest-hit
areas is the Southeast Louisiana Urban Flood Control Project, which
was created after the May 1995 flood to improve drainage in Jefferson,
Orleans and St. Tammany parishes.

August 2005: While New Orleans is undergoing a slow motion
catastrophe, Bush mugs for the cameras, cuts a cake for John McCain,
plays the guitar for Mark Wills, delivers an address about V-J day,
and continues with his vacation.  When he finally gets around to
acknowledging the scope of the unfolding disaster, he delivers only a
photo op on Air Force One and a flat, defensive, laundry list speech
in the Rose Garden.

A crony with no relevant experience was installed as head of FEMA.
Mitigation budgets for New Orleans were slashed even though it was
known to be one of the top three risks in the country.  FEMA was
deliberately downsized as part of the Bush administration's
conservative agenda to reduce the role of government.  After DHS was
created, FEMA's preparation and planning functions were taken away.

Actions have consequences.  No one could predict that a hurricane the
size of Katrina would hit this year, but the slow federal response
when it did happen was no accident.  It was the result of four years
of deliberate Republican policy and budget choices that favor ideology
and partisan loyalty at the expense of operational competence.  It's
the Bush administration in a nutshell.


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