Sunday, September 11, 2005

Two more on Katrina

We've heard about FEMA officials and others who kept food out. Now comes a story about neighboring city police officers who kept New Orleans flood victims in. And Carl Hiaasen of the Miami Herald weighs in with his assessment of FEMA's leadership:

As New Orleans slowly drains and the search for survivors continues, many are asking: Could President Bush possibly have picked anyone less qualified than Michael D. Brown to run the Federal Emergency Management Agency?

Sure, he could.

Courtney Love or Mike Tyson would have been worse choices, although both of them have more disaster experience than Brown.

The guy's got quite an unlikely résumé, highlighted by his now-famous stint as commissioner of the International Arabian Horse Association from 1991 to 2001.

It's the longest that Brown ever stayed in one job and, curiously, the only one he doesn't mention in his official FEMA website biography.

He does, however, cite among his exaggerated emergency preparedness credentials a stretch as assistant city manager in Edmond, Oklahoma, His actual job was assistant to the city manager -- ''more like an intern,'' an Edmond spokeswoman told Time magazine...

Among the 164 disasters declared during his tenure, Brown cited last year's four Florida hurricanes as experience builders. He didn't mention the ensuing scandal -- or offer a plausible explanation of why FEMA handed out more than $30 million in Miami-Dade County, which wasn't hit by a single hurricane. As for Katrina, Brown claimed he'd been told to expect ''a typical hurricane situation,'' a lame, butt-covering lie that he won't be able to dodge...

The disgraceful delay in getting help to Louisiana and Mississippi is the legacy of Joe Allbaugh and Mike Brown, political cronies who had no business being in charge of something as crucial as disaster relief. Like Allbaugh, Brown carried out the wishes of Bush and the leaders of Congress, who slashed FEMA's authority for the sake of making the federal government smaller. It was so small that thousands of Americans along the Gulf Coast couldn't find it after the hurricane, and many died trying.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Anyone catch Bill Maher's show on HBO a little while ago? Joe Scarborough, not to be confused with a Clinton-lover, said that Clinton's FEMA Director was far more involved with hurricane response than Brown, and knew what he was doing. But he also said there's plenty of blame to go around - it's not just Bush that should take the heat for this mess.

September 17, 2005 5:13 PM  

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