Katrina Fallout: Who Will Go Next

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  • #1
Now that FEMA's head Brown is gone, and President Bush today accepted at least some federal responsibility for failures that exacerbated the initial disaster, who likely will go next?

I think no one can dispute that pre-hurricane planning and the initial days of response were grossly inadequate. Head have just begun to roll.

A Sunday evening TV-aired interview of Mayor Nagram did not look good for the mayor. You could clearly see the mayor was unable to explain the failures and mis-steps that occurred at his level. Russert is usually viewed as fair. My view now is that pressure will eventually build for the major to step down.

Next, or perhaps even sooner, will be the Louisiana governor. A "rift" has been exposed between the mayor and the governor, and also between the governor and Washington. The lack of smooth communications between these levels of government contributed greatly to the inadequacy in the response.

In an interesting twist, the Louisiana Lieutenant Governor was been quite visible and well spoken, and I believe he would succeed if the governor resigned.

With a great deal of rebuilding yet to get underway, I believe pressure will build for a "housecleaning" of those officials who have shown not to be up to their respective jobs.

Mississippi seems to have escaped any criticism regarding their pre-planning and responses to Katrina, so I don't anticipate any leadership changes there.

On the federal level, Democrats will continue to use the failed response in New Orleans to their political party advantage. However, with Brown gone that takes some wind out of their sails. They would have benefitted with his staying in office longer. I also find it interesting the President did not personally remove him - and the dems will be able to use this against his administration.

So place your bets on who will go, and when.

Knowledge and analysis breed vision. Action brings results.

Stephen Dolle
www.diaceph.com
 

Answers and Replies

  • #2
TRCSF
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Nobody else will resign.
 
  • #3
The Governor seems to be in good shape from what I have seen. As for the Mayor, I don't seeing him leaving office before the next election; but I imagine he will have to look for a new career at that point.
 
  • #4
TRCSF
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kyleb said:
The Governor seems to be in good shape from what I have seen. As for the Mayor, I don't seeing him leaving office before the next election; but I imagine he will have to look for a new career at that point.

You know, the only people I hear criticizing Mayor Nagin is the Republican spin machine. Anybody heard what the actual New Orleans people think of him?
 
  • #5
2CentsWorth
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Good point about the people of Louisiana and their opinion, since they will vote in future elections there. The Governor seemed not to be familiar with emergency protocols, so the worst I can say at this time is she might have brushed up on this during the days prior to landfall. The Mayor did not start evacuation as early as he could have, and IMO should have. He has yet to answer why. My guess is cost and lack of funds? Ultimately the city did not have a lot of needed resources.
 
  • #6
BobG
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The next New Orleans Mayoral election is scheduled for February '06. Demographically, I wouldn't see New Orleans being as favorable to a Democratic candidate in February as it was in 2002. (In fact, I'm kind of wondering how they'll conduct the election).

The Bush administration will have to trash a Democratic Louisiana governor if for no other reason than to deflect criticism from the federal government. Blanco would be doing really well to escape with her reputation intact considering the assault that's likely to come.

With Brown's resignation, it might be hard to blame FEMA's response on the Department of Homeland Security, in spite of the fact that it the DHS that changed the emphasis of FEMA. FEMA became just another part of the DHS team responding to terrorist threats rather the nation's specialists in disaster preparedness.

So I don't see anyone else resigning, although Nagin will almost certainly leave office in February and Blanco will have a tough fight to get re-elected.
 
  • #7
I don't see any more resignations, however I predict that the top brass in FEMA will be replaced by people with disaster plasnning and management experience.

I hope Democrats are not fretting over Brownies resignation. :eek: Aside from the heroic effort of the people on the ground and the outpouring of support from across the country, Michael Browns resignation is the best news I've heard in awhile.

And I think Bush did the right thing in assuming responsibility. I wish he had done so sooner.
 
  • #8
TRCSF
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2CentsWorth said:
Good point about the people of Louisiana and their opinion, since they will vote in future elections there. The Governor seemed not to be familiar with emergency protocols, so the worst I can say at this time is she might have brushed up on this during the days prior to landfall. The Mayor did not start evacuation as early as he could have, and IMO should have. He has yet to answer why. My guess is cost and lack of funds? Ultimately the city did not have a lot of needed resources.

Actually, the governor was familiar with emergency protocols. She did everything properly.

http://rawstory.com/news/2005/Nonpartisan_congressional_research_report_finds_Louisiana_governor_took_nece_0913.html

As for the mayor, I still haven't heard of anything he did wrong. He got 80% of his city to evacuate. FEMA was only predicting a 60% evacuation.
 
  • #9
BobG said:
So I don't see anyone else resigning, although Nagin will almost certainly leave office in February and Blanco will have a tough fight to get re-elected.
Will NO be able to have an election in February?

There is still a lot of rebuilding to do, and hurricane season is not over yet.
 
  • #10
2CentsWorth
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BobG said:
Demographically, I wouldn't see New Orleans being as favorable to a Democratic candidate in February as it was in 2002. (In fact, I'm kind of wondering how they'll conduct the election).
I don't see why NO would now lean toward the GOP, since FEMA and Bush appointed offcicials are considered the most responsible party for their woes.
TRCSF said:
Actually, the governor was familiar with emergency protocols. She did everything properly.

http://rawstory.com/news/2005/Nonpartisan_congressional_research_report_finds_Louisiana_governor_took_nece_0913.html

As for the mayor, I still haven't heard of anything he did wrong. He got 80% of his city to evacuate. FEMA was only predicting a 60% evacuation.
There are other reports to the contrary, but regardless, there will be debate if for no other reason than from opponents in future elections.
 
  • #11
TRCSF
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2CentsWorth said:
I don't see why NO would now lean toward the GOP, since FEMA and Bush appointed offcicials are considered the most responsible party for their woes.

Well, since most of the poor black voters from NO are scattered across the country, and there are reports of rich white folk already starting to return, that would indicate a move towards the GOP.
 
  • #12
TRCSF said:
You know, the only people I hear criticizing Mayor Nagin is the Republican spin machine.
Reguardless of where it comes from, have you bothered to consider any of the information itself?
 
  • #13
TRCSF
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kyleb said:
Reguardless of where it comes from, have you bothered to consider any of the information itself?

The only thing I know of is a photo of school buses underwater. That's just a red herring. If there are valid criticisms of Nagin, I haven't heard them. Care to enlighten me?
 
  • #14
Actually it seems I'm the one to be looking for enlightenment here; I'm how the unutilized public transportation would be a red herring? That, compounded with the lateness of the evacuation call, gives me the impression that the Mayor faltered on his responsibilities.
 
  • #15
SOS2008
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TRCSF said:
Well, since most of the poor black voters from NO are scattered across the country, and there are reports of rich white folk already starting to return, that would indicate a move towards the GOP.
I'm curious if you know how well the poor blacks got out to vote?
 
  • #16
TRCSF
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kyleb said:
Actually it seems I'm the one to be looking for enlightenment here; I'm how the unutilized public transportation would be a red herring? That, compounded with the lateness of the evacuation call, gives me the impression that the Mayor faltered on his responsibilities.

The whole idea is that because New Orleans school buses were destroyed by the hurricane, the evacuation was botched. It's baloney.

The evacuation was itself was as good as one could hope. It was better than FEMA expected; FEMA only expected a 60%. Mayor Nagin managed to evacuate 80% of the city. Probably due in part to his unprecedented calls for evacuation.

http://www.nola.com/newslogs/breakingtp/index.ssf?/mtlogs/nola_Times-Picayune/archives/2005_08.html#074564 [Broken]

Buses were used, both before and after the evacuation. They were used up until Katrina got to close, and the evacuation routes were becoming too clogged.

So the whole basis of this argument is based on a context-less photograph of flooded school buses. It also ignores several obvious points.

1. If NO school districts are like other public school districts, then a large purportion of its school bus fleet is inoperable at any given time. Often 50% of school buses are in various states of disrepair.

2. It's assuming other evacuation methods were exhausted. Hundreds of city buses and privately-operated buses were used for the evacuation, were they full?

3. Were there people waiting in line to get on buses to evacuate New Orleans? I suspect that most who wanted to evacuate on buses before the storm did so.

4. Assuming people aren't lining up to get on buses, what is Nagin supposed to do, have buses driven on house to house searches and force people to leave at gun point?

5. How many of the drivers, themselves civilians, did not evacuate themselves? Hundreds of police officers deserted, why would school bus drivers stay?

6. Even if all buses were operational, and drivers ready, and places to go to, and no 150 mile an hour winds to worry about, and everybody willing to leave their homes/shelters, only a small fraction would have gotten out.

There's also a lot of misinformation with the school buses. Fox news has reported several times that there were 2,000 school buses in that photo. NOISD only has ~345 buses.

The evacuation of New Orleans was the only thing that worked in this mess. What didn't work was the response. Now given that New Orleans was destroyed, they were in no position to respond to its own destruction. A good portion of Louisiana was likewise destroyed.

Hence, it's a red herring.
 
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  • #17
TRCSF
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SOS2008 said:
I'm curious if you know how well the poor blacks got out to vote?

Isn't the average black voter turn out rate typically equal too or slightly greater than the national average?

I don't know about New Orleans itself.
 
  • #18
SOS2008
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TRCSF said:
Isn't the average black voter turn out rate typically equal too or slightly greater than the national average?

I don't know about New Orleans itself.
I should rephrase that as how well do the poor turn out to vote? If I recall, it tends to be low.

Edit: With a quick google: http://www.prcdc.org/summaries/voting/voting.html [Broken]

Voter turnout rates increase with age, family income, highest level of education attained, and length of time lived at current residence.
 
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  • #19
It will be difficult to hold elections in some of the affected areas for some time. One can't help but guess some will be delayed. I think what may occur in the interim is that those politicians who will likely get their walking papers, will be asked by party higher ups to resign. As reports and investigations continue, new details will emerge and these will find their way into respectable news services - plus the Congressional and Special Commission investigations to follow. It will be interesting to see when these actually get underway. The Roberts' Supreme Court hearings are keeping Congress busy. It would actually work to the Republicans' favor to have the Roberts hearings drag out for 1-3 months - so as to cause a delay in the Katrina investigations to follow. The Domocrats, on the other hand, must choose their battle. They risk loosing public interest in a Katrina accountability investigation.

Ultimately, I see the issue is with weeding out inept elected and governmental officials PRIOR to geeting underway with rebuilding. It's like throwing money into a known bad investiment. As such, these individuals must be identified and removed, and it may NOT require an election to do so.

MSNBC TV's Scarborough has aired detailed first-hand and resident interview accounts on the ground in the affected areas. His broadcast was highly critical of FEMA, the Red Cross, and the NO Police Department. Scarborough is a former Republican Congressman, but has been highly critical of the White House and federal Republican response.
 
  • #20
loseyourname
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BobG said:
The next New Orleans Mayoral election is scheduled for February '06. Demographically, I wouldn't see New Orleans being as favorable to a Democratic candidate in February as it was in 2002. (In fact, I'm kind of wondering how they'll conduct the election).

As soon as I saw the topic, the first thing I thought was "Mayor Nagin." You make a good point about demographics, too. This disaster may very well end up reducing the population of democrats in the state, either by killing or just displacing them. Can you vote by absentee ballot in a mayoral election?
 
  • #21
TRCSF said:
The whole idea is that because New Orleans school buses were destroyed by the hurricane, the evacuation was botched. It's baloney.
I'm pretty sure you are not meaning to, but you are arguing a strawman. I don't claim the evacuation was botched because of the flooded busses; but rather because of the people trapped in hospitals and elsewhere around the city. The numbers you posted look good, but I'm sure the vast majority of those people got out by their own means and what concerns me is the failure to help those who could not do so.
 
  • #22
BobG
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kyleb said:
I'm pretty sure you are not meaning to, but you are arguing a strawman. I don't claim the evacuation was botched because of the flooded busses; but rather because of the people trapped in hospitals and elsewhere around the city. The numbers you posted look good, but I'm sure the vast majority of those people got out by their own means and what concerns me is the failure to help those who could not do so.
Additionally, the buses that did run before the storm hit were not used to evacuate people from New Orleans. There wasn't enough buses to evacuate those left behind and not enough time to make multiple trips. Prior to the storm, the buses were used to move people from low ground to the Superdome and higher ground.

This was a conscious decision to scrap a plan that looked better on paper than a paragraph saying "The poor, naturally, will die in the flood." Of course, Nagin will take heat for not attempting to evacuate people from New Orleans, but, sometimes, you have to face facts and accept that the folks who wrote the plan had no solution, either.

To evacuate by bus, you need a) lots of buses b) enough drivers dedicated enough to their jobs to put evacuating the poor ahead of helping their own families get out of town c) a place to evacuate to - far enough away to be spared the worst of the storm, but close enough to make several trips in the allotted time in spite of all the other cars evacuating d) gas stations open for business along the evacuation route e) and time (at least 72 hours, per the plan, but I just don't think the plan was even realistic).
 
  • #23
Chertoff may be the next one to go down according to Knight Ridder
WASHINGTON - The federal official with the power to mobilize a massive federal response to Hurricane Katrina was Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff, not the former FEMA chief who was relieved of his duties and resigned earlier this week, federal documents reviewed by Knight Ridder show.

[edit] Here is the DHS National response Plan.

http://www.dhs.gov/dhspublic/interapp/editorial/editorial_0566.xml
 
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  • #24
russ_watters
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My big criticism of Nagin is in the way he handled himself during the crisis in the few days after the hurricane. He was unprofessional and appeared to be losing it in his public appearances. I'm sure the details of how he conducted himself will come out in the next few months. Contrast that with how Giuliani came across on/after 9/11. He exuded leadership.
 
  • #25
Astronuc
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russ_watters said:
My big criticism of Nagin is in the way he handled himself during the crisis in the few days after the hurricane. He was unprofessional and appeared to be losing it in his public appearances. I'm sure the details of how he conducted himself will come out in the next few months. Contrast that with how Giuliani came across on/after 9/11. He exuded leadership.
I think the situation was somewhat different. The state and federal government stepped in right away on 9/11. Giuliani had support. Nagin was faced with little or no support (or so it seems - we still need to learn exactly what happened), and that must have been frustrating. If one has ever been in a situation where someone needed help and one couldn't, then one may understand Nagin's position. I imagine he didn't sleep much during those days.

The entire city of New York did not have to be evacuated, and most of the surrounding infrastructure was intact, meaning that people could leave the city if they chose to do so. The destruction in and around New Orleans is a much greater scale than that of the WTC. And the US was not inolved in Iraq!
 
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  • #26
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I never though I'd see the day when Bush actually took responsiblity for something. Anyone see that segment on The Daily Show last night? That's when I first heard about it and my jaw dropped. :surprised Then I couldn't stop laughing after the clip of the guy's head exploding. :rofl:
 
  • #28
russ_watters
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Astronuc said:
I think the situation was somewhat different.
Certainly, but....
The state and federal government stepped in right away on 9/11. Giuliani had support. Nagin was faced with little or no support (or so it seems - we still need to learn exactly what happened), and that must have been frustrating.
Either way, the vast majority of the work done the day of and in the next few days was done by the police and fire departments of New York. As we see below, there were hundreds of thousands of troops at the state's disposal for Katrina relief (all the governor had to do is pick up a phone and call Texas and she'd have had an additonal 11,000 troops), but they were not mobilized until long after the hurricane.
The entire city of New York did not have to be evacuated
But more people were evacuated. What helped, though, is that it was a smaller area and most could walk away.
The destruction in and around New Orleans is a much greater scale than that of the WTC.
True.
And the US was not inolved in Iraq!
It's brought up a lot, but our involvement in Iraq is of no relevance here. The number of troops deployed to Katrina relief in the days leading up to the crisis was a tiny fraction of what was available. They could have had much more if they had ordered it. And after it passed, every avalable guardsman in the country could have been in LA and MS in a matter of days - hundreds of thousands of troops.
[from Tuesday] Florida National Guard special forces were leaving Tuesday to perform search and rescue missions in Mississippi in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. They are a part of the nearly 124,000 Guardsmen across 17 states available to help out Katrina’s victims, officials of the National Guard said Tuesday.

More than 5,000 National Guard troops across four states have already been activated... [emphasis added]
http://msnbc.msn.com/id/9117367/
The disconnect between what was available and what was mobilized is obvious.

By now there are roughly 40,000 deployed. http://www.txarng.com/ [Broken]
 
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  • #29
BobG
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russ_watters said:
As we see below, there were hundreds of thousands of troops at the state's disposal for Katrina relief (all the governor had to do is pick up a phone and call Texas and she'd have had an additonal 11,000 troops), but they were not mobilized until long after the hurricane. But more people were evacuated. .... It's brought up a lot, but our involvement in Iraq is of no relevance here. The number of troops deployed to Katrina relief in the days leading up to the crisis was a tiny fraction of what was available. They could have had much more if they had ordered it. And after it passed, every avalable guardsman in the country could have been in LA and MS in a matter of days - hundreds of thousands of troops. http://msnbc.msn.com/id/9117367/
The disconnect between what was available and what was mobilized is obvious.

By now there are roughly 40,000 deployed. http://www.txarng.com/ [Broken]
I agree with everything except the part "all the governor had to do is pick up a phone and call Texas and she'd have had an additonal 11,000 troops". She did speak with New Mexico and both governors agreed New Mexico National Guard would help. That's not enough. It still has to be approved by 'the proper authorities'. Washington didn't give their approval until days after Blanco and Richardson had talked.

Your last sentence is the most pertinent, "The disconnect between what was available and what was mobilized is obvious." The system needed a huge kick to break it out of its bureaucratic logjam and no kick was forthcoming.
 
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  • #30
Astronuc
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Either way, the vast majority of the work done the day of and in the next few days was done by the police and fire departments of New York. As we see below, there were hundreds of thousands of troops at the state's disposal for Katrina relief (all the governor had to do is pick up a phone and call Texas and she'd have had an additonal 11,000 troops), but they were not mobilized until long after the hurricane.
A lot of emergency folk came from outside of NY City - for starters NJ and CT, then from across the country. It was a big effort - but they could get there.

IIRC, New Orleans and the vicinity only had two accessible routes I-10 (west) and one other which I can't put my finger on. Routes N, S and E were destroyed or underwater.

IIRC, 3000 of Louisiana's National Guard, and 50% of equipment are in Iraq. Otherwise they would have been available. That leaves about 8000, but they were distributed to help other areas, and if they were N or E, they could not get there.

There were La NG in New Orleans - apparently about 2000 or so, but they were spead thin and overwhelmed, and it is not clear at this point, what equipment they had. I believe the La NG depot (armory) in New Orleans was flooded, and they lost most of their equipment.

The governor can only control NG units within the state, so the 100,000+ NG in 17 other states would have to activated by their governors or the President, which they did by Wed-Thu (1-2 days after they were needed) and it seems they weren't getting to NO until Fri, and they had to take a circuitous route.

Clearly the various investigations will have to figure out what worked and what didn't. That will take time.

But I do agree, the Nagin and the governor could probably have done more, and there is a lot that should have been done prior to Katrina that wasn't, and that applies to all levels of government. And it also applies to every other major population center in the country.
 
  • #31
Ivan Seeking
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Well, yesterday the replublicans shot down the call for a 911 style bi-partisan investigation. I can't imagine why, can you? :rolleyes:
 
  • #32
Becuse Hillary is the one who called for it and they don't want her winning any points with the public in light of her likely upcoming presidential bid. ;)
 
  • #33
TRCSF
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kyleb said:
Becuse Hillary is the one who called for it and they don't want her winning any points with the public in light of her likely upcoming presidential bid. ;)

That, and they know the WH is as guilty as sin.
 
  • #34
MoveOn has a petition for an independent investigation, and people can write their congressmen.

They can run, but they cannot hide. The world has seen the invasion of Iraq, Americans saw government intervention in private family matters, followed by the sliming of the innocent in relation to Terri Schiavo, Bush has dodged the Downing Street memos, Rove the Plame leak, and so forth. Look at Bush's ratings, and polls regarding his honesty and integrity. I can't believe America will accept an investigation that is not independent.
 
  • #35
From what I have seen, the Administration is loosing support from Republican legislature rather quickly at this point. While I have no doubt that there are still plenty of them who would like to hid the guilt of the WH on this, I do think that we will see an investigation put in place though a less political threatening source.
 

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