I realise that Nagin should have reacted sooner, i did say that in my previous post. But like i said pinning all the blame on him is just so much right wing bullshit. Yes, a significant amount of lives could have been saved if Nagin had started the evacuations sooner, but also a lot of lives could have been saved if FEMA and Dubya had reacted sooner. To say they could only react until Nagin called them is more partisan excuses.
Mdkilmer wrote:The Right blaming the Democrat Governor is partisan crap.
Sorry, but i have no idea what you're talking about with this quote.
To say Nagin put levee money elsewhere is again right wing bullshit. There are records that the Levees when built where never meant to withstand anything above a Category Three hurricane, local officials stated this to the Federal government but no monies where forthcoming. Lt. Gen. Carl Strock, chief of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers said the levees built could never withstand a Category Four and Five, the Federal government from 1995 earmarked $430 million to be spent on shoring up levees but never asked the Engineer Corps to make them stronger. In 2003 at least $250 million of the $430 million in crucial levee projects remained, which meant that as hurricane activity in the Atlantic Basin increased dramatically the levees surrounding New Orleans continued to subside. In early 2004, as the cost of the conflict in Iraq soared, Dubya proposed spending less than 20 percent of what the Corps said was needed for Lake Pontchartrain, according to this Feb. 16, 2004, article, in New Orleans CityBusiness:
The $750 million Lake Pontchartrain and Vicinity Hurricane Protection project is another major Corps project, which remains about 20% incomplete due to lack of funds, said Al Naomi, project manager. That project consists of building up levees and protection for pumping stations on the east bank of the Mississippi River in Orleans, St. Bernard, St. Charles and Jefferson parishes.
The Lake Pontchartrain project is slated to receive $3.9 million in the president's 2005 budget. Naomi said about $20 million is needed.
"The longer we wait without funding, the more we sink," he said. "I've got at least six levee construction contracts that need to be done to raise the levee protection back to where it should be (because of settling). Right now I owe my contractors about $5 million. And we're going to have to pay them interest."
On June 8, 2004, Walter Maestri, emergency management chief for Jefferson Parish, Louisiana, told the Times-Picayune: "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. Nobody locally is happy that the levees can't be finished, and we are doing everything we can to make the case that this is a security issue for us."
That June, with the 2004 hurricane season starting, the Corps' Naomi went before a local agency, the East Jefferson Levee Authority, and essentially begged for $2 million for urgent work that Washington was now unable to pay for. From the June 18, 2004 Times-Picayune:
"The system is in great shape, but the levees are sinking. Everything is sinking, and if we don't get the money fast enough to raise them, then we can't stay ahead of the settlement," he said. "The problem that we have isn't that the levee is low, but that the federal funds have dried up so that we can't raise them."
The 2004 hurricane season was the worst in decades. In spite of that, the federal government came back in spring with the steepest reduction in hurricane- and flood-control funding for New Orleans in history. Because of the proposed cuts, the Corps office there imposed a hiring freeze. Officials said that money targeted for the SELA project -- $10.4 million, down from $36.5 million -- was not enough to start any new jobs. According to New Orleans CityBusiness this June 5:
The district has identified $35 million in projects to build and improve levees, floodwalls and pumping stations in St. Bernard, Orleans, Jefferson and St. Charles parishes. Those projects are included in a Corps line item called Lake Pontchartrain, where funding is scheduled to be cut from $5.7 million this year to $2.9 million in 2006. Naomi said it's enough to pay salaries but little else.
"We'll do some design work. We'll design the contracts and get them ready to go if we get the money. But we don't have the money to put the work in the field, and that's the problem," Naomi said.
There was, at the same time, a growing recognition that more research was needed to see what New Orleans must do to protect itself from a Category 4 or 5 hurricane. But once again, the money was not there. As the Times-Picayune reported last Sept. 22:
That second study would take about four years to complete and would cost about $4 million, said Army Corps of Engineers project manager Al Naomi. About $300,000 in federal money was proposed for the 2005 fiscal-year budget, and the state had agreed to match that amount.
But the cost of the Iraq war forced the Bush administration to order the New Orleans district office not to begin any new studies, and the 2005 budget no longer includes the needed money.
The Louisiana congressional delegation urged Congress early 2005 to dedicate a stream of federal money to Louisiana's coast, only to be opposed by the White House. In its budget, the Dubya administration proposed a significant reduction in funding for southeast Louisiana's chief hurricane protection project. Dubya proposed $10.4 million, a sixth of what local officials say they need.
Washington knew that this day could come at any time, and it knew the things that needed to be done to protect the citizens of New Orleans. But in the tradition of the riverboat gambler, the Dubya administration decided to roll the dice on its fools errand in Iraq, and on a tax cut that mainly benefited the rich. Now Dubya has lost that gamble, big time.
Dubya said that we needed to fight in Iraq to save lives in America. Yet he moved billions of domestic dollars to the Persian Gulf and let dead bodies float through the streets of Louisiana.
So here are the facts above the partisan bullshit. Tell me now how monies can be misdirected when there were no monies in the first place? The funds just weren't there to strengthen the levees, Dubya knew this when he cut the funds to the levee projects. Dubya took a gamble and lost big time, but he wasn't gambling with money, he was gambling with lives!