Thursday, October 13, 2005

How much blame does Gov. Blanco deserve?

Lisa Myers writes on MSNBC How much blame does Gov. Blanco deserve? - Critics say she was slow to respond as Katrina came ashore

It was Gov. Blanco's first big disaster — and less than 48 hours before Katrina hit, she reassured the state. "I believe we are prepared," she said in Jefferson Parish on Aug. 27. "That's the one thing that I've always been able to brag about."

Had she ever read the New Orleans plan here, and the State of Louisiana plan here and here. If so why were they not followed?
Though experts had warned it would take 48 hours to evacuate New Orleans, Blanco did not order a mandatory evacuation that Saturday. "We're going to pray that the impact will soften," she said.
Prayer is always good, but so is action.
Blanco and the mayor waited until Sunday, Aug. 28 — only 20 hours before Katrina came ashore — to order a mandatory evacuation, the first of what disaster experts and Louisiana insiders say were serious mistakes by the governor.
An evacuation that was to take 48 hours issued 20 hours before Katrina came ashore. Gee, I wonder why it did not work.
"It certainly appeared that there was a lot of indecisiveness exhibited by the governor in the early stages of the disaster," says Louisiana State Democratic Senator Donald Cravins. A key criticism: the governor's slowness in requesting federal troops. She told the president she needed help,
But would not give him the authroity to send in troops.
but it wasn't until Wednesday, Aug. 31 that she specifically asked for 40,000 troops. That day, in a whispered conversation with her staff caught on camera, the governor appears to second-guess herself. "I really need to call for the military," Blanco tells an aide. "Yes you do, yes you do," is the reply. "And I should have started that in the first call," Blanco adds.
You certainly should have.
Another key mistake, experts say, was Blanco's lateness in getting the Louisiana National Guard, which she commands, on the streets to try to establish security. "It would have been better if it had happened sooner," says Jane Bullock, a former FEMA official during the Clinton administration. And remember the chaos at the Convention Center? We now know there were at least 250 guardsmen deployed in another part of that building. But they were engineers, not police, so they were not ordered to help restore order or even to share their food and water.
They would not let the Red Cross bring in food and water, because it would have encouraged people to stay in the Superdome. The same is probably true about the Convention Center.
"I think we would have hurt a lot of people if we'd tried to take that on," says Dough Mouton, commander of the Louisiana National Guard's 225th Engineering Group. The governor would not say whether she made the decision not to use those troops and tells NBC News her state's response to Katrina was "very well planned and executed with great precision and effectiveness." "How can any governor argue that they have done what they can do when people were left on an interstate without food and water for a week?" asks Roy Fletcher, a Louisiana political consultant. The governor has said she takes responsibility for what went wrong, but insists her biggest mistake was believing FEMA officials who told her help was on the way.
She should have first used the resources at her disposal, such as the 600 buses


Anonymous said...

As it happens, I did a poll on my site for the Dumbass Of The Month, and out of ALL the shady characters (Sheehan, Sharpton, Pelosi, etc) Blanco STILL MANAGED to win this dubious distinction!

Come check it out when you get a sec...worth a yuk or two!

Don Singleton said...

You did not identify your blog, but apparently this is it.