posted on Sep, 10 2005 @ 02:42 PM
Here is a link that lists a little about the chronological order of what transpired with FEMA in the last 5 years, followed by exerps and a few more
facts and my personal opinion.
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
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
2001: FEMA designates a major hurricane hitting New Orleans as one of the three "likeliest, most catastrophic disasters facing this country."
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 and former college roommate, Michael Brown, who has no previous experience in disaster management and
was fired from his previous job for mismanagement.
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 recovery.
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.
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.
So: 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.
My Opinion on Mike Brown's service:
The guy had the political backing to act with ruthless efficiency during the 2004 hurricane season when multiple hurricanes back to back cause
billions in damages and hundreds of deaths. He was capable only because he had the resources allotted to him without the hinderences of Katrina
because of 2 major reasons:
1) It was an election year.
2) The Presidents brother was the Governor of Florida.
Granted this was no New Orleans, and No Katrina, but FEMA was praised for their handlings of those responses under the "leadership" of Mike Brown.
This may well have been different because the handling of this mess was percieved to have less of a negative impact than mismanagement of the
president's brother's state during an election year in which Florida was so important during the last election.
Mike Brown had NO real experience outside of this, but had far more help because of the circumstances. Mike Brown may have come to believe that every
response would have the immediate help of many organizations like what transpired in 2004, but 2005 was a far different story indeed.
Now to the changes that occurred with FEMA loosing it's autonomy and cabinet level and falling under the Department of Homeland Security.
Why did these changes take place?
The american people called for it, and demanded that all these organizations have better communications. FEMA was essentially usurped by the
Department of Homeland Security due to the overwhelming fear instilled into the minds of the american populas by Osama Bin Laden, and Al Quada.
Otherwise there would have been more Hillary Clintons to oppose FEMA becoming subserviant to the Department of Homeland Security. Instead most
Americans felt this would best serve them to defend against terrorism, and everything else took a back seat. We failed our countrymen by arming
ourselves with the fear the terrorists instilled within us. If that is not the case, we would have had a greater grasp of the big picture, and acted
accordingly. All may not agree with me. And, I highly respect your opinion.