View Full Version : Im not blaming bUSH for everything

09-14-2005, 02:42 PM
I mean how could he be smart enough to start a hurricane from the comfort of his hammock?? /ccboard/images/graemlins/wink.gif

I do blame him and congress for cutting funds that may have help prevent the flooding...


Flood-control funds short of requests

By Andrew Martin and Andrew Zajac
Washington Bureau
Published September 1, 2005

WASHINGTON -- Despite continuous warnings that a catastrophic hurricane could hit New Orleans, the Bush administration and Congress in recent years have repeatedly denied full funding for hurricane preparation and flood control.

That has delayed construction of levees around the city and stymied an ambitious project to improve drainage in New Orleans' neighborhoods.

For instance, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers requested $27 million for this fiscal year to pay for hurricane-protection projects around Lake Pontchartrain. The Bush administration countered with $3.9 million, and Congress eventually provided $5.7 million, according to figures provided by the office of U.S. Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-La.).

Because of the shortfalls, which were caused in part by the rising costs of the war in Iraq, the corps delayed seven contracts that included enlarging the levees, according to corps documents.

Much of the devastation in New Orleans was caused by breaches in the levees, which sent water from Lake Pontchartrain pouring into the city. Since much of the city is below sea level, the levee walls acted like the walls of a bowl that filled until as much as 80 percent of the city was under water.

Similarly, the Army Corps requested $78 million for this fiscal year for projects that would improve draining and prevent flooding in New Orleans. The Bush administration's budget provided $30 million for the projects, and Congress ultimately approved $36.5 million, according to Landrieu's office.

"I'm not saying it wouldn't still be flooded, but I do feel that if it had been totally funded, there would be less flooding than you have," said Michael Parker, a former Republican Mississippi congressman who headed the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers from October 2001 until March 2002, when he was ousted after publicly criticizing a Bush administration proposal to cut the corps' budget.

Lt. Gen. Carl Strock, the corps' chief of engineers, said late Wednesday that the corps' requests cited in Landrieu's figures were the amount that would be needed to finish the work in a given year. But he said the corps, working with the administration, rarely requests the full amount in the budget.

"There are limited resources and there are huge demands on it," he said. "Very rarely do we fund at full capability."

Even if the projects had been funded at the highest amounts, Strock said it might not have changed the situation in downtown New Orleans. He said the levee near the 17th Street Canal, where one of the breaches occurred that emptied water into the city, was fully completed.

A corps plan to shore up the levees began in 1965 and was supposed to be finished in 10 years but remains incomplete. "They've never put enough money in to complete it," Parker said. He said the corps' budget has been regularly targeted by the White House because public works projects are perceived as pork and aren't considered "sexy."

"Go talk to the people who are suffering in New Orleans," Parker said. "Ask them do they think it's pork."

Joseph Suhayda, an emeritus engineering professor at Louisiana State University who has worked for the Army Corps of Engineers, said the corps simply didn't have enough money to build the levees as high as the designs called for.

"The fact that they weren't that high was a result of lack of funding," he said, noting that part of the levee at the 17th Street Canal--where one of the breaches occurred--was 4 feet lower than the rest. "I think they could have significantly reduced the impact if they had those projects funded. If you need to spend $20 million and you spend $4 or $5 million, something's got to give."

Officials for the Army Corps of Engineers declined to comment on the reasons for the underfunding.

Fred Caver, who retired in June as the corps' deputy director of civil works, said there is always competition for funding and "you're never going to get everything you want."

But he said a reluctance to invest in unglamorous public works projects and especially heavy demands on the budget, from the war in Iraq and entitlement programs, have added to the difficulty in securing funding for corps projects.

Scott Milburn, a spokesman for the White House Office of Management and Budget, declined to comment about the specific questions regarding funding for hurricane-related projects in Louisiana. However, he said, "The president signed into law a $100 million increase for the corps for the current fiscal year compared to the previous year's level."

Historically, New Orleans has built bigger and more ambitious levees every time the city floods, Suhayda said.

"They would live with the conditions that they had until there was an event," he said. The Great Mississippi Flood of 1927 prompted a major upgrade to the levees around New Orleans, he said. The levees were upgraded again to handle a Category 3 storm after Hurricane Betsy hit New Orleans in 1965." more (http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/nationworld/chi-0509010170sep01,1,5853346.story?coll=chi-news-hed&ctrack=1&cset=true)

I also blame him for being too lay back in his responce as well as appointing (what i think most responsible bush supporters will admit) inept, politically connected hacks to run FEMA a position that one should have at least some experience in dealing with natural disasters.

Fran Crimi
09-14-2005, 03:26 PM
Baloney. State and local government failed the people of LA.

Do you have any idea how hard it was to clean up and rebuild the Times Square area? No mayor would touch it for 30 years. Rudy got the job done.

Where there's a will there's a way. The will wasn't strong enough in LA. They obviously had other things on their minds. They have no one to blame but themselves.


09-14-2005, 03:45 PM
Fran, for the most part I completely agree with you. I do thing that the federal gov't had some responsibility to help with the situation, but the vast majority of the blame lies with the local government. Living down here, I can say that the local municipalities are some of the most corrupt that I have seen across the country, and people see it as normal. But if you ask them about the local municipality in New Orleans, they will regail you with how corrupt it is. If the corrupt think that it's so bad, I'm not surprised nothing remotely adequet was done in preparation for a catastrophe like this.


Fran Crimi
09-14-2005, 04:13 PM
I agree with you, Dag. I think in the months to come, we'll see how the corruption and incompetence of the local and state governments extended to how they dealt with their requests for funding from the federal gov't.

It sort of reminds me of the time Don Mackey went to the BCA and demanded that they turn over ridiculous amounts of money to the PBTA simply because they were the men's pro org.

The WPBA, on the other hand, presented a financial plan to the BCA that showed, 'you do your part and we'll do our part' and were successful.

Was the government of LA simply asking for a handout or were they offering to do their share in raising money to rebuild the levy system? Did they properly present their case for the impossibility of a successful mandatory evacuation? How could they have? It's obvious it wasn't done. Did they present competent calculations on how much money they felt they could raise as a state to cover their end? Did they even know how much they were going to need? Did they get any money? How much and what happened to it?


09-14-2005, 06:13 PM
I was wondering what president or congress your blaming for the levy repairs not being done.Because I don't remember any president or any congress doing a damn thing to give the money for overdue repairs Rep or Dems nobody did a thing.Now every one wants to blame and point fingers.Granted Bush is a flake but for anyone to say that its all his fault is just as much of a flake.I am a Dem and so are the leaders of LA that did nothing. So I guess this is not just a Rep screw up.