The War at Home

September 1, 2005

I try to keep this blog about as non-political as they come. Not because I don’t have any personal interest in politics, but because there are plenty of places you can go to read or talk about politics; I can’t see a reason to provide another.

On the other hand, even though I was just an occasional visitor, New Orleans was near and dear to me, and I couldn’t not pass this article along.

Did New Orleans Catastrophe Have to Happen?

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.”…

…The 2004 hurricane season was the worst in decades. In spite of that, the federal government came back this 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.

(via Dateline: Bristol)

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3 Responses to “The War at Home”

  1. Big Dog on September 6th, 2005 2:38 pm

    Instead of expecting the Federal Government to spend tax dollars from Americans who may never visit NO perhaps local and state gvts should have figured a way to pay. How about an entertainment tax for just that purpose? As many people as visit the place I would expect it could be added to hotel and bar bills and soon would pay for what isneeded. Instead we expect the rest of America to foot the bill for a local issue.

    These levees were built a long time ago and they did not want to spend so much for levees that could withstand a Cat 5 so they setteled on Cat 3. Well they decided at that time they were willing to accept the possibility that a Cat 5 might come along and make a mess. It did and now everyone wants to blame the federal government and the war. Fact is decisions from long ago are haunting people who decided what was an acceptable risk. Couple this with the inept way the evacuation was handeled and you have a catastrophe. There should NOT be any schoool buses in New Orleans. There are thousands under water.

    At some point people will have to accept responsibility for their own actions and stop blaiming everyone else.

  2. Chuck Lawson on September 6th, 2005 6:23 pm

    Anyone who is under the impression that spending money on New Orleans is only for the locals and people who visit, is in for a very rude awakening over the next however many months it takes to bring the Port of South Louisiana back online.

    As much as I’ve enjoyed playing tourist in New Orleans over the years, the main reason it’s important is the same reason the French built there back in the early 18th century — it’s sitting on the mouth of the largest navigable river in North America.

    The Port of South Louisiana is (was) the busiest port in the Western Hemisphere, the busiest bulk cargo port in the world and the 4th busiest port overall in the world.

    A substantial amount of our economy (imports and exports) depends on that port and the allied facilities (storage, processing, cargo handling) that are mostly based in and around New Orleans, or strung out along the path of devastation between there and Baton Rouge.

    The money it would have taken to repair, maintain or upgrade flood control, or even that it will take to rebuild the area, pales into insignificance compared to what it would cost to build equivilant facilities from scratch elsewhere, and to the amount of money it will cost the US economy while it’s offline.

    As just a small part of that, watch how much the bailout of US agriculture will cost in the next 6 – 12 months due to grain, corn and soybean farmers not being able to export this year’s crop, most of which (normally) heads south down the Missisippi and out the Port of S. LA.

    Everybody — local, state, and federal — should have done something different. But this is what you get when every politician’s planning horizon is no longer than the next election, and it’s usually a safe bet to roll the dice, not make the unpopular expenditure, and hope the consequences hit on someone else’s watch.

  3. bspear on October 4th, 2005 12:57 pm

    re: Did N.O. Have to happen

    I found in my research that none of the last 3 admins or congress came anywhere near the annual request of the Corps or Engineers….In the latest Bush admin Congress always uped the amount suggested by Bush Admin but was always about 5-10% of the request. I believe this congressional performance goes back years before that last 3 admins….Congress who appropriates money to build briges in Alaska, but not to protect N.O. should be tarred, feathered and run out of town on a rail….and not just for this fiasco. We could send
    them to the Netherlands to see how money could be spent that would do the job for N.O. Bastards!

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