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Thread: Katrina's enablers: Levees were ignored for decades

  1. #1
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    Katrina's enablers: Levees were ignored for decades

    Katrina's enablers:
    Levees were ignored for decades




    WHO OR what gets the blame for the levee breaches that wrecked so much of New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina struck? We have heard people point fingers at all of the following: President Bush, global warming, the Iraq war and racism. We are still trying to figure that last one out. The real culprit, however, has been right before our eyes for a long time.

    The Army Corps of Engineers is in charge of flood control in New Orleans, but state and local officials play important roles in planning and funding too. Engineers as well as local, state and federal officials have known for decades that the New Orleans levees were designed to survive only a Category 3 hurricane. Katrina was a Category 5, which dropped to a 4 shortly before impact. Why didn't officials use their resources to build stronger, higher levees since the last Category 5 hurricane hit New Orleans in 1969?

    With the federal government in charge, local and state officials were able to shift the burden to Washington and divert their attention to more frivolous pursuits. Instead of pumping the necessary resources into walls and levees that would withstand the worst storms, they built convention centers and sports arenas.

    The Louisiana Superdome Cost $163 million to build in 1975. The Ernest N. Morial Convention Center, a state entity, was built in 1985. It was expanded in 1999, and the state just completed negotiations for a new 500,000 square foot expansion. The state signed a contract for the new expansion on Aug. 17, just 12 days before Katrina hit. The price: $315 million. Construction would have begun years ago, for a cost of $275 million, but for some delays. There was a legal dispute over the contract in 2003, then in 2004 Gov. Kathleen Blanco tried to combine the expansion with a new stadium to replace the Superdome.

    There have been charges that recent decisions not to fully fund the requests of the Army Corps of Engineers in New Orleans were somehow to blame for the flooding last week. But the lower than requested funding for the Army Corps of Engineers in New Orleans was slated for the 2006 budget; it would have made no difference last Monday.

    However, Washington has neglected its duties in this area for years. Instead of spending the hundreds of millions, even billions, to replace levees that all experts knew were inadequate, federal politicians chose for decades to fund pork projects. Instead of new levees for New Orleans, the American people were given sports stadiums, bicycle trails and roads in powerful politicians' districts. Experts have known of the city's vulnerability since at least the 1960s, and yet no one at the local, state or federal level made sure that the levees could withstand a hurricane even less powerful than Camille in 1969.

    Several decades' worth of politicians of both parties played with taxpayer money while neglecting their duty to protect the citizens. As a result of their irresponsibility, hundreds, perhaps thousands, have died.


    [url]http://www.theunionleader.com/articles_showa.html?article=59964[/url]

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    [QUOTE=Come Back to NY]Katrina's enablers:
    Levees were ignored for decades




    WHO OR what gets the blame for the levee breaches that wrecked so much of New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina struck? We have heard people point fingers at all of the following: President Bush, global warming, the Iraq war and racism. We are still trying to figure that last one out. The real culprit, however, has been right before our eyes for a long time.

    The Army Corps of Engineers is in charge of flood control in New Orleans, but state and local officials play important roles in planning and funding too. Engineers as well as local, state and federal officials have known for decades that the New Orleans levees were designed to survive only a Category 3 hurricane. Katrina was a Category 5, which dropped to a 4 shortly before impact. Why didn't officials use their resources to build stronger, higher levees since the last Category 5 hurricane hit New Orleans in 1969?

    With the federal government in charge, local and state officials were able to shift the burden to Washington and divert their attention to more frivolous pursuits. Instead of pumping the necessary resources into walls and levees that would withstand the worst storms, they built convention centers and sports arenas.

    The Louisiana Superdome Cost $163 million to build in 1975. The Ernest N. Morial Convention Center, a state entity, was built in 1985. It was expanded in 1999, and the state just completed negotiations for a new 500,000 square foot expansion. The state signed a contract for the new expansion on Aug. 17, just 12 days before Katrina hit. The price: $315 million. Construction would have begun years ago, for a cost of $275 million, but for some delays. There was a legal dispute over the contract in 2003, then in 2004 Gov. Kathleen Blanco tried to combine the expansion with a new stadium to replace the Superdome.

    There have been charges that recent decisions not to fully fund the requests of the Army Corps of Engineers in New Orleans were somehow to blame for the flooding last week. But the lower than requested funding for the Army Corps of Engineers in New Orleans was slated for the 2006 budget; it would have made no difference last Monday.

    However, Washington has neglected its duties in this area for years. Instead of spending the hundreds of millions, even billions, to replace levees that all experts knew were inadequate, federal politicians chose for decades to fund pork projects. Instead of new levees for New Orleans, the American people were given sports stadiums, bicycle trails and roads in powerful politicians' districts. Experts have known of the city's vulnerability since at least the 1960s, and yet no one at the local, state or federal level made sure that the levees could withstand a hurricane even less powerful than Camille in 1969.

    Several decades' worth of politicians of both parties played with taxpayer money while neglecting their duty to protect the citizens. As a result of their irresponsibility, hundreds, perhaps thousands, have died.


    [url="http://www.theunionleader.com/articles_showa.html?article=59964"]http://www.theunionleader.com/articles_showa.html?article=59964[/url][/QUOTE]

    Mark this on your calendar. An article you posted that I actually agree with.

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    I love sports probably more than anyone....but i wonder all the time how we can spend millions/billions on stadiums with so many more important things to spend the money on. if the owners want to do it themselves im all for it but when the public pays for all of it or most than i question that. That story is an eye opener. On a side note....i was and still am for the war in Iraq but the $$$ spent there is amazing. imagine what we could have done with all the $$$$ spent so far.

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    [QUOTE=CaliJetsFan]I love sports probably more than anyone....but i wonder all the time how we can spend millions/billions on stadiums with so many more important things to spend the money on. if the owners want to do it themselves im all for it but when the public pays for all of it or most than i question that. That story is an eye opener. On a side note....i was and still am for the war in Iraq but the $$$ spent there is amazing. imagine what we could have done with all the $$$$ spent so far.[/QUOTE]

    In a nutshell; NO is a poverty, stricken area- to help the poor in that area make a better life for themselves is too hard and could potentially cost the present day liberals their jobs. People could become reliant on themselves rather then government handouts.

    It is easier to build stadiums, convention centers and promote tourism and shelter the tourists from poverty stricken area's.....the tax revenue earned from the tourism is then handed to the poor in the form of entitlement programs...so in the eyes of everyone the present day politicians are hero's!

    No one's yet to answer my question as to why, with four major hurricanes in Florida last year there was no widespread looting or violence from the get go?? Why was there no widespread looting or violence in NYC after the major blackout experienced two years ago??

    Simple answer- it is the culture and sense of responsability and respect for law brought by people like Guiliani, Bloomberg and Jeb Bush.

    When Guiliani took over NYC from David Dinkins it was a crime infested area and the welfare capitol of the country....that changed, though not overnight...and able bodied people were put to work whether in the general workforce or in workfare programs. The crime rate, which was horrendous, came crashing down....

    And while some could justifiably say Rudy was a little dictatorial at the end of his tenure (the jaywalking tickets and metal barricades on 5th Avenue were a bit much) the fact is, had he not changed the culture or mentality and thinking in NYC the response and his ability to lead after 9-11 would've been much different; aka- he would not have been able to get things accomplished that he did....

    serious question; if a 9-11 incident happened when David Dinkins was mayor would the response be similar?? If a Guiliani type of leader (dem or Repub) where in charge in NO would the situation be different??

    Guiliani was in mid-town after the first plane hit on 9-11 and was downtown, trapped in a building by the time the first tower collapsed...there is video footage of he and his staff running for their lives when second tower came down...all accounts I've read stated NO mayor Naggin was cozy and dry in Baton Rouge when the hurricane came ashore (I have not verified that)...if true, is that leadership???

    I posted an article here which stated the theft, abuse, et. al was a problem 12 months ago when NO officials put 1100 people in the Superdome for evacuation purposes....what made them think it would be any different this time around and why was it tolerated?? (Again, no respect of law- go no further then the JI poster who told a first hand account of his experience in NO when clothes, which were delivered to hotels for guests ,was taken and then worn my the NO police on hand....)

    Why is the media asking if this was racially motivated rather then the obvious questions- what was NO preparedness for a situation they new was coming?? (We all know the answers thanks to Jetsfantransplant giving us first hand knowledge)....

    I've yet to see one report asking why these busses were not used any evacuation of the poor, infirmed, etc:

    [IMG]http://littlegreenfootballs.com/weblog/pictures/bus_yard.jpg[/IMG]

    [IMG]http://home.mchsi.com/%7Eidkfa/bus1.jpg[/IMG]

    I betcha if there was an election on Monday, like many big cities in the south (Atlanta, Birmingham) these busses would've been used to bus people with no cars to polling stations!

    Was there failure on behalf of the Fed's? Undoubtedly- the response was slow and they obviously underestimated the hazard.

    Yet that failure was increased ten-fold by the incompetence of local officials in NO who had no clue, and up until this point, no desire to do anything (and again- look at Jetfantransplnats post on how NO was in constant violation of FEMA rules/regulations, how he mentions NO was not interested in contracting outside help for emergency purposes, or mentions how NO was 100% reliant on the Fed's to take care of a crisis we knew was coming- to which I've posted an article to back him up)...

    They say "an ounce of prevention goes a long way"...we've yet to see NO was ready with but a miligram of prevention.

    I hope there are all kinds of congressional hearing on this...I just hope they don't whitewash it like the 9-11 C-ommission...
    Last edited by Come Back to NY; 09-04-2005 at 04:00 PM.

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    This was a once in a blue moon type disaster for the U.S. ... that is kind of hard to plan for ... except in hindsight.

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    If I"m the mayor of a city that is in constant threat of becoming a swamp, isn't it my responsibility to keep sounding the alarm?

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    Comeback, your question as to why the buses weren't used to evacuate more of the people is a very legitimate one, and one I hope we have answered.

    I hope we get alot of answers, from all the levels of government, after this fiasco.

    One answer I can give you is that the mayor of New Orleans did in fact stay in New Orleans the entire time. He was asked to evacuate to Baton Rouge, where the headquarters for the crisis was set up, but refused and decided to stay with his people. Perhaps that caused some of the communication problems, I don't know. But I won't fault the guy for staying with his people in this time of crisis.

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    [QUOTE=inchadwetrust]This was a once in a blue moon type disaster for the U.S. ... that is kind of hard to plan for ... except in hindsight.[/QUOTE]


    Unless qualified people have been telling you it's going to happen the last 10-15 years and unless you've had some really bad hurricanes the last 10-15 years hit other areas. Good grief. This sounds like a bush soundbite.

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    The levees like much of the infrastructure in this country have been ignored by both the right and the left for many decades. This was no surprise. The sad fact is that local and federal government officials have agreed easily on perks and benefits for themselves and their friends for much of the past 5 decades at the expense of the public. Unfortunately, there are too many stupid people in our country that honestly believe the Republicans and Democrats are looking out for the best interest of the country.

    I give credit to Nagin for staying behind in New Orleans. I don't know if he could have done anything differently. However, the real issue here about the lack of preparation for this hurricane is really a wasted topic for discussion. The real issue at hand is what can be done to help these people. These people have no home, no job, no income, nothing. Whether they stayed in their homes or not their fate would have been the same. Where was Nagin going to bus these people to and who was going to accept them and help them get the supplies they needed. These people would have been out on the street anyway. I know Giuliani did a great job in NYC with 9/11 but he had his communications networks intact. New Orleans communications networks and power were completely knocked out and some of the police force hung their brothers out to dry. The comparison by so called analysts is just downright stupid and it is merely a politically and ethnically motivated notion.

    As far as I am concerned, FEMA is a bull**** organization that really does not do a damn thing for the public. I know and can attest to that because I live in West Palm Beach and I got hit with two hurricanes last year and they did not do a damn thing. Meanwhile, FEMA had no problem doling out money to residents of Miami-Dade who were not affected. Thankfully, I have the resources to get my home back in order. It is no surprise that FEMA could not mobilize the essentials to get down there because they are too stupid to know what to do in the face of a real catastrophe.

    We can play the blame game in Washington and in local state Capitals all we want. However,we will continue to have 9/11's and Katrinaesque disasters until we force our politicians to own up to what needs to be done as opposed to what is done to benefit themselves. I don't know what is worse seeing these people's lives destroyed or seeing the politicians and media people jockeying for position in the blame game. As long as the blame game is played there will be more tragedies either due to terrorism or natural disaster.

    If anyone got the Sunday Times. I strongly suggest that you read the editorial by Anne Rice who was born in New Orleans and grew up there. It might give you all a better understanding of the culture and people of New Orleans.
    Last edited by outsider; 09-05-2005 at 01:19 PM.

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    yeah, the levees were ignored and apparently everyone except for your fearless president new that it was a potential problem. Dubaya is actually on record as saying in an interview that "no one could have predicted the levees breaking."

    [SIZE=7]what a flaming idiot!!!![/SIZE]

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    [QUOTE=jetsjunky]yeah, the levees were ignored and apparently everyone except for your fearless president new that it was a potential problem. Dubaya is actually on record as saying in an interview that "no one could have predicted the levees breaking."

    [SIZE=2]what a flaming idiot!!!![/SIZE][/QUOTE]

    well, nice job taking half of what the President said for a talking point- then again, I'm sure you are only halfway to blame as you get what the MSM spoonfeeds you...

    btw: Harry Reid, fearless leader of the rats, had this to say about the levee's when touring them:

    [QUOTE]"But in May 2004, then Senate Minority Whip Harry Reid (D-Nev.) said he had visited the levees as a guest of Landrieu and believed them adequate.

    He praised the ancient water pumps for keeping the waters from cascading into the city, proclaiming them "these old, old pumps that hadn't been changed since before the turn of the century, that still keep New Orleans dry."[/QUOTE]

    [url]http://news.yahoo.com/s/latimests/20050904/ts_latimes/despitewarningswashingtonfailedtofundleveeprojects[/url]

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    What does Harry Reid know - he's a doddering old fool and nowhere near the levee expert that Bush is. :rolleyes:

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