Tuesday, September 06, 2005

Initial government response to NOLA a total failure, individual response heroic

The initial official response to the New Orleans situation is just an embarrassment. However, the stories of individual heroism are truly inspiring. And it seems to be that these stories are proving to be the norm, even though all we have seen lately on television is the looting and complete disaster of the Superdrome. Stories of individuals ferrying out families on private boats, or getting people together in safer areas, or even commandeering buses to drive people out partly make-up for the lamentable stories of gross-mismanagement the part of those who were supposed to be in charge.

We can quibble over who is responsible: I am personally of the opinion that the blame is to start at the level of the mayor, then the governor, and then the federal level...and others believe it goes the other way around. It doesn't really matter, the end result is that those who were responsible, let down in a big way.

And those who picked up the slack are heroes.


Blogger SpotlessMind said...

I agree with you that responsibility exists on each of the different levels, but I really think that responsibility and leadership is a top-down thing, and that applies to every organization: In military for example, it starts with the general, in the company it starts with the CEO, and in the case of the hurricane aftermath the government is at the top of the decision chain. The mayor has to be blamed, too,of course, but he cannot order the deployment of several thousands soldiers for example. This is matter of the government.

8:54 AM  
Blogger Jen said...

However, Mayor Nagin had at his disposal several hundred, fueled buses that he could have used (And by the way, these buses were part of the city's disaster plan.) to get 10s of 1000s of people out of the city instead of funneling them into the Superdome. I agree with CVG....this starts at the mayor level first. Nagin can point his finger all he wants, but he needs to look in the mirror first.

The governor should also take blame in this as well. She has the ability and authority to call up the state's National Guard, and she waivered and delayed doing so. It should also be noted that she turned down initial offers of neighboring states who offered their National Guard to assist the effort.

It is an embarrassment, but even more so is that Nagin is blaming everyone. Where is Rudy Giuliani when you need him? I miss his grace under fire leadership.

12:21 PM  
Blogger airforcewife said...

There is definately blame to go around to all governmental entities.

Most of the commenting Americans on TV, though, have failed to remember basic Civics and Pol Sci 101 classes (I was a pol sci major/public admin emphasis).

It is the job of the localities to coordinate emergency operations - that's why you saw Giuliani taking the lead in NY. The local people, the local leadership, the federal dime. Feds can only come in WHEN ASKED because of separation of powers and states' rights issues.

To take over for a failing state government is a huge deal, and one which would have led to a slew of charges of "cowboying" and other kinds of charges of racism, I'm sure. The federal government was in a lose/lose situation - however, when your choice is to let your own people suffer and look bad, or follow the rules and look bad, I wish they had earlier opted for the former.

You hit the nail on the head about individual Americans, though. They stepped up in an amazing way, and with an enterprising spirit (a nation of McGyvers, truly).

6:32 PM  
Blogger CaliValleyGirl said...

Just wanted to add to this: tell me ONE thing that the mayor of New Orleans did, and the governor, which was following protocol of how to react in an emergency. Then you can start arguing that maybe he isn't responsible. But as far as I saw he only whined.

6:51 PM  
Blogger flydad said...

You are right. spotlessmind is wrong. It starts with the mayor who has local police, fire fighters etc. When they cann't handle it they call on the governor who has control of the National Guard, etc. When they cann't handle it they call on the Federal Government. It starts from the top down with in each group of government. Let's not forget that the day after everone thought New Orleans had be spared. When we were hit with devastating tornato it took FEMA five days to get here.

8:38 PM  

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