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Friday, September 02, 2005

Lessons so far from Katrina

--posted by Tony Garcia on 9/02/2005

I know that people will say I am politicizing Katrina. That is not my intention. As Katrina (New Orleans specifically) has dominated my conversations and ponderments the past few days I have realized a couple things that I hope EVERYONE in the nation realizes and corrects.

And if you call this politicizing, please explain how...as I am NOT blaming any party or ideology like others are doing.

#1
We should not have resources at maximum capacity. Our refinery system was already insufficient for our needs. The system was running at 98% BEFORE the hurricane hit. Now that a good percentage of the refineries are out the cost of refining crude oil will sky rocket (that's why our gas prices suddenly soared and will keep soaring) and the supply of gas is further restricted (adding to the price even further). Build some refineries and NEVER let any resource be so restricted again.

#2
There is criticism of Bush for cutting the budget for shoring up the levees (pun not intended). We need to remember something about that money. (1) the cuts were only the past 2 years and (2) except in extraordianry circumstances the flow of money from the feds to an actual project is years. The lesson is if you (a state, city or locality) thinks something is so important that you have to go to the feds then you better find a way to do it yourself and ask the feds instead to repay you. The money (and consequently the work) will get to the project faster...in the same year possibly.

3 Comments:

Blogger Whetam Knauckweirst said...

The second of your two points is very interesting. Are there examples of the feds reimbursing municipalities for these kinds of expenditures? It appears to have been a well-known fact those levees protecting New Orleans wouldn't hold up to a Category Four hurricane, and a powerful hurricane was inevitable.

September 02, 2005  
Blogger Tony said...

I know of no new examples, but there is not a reason a new way of doing things cannot be done.

The thing that sucks about politics (and the hacks that follow it) is that the "it's always been this way" mentality permeates in ways that is should not.

It has been a long-time well known fact that the levees would likely fail...so why is it that only the last 2 years of funding cuts made the difference? Should not the officials over the past 10, 20 or 40 years be held to blame for not getting the levees up to better standards?

The point is that $ takes a LONG time to flow from the feds. Louisiana and New Orleans should have paid the costs on their own if they felt it was so important. If you REALLY need the feds then you better have them do it after the fact...cuz it will take to long for them to trickle the funding downward.

September 02, 2005  
Blogger RetiredSpy said...

Tony is right - er, uh - CORRECT. Problems with these levees have been known for a long time. Local politics at the city and state levels resulted in all sorts of delays too. And there were problems with the State of Louisiana pulling together matching funds for what was made available from the feds. Some experts - whether real experts or self-appointed - have suggested that the long range plans on the table would not have been sufficient to have levees capable of withstanding this sort of hurricane and its aftermath. In actuality the levee that was breached was the very same levee that had been upgraded and improved the most in recent years. While all this tragedy is continuing to unfold, Michael Moore has posted an open letter to the president, accusing him of being a racist! What a flaming idiot.

September 02, 2005  

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