Napolitano searching for director of the “F-word”

James Lee Witt is no longer the only named possibility for director of FEMA.  The Times Picayune reports Secretary Napolitano has a short list of new names under consideration.

Newly confirmed Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano is close to naming a new FEMA administrator, with several new names in the mix of potential candidates, including retired Army Lt. Gen. Russel Honore, congressional staffers said Wednesday…

Also being considered, according to staffers who have been briefed by Obama transition officials, are Bruce Baughman, a 24-year FEMA veteran who left the agency in 2003 and now is a homeland security consultant for the Baton Rouge risk management firm IEM, and Mark Merritt, a former FEMA official who now leads a consulting firm with President Bill Clinton’s former FEMA director, James Lee Witt.

Agency experience, IMO, is baggage for anyone – Witt, Baughman or Merritt. Experience in disaster management is certainly not baggage but neither is it needed.  That leaves the recently retired we’re-not-stuck-on-stupid Honore, who led 22,000 federal troops into New Orleans as commander of Joint Task Force Katrina, alone on the list. 

A native of Lakeland in Pointe Coupee Parish, Louisiana, and youngest of 12 children, Honoré earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Vocational Agriculture from Southern University and A&M College in 1971. He also holds a Master of Arts in Human Resources from Troy State University as well as an Honorary Doctorate in Public Administration from Southern University and A&M College. He has received leadership development training from the Center for Creative Leadership.

Any thoughts?  Honore certainly has some about disaster management.

As Lt. Gen. Russel Honore gets ready to retire from the Army and hand over his command on Friday, he says he wants to spend the rest of his life creating a “culture of preparedness” to prevent another post-disaster disaster.

His next project is still taking shape, but he wants to see civil defense classes for young people that would teach first aid and survival basics, such as how to purify water. He wants to lobby drug stores and other businesses to keep generators in case of a long power failure. He wants cities to stockpile food and water so they don’t have to rely on the federal government.

And he wants to pressure every family to have an emergency plan, right down to backpacks with food, water, essential documents and medicine.

Sounds good to me.

34 thoughts on “Napolitano searching for director of the “F-word””

  1. If I recall he is a no non sense guy. That is what we need.

    My question is will the Obama administration let him call it as he sees it? Then, we ask will he have to walk the “party line”.

    We shall see.

  2. Sup, I did a search on all three “new” candidates and don’t think there is any doubt he’s a “no nonsense guy”. The other two are impressive, as well, but, what impressed me most was that each, like Witt, has held a position of responsibility with the agency in the past – and I believe that’s a “big no-no”. What we need is someone with fresh eyes and no ties.

    As to anyone being able to “call it as he sees it” I can only answer the President’s appointments to day all seem to be exceptionally qualified, strong-willed people. I believe they’ll operate under a set of general principles/policies and be allowed to go as far as they can defend. I don’t see Obama as a micro-managed but as someone who expects his people to do their homework and do it well.

    At this point, however, I don’t know of any decision that’s been made on the position of FEMA director – and I definitely support giving the agency cabinet status.

  3. I’ll go with John Wayne—

    In an interview with local WWL radio, New Orleans Mayor C. Ray Nagin was expressing dismay at the lack of federal help for his city, but said of Honor

  4. I have been trying to get a Woman elected to God for ever, but barring that would settle for Russel Honore. Jus’sayin… I remember when that man came to town. It is a no-brainer. We need him to head FEMA. He is from Louisiana.
    You can email our new DHS director, and the new White House website that works, and the head of the Transition team, or even Obama himself. I did.
    We really need Russel Honore.
    Very fine post, nowdoicityou!
    I have gotten to where we just grab the post from titles alone. Whew!
    Slabber’s life ever risky!
    Editilla

  5. I’m under the impression that Witt’s tenure was exemplary — that Clinton directed him to make FEMA a first-class operation and that Witt followed through. Am I wrong?

  6. Welcome to Slabbed, Citizen K! As far as I know, you are correct.

    Unfortunately, it means Witt (and any other former FEMA anything) has ties to the insurance industry and contractors that run FEMA.

    The “change we need” is someone who comes with no strings attached.

  7. Well, as an employee of FEMA, I can say that experience is crucial and required for emergency management. Unfortunately past political appointees truly damaged our little agency and there are many ‘inside’ that still take up breathing space and don’t do a damned thing. Personally, I have met Honore’ twice and had a short but candid conversation with him regarding leadership for this country. I found him to be a ‘troop oriented’ leader, cares about the people, and gets shit done. With that being said, I hope he does take over this agency, we need a kickass man that has the experience, the training, and the spine to tackle the media and the public. Sadly, no one really sees the good work we accomplish and no one ever asks about what we most certainly do right. On every disaster I am on, I hear and see positive feedback from the people, including my 3 months on Katrina Operations. But who wants to hear what we did right, or how well things worked? Or is everyone just a fair-weathered critic that only is driven by negative drama and media-fed hype?

  8. I’ll ask, fedresponse, and we welcome you to SLABBED. We’d love to hear more and join you in hoping you have a new director with “spine” although if it’s the spine to get politics out of emergency management, the media and public won’t be a concern IMO.

    Tell us about the good that goes unnoticed and what the employees of the agency see as the priorities – and what we can do to help. I’m particularly interested in knowing more about the influence contractors and insurance companies have on the agency.

    Make yourself at home and invite other employees to comment here, as well.

    Thanks for stopping in, hope you’ll come often.

  9. And speaking of Honores’ line “Stuck on Stupid”…how about “Stuck on Katrina”? Wow. Let’ see here, how many disaster declarations happened since then? How many major disasters occured in which no one bothers to recall? Not all disasters have houses wiped off the earth, most often states qualify for public assistance…ice storms for example. Check out fema.gov to see what states just got approved for assistance within a couple of days.
    Wisconsin, Indiana, Iowa, Southern California, Washington, Washington D.C., Missouri, Mississippi, Maine, New York, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Oklahoma, Kentucky, Texas, Alabama, Georgia, New Mexico, etc-etc are all disaster declaration states since 2005.
    I’m sure that I am missing a few states, but how much does anyone pay attention to these disasters?

  10. To nowdoucit:

    Thank you for the kind welcome and online hospitality. 🙂
    Anyone on here is more than welcome to ask questions about my agency and I will certainly do my best to answer them…whether negative or positive.

    For the employees of FEMA who lack political motivation and unethical behavior…I would place the internal ‘GS-Gods’ or permanent full timers at about 60% solid waste, and the rest half-scared for their jobs. On nearly every disaster you see on television, the FEMA personnel on the ground are NOT full time employees, they are on-call reservists. These reservists (such as myself) recieve no benefits, no retirement, no medical. We only recieve monetary compensation/paycheck.

    So, from a reservist standpoint, I will answer your question about agency priorities:
    1) Solid leadership
    2) Unethical abuse of reservists in the field from those in leadership positions
    3) Benefits/retirement help.
    4) Fair and equal treatment
    5) Updated training
    6) Aggressively firing/getting rid of dead weight in our ranks

    What you can do to help:
    Get educated on how this agency works. Contact your local federal/state representatives if you have a legitimate complaint. Find out from your county or state emergency manager on what your state’s disaster plans are, whats the reality of flood insurance (fine line details), and realistic expectations of what FEMA can or cannot do.

    Contractors:
    I often get approached by contractors on their greed tactics to get a GSA contract with FEMA. FEMA does business through the GSA process. Keep in mind that large contractors must basically show that they have the operational, logistical, and financial means for the job. Lets take the removal of 200,000 plus damaged vehicles from the city of New Orleans as a singular example. Why would you award a GSA contract to a local tow-truck company that has, say, 6 wreckers? How freaking long do you think it’s going to take? When the public and politicians are howling for the city to get cleaned up, should there be a major company that has the fleet, the personnel, the finances and correct insurance to get the job done quickly?

    I’m not saying that there aren’t contractors who have received GSA awarded contracts from FEMA. I have no idea, and the public can request a FOIA investigation from FEMA in order to find out. However, it is unrealistic to anyone to think political influence doesn’t play into a federal agencies chosen alliances. Look at the Cheney-Bush tag-team. Bush turned around and made a billionaire out of Halliburton contracts overseas…that was sickeningly wrong in every way you slice it.

    Insurance Companies:
    The National Flood Insurance Program needs some serious revamping. People who have it tend to know little about what is truly covered and what isn’t. Every single flood related disaster I am on, -the number one gripe is about splitting hairs between their insurance company and the NFIP. No wonder why an insurance adjuster was shot dead in the New Orleans area. Your local emergency manager should be taking the lead on (if your county or parish) educating the people on what to expect if your house is flooded. As for other insurance issues, I cannot help you on that.

  11. A question to those on this site (and a quiz of sorts):

    What is the process in place for FEMA to assist a state with their disaster?

  12. And as for the contractors who think they can try and get me to help them out? I ask them if they’re willing to share a jail cell together, or should I call the police to report an attempt to bribe a federal employee? They leave me alone after that.

    From what I have seen with the public, is that they are frustrated in not having any real contact or response from FEMA personnel, and most often just want a few simple questions answered.

    In researching FEMA related information online (and as an FYI, a lot of us FEMA personnel are reading agency related commentary), unfortunately no agency personnel wants to step up and talk with anyone.

    I specialize in educating the public with how our agency can or cannot help them with disaster assistance. I play no role in dealing with contractors and cannot provide advice on them.

  13. Great stuff, fed. Are you saying there are “full-time reservists”? I’ve know several “reservists”, including one married couple; but, they’re “on call” and often away from home for months at a time when they’re called up.

    What I’m reading sounds more like the “politics of usual” for “reducing the size of government” and getting a big pat on the back from those who think government is too big.

    Smoke and mirrors – cutting positions and then hiring individuals on “time limited basis” who do the work that would/should have been done by someone in regular staff position that got cut. The agency can then claim to have reduced size without negative impact on its mission and receive some sort of award for improving efficiency.

    Am I close?

    Answers to your questions to follow.

  14. Regarding the quiet world of us reservists, the couple you speak of, thats exactly how it works. Reservists are on-call status ‘year-round’ and must be available 60-90 days a year, depending upon their regional cadre managers availability rules.

    As for ‘smoke and mirrors’, you are way off. FEMA is actually a small agency. It has a permanent staff around 3,000 that primarily perform administrative duties. Permanent hires might have fabulous paychecks (as do all GS-10+), but they are stuck in their offices/cubicles, and their work is quite stressful.

    There has never been a time where FEMA had lots of PFTs (permanent full time) employees, downsized, and then created the reservist pool. Disasters are infrequent occurences and sometimes unpredictible. I agree there is a solid need for reservists, and there are thousands of people trying to get hired as such. But once a cadre is full, it’s full.

    No, full timers are usually not allowed out on assignments. They were hired to do a full time job. Only a small handful of permanent staff might visit a disaster scene to oversee field operations, deal with high profile media events, or meet with high ranking government officials. Otherwise, the whole show is run by reservists.

    And just as an fyi to you, the permanent hires are usually extremely loaded down with intensive workloads…I wouldn’t want their job no matter how well it paid. If you were to take a candid visit to FEMA HQ’s in D.C. and allowed to visit with the staff, -you’d quickly see the high stress levels and realize we actually need to hire more help.

    My personality suits the field lifestyle and thats where I feel most effective. Some people don’t like the extreme stress and prefer inside detail…and thats okay. 🙂

    I’m not sure why you have such a suspicious perspective on this agency? I’ve worked in HQ’s, in the field, with a wide variety of FEMA personnel…and I am here to tell you that there isn’t anything ‘dark and secret’ formulating in the uppermost levels of FEMA.

    What is a real source of entertainment are the blatantly ignorant conspiracy theory types who post impressively stupid propaganda that FEMA has some evil plot to stuff people into concentration camps, or whatever their tiny minds can dream up. As I have told those morons before…the federal government just isn’t that fascinated with you. Not the FBI, not the CIA, not the NSA…and certainly not FEMA! Believe or not, these people have better things to do than spy on hyperactive white trash imaginations stewing in their backwoods cabins. Funny how those sites are run by right-wing, partially racist, totally white, low-to-middle income rednecks? Wow, why would anyone listen to that part of our culture? I squared off one time with an idiot of such mentality. He accused me and my agency of plotting all sorts of doomsday kidnappings. I asked him, “Why should we care what you think? What makes you so damned important for us to spend taxpayer money and stick you in some fabricated internment camp posted on the internet?” For those who apparently suspect every FEMA employee of secretly gathering information on a disaster, -why would we do that? Consequently, that loser didn’t have a single answer. Like we want his broken down trailer? LOL!!!!

  15. Interesting – and right when I’m short on time but what I don’t get in this quick reply, I’ll come back and add.

    One thing for certain I want to do is understand the gap between your claim of 3000 employees and the far smaller number I’ve seen in news stories and reports from various investigations.

    As to my perspective on the agency, suspicion it is not. Instead, it’s a combination of actual experience working with the folks on the ground and reading the law, regulations, policies and related documentation of actual implementation of same.

    What I see is total fragmentation and a major disconnect between the law, regulations, policies and the reality on the ground. IMO, that’s the real “stuck on stupid” and the “stuck on Katrina” part is because the “stupid” contained therein became transparent at that point.

    I harbor no thoughts of “doomsday kidnappings” but suspect those who do are a combination of people who don’t have a grip on reality under any circumstance and those who lost their grip trying to figure out how to get the help they need when the law, regulations, policies trickle down to a very different reality than the one needed by victims of a disaster.

    One more reason for “stuck on Katrina” is that we’re still dealing with the disaster – homes and sometimes entire streets that look as if the storm was three or four days ago and not three, approaching four, years ago.

    IMO, we need to return FEMA to cabinet position, wipe the slate clean, and fix the problems in the law, regulations and policies in general including, of course, those with the NFIP.

    that’s all for now, I’ll check back for your response and add more detail as soon as I get another break in my schedule – be assured, however, that I see the you folks on the ground as a part of the solution, not the problem.

  16. I don’t have a hard number on actual full timers, whether its 3k or 4k. FEMA is shaped a pyramid in my opinion. A large on-call reservist base at the bottom, middle-management in the middle, and a few top dogs rounding out the peak. No particular difference from any other agency save for the reservist employee pool. My ‘guess-timation’ is there’s about 8k in the United States on-call. Mind you, when calls go out, not everything answers or is listed as available. As for the gap, -it makes sense to me. A few thousand full time government employees are office workers who tackle finances, contracts, boring administration duties, manage various parts of FEMA (logistics, planning, operations, finance, public affairs, etc) with day-to-day operational work. They are stuck indoors and us reservists handle the field work. Why the focus on how many full timers work for FEMA? Its nothing to well, for lack of a better framing of words…who gives a damn? FEMA HQ’s is in D.C., they have Mount Weather in Virginia, small regional offices throughout the United States, and that’s about it. I highly recommend checking out our website and take a look at the jobs listed (type, location, number of jobs per position). From what I understand, it is very tough trying to get a permanent job with the agency. Their KSA’s are way too damned strict.
    FEMA does need to goto cabinet position again. The NFIP needs dealt with as it affects financial recovery efforts for those who live in floodplain or flood-prone zones.

    Katrina was a horrific ‘scorched earth’ disaster.
    Whether you like it or not, and I am NOT speaking on behalf of my agency when I say the following…parts of Louisiana are not going to recover. That is reality. I was there for 3 months, so I know full well what happened and where. The Gulf of Mexico is a case of ‘russian roulette’ with hurricanes. Sooner or later, every state and coastline is going to take a bullet. If San Francisco or Los Angeles took a direct 8.0+ earthquake that leveled the city to ruins, how many people do you expect to move back? How much sympathy from taxpayers do you think will rebound and rebuild the place? Through politics and public pressure, things either get done or not done. Louisiana politics are well known and documented for outlandish corruption. I even read where the Mayor of Gulfport, Mississippi was recently brought up on charges for falsifying claims with FEMA. Is it fair that Louisiana is never going to get restored back to it’s original status? I don’t know. How can you expect people to return to their neighborhood which is now a toxic wasteland where public utilities weren’t restored due to NO TAXPAYERS! Why would a family come back to live in such a dangerous area and pay huge insurance rates, only to risk losing their home and lives sometime in the unknown future? I talked to people who were finally convinced by their own good survival sense to relocate somewhere else. Banks, Insurance Companies, businesses, lost out millions of dollars from people who no longer had jobs or the capitol to pay bills, loans, debts, etc. To think or hope that its going to go back to normal is ridiculous, and you know thats the truth. There are dangerous places on this earth which are a pure gamble to live within.
    The role of the federal government is not to keep shelling out money for people who make those choices. Again, false expectations and lack of accountability. Emergency disaster assistance is for basic needs or maybe even enough cash to help you relocate, -in some cases individuals don’t qualify for federal disaster assistance (adequate insurance coverage for instance). Whats that saying about the definition of insanity? Trying the same thing over and over again and expecting different results?
    Public opinion in the United States is that they don’t want to financially bankroll people to move back into a deadly disaster zone…they want to see practical changes instead. Some year, Louisiana is going to get it’s ass kicked in harder. After Hurricane Ike whipped Galveston Island and other parts of southeast Texas, it sure resembled the aftermath of Katrina in certain places. I heard from Galveston residents, “I didn’t think it would happen to us.” I countered, “Really? Your seawall has the only statue in the entire United States commemorating 10,000+ dead in 1900, and you live on the Gulf of Mexico…are not the dead bodies buried all along this island enough of a warning to NOT LIVE HERE?”

  17. Mr Fedrespone seems to think there are places in these United States known as “Risk Free”. Do the lessons of 6,000 years of human existence permeate the walls of FEMA HQ? I’m beginning to wonder.

    A newsflash, the American people and public opinion is that we will be restored, just as disaster victims before us.

    My experience is FEMA bureaucrats think that making the elected leaders here jump through twisted hoops and games of three card monte for three years (getting money congress passd and appropriated) is some sort of parlor game.

    To the extent you’re a first responder we honor the work you did here. But FEMA’s job isn’t to devine public opinion or create public policy.

    I will tell you this, public opinion won’t tolerate the incompetence that pervaded your agency in 2005. Just ask George Bush….

    sop

  18. To ‘sop81:
    I know that there truly isn’t any places in the U.S. which are risk free. However, there are many states which might get a small-scale regional disaster (localized flooding, drought, wildfire) but nothing even remotely close to the wide, destructive scale of a hurricane, major earthquake, or muitiple tornadoes. Everyone in FEMA knows where the dangerous zones are in the U.S. C’mon, thats just being cynical without reason.

    Decent areas which don’t get hammered much (these are of my own personal opinion):
    Central valley area/california.
    Montana
    Utah
    Wyoming
    Nevada
    New Mexico
    Arizona
    Colorado
    Ohio
    Pennsylvania
    Vermont (and inland New England states
    Oregon
    Washington
    Virginia
    Maryland
    Wes Virginia

    When you say ‘here’, what area are you referring to?
    FEMA’s job certainly isn’t to devine public policy, but to some extent public sentiment, political attention/favor have an influence. Do I have hard proof on this point? Nothing on paper or spoken words from anyone I know. However, the proof is on the ground in parts of Louisiana. Ask your political leaders why things aren’t getting done? Even beyond that, you know that the cost of rebuilding an entire infrastructure is grossly expensive. This country’s taxpayers hold the sentiment card, the politicians represent the wishes of their constituents, and to some degree…the money is not there to rebuild, and probably never will be. What I keep seeing is criticism upon an agency which can only do so much, and shouldn’t be expected to go beyond their mission capacity. The situation in Louisiana lies with the people, not the government. I highly doubt that thousands of people who left are ‘en masse’ trying to come back into totally wasted areas. If they were, plus pressuring their political reps, then you would see changes. No taxpayer base, no changes. Very simple.

    Also, ask where the 99 million dollars donated to Katrina Efforts by the Arab Emirates (sp?) went to. A hardback book was created in honor of their lofty donation. Disaster victims should be asking what that money was spent on, and why an expensive book was produced on it?
    Part to the problem with Katrina response was on the state coordination. FEMA cannot just waltz into a state uninvited…that is law. Brown was a worthless ass, we all know that. He was a presidential appointee…so that fault goes back to the president who put him in that slot. FEMA has the power to give an emergency mandate and activate ESF’s (emergency support functions) such as search and rescue, military response, medical and voluntary disaster agencies (Red Cross, Salvation Army).

  19. Public Sentiment: 2008 election

    Donations from UAE: We know about it (Steve esp)

    You left off the New Madrid fault areas including North Mississippi, Arkansas, Tennessee, Kentucky, Missouri, Illinois.

    Sorry for the short and sweet, I’m pressed for time but Steve and Nowdy will be along later to continue.

    You’ve been reading us for a while. Thanks for taking the time to post.

    sop

  20. Fed, just a couple of points about “location”

    1. Natural barriers have been destroyed by other agencies and/or acts of government – running up the tab for FEMA and leaving property owners and communities along the coast stranded.

    In many cases, we’re simply asking government to fix what it broke and/or clean up the mess it made. It shouldn’t take the federal courts or an Act of Congress to teach folks in positions of authority what most learn in kindergarten.

    2. Relocation sound like a reasonable idea until you consider the economic impact. Pray tell how we could move the shipbuilding industry and ports inland. The gulf is a blue collar coast – not a resort area.

    3. An interesting bit of information copied from related reader comments on a story in today’s Times Picayune.

    ” were you aware that the White House is below sea level? With your logic, shouldn’t we shut down DC and move it? Did you know that NYC would be rendered virtually uninhabitable if it took a direct hit from a Cat 3 storm? I’d be careful about assuming the safety of the utopia…We’re all one act of nature away from a whole lot of grief, no matter where we live.”

    4. Among the reasons things aren’t getting done:

    a. federal funds come from existing programs with all strings attached – example, limits on use of Social Service Block Grant. Nothing wrong with reallocating existing funds but the rules need to be revised to serve as effective disaster assistance.

    b. rebuilding “rules” come years after the storm – those willing to guess at height requirements have made parts of the coast look like an updated version of village from a Tarzan movie – tree houses with no trees!

    c. per Congressional testimony, when FEMA convened advisers for the development of the Emergency Claims Handling Process, the agency called on representatives of the insurance industry – not NFIP policyholders! – and the result aided and abetted the industry and screwed the taxpaying, premium paying policyholders royally. Politics it was but that can’t be excuse anymore than it is for destruction of barrier islands, wetlands, etc. The agency has to clean up the mess.

    A good start would be clarifying the obvious – insurance companies have to follow the rules change made after Ike and account for % of damage from wind vs excluded flood paid by NFIP or repay any NFIP $ paid on all claims settled after Ike – like the hundreds of Katrina claims here in Mississippi. IMO you can’t seal the use of public funds.

    Appreciate your interest and your comments, fed.

  21. “Also, ask where the 99 million dollars donated to Katrina Efforts by the Arab Emirates (sp?) went to. A hardback book was created in honor of their lofty donation. Disaster victims should be asking what that money was spent on, and why an expensive book was produced on it?”

    I know the middle east had about 1 billion in donations lined up for us. I even personally told President Bush to make sure the Royal Family of Saudi Arabia knew how much it meant to Katrina victims to have their help. He game me a weird look but didn’t say anything to my comment. He did tell me to pass on a good message to our town’s mayor but never talked about the Saudi Families great gift to our area.

    I found out why later. He got Condi Rice to announce we as a Nation didn’t know how to accept aid from a foreign Nation. My thoughts were it’s the same way your daddy takes their money. But it’s water under the bridge.

    Yes. I was to receive aid from the program and even meet with the good people from Home Depot when they came to town to get our list of materials we needed (all to be paid by the Saudi royal family). Yes, I lived in a toxic FEMA trailer until I got a notice explaining my respiratory illness was probably caused by the gas in the trailer. Yes, I’m better now as far as I know. Yes, I think Bush is an asshole and an idiot.

    Oh well. No risk-free area of the world. We already know in this area that we might have to take care of ourselves after any disaster and have done so before the USA was even a Nation; so, we’v got that cultural norm down already. Some of us locals have been here longer than there has been a FEMA. Some have been here (by “us” I mean our families) have been here longer than the USA has been a nation. My neighbor’s house was called the Spanish Custom’s House because when it was build in the late 1700’s by the Spanish Custom’s Officer. Katrina took it but guess what. It was replaced by another house.

    We’re not going anywhere and as far as the USA goes we’ll be here even if the USA decides it doesn’t need us anymore. Thanks my thoughts.

  22. As far as first responders go they are the best. Especially the guys from New York and New Jersey. They loved us and came back to help long after their fed’s stopped paying them to do so. Even came back and gave us a community thanks giving dinner which I attended. No better people on planet earth in my opinion but they know that disaster can strike at any moment anywhere on planet earth. They worked 9-11 and probably made a pledge to make it their life’s mission to repay all the good people who helped them after 9-11. We cried and we shared a bond that this Nation needs to remain a United States. We’re not a cowboy nation despite the allure of that mystic. Even the richest of our community stayed and ate in the same food lines as the poorest of our community after Katrina. Its a real lesson in how we need each other and how much we really do love each other.

    Our local bank didn’t find reasons to not be open after Katrina. The president of the company got the workers to put A LOT of money in the trunks of their cars and brought it to us. Not at the Bank. No, he got them to go to the emergency operations center where the people gathered. People lined up and the bank used an old fashioned ledger book to keep a record of who got what. 200 buck limit but enough to get you going. Didn’t matter if you didn’t have ID, most didn’t, and didn’t matter if you were a customer. Guess how many new customers he got after Katrina?

    He did this because he views his bank as being more than a place to keep your money. He views it as a community asset which provides people access to their money when they need it and thus a feeling of security. He and his sister are worth close to a billion dollars. They ate in the food lines, as well, after Katrina. So we were all the same.

    As for FEMA they are great and I appreciate what they do. They tried to do a good job. Bush like I said is an asshole. I knew that when he turned down the aide from the Saudi Family. I remember the same people wanting to give us money after 9-11 and it wasn’t a problem then until the guy made some comments about the USA. Oh well. It would have been a good chance to mend a few bridges. The moment is lost.

    As for us in Hancock County. We started gathering up our dead the day the storm hit. We took the tires off the cars that were flooded and drove around to look for the living first. Our mayor(whose family has been living in the area since the 1600’s on the European side and for as long as Indians were here on the other) found a BBQ grill and got some meat from the local grocery store the first night. We cooked all the meat and food that was still good from the store. Police were at the doors of the stores making sure nobody hoarded food but we sure didn’t stop people from taking the food. This went on for about 3 days till the Mississippi National Guard showed up. Seems they were delayed due to being on duty in Iraq of all places. When they showed up, locals threw debris at their trucks and cursed them out.

    More later. Hope you enjoyed.

  23. Thanks, Steve. Although I don’t agree with everything fedresponse has said, he/she certainly expresses the frustration all of us have once we realize there are no easy answers.

  24. FEMA and the NFIP do a great service for our Nation. The best service is they use the power of the federal govenment to help communities reduce the risk they assume. That is the point of the flood zones etc. FEMA is a great agency. They have a new boss now and we expect—Yes we can to be the new motto.

    We had the best experiences taking care of ourselfs post-katrina but it was not anything you would want to do as a model. God did bless us with some mighty good people after Katrina and of course Nowdy you are one of them.

    Montana
    Utah
    Wyoming
    Nevada–Fires risk
    New Mexico–Fires risk
    Arizona–Fire risk
    Colorado–Fire risk
    Ohio—Earth quake
    Pennsylvania
    Vermont (and inland New England states
    Oregon—Tsunamis
    Washington—Tsunamis
    Virginia—Tsunamis
    Maryland–Tsunamis
    Wes Virginia—How do you earn a living here?

    http://www.nmfireinfo.com/

    http://www.azfireinfo.az.gov/

    And to make it even worse just this month there was anounced the discovery of a new earthquake fault in the USA. Where it is is not as important as the fact that people were living in the area and didn’t realize they were on top of a fault line. Little Rock is the area but it could have been anywhere. Its not part of the other nearby fault. So you never know.

  25. Plus I can promise you the risk of having the USA move the over 56 percent of its people who live in Coastal Counties inland is more than low. Its non-existant. It would be nice to have a risk free place to live but such is not the nature of Mother Nature. Programs like NFIP that help reduce risk are good. Programs like FEMA which help prepare for risk are good. When people take part in their government to ensure the programs are working right, it is good. Hope this helps. Would love to hear more about the FEMA side of life.

  26. The people in North Mississippi now have 2 fault lines to worry about and the possible breach of levy’s during a swollen Mississippi River being the worst case scenario. I don’t know if this means their levy construction needs to be changed but I doubt it. Thought you would like to see this if you haven’t Nowdy.

    LITTLE ROCK, Ark.

  27. Thank you, Steve. I need a little help on the insurance legislation, could you get my email addy from Sop and contact me? Thanks.

  28. Sorry to repost this but if you can take the other one down feel free to—

    Of course the risk for Wyoming is FEMA as per this blog—:)

    ARE THEY PLANNING TO ROUND UP THE WEST?

    Posted By: Esclarmonde
    Date: Saturday, 6 March 2004, 3:19 p.m.

    In Response To: IS RADIATION NOW KILLING ELK IN WYO; CATTLE IN COLO? (Esclarmonde)

    We believe we know what is killing the elk: Radiation

    From the ‘evidence’ presented here, it seems obvious that someone pretending to be our government is exploding Nuclear Devices Underground. Why? To build underground storage in a hurry, using Nuclear devices?

    Hopefully, Someone with some integrity will get hold of one of those animals and have it tested for Radiation and I think we will know what the 5.3 event was all about and what probably were several more such events on Feb 19 and about 24th and on March 1.

    WE WILL BET THAT IT WILL BE FOUND THAT THE UNELECTED GOVERNMENT, FEMA, IS EXPLODING NUCLEAR DEVICES UNDERGROUND. TO WHAT END? ARE THEY INTENDING TO ROUND UP EVERYONE IN THE WEST AND HERD US UNDERGROUND?

    LET’S LOOK AT THE FACTS:

    1) Ashcroft has asked for permission to be able to incarcerate anyone he thinks ‘might’ be a threat to his goals. He calls such Americans that might disagree with him: Terrorists. Has he decided that the American West just has too many free minds living in it and needs to be brought under his control?

    http://www.rense.com/general50/miss.htm

  29. To Steve:
    “WE WILL BET THAT IT WILL BE FOUND THAT THE UNELECTED GOVERNMENT, FEMA, IS EXPLODING NUCLEAR DEVICES UNDERGROUND. TO WHAT END? ARE THEY INTENDING TO ROUND UP EVERYONE IN THE WEST AND HERD US UNDERGROUND?”

    LMAO!! My god are people STUPID. Thanks for the laugh, and I’ll be sure to send that white trash piece of journalism to my fed pals.
    Interesting posts by everyone. I think anyone who truly cares about how effective emergency management serves american citizens has their own frustrations with the government process.
    To Steve:
    You mentioned that you would ‘love to hear more about the FEMA side of life’. -What would you like to know about? 🙂

  30. Not Steve but I’d like to know what FEMA is doing to provide assistance for those experiencing current ice storm. I read the Agency had sent in 25-50 generators – but surely that’s not all – and that shelters are beyond full and people are being urged to get out if they can.

    I think it’s pretty obvious that there’s more to the story; so, from the inside what’s happening there and what’s not – and why.

    Just to make it clear, I think we’re all aware there has to be disaster declaration and request for assistance.

    Also, we sent power crews from here up ahead of the storm – just showing we care about the needs of those inland and not just our own.

    …and, fwiw, trash comes in all colors. : ) better said, we don’t sort by color. : )

  31. To nowdoucit:
    I’ve seen the various ‘doomsday’ sites targeting FEMA, and its pretty obvious these aren’t minority race types feeding that nonsense to the online world. In my many travels on disaster, only the hardcore right wing fundamentalist variety start in on us with their false propaganda. They are stupid, but also armed.
    Normally I wouldn’t be so carefree to bring race into anything, but by research it falls upon an exclusive batch of severely rural, undereducated, white males (not too far from the McViegh/Nichols persona) that have nothing better to do with their lives than make my job more difficult, and at times deadly. Last year one of these people approached me to comment that I should ‘watch my ass’ and that my DHS logo patch (on the front pocket) would make a nice bullseye target. Nice talk to a female, don’t you agree? Perhaps if you got to wear my gear in a pissed off crowd of thousands screaming for ‘instant everything’, maybe you wouldn’t be so gentle with your words. -Pardon my ‘ranting’ about this subject. A few disgruntled morons will surely get us FEMA personnel killed in the field. We all cringe to see the day one of us are taken out, and it’s a matter of time. I know lots of very compassionate, kind, selfless, smart people in the field who are totally dedicated to helping out disaster victims. This online nonsense encourages dangerous fervor level of terrorist of thinking.

    As per finding out whats going on with any state with disaster declarations, goto that particular state’s emergency management website for daily situation reports. Also, check out the state’s forestry websites. Check fema.gov for disaster declaration links and in particular, FEMA’s daily situation report. State National Guard links are also helpful. Kentucky’s N.G. has lots of information on it. When you see a national disaster, look to who seems to be the major agency coordinating response efforts: national guard, wildland fire (Forest Service, BLM, etc), Red Cross, FEMA, FBI, etc. Start cruising around to the different responder agency websites for cross-comparing information. You could see where the Red Cross provides more in depth shelter information, or FEMA with operational plans, or law enforcement for road closures, martial law or curfew mandates. Not one agency provides all the details of the incident.

    See FEMA link: http://www.fema.gov/emergency/reports/index.shtm

    Kentucky Division of Emergency Management:
    http://kyem.ky.gov/

    Kentucky National Guard:
    http://www.dma.ky.gov/

    Kentucky American Red Cross:
    http://www.louisville-redcross.org/NETCOMMUNITY/Page.aspx?pid=434&srcid=198

  32. Attn: Nowduocit:

    I am sending an email to the one provided on here. A very interesting (but public record) document was just released on the agency. Since I don’t know who you are, I am going to headline it according to this blog’s title heading.

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