Hurricane Katrina


Where and how was the original money spent? On real people or on the contractors? Want to help just in case Mr. Bush doesn’t keep his word 100%? Click here.

The New York Times

 


March 1, 2007Bush in gulf coast

Bush Vows to Speed Up Aid for Gulf Coast

BILOXI, Miss., March 1 — President Bush traveled today to the Gulf Coast, still trying to recover from the winds and floods of 2005, and vowed to do everything he could to speed up federal assistance.

“Of the things I’ve heard loud and clear is that there’s a continued frustration with the slowness of federal response at times,” Mr. Bush said at Biloxi City Hall after meeting with public officials and community leaders. “And therefore it’s important for me to hear that, and my friend Don Powell to hear that, so that we can come and do what the people expect us to do, which is to respond to the needs of people in Mississippi.”

Mr. Powell, the federal coordinator of rebuilding efforts along the Gulf Coast, said on the flight from Washington that “we all have a sense of urgency” about the region. “Is there more work to be done?” he said aboard Air Force One. “Absolutely.”

The president was accompanied by Gov. Haley Barbour, whom he praised for his leadership during and after the storm.

“And he, along with two fine United States senators, are constantly talking to the White House in pretty plain language about what more needs to be done,” Mr. Bush said, referring to Senators Trent Lott and Thad Cochran, both Republicans. “And I hope he would say that we listen and if possible respond in a constructive way.”

The visit by the president, which was to include a tour of parts of New Orleans, is his 14th to the Gulf Coast since Hurricane Katrina struck in the late summer 2005, and Mr. Powell said on Air Force One that it was further evidence of a continuing commitment to rebuild the region.

Mr. Powell said that about $110 billion in recovery aid had been appropriated for Louisiana and Mississippi, and that about $53 billion had actually been spent. “It is important that local officials push” to get money into the hands of people who need it, Mr. Powell said.

The initial response to the hurricane and flooding was criticized at the federal, state and local levels. But the Bush administration suffered a bad public relations blemish when the president complimented Michael D. Brown, then head of the Federal Emergency Management Agency, for doing “a heck of a job” even as the agency was being criticized for its slow and clumsy response. Mr. Brown resigned soon afterward.

If Mr. Bush took a “we’ve learned our lesson” approach today, he also pointed to progress. Walking through Long Beach, not far from Biloxi, he recalled how much better things look now than they did on his first post-Katrina trip, when he saw “piles of rubble, literally debris stacked upon debris.”

Mr. Bush looked relaxed as he bantered with Long Beach residents. Nellie Partridge, 84, was sitting on her porch when the president and Governor Barbour showed up. Ms. Partridge hugged Mr. Bush and called him “one of my favorite people.”

“There’s no telling who’s going to show up,” Mr. Bush said.

Robert Pear reported from Biloxi, Miss., and David Stout from Washington.

The LA Times has just figured out what people in the National Guard have known for years. The Guard is here to protect people IN THEIR STATES, or maybe the state next door, and NOT to go be combat troops. Why is it news to them that if you send the Guard and all their equipment overseas then they don’t have enough left at home? What happens when the next hurricane hits? DUH!!!!!

Why do you think they didn’t mention Louisiana or Mississippi and Hurricane Katrina ???

Governors warn of troop buildup’s impact on Guard

Both Republicans and Democrats say Bush’s Iraq plan will tax

already strained units.

 

By Molly Hennessy-Fiske, Times Staff Writer
February 25, 2007

WASHINGTON — Republican and Democratic governors meeting here Saturday warned that President Bush’s “surge” of additional troops to Iraq would put added pressure on National Guard units already stretched to their limits.

“We the governors rely on the Guard to respond to natural disasters, a pandemic or terrorist attack,” said North Carolina Gov. Michael F. Easley, a Democrat. “Currently, we don’t have the manpower or the equipment to perform that dual role” of responding to both state and federal needs.

The Pentagon last week announced plans to send 14,000 National Guard members to Iraq next year as support for the 21,500 troops to be deployed under Bush’s plan. The announcement came on the heels of a change in Pentagon policy to deploy Guard troops more frequently but to limit tours to a year; the average now is 18 months.

Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty, a Republican, said the federal government must
follow through on its pledge to replace equipment taken by Guard troops to Iraq.

“Those promises need to be kept,” Pawlenty said. “We’ll be able to test that, because we have a significant number coming back this summer. We’ll be able to see if the equipment comes back.”

The governors’ willingness to challenge the buildup reflects overall impatience with Washington, which has inspired a slew of state initiatives to tackle such issues as global warming, energy efficiency and healthcare.

Eighty-eight percent of stateside Army National Guard units are “very poorly equipped,” with less than half of what they need to respond to a domestic crisis, Lt. Gen. H. Steven Blum testified a few weeks ago to the independent Commission on the National Guard and Reserves.

Blum, chief of the National Guard Bureau, coordinates between the states and the Pentagon.

He said 45% of Air National Guard units lacked the necessary equipment to deploy.

Last month, National Guard officials notified commanders in Arkansas, Indiana, Oklahoma and Ohio that their combat brigades — each about 3,500 strong — might be the first to return to Iraq under the new guidelines, redeploying between January and July of next year. All four states sent troops to Afghanistan and Iraq in 2004. Under the old rules, Oklahoma was not scheduled to be called on again until 2010; the other three states, 2009.

In interviews, National Guard officials in Arkansas, Indiana and Oklahoma said their units were short on rifles and other basic equipment.

“We are hurting in equipment nationally, Guard-wide,” said Lt. Col. Deedra Thombleson of the Indiana National Guard.

Governors, in town for a National Governors Assn. meeting, plan to raise the issue Monday at a White House session with Bush. Guard officials plan to talk to Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates about it Tuesday.

“We will do all that we can to support the effort, but getting the equipment to do that will be a challenge,” said Maj. Gen. Roger Lempke, head of the Nebraska National Guard and president of the Adjutants General Assn. of the United States.

Equipping the Guard is of particular concern in states such as California and Florida, where troops are routinely called to respond to natural disasters like hurricanes and forest fires.

“We want to protect our troops and make sure they have what they need to deal with natural disasters,” said Florida Gov. Charlie Crist, a Republican.

Gov. Easley of North Carolina called National Guard equipment levels across the country “putridly inadequate.”

And without adequate equipment, he said, the National Guard’s role in the buildup would amount to “a squandered mobilization.”

With plans to increase the frequency of Guard deployments — now once every
six years — North Dakota Gov. John Hoeven, a Republican, said that getting enough troops for a second rotation in Iraq was “a concern.”

The governors association president, Arizona Gov. Janet Napolitano, a Democrat who has advocated sending National Guard troops to secure the
U.S.-Mexico border, said the Guard was “being stretched” to respond to the buildup.

California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, a Republican, is reviewing the plans with his National Guard leadership to assess the impact on the state. He has advocated doing what’s necessary to ensure success in Iraq but said he would not support a policy jeopardizing California’s safety.


molly.hennessy-fiske@latimes.com

 

 

 

 

 


 

 

I am not a big football fan. But my brother is and so we watch a lot of football. Just now, on FOX, they had a story about how New Orleans still isn’t recovered from Katrina and the flooding. nfl fox logo

They mentioned the 9th ward and showed damaged houses and talked to victims who haven’t been able to re-build. Of course there wasn’t any mention of what happened to all the money George W promised them, but at least it was on the air.

NFL

If Jackson County Mississippi had a really good football team, you’d hear a lot about the people there that are still in trailers instead of real housing. Since they don’t, click here to read and help, and click here if you are in Texas and can help us collect furniture and appliances.

—Freckles

Good blogs regarding re-building and poltics in New Orleans:

http://www.neworleansvfp.org/taxonomy/term/20

NOLA

Pix of the damage in Mississippi

Our LA & MS pix of the continued damage

trailer camps in the 9th ward
Tent City in New Orleans 9th ward

I don’t know for sure, but I think that all the contributors to this blog are all teens. I know for sure that two of them are. It’s a really cool site even though it is so professional that I feel I write like a 10-yr-old. Anyway, here’s BLUE STATE OBSERVER.

—-Freckles

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No dates yet, but at least a site where we will give details of the mission to deliver building supplies and appliances to Jackson County, Mississippi.
 http://texastoms.headonradionetwork.com/

—-Freckles

Scroll down to the bottom of this post for new photos.

This is what I wrote a few weeks ago about Hurricane Katrina.

https://frecklescassie.wordpress.com/2006/12/30/helping-the-people-who-are-still-suffering-after-hurricane-katrina/

Stay tuned to this blog for more info about the donations collection for furniture, appliances, and building materials. Trip will be early February. The truck will be going from Little Elm, TX to Dallas, then Austin, then San Antonio, and finally to Jackson County Mississippi. This is the full list of what Jackson County is asking for:

Here is a list of the items we most need in Jackson County. This list came from our survey assessments and from people on the ground that have been working in the storm surge areas for the past 16 months.
  1. Sheet rock
  2. Roofing shingles and felt
  3. 2 x 4 studs
  4. Refrigerators
  5. stove, gas or electric
  6. washers
  7. dryers
  8. Furniture, Chairs and/or couches for living rooms
  9. Microwave ovens
  10. Standard size doors (Inside)
  11. Tennis shoes for children and youth
  12. Queen/double size matresses
  13. Funds to purchase:
    • Groceries for senior citizens and families that have both or if there is only one parent on disability.
    • Turn on electricity in rental units, (costs between $90 – $140 per household) landlords require a down payment before a rentor can move into the property.
    • Medications for senior citizens on fixed incomes and families with parents that have both or if there is only one parent on disability.
The Jackson County Community Services Coalition is a 501 (c) 3 non-profit and we can purchase any of the above items locally and distribute to those in need if individuals or groups want to send financial support instead of paying the freight charges to the Mississippi Gulf Coast. Whatever you may decide, thank you for your support and help. For those considering on supporting these efforts for your information the Community Coalition has an independent audit completed yearly by a CPA.


Thanks,
—Freckles

trailer-park.gif

fema trailers

everything is lost

Jackson County

I read this post on Buzzflash and it got me thinking …..

Where does the government want poor people to live? Do they want poor to disappear? To die? To live in tent cities or crowded trailers? I understand wanting to have a mixed neighborhood and wanting people to live in nicer communities and learn good values from each other, but what happens to all the people whose apartments DON’T get re-built?

What happens in a person’s brain or a government’s plans that they want to think only of the rich and not of the poor? Can’t we please have America back? PLEASE!

—Freckles

Bill Quigley: Why Is HUD Bulldozing Public Housing Apts in New Orleans When It’s Cheaper to Fix Them?

Tale of Two Sisters: Why Is HUD Using Tens of Millions of Katrina Money to Bulldoze 4534 Public Housing Apartments in New Orleans When It Costs Less to Repair and Open Them Up?

A BUZZFLASH GUEST CONTRIBUTION
by Bill Quigley

Gloria Williams and her twin sister Bobbie Jennings are 60 years old. They are two of the over 4000 families who lived in public housing in New Orleans before Katrina struck who are still locked out of their apartments since Katrina. Their apartments are two of 4534 apartments that the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) has announced plans to demolish. Demolition is planned even though it will cost more to demolish and rebuild many fewer units than it does to fix them up and open them. Ms. Williams and Ms. Jennings, and thousands of families like them, are fighting HUD, they want to return.

Gloria and Bobbie started working early. As children they picked cotton, strawberries, snap beans and pecans before and after grade school every day in rural Louisiana. “We were raised up to work,” they said.

They moved to New Orleans after their father drowned. Their home was marked by regular domestic violence. A few years later, their mother was murdered by a boyfriend.

As teens they moved in with an abusive relative. They ran away, came back, and stayed with other relatives. They can even remember nights when they slept under their aunt’s bed in a hospital while waiting for her to recuperate.

As young women they continued working. They worked in restaurants before starting careers as Certified Nursing Assistants. Then they worked for years in nursing homes and in private homes caring for the elderly and disabled. They fed people, cleaned people, bathed people, cared for people. Each married and raised children and grandchildren. Like 25% of the households in New Orleans, neither owned a car.

Both sisters are now 60. In the past few years, their years of physical work took its toil and they could not longer work. Ms. Jennings had back surgery and suffers with high blood pressure. Ms. Williams has heart and lung problems, high blood pressure, and clots in her legs that prevent her from standing or walking for long periods. Each lives solely on about $600 a month from disability. No pensions.

When Katrina hit, they had been living in the C.J. Peete apartments for years. Ms. Bobbie Jennings had been there for 34 years. Her twin sister, Ms. Gloria Williams lived there for over 18 years.

Their combined families, 18 in all, evacuated to Baton Rouge to ride out the storm. When it was clear they would not be going home any time soon, their host family told them it was time to move on. In September 2005, the family of 18 moved into one daughter’s damaged home in Slidell, about 30 miles away from New Orleans – all sleeping on the first floor because the roof was still damaged.

One of their sisters, Annie, was in the hospital with cancer when Katrina hit. It took the family weeks before the finally found her in a hospital in Macon, Georgia.

When the city opened, they got rides into town and checked on their apartments. No water had entered their apartments at all. But their doors had been kicked down and all their furnishings were gone. The housing authority told them they could not move back in for a couple more months while their apartments were secured and fixed up. The housing authority started fixing up and painting apartments in her complex, but abruptly stopped after a few weeks.

Slidell was getting tight, so they accepted an offer to relocate to California. After a month, they returned. Being 3000 miles apart from family was too heartbreaking. A four day bus ride brought them back to Slidell in January 2006. After hitching rides into New Orleans, Ms. Williams found a subsidized apartment. The only way the landlord would accept her, though, was if she paid him an extra $400 under the table. Otherwise, he would rent it to someone else who would.

So Ms. Williams paid the extra money and moved in with her grandchildren while she waited for her old apartment to reopen. She used FEMA money to buy new furniture. In late February 2005, Ms. Williams was hospitalized for three weeks for surgeries on her legs.

In June 2005, HUD announced they were not going to let any residents back in her apartment complex and three others (Lafitte, St. Bernard and BW Cooper) because they were going to be demolished. Over one hundred maintenance and security workers for the housing authority were let go. HUD took over the local housing authority years ago and all these decisions are being made in Washington DC.

The demolished buildings would make way for much newer and many fewer apartments which would be built by private developers. The demolition and private development would be financed by federal funds and federal tax breaks designed to help Katrina victims!

Nearly $100 million in Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) funds were designated for the private developers. Another $34 million in Katrina Go-Zone tax credits were also donated to the developers. (more…)

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