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IBD: Brown right about "Louisiana was dysfunctional"

From "Missing in Action":

Louisiana ranks third in the nation in the number of indicted officials per capita. Just the past generation has seen a governor, an attorney general, a federal judge, a state Senate president and a swarm of local officials convicted of assorted crimes.
Police Superintendent Eddie Compass didn't say why he suddenly resigned. But it comes after his department announced that about 250 New Orleans police officers - 15% of the force - could face punishment for leaving their posts without permission during Katrina.
Before Katrina, New Orleans was a crime-ridden city with a murder rate 10 times the national average. Only one in four murders result in a conviction, largely because retaliation against potential witnesses is common. Yet New Orleans had only three cops per 1,000 residents, a ratio less than half that of Washington, D.C.
Some of the officers who did not desert their posts actually stayed and joined the looters. In an MSNBC report aired shortly after Katrina hit, Martin Savidge, reporting from a Wal-Mart being looted, interviewed police officers claiming to be arresting suspects even as those cops loaded shopping carts with merchandise...
Mike Brown may deserve criticism for his performance. But given the corruption and malfeasance in the Pelican State, and the lack of preparedness and chaotic response of local officials, his observation that "Louisiana was dysfunctional" may not be far off the mark.

Note that one of the reasons those cops left there posts might be because they never existed in the first place.

"Mary, Mary, Quite (To The) Contrary"


Louisiana's senior senator, whose brother is lieutenant governor and whose father was New Orleans' mayor, is blaming President Bush for "the staggering incompetence of the federal government." Come again?
It's understandable that on the Sept. 4 edition of ABC's "This Week," Mary Landrieu said of President Bush, "I might likely have to punch him - literally" if he or members of his administration made any more disparaging remarks about local authorities and their pre- and post-Katrina efforts. Some are and were family.
Brother Mitch Landrieu is lieutenant governor of Louisiana. Father "Moon" Landrieu was not only mayor of New Orleans, but also later became secretary of housing and urban development under President Carter.
...Despite Landrieu's complaints of budget cuts and paltry funding, the fact is that over the five years of the Bush administration, Louisiana has received more money - $1.9 billion - for Army Corps of Engineers civil works projects than any other state, and more than under any other administration over a similar period. California is a distant second with less than $1.4 billion despite a population more than seven times as large.
...The problem was at the local level. The ambitious plan fell apart when the state suspended the Levee Board's ability to refinance old bonds and issue new ones. As the Times-Picayune reported, Legislative Auditor Dan Kyle "repeatedly faulted the Levee Board for the way it awards contracts, spends money and ignores no-bid contract laws." Blocked by the state from raising local money, the federal matching funds went unspent. By 1998, Louisiana's state government had a $2 billion construction budget, but less than one-tenth of one percent, or $1.98 million, was dedicated to New Orleans levee improvements. By contrast, $22 million was spent that year to renovate a home for the Louisiana Supreme Court...

IBD: Feds off the front lines

Investor's Business Daily says:

...Calls for reform of America's disaster-response system are inevitable and proper after a tragedy on the scale of Katrina. But this is no time to act in haste or to just do more of the same and expand the federal role even further. Not only might this increase a false sense of security at the state and local levels, but it also would push federal agencies into work - such as street-level law enforcement - they are simply not meant to do...

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