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...