Open warfare appears to have broken out between Louisiana Gov. Kathleen Blanco and New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin, with Blanco challenging on Wednesday Nagin's authority to order a mandatory citywide evacuation.
The mayor certainly has ordered that, but the governor, and that would be me, will have to enforce it or implement it," Gov. Blanco told the Fox News Channel.
The Louisiana Democrat said she wanted more time to determine "whether or not there's an absolute justification for that," saying she feared any forced evacuation could put people at risk for disease.
"We wouldn't want the next wave of people getting ill and perhaps dying from terrible diseases, and that is a big concern," Blanco told Fox, adding, "We want definite information. We don't need to put more grief on people..."
Bob Williams, president of the Evergreen Freedom Foundation and former Washington state legislator "who represented the legislative district most impacted by the eruption of Mount St. Helens in 1980" offers "Blame Amid the Tragedy. Gov. Blanco and Mayor Nagin failed their constituents":
...The primary responsibility for dealing with emergencies does not belong to the federal government. It belongs to local and state officials who are charged by law with the management of the crucial first response to disasters. First response should be carried out by local and state emergency personnel under the supervision of the state governor and his emergency operations center.
The actions and inactions of Gov. Blanco and Mayor Nagin are a national disgrace due to their failure to implement the previously established evacuation plans of the state and city. Gov. Blanco and Mayor Nagin cannot claim that they were surprised by the extent of the damage and the need to evacuate so many people. Detailed written plans were already in place to evacuate more than a million people. The plans projected that 300,000 people would need transportation in the event of a hurricane like Katrina. If the plans had been implemented, thousands of lives would likely have been saved.
In addition to the plans, local, state and federal officials held a simulated hurricane drill 13 months ago, in which widespread flooding supposedly trapped 300,000 people inside New Orleans. The exercise simulated the evacuation of more than a million residents. The problems identified in the simulation apparently were not solved...
The following Executive Order (PDF file) is dated Sep 1:
...WHEREAS, there is an immediate need for mass transportation to move citizens to shelters and other safe locations from disaster areas; and
WHEREAS, given the current exigent circumstances, buses are the most reasonable and practical mode of mass transportation to move our citizens to safety;
NOW THEREFORE I, KATHLEEN BABINEAUX BLANCO, Governor of the state of Louisiana... do hereby order and direct as follows:
SECTION 1: Each Superintendent of Education for each school district in Louisiana that remains substantially operational following the passage of Hurricane Katrina shall contact the Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness... and provide an inventory of school buses and bus drivers in their district;
SECTION 2: As determined by the Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness, such buses shall be made available to be used as necessary for the mass transportation of Hurricane Katrina evacuees, accompanying law enforcement personnel, and necessary supplies to and from areas of concern to areas of safety;
SECTION 3: The Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness is hereby authorized to commandeer and utilize such buses for such purposes;...
UPDATE: The original post said this was ordered on Sep. 1. The actual date this was signed was Sep. 2.
Now it's Wesley Pruden's turn to discuss the left's attempts to politicize the disaster:
...The vultures of the venomous left are attacking on two fronts, first that the president didn't do what the incompetent mayor of New Orleans and the pouty governor of Louisiana should have done, and didn't, in the early hours after Katrina loosed the deluge on the city that care and good judgment forgot. Ray Nagin, the mayor, ordered a "mandatory" evacuation a day late, but kept the city's 2,000 school buses parked and locked in neat rows when there was still time to take the refugees to higher ground. The bright-yellow buses sit ruined now in four feet of dirty water. Then the governor, Kathleen Blanco, resisted early pleas to declare martial law, and her dithering opened the way for looters, rapists and killers to make New Orleans an unholy hell. Gov. Haley Barbour did not hesitate in neighboring Mississippi, and looters, rapists and killers have not turned the streets of Gulfport and Biloxi into killing fields...
The unconfirmed post here goes into detail on what FEMA being "in charge" meant:
...Blanco declared a State-level emergency on the 26th, Bush declared it a Federal emergency on the 27th. So far, so good.
No, neither DHS nor FEMA are or can be "in charge," nor did Blanco request such a thing. They coordinate. There's a difference. At all times, the National Guard of the State of Louisiana remained under the direction of Governor Blanco. There were discussions held to federalize these troops, and indeed the entire effort, but Blanco refused. This means she was in charge.
Did you read what Blanco specifically requested from the feds on the 28th? Read it; I can tell you didn't. It's about funding, and after-the-fact assistance for people who lost their homes and so on. There's nothing in there like "send us 1,000 boats" or "send us 100,000 MRE's." Nothing like that. The only thing in there that required immediate attention from Bush was the request for 100% (as opposed to 75%) federal funding. Bush declared that the next day.
Did you read those things about "don't self-dispatch?" That's to keep well-meaning free-lancers from going down there, unknown to anyone, and becoming more load on the rescue system. All they say is, "work through the Red Cross or the Salvation Army." It's not like they told people not to do anything. They just don't want a bunch of stray people wandering in there to "help."
Aaron Broussard has the credibility of a snake. Wal-Mart was sending in water "a week ago (Saturday)?" Yeah, sure it was. And FEMA was there to turn them back a week ago? Yeah, sure it was. Who knows if he's telling the truth about anything?
You're the second guy in here today that seems to think that FEMA is some kind of domestic 'army' that's supposed to parachute in and save the day. That's not what they do. They fund things. They "coordinate." They've got a few guys with rescue boats, and some guys who can set up communications, but past that they're bureaucrats who sit in front of computer screens and telephones and try to hire contractors and tell the Red Cross where to set up, and stuff like that.
All this stuff like dropping MRE's from helicopters is what the National Guard does... and that reports to Blanco. The only serious federal assets that can run around rescuing civilians in the US belong to the Coast Guard, and as well all saw, the Coast Guard helicopters were there as soon as the gale-force winds were gone and the Sun was up... which was Wednesday morning...