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View Full Version : Russert finds the real truth with what happened in NO


mlyonsd
09-13-2005, 09:46 AM
Meet the Press transcript (http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/9240461/)

Part of the transcript:

MR. RUSSERT: Many people point, Mr. Mayor, that on Friday before the hurricane, President Bush declared an impending disaster. And The Houston Chronicle wrote it this way. "[Mayor Nagin's] mandatory evacuation order was issued 20 hours before the storm struck the Louisiana coast, less than half the time researchers determined would be needed to get everyone out. City officials had 550 municipal buses and hundreds of additional school buses at their disposal but made no plans to use them to get people out of New Orleans before the storm, said Chester Wilmot, a civil engineering professor at Louisiana State University and an expert in transportation planning, who helped the city put together its evacuation plan." And we've all see this photograph of these submerged school buses. Why did you not declare, order, a mandatory evacuation on Friday, when the president declared an emergency, and have utilized those buses to get people out?

MAYOR NAGIN: You know, Tim, that's one of the things that will be debated. There has never been a catastrophe in the history of New Orleans like this. There has never been any Category 5 storm of this magnitude that has hit New Orleans directly. We did the things that we thought were best based upon the information that we had. Sure, here was lots of buses out there. But guess what? You can't find drivers that would stay behind with a Category 5 hurricane, you know, pending down on New Orleans. We barely got enough drivers to move people on Sunday, or Saturday and Sunday, to move them to the Superdome. We barely had enough drivers for that. So sure, we had the assets, but the drivers just weren't available.

MR. RUSSERT: But, Mr. Mayor, if you read the city of New Orleans' comprehensive emergency plan-- and I've read it and I'll show it to you and our viewers--it says very clearly, "Conduct of an actual evacuation will be the responsibility of the mayor of New Orleans. The city of New Orleans will utilize all available resources to quickly and safely evacuate threatened areas. Special arrangements will be made to evacuate persons unable to transport themselves or who require specific life-saving assistance. Additional personnel will be recruited to assist in evacuation procedure as needed. Approximately 100,000 citizens of New Orleans do not have means of personal transportation."
It was your responsibility. Where was the planning? Where was the preparation? Where was the execution?

MAYOR NAGIN: The planning was always in getting people to higher ground, getting them to safety. That's what we meant by evacuation. Get them out of their homes, which--most people are under sea level. Get them to a higher ground and then depending upon our state and federal officials to move them out of harm's way after the storm has hit.

MR. RUSSERT: But in July of this year, one month before the hurricane, you cut a public service announcement which said, in effect, "You are on your own." And you have said repeatedly that you never thought an evacuation plan would work. Which is true: whether you would exercise your obligation and duty as mayor or that--and evacuate people, or you believe people were on their own?

MAYOR NAGIN: Well, Tim, you know, we basically wove this incredible tightrope as it is. We were in a position of trying to encourage as many people as possible to leave because we weren't comfortable that we had the resources to move them out of our city. Keep in mind: normal evacuations, we get about 60 percent of the people out of the city of New Orleans. This time we got 80 percent out. We encouraged people to buddy up, churches to take senior citizens and move them to safety, and a lot of them did. And then we would deal with the remaining people that couldn't or wouldn't leave and try and get them to higher ground until safety came.

MR. RUSSERT: Amtrak said they offered to remove people from the city of New Orleans on Saturday night and that the city of New Orleans declined.

MAYOR NAGIN: I don't know where that's coming from. Amtrak never contacted me to make that offer. As a matter of fact, we checked the Amtrak lines for availability, and every available train was booked, as far as the report that I got, through September. So I'd like to see that report.

MR. RUSSERT: They said they were moving equipment out of New Orleans in order to protect it and offered to take evacuees with them.

MAYOR NAGIN: I have never gotten that call, Tim, and I would love to have had that call. But it never happened.

MR. RUSSERT: Since 2002, the federal government has given New Orleans $18 million to plan and prepare for events like this. How was that money spent?

MAYOR NAGIN: It's my understanding that most of the money--I've only been in office about three years. So we've mainly used most of the money that we get from the federal government to try and deal with levee protection and the coordination of getting people to safety. That's primarily what we use the money for.

MR. RUSSERT: The Superdome was established as a safe haven for people who could not evacuate the city to go to. Why wasn't there water and food and cots and security in place at the Superdome from day one? Couldn't you as mayor have guaranteed that?

MAYOR NAGIN: Well, we put in place the resources that we had to provide security. There was running water at the time. There was backup systems. There was food. We encouraged every resident that was coming to the Superdome to at least have perishable food to last them about two to three days and also to have water to last them about that time. Keep in mind, we always assume that after two to three days the cavalry will be coming.

MR. RUSSERT: How would you grade the president's performance thus far, A through F?

MAYOR NAGIN: How would I rate it?

MR. RUSSERT: Yes.

MAYOR NAGIN: Oh, I don't want to get into that, Tim. I mean, I will tell you this: I think the president, for some reason, probably did not understand the full magnitude of this catastrophe on the front end. I think he was probably getting advice from some of his key advisers or some low-level folk that had been on the ground that this was serious, but not as serious as it ended up being. My interactions with the president is, anytime I talked with him and gave him what the real deal was and gave him the truth, he acted and he made things happen.

MR. RUSSERT: How about the governor?

MAYOR NAGIN: Well, you know, I don't know about that one. We fought and held that city together with only 200 state National Guard. That was it. We did not get a lot of other support for three or four days of pure hell on Earth. There were resources that were sitting in other parishes. I just don't know. I mean, and then when a group did come down to review what was happening in New Orleans, it was a big media event. It was followed with cameras and with AP reporters, a little helicopter flyover, and then they had a press conference and it was gone. So I don't have much else to say about that.

MR. RUSSERT: It sounds like you don't think the governor has done a very good job.

MAYOR NAGIN: I think there was an incredible breakdown of coordination, of resources, and decisions were made to move resources and to not move resources that just don't make sense to me. And then there was this incredible dance between the governor and the president about who had final authority, whether this was going to be federalized, who was going to be in charge at the end of the day, and I just don't appreciate that kind of stuff when people were dying in my city.
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The real problems of Katrina in NO start right here. If anything is learned from this exercise its that the federal government (FEMA) must take a closer look at cities evacuation plans and in the end they can't automatically conclude the local officials are competent.

For this guy to ignore Bush's warning for 20 hours thus not implementing his city's own evacuation plan in a timely manner when it was clearly his responsibility is ridiculous.

Then to top it off by not stocking the Superdome with food/water/security and expect people to bring their own 2/3 days worth of food is inexcusable.

The mayor can be commended for one thing. To go on the offense right away and blame everyone but himself was purley political genius and the media fell for it hook, line, and sinker.

Radar Chief
09-13-2005, 10:22 AM
The mayor can be commended for one thing. To go on the offense right away and blame everyone but himself was purley political genius and the media fell for it hook, line, and sinker.

Exactly. Rep to you. :thumb:

Phobia
09-13-2005, 10:30 AM
Then to top it off by not stocking the Superdome with food/water/security and expect people to bring their own 2/3 days worth of food is inexcusable.

I totally disagree with that. People can bring their own food and should. Do you know the logistical nightmare it is to arrange food and water for 20k with a city under mandatory evacuation? It's simply not possible. Who do you call?

mlyonsd
09-13-2005, 11:00 AM
I totally disagree with that. People can bring their own food and should. Do you know the logistical nightmare it is to arrange food and water for 20k with a city under mandatory evacuation? It's simply not possible. Who do you call?

Ding, ding, ding. Exactly.

Chief Henry
09-13-2005, 12:52 PM
If the city had always known they would use the Superdome an evacutation center for the shelterless. Why was is it not stocked with water and MRE's in advance kind of like my grandparents
"underground shelters back in the 50-60's...

memyselfI
09-13-2005, 12:59 PM
Meet the Press transcript (http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/9240461/)



Certainly he meant non-perishable food. How in the world would they be able to store or prepare food for 20k different people?

That being said, most of the people were encouraged to plan for a day or two stay and not be forced to stay here for 4-5.

tyton75
09-13-2005, 01:04 PM
I totally disagree with that. People can bring their own food and should. Do you know the logistical nightmare it is to arrange food and water for 20k with a city under mandatory evacuation? It's simply not possible. Who do you call?


Pizza Hut delivers! and I'm sure you could get it cheaper when you buy in bulk like that... duh

mlyonsd
09-13-2005, 01:44 PM
Certainly he meant non-perishable food. How in the world would they be able to store or prepare food for 20k different people?

That being said, most of the people were encouraged to plan for a day or two stay and not be forced to stay here for 4-5.

So what exactly do you find wrong with their disaster plan? That the Superdome would be used to house people? Or that once it was decided to be used it wasn't stocked with food/water/security to maintain 20k people?

Tough questions...no one to answer for them.

Warrior5
09-13-2005, 01:46 PM
Certainly he meant non-perishable food. How in the world would they be able to store or prepare food for 20k different people?

MREs.

Duck Dog
09-13-2005, 02:01 PM
This isn't good news for those who make a living by keeping racism in the forefront of every issue.

Boyceofsummer
09-13-2005, 02:52 PM
This isn't good news for those who make a living by keeping racism in the forefront of every issue.

What are you implying? I think YOU are keeping racism in the forefront with your backpedaling post. The issue here is many needless deaths. People were bound to die, but to just stand by and do nothing for days while adequate recourses were available is My Pet Goat.

http://www.thememoryhole.org/911/bush-911.htm

Swanman
09-13-2005, 03:18 PM
Who do you call?

Ghostbusters?