"We are so much less than what we were in 2000," said an unnamed "senior FEMA official" in a Sept. 1 Washington Post article. Another FEMA veteran said, "It's such an irony I hate to say it, but we have less capability today than we did on Sept. 11."
Yes, it's the common answer to departments and agencies that actually work in government. "Fix" it.
On Sept. 5, the Los Angeles Times carried these remarks from Morrie Goodman, a Clinton-era FEMA official. "They've taken emergency management away from the emergency managers. These operations are being run by people who are amateurs at what they are doing."
Yeah, like people who've only run equestrian organizations. Why would you hand something as important as managing an emergency, saving lives, dealing with comincation problems, and an exteremely fuild situation of a disaster to someone who actually knows what they are doing, has actual experience?? It's not like there's anything important at stake; like lives, property, security and international reputation.
But there is support out there for Brown and recognition that he was, in some way, doing "a heck of a job." Just read this quote from former Miami-Dade emergency management chief, Kate Hale:
“He’s done a hell of a job, because I’m not aware of any Arabian horses being killed in this storm,” *
Wow! You know she's right. To this date I have not heard of any Arabian horses being killed in Hurricane Katrina. So maybe he has done a bang up job in one area.
But remembering Brown's problems last year and his seeming "out of touch" responses in the first few days of the disaster there might be something more at work here. He might have some here-to-fore unknown learning disability like dyslexia. Or his seeming confusion and "out of touch" responses about the help the gulf region and NOLA was and was NOT getting may all be due to the need of a geography lesson.
Last year FEMA paid out $31 million in aid to Miami-Dade County after Hurricane Frances. However, Hurricane Frances hit 100 miles north of the county. Miami-Dade County itself never had hurricane force winds ( sustainable winds for a category 1 hurricane begin at 74 mph http://www.nhc.noaa.gov/aboutsshs.shtml )
Maybe we should cut Brownie a break. He may know the difference between the front and the back end of a horse, but may need some assistance to do his current job at FEMA. And to do that well all he may really need is a map, a globe, or a geography class at the local community college!
Maybe then when the next disaster happens he'll be able to figure where the people who need assistance are and where to drop the water and the MREs.
My thanks to Alas (I'm putting these links here so I can find them quickly on my own blog)