New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin testified before the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, claiming racism is one of the reasons rebuilding in New Orleans is not progressing.
NEW ORLEANS — Mayor Ray Nagin told a Senate committee Monday that the rebuilding of New Orleans is getting shortchanged in light of the billions poured into the war in Iraq, and he suggested racism is part of the explanation.
Seventeen months after Hurricane Katrina struck, Nagin said he doesn’t see evidence of “the will to really fix New Orleans.”
“I think it’s more class than anything, but there’s racial issues associated with it also,” said the black mayor of this mostly black city.
Nagin told the Senate’s Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, which is looking into the federal government’s hurricane response, that he has heard various explanations for why money is not flowing quickly enough.
“And then I look at what we’re doing in Iraq and how we spend money at an unprecedented level there, how we can set up temporary hospitals and designate money to rebuild their economy, and we have this dance going on in New Orleans,” he said.
He's crying racism, citing the money we are spending in Iraq, so I assume he is blaming the Bush administration for all of his woes. However, according to the article, it's the state of Louisiana that's holding the money:
He said he is not asking for more money, just that the money allocated get to the city faster.
As of Jan. 18, the Federal Emergency Management Agency had agreed to pay for $334 million for infrastructure repairs in New Orleans, but Louisiana had forwarded only $145 million to the city. State officials have said city leaders failed to provide required documentation, which Nagin called cumbersome. (emphasis added)
So who is at fault here? Sounds like Nagin himself. He doesn't want to fill out the paperwork. Could it be because he can't justify where much of the money is going? Photoonist at Lucianne:
Meanwhile as posted earlier Nagin's top aides have doubled and even tripled their salaries. How about an investigation into how Empty Noggin has spent the money he's received so far? I'm sure that there would be such shocking revelations that Democrats would definitely block it.
(I haven't been able to find the post about Nagin's aides getting these raises. I will keep looking and update this post.)
And what's even worse, President Bush did not even mention New Orleans or Hurricane Katrina in his State of the Union address!
The panel of three senators -- Connecticut independent Joseph Lieberman, the chairman of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee; Barack Obama, D-Illinois, a 2008 presidential hopeful; and Louisiana Democrat Mary Landrieu -- criticized Bush for failing to even mention recovery efforts during his State of the Union speech last week.
"I think it made a lot of people in New Orleans and Louisiana and those that are concerned all across the country wonder whether we're in danger of actually forgetting New Orleans," Obama said. "That's shameful. We should be ashamed if we forget."
How many hurricanes has Florida been through? I don't have the best memory in the world but I don't remember the state of Florida whining and hand-wringing after Hurricane Opal. I lived on the Gulf Coast when Opal hit, evacuated when I was told to (with four pets), drove to Birmingham, went back when it was safe, cleaned up and moved on. And it was a mess. But the people, including city and state officials, of New Orleans apparently aren't capable of rolling up their sleeves and helping themselves. All they can do is cry "racism" and make threats:
Landrieu, who has been appointed to lead a subcommittee that will oversee the pace of reconstruction work, said that when the administration submits an expected supplemental spending bill to pay for the nearly 4-year-old Iraq war, "there better be funding to rebuild Louisiana and Mississippi."
Thanks, Ms. Landrieu for throwing Mississippi in there. Did you know the Gulf Coast of Alabama and the state of Florida had significant damage too? Certainly not as severe as New Orleans, but pretty bad nonetheless.
I'm for not sending one more dime to New Orleans. There was a complete breakdown of disaster planning, even with advance warning a category 5 hurricane was headed their way. What happens when the next hurricane hits? What kind of an idiot does a person have to be to stick around in a "bowl" like New Orleans when a category 5 hurricane is coming? What kind of idiot mayor would stand by and do nothing to help those unable to get out on their own? And then blame everybody else after the fact. I have a news flash. President Bush was really not in a position to come to New Orleans and escort everyone out. Sometimes we have to do things for ourselves. Unfortunately, too many in the City of New Orleans have been leaning on the government for so long, they can't even think for themselves.
In addition to all the money the federal government has already sent to New Orleans millions of Americans donated millions of dollars to the Red Cross and other charities. Nagin, fill out the paperwork, get your money and crawl back under your rock and wait for the next disaster. Your city deserves your incompetent leadership since they re-elected you.
***Update*** Rebuilding complete!