Sunday, September 11, 2005

When flaks rule

Here's what happens when you put PR flunkies and 'advance men' in charge of emergency management:

On Aug. 29, when Katrina hit, Richardson, the New Mexico governor, telephoned Louisiana Gov. Kathleen Babineaux Blanco, and asked if there was anything his state could provide.

"She said, 'We need truck drivers and National Guard,' " Richardson recalled. He told her, "I'll get moving on it."

Richardson said he immediately authorized his Guard commander to send 200 troops to Louisiana. Then "red tape and paperwork" intervened, Richardson said. Instead of hours, it took four days.

"My National Guard commander … tried to get approval from the Guard bureau in Washington, and it wasn't until Thursday night that he got it," he said. "They kept saying they needed a definition of the mission in their orders. I said how about, 'Helping people.' I kept bumping into my National Guard commander and he kept saying, 'No, they haven't left yet.' "

From the LATimes - read the whole story.


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