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Bush Out of Touch with Louisiana'a Katrina Reality
Baton Rouge Morning Advocate ^ | 1-29-06 | Opinion Page Staff

Posted on 01/29/2006 6:38:07 AM PST by Uncle Sham

Out of touch with our reality

Our Views

By OPINION PAGE STAFF

Published: Jan 29, 2006

Mr. President, we’re grateful for every dollar of aid we get, from private or public sources. But your statement of Thursday is simply out of touch with reality in Louisiana today.

“I want to remind the people in that part of the world, $85 billion is a lot.”

In the abstract, sure. It’s a lot of money. But as a senatorial inspection group found the other day, there has not been anywhere near $85 billion worth of progress.

For one thing, that money isn’t free money. Almost all of it is spent in accordance with a federal law called the Stafford Act. It has proved woefully inadequate in dealing with a disaster of the magnitude of hurricanes Katrina and Rita. A great deal of the money appropriated hasn’t been spent — and because of Stafford Act restrictions it might never be spent on the things that Louisiana needs to recover from this catastrophe.

Mr. President, we’re still reeling in Louisiana from your announced opposition to the key Louisiana proposal to rebuild devastated areas in southwest Louisiana and metropolitan New Orleans. This is a bipartisan and innovative plan, the Louisiana Recovery Corp. fashioned by U.S. Rep. Richard Baker, R-Baton Rouge.

We’ve not heard one good reason from your people why you’d be against it, although there seems some concern about its cost. That’s capped at $30 billion, with some payback to the Treasury later on if appreciated land is redeveloped.

You ought to reconsider that position, but if you don’t back the Baker bill, where’s the money to rebuild the devastated areas? Is it in that $85 billion total you’re so impressed with? The law will prevent almost all of that from going to the kind of rebuilding that is needed in an unprecedented catastrophe. The law is just not designed for Katrina and Rita.

A lot of money is going to pay a huge federal bureaucratic army that is trying to pound the square pegs of Louisiana needs through the round holes of the Stafford Act.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency has done some important work in relief, but even that money comes with strings: The state of Louisiana is estimated to be on the hook for matching funds to the tune of well more than $1 billion, maybe as much as $4 billion. We don’t have that kind of money lying around.

We’re not sure the unemployed of the devastated parishes have the same appreciation you do for how much money has been sent to Louisiana so far. They and many others might see the end of their unemployment checks soon.

Forget any other priority. Using every discretionary dollar available to the state for homeowner aid, it’s a $6 billion Band-Aid that isn’t going to heal a $40 billion-plus wound.

That’s the opinion of Republicans and Democrats down here, conservatives and liberals.

Reconstructing whole communities is beyond the scope of that $85 billion, even if federal law allowed the money to be spent on what needs to be done.

Even if we managed to clear all the rubble with the Stafford Act funds, what happens to that devastated property? Who clears the title and assembles land for redevelopment? Who makes sure that the development plans conform to the community’s desires? Who will make sure that natives of the devastated regions will have a financially reasonable chance of returning to their neighborhoods? Most of us can’t wait months and years with house notes or commercial bank loans on homes and businesses we can’t use. The Baker bill envisions a quasi-public corporation that would have obligations not only to the taxpayer but to the ordinary citizens of Louisiana. They’re the ones who will be left helpless and bankrupt if the Baker bill isn’t passed.

Otherwise, properties will go to the banks, which don’t want them and can’t sell them. Some speculators might buy land up and hold it for some years. We can assure you that one thing they won’t do is develop affordable housing on that land. That’s one of the missions of the Baker bill, but it’s nobody’s mission absent that mechanism.

If there’s desirable land under the wreckage, we’ll see expensive homes and condos for outsiders, a vacation home Mecca that people once from New Orleans can visit and show, at a security-guard-safe distance, to their grandchildren born in Dallas and Atlanta. You’ll just see vacant lots in St. Bernard Parish.

We’ll have a heck of a lot of devastation and long-term blight to show for the $85 billion, Mr. President, if you don’t change your mind and back Louisiana’s comprehensive redevelopment plan envisioned in the Baker bill.

We’re angry at your position on this issue, Mr. President, and the patronizing tone of your ill-informed view of the Stafford Act money as some kind of Louisiana trust fund. But mostly, we’re sorry that the one official who represents the whole nation appears to have turned his back on a meaningful federal role in rebuilding our state. Louisiana isn’t going to make it with today’s deal, Mr. President. You’ve got to do better than this.


TOPICS: Government; Miscellaneous; News/Current Events; US: Louisiana
KEYWORDS: blamegame; bush; katrina; louisiana; neworleans; rita
This was in today's Morning Advocate.
1 posted on 01/29/2006 6:38:09 AM PST by Uncle Sham
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To: Uncle Sham

He's not out of touch with reality, he's out of money.


2 posted on 01/29/2006 6:47:49 AM PST by Wasanother (Terrorist come in many forms but all are RATS.)
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To: Uncle Sham

New Orleans can't and maybe shouldn't ever be what it once was without very serious engineering work on the levee system. Use the most heavily flooded areas for warehouses, not for high density housing.


3 posted on 01/29/2006 6:53:03 AM PST by randita
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To: Uncle Sham
Who says the country has the obligation to make everything and everybody happy. I refer the paper to the famous oration by Davy Crockett on charity.

Davy Crockett on Charity
http://www.tysknews.com/Depts/Constitution_Issues/davy_crockett_and_charity.htm ^
4 posted on 01/29/2006 6:57:08 AM PST by Recon Dad (Force Recon Dad)
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To: Uncle Sham

I've noticed this week that the Washington Post has begun an advocacy campaign to use Katrina for another round of Bush bashing. News reports over the last week are full of criticism of the Bush administration for promises that haven't been kept and nothing getting done in the aftermath of Katrina. The Post capped it off this morning with an anti-Bush lead editorial on the same subject. I guess this is how they try build conventional wisdom and promote their point of view.


5 posted on 01/29/2006 7:00:32 AM PST by carola
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To: Uncle Sham

Private capital will flow where it makes sense. If it's not flowing into NO, then it doesn't make sense for the government to follow.


6 posted on 01/29/2006 7:03:50 AM PST by gotribe (Hillary: Accessory to Rape)
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To: Uncle Sham
Even if we managed to clear all the rubble with the Stafford Act funds, what happens to that devastated property?

That is up to the property owners.

Who clears the title and assembles land for redevelopment?

Property owners can sell to developers if the price is right.

Who makes sure that the development plans conform to the community’s desires?

Desires? Dreams? The "Community" of activist who care little for private property rights? The market place will develop as warranted.

Who will make sure that natives of the devastated regions will have a financially reasonable chance of returning to their neighborhoods?

The government of Louisiana should make sure the property rights of the natives are not violated.

7 posted on 01/29/2006 7:08:17 AM PST by Mark was here (How can they be called "Homeless" if their home is a field?.)
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To: Uncle Sham
Dear Sniveling Pansy:

Why do you keep turning to me to rebuild your city? Maybe the $85 billion would be sufficient if your politicians weren't so corrupt and ineffective. Maybe the damage wouldn't have been so severe to begin with if your own local people had had the first notion of how to take care of you, or -- God forbid! -- you had the slightest idea of how to take care of yourself. And the gumption to do it.

No, the Stafford Law isn't made for disasters on the scale of Katrina, but then again, it was never INTENDED to be! FEMA is not a relief organization, and it certainly isn't a welfare group.

I can have Karl send you the addresses of Ray Nagin and Kathleen Blanco if you'd like. They're the folks you need to be talking to.

Get to work and stop whining.

Sincerely,

George W. Bush

8 posted on 01/29/2006 7:20:33 AM PST by IronJack
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To: Uncle Sham

9 posted on 01/29/2006 7:23:12 AM PST by martin_fierro (Hines Ward is my son! OK, not really, but it'd be nice.)
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To: randita
Uncle Sham New Orleans can't and maybe shouldn't ever be what it once was without very serious engineering work on the levee system.

Back in the 1970's the Corps of Engineers proposed a system of flood gates similar to the dikes that protect the Netherlands from floods. It was killed by a federal judge after environmental groups filed suit. Do you want to guess the political affiliation of the president who appointed that judge?

10 posted on 01/29/2006 7:26:58 AM PST by Paleo Conservative
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To: Wasanother

Stop sending 25 billion to Africa....


11 posted on 01/29/2006 7:37:09 AM PST by fhlh (Polls are for strippers and liberal spinsters.)
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To: Uncle Sham
gimmie gimmie gimmie... the mentality of a good NOLA liberal
12 posted on 01/29/2006 7:38:59 AM PST by fhlh (Polls are for strippers and liberal spinsters.)
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To: Uncle Sham
no money, no corruption.
13 posted on 01/29/2006 7:40:41 AM PST by Tarpon
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To: Uncle Sham

Who rebuilt Chicago and San Francisco after the disasters that destroyed them? Did the federal gov't write a huge check back then?


14 posted on 01/29/2006 7:47:42 AM PST by Pan_Yans Wife ("Death is better, a milder fate than tyranny. "--Aeschylus)
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To: Uncle Sham

Stopped reading after "Bush out of touch".


15 posted on 01/29/2006 7:49:50 AM PST by Loyal Buckeye
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To: Uncle Sham

Oh, now it is "Mr. President." Before it was racist.
My heart is just breaking.


16 posted on 01/29/2006 7:51:26 AM PST by Galveston Grl (Getting angry and abandoning power to the Democrats is not a choice.)
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To: Uncle Sham
The World doesn't revolve around New Orlean! There are other issues that has to be dealt with! Maybe you heard of Palestanians Election, Iraq, Russia, Ukraine, Illegal Immigrants, you name it!

There isn't unlimited amount of money to be had either.

Jeez, grow up! It doesn't hurt to take some responsibily for yourself!

17 posted on 01/29/2006 8:05:33 AM PST by Sen Jack S. Fogbound (TERM LIMIT! TERM LIMIT! TERM LIMIT!)
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To: Uncle Sham

This idiot needs to be realistic. Looked what has happened in NYC post 9/11. Coming up on 5 years and only a small portion of the complex has een rebuilt. And that's with tons of money and private developers involved.

New Orleans will NEVER be the same.


18 posted on 01/29/2006 8:14:47 AM PST by finnman69 (cum puella incedit minore medio corpore sub quo manifestu s globus, inflammare animos)
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To: Sen Jack S. Fogbound

"There are other issues that has to be dealt with! Maybe you heard of Palestanians Election, Iraq, Russia, Ukraine, Illegal Immigrants, you name it!"

Well I was with you on that statement until "Illegal Immigrants". Can't say Bush has done much on that one.


19 posted on 01/29/2006 8:18:18 AM PST by WatchOutForSnakes
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To: finnman69

There is a huge difference between 911 and Katrina. Over two hundred thousand of your fellow Americans are without a home, and many are without the places they were employed as well. They should be provided a means to properly move forward with their lives instead of being kept on hold.


20 posted on 01/29/2006 8:26:23 AM PST by Uncle Sham
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To: Loyal Buckeye

Avoid the truth if you must.


21 posted on 01/29/2006 8:28:14 AM PST by Uncle Sham
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To: Uncle Sham
"I want to remind the people in that part of the world, $85 billion is a lot.

In the abstract, sure. It’s a lot of money. But as a senatorial inspection group found the other day, there has not been anywhere near $85 billion worth of progress."

Two comments:

1. I'll settle for .001% of $85 billion, personally.

2. In many countries, the government would fix the roads, the schools, and the hospitals....and that's all. I suspect that the total wouldn't nearly approach $85 billion.

22 posted on 01/29/2006 9:00:57 AM PST by lOKKI (You can ignore reality until it bites you in the ass.)
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To: Uncle Sham
It's not President Bush that is out of touch, it is you. Guess you haven't been keep up to speed. Government can do just so much, but it is up to the people to get off their butts and go back and work at it. From what I hear, hundreds of thousands of them like it where they are. The problem is if we hand out millions to these people, they would just spend it where they are now. It's up to LA to offer assistance and encouragement to return. Low cost loans can be obtained through the Feds. LA could organize by getting in touch with these people and work with them. Instead, blame the Feds. That's sick.
23 posted on 01/29/2006 10:11:53 AM PST by Logical me (Oh, well!!!)
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To: Logical me

Next time you post, get the facts. At least take the time to do that.


24 posted on 01/29/2006 1:04:15 PM PST by Uncle Sham
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To: Uncle Sham

The Mississippi Gulf Coast is absolutely destroyed, and all we ever, ever hear about is New Orleans.


25 posted on 01/29/2006 2:36:21 PM PST by Jessica24
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To: Jessica24
"The Mississippi Gulf Coast is absolutely destroyed, and all we ever, ever hear about is New Orleans."

How did you know that the Mississippi gulf coast was absolutely destroyed?

26 posted on 01/29/2006 2:38:48 PM PST by Uncle Sham
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To: Jessica24

For the record, the state did get hit twice by two major hurricanes in three weeks time. What Katrina missed in Louisiana, Rita destroyed. The Louisiana coast is also gone.


27 posted on 01/29/2006 2:44:21 PM PST by CajunConservative (Don't Blame Me, I Voted for Jindal.)
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To: Uncle Sham
Where is Nagin's plan? I have never seen, after a major disaster such as this, an entire city of people sit back and wait for the Feds to come up with a rebuilding plan.

We hear none of this continued whining out of ANYBODY in Mississippi or further west on the Louisiana Coast.

Knowing how corrupt New Orleans' officials have always been, it's difficult for some of the rest of us out here to sympathize with this pity party.

28 posted on 01/29/2006 2:50:43 PM PST by sinkspur (Trust, but vilify.)
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To: sinkspur

This plan has been in place for over three months now. Bush saying Louisiana doesn't have a plan is a lie. This plan is a loan, not a federal gimme program. It sets up an agency outside the confines of state government, and local governments to help homeowners get out from under their present mortgages. It buys their property at 60% of pre-katrina levels, then does what it needs to do to attract reinvestors interested in developing the property. The reinvestors are ultimately the ones who repay this original loan. Check the other threads of today for more details. In short, it is a loan program that will be repaid.


29 posted on 01/29/2006 3:02:18 PM PST by Uncle Sham
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To: Uncle Sham
Three months? Where has it been?

I thought I read this morning that Ray Nagin also has a plan, coming out this week.

From what I read about Baker's plan, nobody in Congress supports it.

30 posted on 01/29/2006 3:08:30 PM PST by sinkspur (Trust, but vilify.)
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To: sinkspur
Depends upon what you read I guess. Read this from today.

http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-news/1567503/posts?page=16#16

31 posted on 01/29/2006 3:13:43 PM PST by Uncle Sham
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To: Pan_Yans Wife

I wasn't there. Don't know. It was a different time. Might be worth researching as it is constantly mentioned. Are you going to research it for us and let us know?


32 posted on 01/29/2006 4:58:29 PM PST by Uncle Sham
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To: Uncle Sham

Well, because my family on the Gulf Coast of Mississippi lost everything they had, and I saw it with my own eyes. That's all.


33 posted on 01/30/2006 12:04:04 PM PST by Jessica24
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To: Jessica24
I thought everyone in Mississippi was in perfect shape and all recovered and all because Haley Barbour did everything so much better than Blanco did. Are you trying to say that things still suck where you are too? After all, you wouldn't be complaining about not getting any publicity would you? I truly do understand what you are going through. Remember that storm named Hurricane Andrew? The one that hit Florida? No one ever remembers that it hit Louisiana a few days later. What about those poor folks who were wiped clean by Hurricane Rita three weeks after Katrina? Do they even exist? You'd never know it by the MSM.

Jessica, I wish you were doing better over there on the Mississippi coast. It's one of my favorite places. Please tell your fellow freepers what the truth is for everyone's benefit. I'm talking about those know-nothings who keep pointing to the Mississippi victims as though everyone is doing just dandy with Haley Barbour in charge. I know better, but they'd believe you if you explain it to them.

Things will get better. God bless you and good luck.

34 posted on 01/30/2006 5:21:45 PM PST by Uncle Sham
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