Spence on Katrina (NPR) by admin | Aug 30, 2006 | Black Power, Neoliberalism, NPR, The Mass Media, Urban Politics | 10 comments Just saw that my recent commentary on Katrina is out.Â Give a listen and let me know what you think.Â In fact, check out my first commentary on Katrina as well…written at last year’s meeting of the American Political Science Association. Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Google+ (Opens in new window) Related 10 Comments vaughn on August 30, 2006 at 2:54 pm Good piece Doc,grass roots organization”common ground”has renovated housing in the 9th ward;achieving success where the gov. is bogg down in bureaucracy. C.L.R. Odell on August 30, 2006 at 5:31 pm It seems that we in what composes the so-called “left” are lost in between two worlds of thought: 1) a strand of thinking that rejects the bureaucracy of a large central government with ownership/control of many resources but an inablility to distribute them effectively in favor of more “grass roots” organization/mobilization, and 2) one that lambastes the Bush administration’s slashing of the federal government so that it will “drown in a small pool of water?” (I think that was the quote you cited on npr prof or something like that), i.e. saying that we need bigger government. Are these mutually exclusive? Can we dis big bureaucratic government while championing it in our attacks against the ineptness of the Bushies? I know it’s not as cut and dry as all this, and in fact I have my own opinion, but given what the prof said in his radio piece and what vaughn said in the comment, I’d be interested if one or both of ya’ll would weigh in. peace vaughn on August 31, 2006 at 11:25 am Odell excellant observation,I can’t speak for the prof.;so I will weigh in.I belive ineptness and the replublican’s slashing gov. agency, or putting people in charge that don’t have particular experience.This combination are tied together,in fact there is talk that post Katrina was premeditated,i.e. putting a horse trader in charge of FEMA. Spedy on August 31, 2006 at 11:00 pm There is a hint of cynicism in your voice. 😉 Dr. Spence, we’ve talked about this among other things, and I still think that so many black folks are not putting blame on the Democrat Governor and newly adopted Democrat Mayor. Also, why are so many black folks “mainly” focused on New Orleans. Other folks, parishes, and cities were affected. And, although a doctor may take care of your ailments, your uncle would be by your side helping you tough it out because he’s been there, and he also knows that the county hospital will be crowded where you will be waiting forever because you’re not impaled by some 5 foot rusty pipe. Where am going with this? It’s convenient to look at the Republicans, in charge, and blame them primarily for a lousy governor and piss poor mayor. There is no way on earth I would have voted for Nagin after he lack luster concern and failure to act in an emergency. Yes, the Federal Government has more money, but the state and local governments are the ones “WE” truly need to focus on. For example, how many know about the poor, mostly black, folks in Chicago that have and will be be displaced by King Richard. King Richard is not a Republican, and we have not had a hurricane here. Thousands of folks have been displaced. Take a look at the census stats of blacks in Chicago 1990, 2000, & 2004. You will notice a decline in the number of blacks in the city while the number of whites increased. I think we need to address a common factor here – MONEY. King Richard has torn down quite a few projects and threw up homes worth $250+. Now, I don’t know about you, but I really don’t think there is a “REAL” program setup to put poor families in home like that. So, I don’t really think it’s just the Republicans licking their chops when projects or poor areas get gentrified. It’s the money grubbing politicians. Please take a look at our beloved Alderman Dorothy Tillman. With your background, I’m sure you will be able to find out things about this woman that will make you very angry, and she’s a black Democrat. Chanda on September 1, 2006 at 9:31 am Good commentary. I do think that all levels of government failed at this. People’s true character is revealed when pressure comes and trouble hits. Whatever is in you is going to come out. Now a year later, in addition to the government (all levels, both democrat and republican), the insurance companies (e.g. State Farm) are trying to jack people over. I am also big on risk management. For decades, America has taken risk after risk (e.g. the levees), costing us more money in the long term when a disaster hits. We spend more money putting out fires being “reactive” instead of making decisions that are “proactive”. We put off decisions in the hopes that disaster will never strike (or if it does it won’t be that bad). Lester Spence on September 1, 2006 at 11:42 am The democrats have bought into a neoliberal ideology which directly affects how resources are distributed within cities. The “market” can take care of low-income homes. Build up downtown and through a process of “trickle-down economics” working class people will benefit. Tax incentives will increase job opportunities. You all know the drill. But what the conservatives have done with the Republican party is really a very different animal. Saying that everyone is the same here, or that the blame is equally shared, smooths over differences that are substantial. The primary responsibility for national emergencies lies with the federal government. They have the resources (financial, institutional), and the mandate. The “F” in “FEMA” stands for FEDERAL. The Army Corps of Engineers are responsible for the upkeep and maintenance of the levees. Neither the city of New Orleans (hit hardest by the hurricane, which is why we focus on it), nor the state of Louisiana has responsibility here. I don’t see how we can ignore this. Spedy on September 1, 2006 at 2:19 pm So, I guess my friend’s family in Slidell should bascially be ignored because they didn’t live in New Orleans. She sent me photos of the home which had been overcome by the waters. Automobiles had been damaged due to flood waters. This was a senior citizen, who made sure that he and his wife got out of harms way. Quite sure they may have perished had they stayed. I understand that the levees broke and that the waters came flowing through the town like a drunkard with a bladder problem. I have no problem with “us” addressing that FEMA (did not do a half way decent job). Yes, they failed, but I disagree that this was “national” problem. It becomes a “national” problem, please correct me if I’m wrong, when the state deems it as such. I know that the visuals would make one say, it should have been automatic, but then we lose the so-called “state’s rights” ordeal. When is it “really” a national emergency? What is the criteria? Yes, the hurricane did create a more definitive disaster then what was expected. Did the US Army Corps of Engineers have free reign of the monies or were those monies (THAT WERE SUPPOSED TO BE ALLOCATED FOR THE LEVEES) misappropriated by the state. Were there snafus by Nagin and previous administration of New Orleans that did not comply with appropriating funds to what they funds were allocated. We all know the deal. Oh so well! Can we say lottery? Lotteries are said to be put in place to sure up “EDUCATION” in the states that participate. Are the funds going there? You know that’s not a rhetorical question because it’s very evident. So, if you can see that they (states) will jack over the children, you most certainly can see how they can bypass fixing levees or funds being moved. Can we ignore this? vaughn on September 1, 2006 at 10:27 pm Some years past Army corp of engineers along with the Fema examing levees in the Netherland. They use an inverted T as the barrier ,at the time this inovation was rejected by the Feds.The blame for the levee failure falls on Congress,Excutive branch,and the corp,weapon’s of mass destruction can marshall the US might;Katrina was an example of that weapon. Chanda on September 2, 2006 at 10:59 am What defines a national emergency? Also, what responsibilities do the Governor of a state and the Mayor of a city have before and after a natural disaster threatens their city/state? Is it possible for a state that may bring in money from tourism, casinos etc., to use their own funds to help out their state? Lester Spence on September 2, 2006 at 7:52 pm quick thoughts from philly: *a state governor by definition does not have the power to declare a NATIONAL emergency. only the president (who literally PRESIDES over the nation) has that authority. *the army corps of engineers, again by definition, does not get money from the state government. why would you think that would be the case? these are FEDERAL funds. *check out a quick summary of the costs involved in rebuilding a city of some 900 square miles. then do a quick check on the budget of the average state.