Saturday, September 24, 2005

Federal Funds Misused

"The funding New Orleans did receive was often diverted by the city's Levee Board to other projects. For example, the Board spent $2.4 million of levee funding on a Mardi Gras fountain near Lake Pontchartrain, and $15 million more on overpasses to riverboat casinos. All the while, a big storm was on the horizon.

On Monday, 29 August, after a few days of evacuation flip-flops, tens of thousands of New Orleans residents emerged midday to the realization that Katrina's worst winds had landed to the east. Although Katrina was now tearing into Mississippi and Alabama, New Orleans had—or so it thought—dodged the bullet.

As waters continued to rise against levees holding back Lake Pontchartrain, there was some concern that Katrina's massive rainfall might yet overtop the levees. However, it appears now that the levees were not overtopped. In fact, there is compelling evidence that the floodwalls failed structurally in two locations—which would not have happened if they had been built to specifications. (Contrary to assertions by Nation of Islam agitator Louis Farrakhan, the levees were not "blown up" in order to divert flood waters from "white" to "black" parts of the city.)

Simply put, somewhere there is a contractor, and a whole cadre of well-grafted inspectors, who are accountable for the structural failure of the levees. Finding that contractor will be one of many serious tasks facing congressional investigators in the coming months.

As you recall, in the immediate aftermath of the levee failure, Democrats were waving accusatory fingers and demanding an "inquisition commission." They were hoping for colorful headlines blaming the Bush administration and, by extension, anyone on a Republican ticket in the upcoming election year. Then, when Republicans joined in the call for investigations, Democrats quickly backed down and, indeed, refused to take part altogether. Upon reflection, they determined that an inquiry into factual communication, material distribution and evacuation failures after Katrina would instead bury Louisiana Democrats—from buck-passing New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin to lachrymose Governor Kathleen Blanco to hysterical Senator Mary Landrieu."

from the The Federalist Patriot 9/23/2005

1 comment:

  1. 'somewhere there is a contractor, and a whole cadre of well-grafted inspectors, who are accountable for the structural failure of the levees.'

    I agree with most of this post, but I really think the blame is with the government officials, not necessarily elected ones, but the ones that have known for years that those levees could only take a cat 3 storm. That fact didn't sneak up on anyone. It was simply a gamble that didn't pay off.