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Caveat Emperor
09-02-2005, 04:37 PM
If you haven't done so already, check out CNN.com (http://www.cnn.com) and click on the link "Mayor to feds: 'Get off your asses'" that is on the right side of the picture.

It's a 12 minute long interview between New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin and WWL radio in New Orleans. It's absolutely heartbreaking to hear a mayor of a major metropolitan area sound simultaneously angry at what is going on and defeated at the same time.

The real gut-kick comes right before the interview is over, where Nagin basically says it is too late and that New Orleans is never going to be the same, and then both he and the host of the radio show break into tears live on the air and the interview ends.

Everyone should be enraged that it has come to this.

OnBaseMachine
09-02-2005, 04:54 PM
Unfortunately, the video doesn't work for me but below is the transcript of the interview.


(CNN) -- New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin blasted the slow pace of federal and state relief efforts in an expletive-laced interview with local radio station WWL-AM.

The following is a transcript of WWL correspondent Garland Robinette's interview with Nagin on Thursday night. Robinette asked the mayor about his conversation with President Bush:

NAGIN: I told him we had an incredible crisis here and that his flying over in Air Force One does not do it justice. And that I have been all around this city, and I am very frustrated because we are not able to marshal resources and we're outmanned in just about every respect. (Listen to the mayor express his frustration in this video -- 12:09)

You know the reason why the looters got out of control? Because we had most of our resources saving people, thousands of people that were stuck in attics, man, old ladies. ... You pull off the doggone ventilator vent and you look down there and they're standing in there in water up to their freaking necks.

And they don't have a clue what's going on down here. They flew down here one time two days after the doggone event was over with TV cameras, AP reporters, all kind of goddamn -- excuse my French everybody in America, but I am pissed.

WWL: Did you say to the president of the United States, "I need the military in here"?

NAGIN: I said, "I need everything."

Now, I will tell you this -- and I give the president some credit on this -- he sent one John Wayne dude down here that can get some stuff done, and his name is [Lt.] Gen. [Russel] Honore.

And he came off the doggone chopper, and he started cussing and people started moving. And he's getting some stuff done.

They ought to give that guy -- if they don't want to give it to me, give him full authority to get the job done, and we can save some people.

WWL: What do you need right now to get control of this situation?

NAGIN: I need reinforcements, I need troops, man. I need 500 buses, man. We ain't talking about -- you know, one of the briefings we had, they were talking about getting public school bus drivers to come down here and bus people out here.

I'm like, "You got to be kidding me. This is a national disaster. Get every doggone Greyhound bus line in the country and get their asses moving to New Orleans."

That's -- they're thinking small, man. And this is a major, major, major deal. And I can't emphasize it enough, man. This is crazy.

I've got 15,000 to 20,000 people over at the convention center. It's bursting at the seams. The poor people in Plaquemines Parish. ... We don't have anything, and we're sharing with our brothers in Plaquemines Parish.

It's awful down here, man.

WWL: Do you believe that the president is seeing this, holding a news conference on it but can't do anything until [Louisiana Gov.] Kathleen Blanco requested him to do it? And do you know whether or not she has made that request?

NAGIN: I have no idea what they're doing. But I will tell you this: You know, God is looking down on all this, and if they are not doing everything in their power to save people, they are going to pay the price. Because every day that we delay, people are dying and they're dying by the hundreds, I'm willing to bet you.

We're getting reports and calls that are breaking my heart, from people saying, "I've been in my attic. I can't take it anymore. The water is up to my neck. I don't think I can hold out." And that's happening as we speak.

You know what really upsets me, Garland? We told everybody the importance of the 17th Street Canal issue. We said, "Please, please take care of this. We don't care what you do. Figure it out."

WWL: Who'd you say that to?

NAGIN: Everybody: the governor, Homeland Security, FEMA. You name it, we said it.

And they allowed that pumping station next to Pumping Station 6 to go under water. Our sewage and water board people ... stayed there and endangered their lives.

And what happened when that pumping station went down, the water started flowing again in the city, and it starting getting to levels that probably killed more people.

In addition to that, we had water flowing through the pipes in the city. That's a power station over there.

So there's no water flowing anywhere on the east bank of Orleans Parish. So our critical water supply was destroyed because of lack of action.

WWL: Why couldn't they drop the 3,000-pound sandbags or the containers that they were talking about earlier? Was it an engineering feat that just couldn't be done?

NAGIN: They said it was some pulleys that they had to manufacture. But, you know, in a state of emergency, man, you are creative, you figure out ways to get stuff done.

Then they told me that they went overnight, and they built 17 concrete structures and they had the pulleys on them and they were going to drop them.

I flew over that thing yesterday, and it's in the same shape that it was after the storm hit. There is nothing happening. And they're feeding the public a line of bull and they're spinning, and people are dying down here.

WWL: If some of the public called and they're right, that there's a law that the president, that the federal government can't do anything without local or state requests, would you request martial law?

NAGIN: I've already called for martial law in the city of New Orleans. We did that a few days ago.

WWL: Did the governor do that, too?

NAGIN: I don't know. I don't think so.

But we called for martial law when we realized that the looting was getting out of control. And we redirected all of our police officers back to patrolling the streets. They were dead-tired from saving people, but they worked all night because we thought this thing was going to blow wide open last night. And so we redirected all of our resources, and we hold it under check.

I'm not sure if we can do that another night with the current resources.

And I am telling you right now: They're showing all these reports of people looting and doing all that weird stuff, and they are doing that, but people are desperate and they're trying to find food and water, the majority of them.

Now you got some knuckleheads out there, and they are taking advantage of this lawless -- this situation where, you know, we can't really control it, and they're doing some awful, awful things. But that's a small majority of the people. Most people are looking to try and survive.

And one of the things people -- nobody's talked about this. Drugs flowed in and out of New Orleans and the surrounding metropolitan area so freely it was scary to me, and that's why we were having the escalation in murders. People don't want to talk about this, but I'm going to talk about it.

You have drug addicts that are now walking around this city looking for a fix, and that's the reason why they were breaking in hospitals and drugstores. They're looking for something to take the edge off of their jones, if you will.

And right now, they don't have anything to take the edge off. And they've probably found guns. So what you're seeing is drug-starving crazy addicts, drug addicts, that are wrecking havoc. And we don't have the manpower to adequately deal with it. We can only target certain sections of the city and form a perimeter around them and hope to God that we're not overrun.

WWL: Well, you and I must be in the minority. Because apparently there's a section of our citizenry out there that thinks because of a law that says the federal government can't come in unless requested by the proper people, that everything that's going on to this point has been done as good as it can possibly be.

NAGIN: Really?

WWL: I know you don't feel that way.

NAGIN: Well, did the tsunami victims request? Did it go through a formal process to request?

You know, did the Iraqi people request that we go in there? Did they ask us to go in there? What is more important?

And I'll tell you, man, I'm probably going get in a whole bunch of trouble. I'm probably going to get in so much trouble it ain't even funny. You probably won't even want to deal with me after this interview is over.

WWL: You and I will be in the funny place together.

NAGIN: But we authorized $8 billion to go to Iraq lickety-quick. After 9/11, we gave the president unprecedented powers lickety-quick to take care of New York and other places.

Now, you mean to tell me that a place where most of your oil is coming through, a place that is so unique when you mention New Orleans anywhere around the world, everybody's eyes light up -- you mean to tell me that a place where you probably have thousands of people that have died and thousands more that are dying every day, that we can't figure out a way to authorize the resources that we need? Come on, man.

You know, I'm not one of those drug addicts. I am thinking very clearly.

And I don't know whose problem it is. I don't know whether it's the governor's problem. I don't know whether it's the president's problem, but somebody needs to get their ass on a plane and sit down, the two of them, and figure this out right now.

WWL: What can we do here?

NAGIN: Keep talking about it.

WWL: We'll do that. What else can we do?

NAGIN: Organize people to write letters and make calls to their congressmen, to the president, to the governor. Flood their doggone offices with requests to do something. This is ridiculous.

I don't want to see anybody do anymore goddamn press conferences. Put a moratorium on press conferences. Don't do another press conference until the resources are in this city. And then come down to this city and stand with us when there are military trucks and troops that we can't even count.

Don't tell me 40,000 people are coming here. They're not here. It's too doggone late. Now get off your asses and do something, and let's fix the biggest goddamn crisis in the history of this country.

WWL: I'll say it right now, you're the only politician that's called and called for arms like this. And if -- whatever it takes, the governor, president -- whatever law precedent it takes, whatever it takes, I bet that the people listening to you are on your side.

NAGIN: Well, I hope so, Garland. I am just -- I'm at the point now where it don't matter. People are dying. They don't have homes. They don't have jobs. The city of New Orleans will never be the same in this time.

WWL: We're both pretty speechless here.

NAGIN: Yeah, I don't know what to say. I got to go.

WWL: OK. Keep in touch. Keep in touch.

http://www.cnn.com/2005/US/09/02/nagin.transcript/index.html

ochre
09-02-2005, 05:10 PM
that is powerful. Especially if you get the chance to listen to it.

WMR
09-02-2005, 05:28 PM
ugh how sad

WMR
09-02-2005, 05:33 PM
how in the hell did it take 4 friggin days to get the federal gov't into new orleans?

Falls City Beer
09-02-2005, 06:32 PM
how in the hell did it take 4 friggin days to get the federal gov't into new orleans?

I don't know, but I sure could use another tax break for the rich.... :beerme:

Damn federal programs.

WMR
09-02-2005, 06:36 PM
they had that FEMA guy Brown on an interview i saw... he was so clueless.

here's the link. http://www.cnn.com/video/player/player.html?url=/video/bestoftv/2005/09/02/soledad.fema.brown.katrina.cnn

RBA
09-02-2005, 06:40 PM
they had that FEMA guy Brown on an interview i saw... he was so clueless.

here's the link. http://www.cnn.com/video/player/player.html?url=/video/bestoftv/2005/09/02/soledad.fema.brown.katrina.cnn

"Clueless" is giving him too much credit.

pedro
09-02-2005, 07:14 PM
they had that FEMA guy Brown on an interview i saw... he was so clueless.

here's the link. http://www.cnn.com/video/player/player.html?url=/video/bestoftv/2005/09/02/soledad.fema.brown.katrina.cnn

No kidding, I love how he said that the people who didn't evacuate were responsible for what's happening to them now. I'm sure a lot of them would have liked to but weren't offered any assistance in doing so. He was in a position to make that happen and he didn't and now he's just trying to cover his butt. And Bush says this guy is doing a great job. Pathetic.

Unassisted
09-02-2005, 07:43 PM
I think Mayor Nagin's reasons for complaining are valid, but his own performance in preparing his city led to some of the current mess. That can and should be investigated later. For now, I'll just say that both Mayor Nagin and Director Brown would have benefitted from reading and preparing for the scenario in this article published last November.

What if Hurricane Ivan Had Not Missed New Orleans? (http://www.colorado.edu/hazards/o/nov04/nov04c.html)

Falls City Beer
09-02-2005, 08:14 PM
I think Mayor Nagin's reasons for complaining are valid, but his own performance in preparing his city led to some of the current mess. That can and should be investigated later. For now, I'll just say that both Mayor Nagin and Director Brown would have benefitted from reading and preparing for the scenario in this article published last November.

What if Hurricane Ivan Had Not Missed New Orleans? (http://www.colorado.edu/hazards/o/nov04/nov04c.html)

Preparing=$

Bush=deep cuts in spending

Caveat Emperor
09-02-2005, 08:28 PM
I think Mayor Nagin's reasons for complaining are valid, but his own performance in preparing his city led to some of the current mess. That can and should be investigated later. For now, I'll just say that both Mayor Nagin and Director Brown would have benefitted from reading and preparing for the scenario in this article published last November.

Nothing in that report was news to the residents of New Orleans. They know about it. You simply cannot live in the city for more than a few months without hearing about this being a fear. Whenever a hurricane is in the news, even if it is threatening another part of the United States, the local news turns to memories of Hurricane Betsy and people trapped by the huge floodwaters.

The fact is, this is the kind of scenario for which there was no preparation. It's like asking the Mayor of San Francisco what the "plan" is for another 8.0 Richter Scale earthquake in the city; he'd probably just laugh and say something like "prayer," because there is really nothing you can do to prepare for it. Of course, you can see a Hurricane coming whereas earthquakes often happen without warning; but it doesn't make it any easier to evacuate an entire city, especially when there are so many people who are desperately poor and lack both the financial means to leave and/or the ability to be away from their job for even a single day, in the event the Hurricane misses New Orleans.

They got as many people out as possible, and the opened up a shelter that protected as many people as they possibly could. Once the situation could be assessed, they identified the biggest threat to the city being a breach in the levies, yet it was ignored by those who had the power to fix it.

MrCinatit
09-02-2005, 09:20 PM
that interview was the first thing i heard when i turned on CNN upon arriving from work this morning - a very emotional moment. simply horrifying in many ways i really do not want to go into here.

KittyDuran
09-02-2005, 09:24 PM
I think Mayor Nagin's reasons for complaining are valid, but his own performance in preparing his city led to some of the current mess. That can and should be investigated later. For now, I'll just say that both Mayor Nagin and Director Brown would have benefitted from reading and preparing for the scenario in this article published last November.

What if Hurricane Ivan Had Not Missed New Orleans? (http://www.colorado.edu/hazards/o/nov04/nov04c.html)Let's go back a year... What if Hurricane Charley Had Not Missed Tampa?

Rojo
09-02-2005, 10:27 PM
Why do we blame the cities? The cities are where Americans put their poor, their immigrants, their homeless, their elderly and expect the local government to pay for the problem on their own as money is dumped into farm subsidies and suburban devolopment.

Unassisted
09-03-2005, 12:06 AM
Disaster planning is a job for every unit of government. I'm not convinced that the city did any better than the Feds. And I resent that some politicians are claiming the neglect was racially motivated, conveniently ignoring the elected city official at the top, who should bear some accountability.

The thing that bothers me most about Nagin and the other pols who are complaining that the Feds left the poor in harm's way is that Nagin himself could have pushed harder for a plan to get them out of harm's way. For instance, he could have sent every transit bus in the city to the impoverished sections of town (or gathered up the folks who lined up pre-landfall to get into the Superdome) and had the buses collect a few thousand people and haul them a few hundred miles to the north. Or he could have had a prearranged plan with his state's National Guard for an airlift like the one happening now and had the buses haul people to the airport. There's probably some other ways to move the poor that I didn't think of, but it's not my job to come up with contingency plans. Neither of my ideas would have completely (or even mostly) emptied the city, but they would have made more difference than the plan he seemed to have, which was apparently crossing his fingers.

I don't completely buy the money argument, either. Congress authorized huge windfalls for local government earmarked for homeland security. Most local governments used them for bells and whistles, like SUVs and videoconferencing systems. (My local PD almost bought 6 such systems before the mayor vetoed the purchase.) Seems to me like there would be literally scores of homeland security scenarios that involve getting thousands of people out of many types of danger. But my guess is that New Orleans didn't use their money for something that was useful in the past week, or we would have heard it trumpeted as a success story.

I just don't get why everyone is in such a rush to give Mayor Nagin a free pass because he dared to speak bluntly against the Feds.

RFS62
09-03-2005, 12:17 AM
Disaster planning is a job for every unit of government. I'm not convinced that the city did any better than the Feds. And I resent that some politicians are claiming the neglect was racially motivated, conveniently ignoring the elected city official at the top, who should bear some accountability.

The thing that bothers me most about Nagin and the other pols who are complaining that the Feds left the poor in harm's way is that Nagin himself could have pushed harder for a plan to get them out of harm's way. For instance, he could have sent every transit bus in the city to the impoverished sections of town (or gathered up the folks who lined up pre-landfall to get into the Superdome) and had the buses collect a few thousand people and haul them a few hundred miles to the north. Or he could have had a prearranged plan with his state's National Guard for an airlift like the one happening now and had the buses haul people to the airport. There's probably some other ways to move the poor that I didn't think of, but it's not my job to come up with contingency plans. Neither of my ideas would have completely (or even mostly) emptied the city, but they would have made more difference than the plan he seemed to have, which was apparently crossing his fingers.




Puffy made a great post earlier regarding the mindset of evacuating. New Orleans had evacuated when Hurricane Georges was bearing down, with similar windspeed and projections of doom and gloom. I was in that evacuation myself, spending 8 hours on the interstate to get a couple of hundred miles. The Hurricane veered off to hit Mobile, sparing New Orleans. There have been many other scares, and when you're planning for a disaster response, you have to take these things into account. The poor, elderly, and infirm are not going to evacuate. This isn't theory, this is fact, as evidenced by this disaster.

Rojo
09-03-2005, 12:26 AM
I don't want to give Nagin a free pass either but the higher the level of government, the higher the bar. That' s the way it is.