Larry Kerschner Writes

Katrina Letter

Editor, The Chronicle

       About four years ago I predicted that the current President would go down as the worst President in our history.  Every day there is more evidence to support this thesis.   After September 11 one would think that emergency preparedness would be a high priority for our government.  Why then did Bush place someone in charge of FEMA whose only previous work experience was to monitor the judges of contests for Arabian horses? 

         The inept response of FEMA to the catastrophe in Louisiana and Mississippi is criminal.  Republicans should be very happy with this situation though.  Republicans have been saying for years their goal is to downsize the government to the point where they can drown it in a bath tub.  Well they have their drownings now which are a direct result of their down-sized government.

      I hate to point out the part racism has taken in this but if you compare the government response to Hurricane Frances in the largely white communities of Bush-governed Florida a year earlier to the current response to a largely poor African-American community in New Orleans it seems obvious.  When it was clear that the hurricane was going to hit Florida hundreds of trucks of food, water and ice were in place before the first winds hit.   Arrangements were made specially to provide fuel and generators to area hospitals.  The Army Corp of Engineers provided tens of thousands of tarps to homeowners.  The National Guard had thousands of troops including hundreds of emergency medical personnel standing by to help.  FEMA coordinated public information messages to direct evacuees.  Disaster relief checks were on the way within a week. 

    Where was this response to Hurricane Katrina?  Did the fact that New Orleans is a Democratic stronghold with 70 percent Black and with the highest percent of people in poverty of all American cities play a part in the government response?  It seems likely that there are thousands of dead people lying in the streets of New Orleans.  There needs to be a criminal investigation into their deaths.