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#47746 - 09/08/05 12:47 AM Re: Learning from Katrina...
haertig Offline
Pooh-Bah

Registered: 03/13/05
Posts: 2117
Loc: Colorado
"what would have folks done to the President had he enforced mandatory evacuation from NO by the federal government"

In my opinion ... and I realize it's ONLY my opinion ... evacuation prior to an event should be the responsibility of the local government, not FEMA or any other federal agency. Help after the event might well fall to FEMA.

It's the city of New Orleans that should have known there were people who chose not to evacuate, and also people who could not evacuate for financial reasons or other. And it was New Orleans responsibility to identify these people and give them assistance in getting out ahead of the event. At least call for help AHEAD OF TIME in meeting this need. My take is that the city massively failed in this. Evacuation before the event would have been a cinch compared to trying to drive hundreds of busses through 10 feet of water down destroyed highways afterwards. If the people were gone, New Orleans would have still been destroyed, but it certainly wouldn't have been the human tragedy we're seeing now.

I see the New Orleans mayor in the news screaming at others and blaming them for lack of help and it makes me angry. Yes, the after-the-event response might have been better, but it would not have been so urgent if the locals had done their job in the first place. I can't imagine how anyone can hold the feds accountable for not barging into their city and forcing the people out before the storm. On the contrary - I imagine the mayor would have been screaming bloody murder if the feds had even tried.

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#47747 - 09/08/05 04:16 AM Re: Learning from Katrina...
peanut Offline
Journeyman

Registered: 03/09/01
Posts: 88
I see loads of misinformation here, not your fault. The media has been spreading a load of poop to the world on this one. A few corrections are in order.

The levee that failed on the 17th street canal was concrete center with earth on both sides. And that section was just redone within the last few years. My parents lived maybe a half mile at best from the break, and I used to work down there. Until last week that is. The bridge a hundred yards from the break where the president was a few days ago? Both my folks and I crossed the canal there while evacuating, 36 hours before the storm. I grew up playing on that levee.

As far as the evacuation order, it was given locally, and as soon as they could. After the evacuation for Ivan, with it's screw ups, the state and local plans were redone. What it called for was a 50 hour plan, with the lowest lying parishes (counties) going first. Katrina's track started to be projected for here late Friday with low confidence. Saturday morning confidence grew, and the lowest parishes (plaquemines and St. Bernard) ordered evac at 9 AM. Jefferson and Orleans (New Orleans) followed the plan, and ordered evac at 4 PM. This time the evac went mostly smoothly.

What was lacking from the Dome or Convention Center was not food or water, but information. You can live for a while without the former, but lack of information causes panic, and the subsequent anarchy. Our Governor, Mrs. Doubtfire, should have had people there, or gone herself to calm the situation, not hold another bloody press conference.

Yes, we are threatened by mother nature here. Hurricanes affect the Gulf and East coasts, the west coast earthquakes, midwest tornados, northern blizzards, southwest desert, volcanos in hawaii. Instead of complaining about our situation, maybe join the thousands from around the country risking life and limb to help.

The media has overplayed much of the situation. Don't get me wrong, it's been damn bad. Some of those bodies at the dome and elsewhere did not die there. Routine deaths still happened, and family members brought the bodies there, where they could be identified and safe, rather than leave them to the flood.

Yes, some of our people behaved badly. When faced with the greatest natural disaster in this nation's history, they behaved badly. Anywhere else in the English speaking world, if there's a sports championship, or loss, there are riots and arson and looting. It took a titanic disaster to cause that here. We hold, and will hold, the greatest, largest street party in the world annually with very few problems. Anyplace else that tries to hold Mardi Gras in the US, they get riots. "civilized" LA went up in flames over a court verdict a few years ago. All things considered, we've done Damn well, thank you very much.

The west bank of the river is battered but shoul be back in operation in a few weeks, businesses all over the area, less Orleans, Plaquemins and St. Bernard parishes, are reopening. The northshore is recovering nicely. Estimates were from two weeks to eight weeks to get power back in my area. We're ten days in, and over 70% of the notrhshore has power, almost all of Baton Rouge, and even parts of the city itself. I still don't because the line here only supplies four homes and has six breaks in it. All the town of Amite, and the main roads have power.

As far as the firearm debate, they can be a bad idea. Unless you get proper training, and practice regularly, you will probably be more of a danger to yourself and your loved ones. Many people who have legal concealed carry permits show up to requalify with weapons that obviously haven't been out of the case for years and the owner obviously hasn't handled or practiced safe weapons handling for those four years either. Scary.

Peanut

_________________________
a prodigal scout, just trying to be prepared.

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#47748 - 09/08/05 04:24 AM Re: Learning from Katrina...
groo Offline


Registered: 11/02/03
Posts: 722
Loc: Florida
Did you hear anything about this? From a post on BoingBoing:

10:57 Raw transcript of comments by NOLA evacuee Clara Barthelemy: "The 17th street levee was bombed by the Army Corps of Engineers to save the more valuable real estate in the city… to keep the French Quarter protected, the ninth ward was sacrificed… people are afraid to speak out… everyone who was near there heard the bombings… they bombed seven times. That's why they didn't fix the levees… 20 feet of water. Gators. People dying in water. They let the parishes go, not the city center. Tourist trap was saved over human life. A six year old girl was raped in here.. 9 year old boy killed. A man in the shower beaten. No hot food. No help for elderly."


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#47749 - 09/08/05 04:36 AM Re: Learning from Katrina...
Anonymous
Unregistered


All of these cases arefact bound, but I will submit to you: Vaquera v. Salas, 810 S.W.2d 456 (Tex.App. - San Antonio 1991, writ denied) which is a case I LOST. In that case, the police department was absolved of liability despite having a cop stop a drunk driver, and letting him go, and who went on to maim my client. Hello. Does not clear and present danger have any meaning? Not in Texas. Not when it come to a governmental entity.

Govenmental immunity challegenges have been the better part of my carreer. Dont' get me started. See City of San Antonio v. Rodriguez, 810 S.W.2d 405 (Tex.App. - San Antonio 1991) reversed, City of San Antonio v. Rodriguez, 828 S.W.2d 417 (Tex. 1992). City of San Antonio v. Rodriguez, 856 S.W.2d 552 (Tex.App. - San Antonio 1993, writ denied) following grant of writ and argument.

Yes, I got the largest verdict in history against a municipality, but the law has changed. In any disaster event, do not look for compensation when any govenmetal entity screws up.

Yes, there is some authority to the contrary in Califormia, but the tide has turened, and I would not count on that being good law.

Wecome to the PHRASECENSOREDPOSTERSHOULDKNOWBETTER. Revolution. Oops. Political. Spank me.

But to cut to the chase on this thing, I have had cases where there were decades of governmental neglect of infrastructure upgrades, as in NO, but sorry folks, it is not actionable in a civil court in the majority of states.

I digress. I am somewhat passionate on this subject. Governmental inaction pisses me off.

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#47750 - 09/08/05 05:05 AM Re: Learning from Katrina...
peanut Offline
Journeyman

Registered: 03/09/01
Posts: 88
Groo, it didn't happen like that. the geography is all wrong. The 17th street canal divides Orleans and Jefferson Parishes. And the lower 9 is across the city from Lakeview. The water rushed from Lakeview (right by Lake Ponchatrain) through the city and further into the lower 9. The reason the Quarter didn't flood is because it is a natural high point, that's why Iberville and Bienville Le Moyne decided to put the city there back in 1718. Also the problem was with the lake, not the river. They did dynamite levees in 1927 to save the city but that was to ease pressure on the river. and they sacrificed sparsely populates Plaquemines parish, not crowded neighborhoods. If this alleged incident occurred, it would be trying to lower an 800 square mile lake into a 25 square mile city. Sorry, but the math and maps don't agree .

Peanut
_________________________
a prodigal scout, just trying to be prepared.

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#47751 - 09/08/05 05:10 AM Re: Learning from Katrina...
groo Offline


Registered: 11/02/03
Posts: 722
Loc: Florida
Ok. Thanks! I know the situation is really bad, but there are going to be incorrect reports which make it sound even worse. It's hard to know what to believe, and since I don't know New Orleans geography at all...


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#47752 - 09/08/05 05:15 AM Re: Learning from Katrina...
peanut Offline
Journeyman

Registered: 03/09/01
Posts: 88
Give us a few months, come on down, and I'll show you the geography. You buy the beer.

Peanut
_________________________
a prodigal scout, just trying to be prepared.

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#47753 - 09/08/05 05:16 AM Re: Learning from Katrina...
groo Offline


Registered: 11/02/03
Posts: 722
Loc: Florida
Deal! <img src="/images/graemlins/smile.gif" alt="" />


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#47754 - 09/08/05 10:55 PM Re: Learning from Katrina...
UTAlumnus Offline
Old Hand

Registered: 03/08/03
Posts: 999
Loc: East Tennessee near Bristol
Your drunk driver case is similar to the one I was thinking of.

Quote:
decades of governmental neglect of infrastructure upgrades, as in NO, but sorry folks, it is not actionable in a civil court in the majority of states


If it isn't actionable as a civil case then what about criminal? I would certainly think that a case could be made for fraud, theft, or depraved indifference. There were school & transit buses in NO that could have made at least one trip loaded with evacuees that wanted to get out & couldn't. They could have set up a share a ride system before this happened.

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#47755 - 09/09/05 02:08 AM Re: Learning from Katrina...
Anonymous
Unregistered


Yes. In the Criminal Court I was able to get the Court to compel the payment of $50,000.00 to her in mandatory restitution as a condition of probation. That covered her medical expenses, and 6 months of her wage loss [she was permanently disabled]. He could not reasonably have been expected to pay more from his pocket or pension, because as a result of this incident he was discharged from the Army. The criminal system cannot, with rare exceptions, trigger insurance coverage.

But to the thrust of your question, if I understand correctly, what is the scope of potential liability for governmental entities and authorities?

Regreatably, there is little. This has been the hallmark of my carreer: going after government. There is absolutely no such thing as as a viable cause of action against individual state officials in the majority of states, the exceptions being California and New York in the past, but no more under current law.

The only viable causes of action are when a govenmental officail acts outside the scope of their authority, or in the lingo, ultra vires. There has never been, that I know of, an ultra vires liabily case in Texas. There is a New York case that arose from prosecutorial misconduct, but I think it was reversed on appeal.

Soveriegn immunitiy paints with a very, very, broad brush.

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