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  • The NOLA School Buses

    QUOTE
    Blanco says feds pledged buses


    By MICHELLE MILLHOLLON

    Capitol news bureau

    Nearly three weeks after Hurricane Katrina raged ashore, Gov. Kathleen Blanco still wants one question answered.

    Where were the buses?

    Hours after the hurricane hit Aug. 29, the Federal Emergency Management Agency announced a plan to send 500 commercial buses into New Orleans to rescue thousands of people left stranded on highways, overpasses and in shelters, hospitals and homes.

    On the day of the storm, or perhaps the day after, FEMA turned down the state's suggestion to use school buses because they are not air conditioned, Blanco said Friday in an interview.

    Even after levees broke and residents were crowding the Louisiana Superdome, then-FEMA Director Mike Brown was bent on using his own buses to evacuate New Orleans, Blanco said.

    During the delay, misery and mayhem mounted in the Dome, thousands gathered in desperation at the nearby convention center, and Americans watched in shock as dead and dying New Orleans residents were broadcast on national television.

    The state had sent 68 school buses into the city on Monday.

    Blanco took over more buses from Louisiana school systems and sent them in on Wednesday, two days after the storm. She tapped the National Guard to drive them. Each time the buses emptied an area, more people would appear, she said.

    The buses took 15,728 people to safety, a Blanco aide said. But the state's fleet of school buses wasn't enough. On Wednesday, with the FEMA buses still not in sight, Blanco called the White House to talk to Bush and ended up speaking to Chief of Staff Andy Card.

    "I said, 'Even if we had 500 buses, they've underestimated the magnitude of this situation, and I think I need 5,000 buses, not 500,'" Blanco recounted.

    "'But, Andy, those 500 are not here,'" the governor said.

    Card promised to get Blanco more buses.

    Later Wednesday night, Blanco walked into the State Police Communications Center and asked if anyone knew anything about the buses.

    An officer told her the buses were just entering the state.

    "I said, 'Do you mean as in North Louisiana, which is another six hours from New Orleans?,'" Blanco recalled in the interview. "He said, 'Yes, m'am.'"

    It was at that point, Blanco said, that she realized she had made a critical error.

    "I assumed that FEMA had staged their buses in near proximity," she said. "I expected them to be out of the storm's way but accessible in one day's time."

    It was late Wednesday. The buses wouldn't get to New Orleans until Thursday. By then, many of the sickest and the weakest were dead or dying.

    The buses weren't the only resource to arrive late, Blanco said.

    It took days to get a communications system and outside troops. In the first days after the hurricane hit, Louisiana National Guard communicated by sending text messages on cell phones.

    The death and destruction multiplied as looters armed themselves and residents languished waiting for rescue.

    Brown was the first bureaucratic casualty in the massive governmental breakdown in responding to Katrina.

    He resigned last week amid criticism that he responded sluggishly to the hurricane. Brown lashed out a few days later, telling The New York Times that Blanco and her staff were "incapable of organizing a coherent state effort."

    Brown said that, on the day before the storm hit, he asked Blanco and Maj. Gen. Bennett Landreneau, head of the state's National Guard, what resources they needed.

    "The response was like, 'Let us find out,' and then I never received specific requests for specific things that needed doing," Brown told The New York Times last week.

    Blanco said it shouldn't have been up to her to provide a list.

    "Specific things, my God," she said. "(If) they didn't know that we were in the middle of search and rescue and needed to evacuate people, then they were not on the ground with us. We needed buses and helicopters."

    Besides, Blanco said, she thought Brown was in control of the situation.

    "I had security in the knowledge that there were 500 buses," she said. "Mike had emphasized the buses to me personally. That was not my first concern until I realized that they were not there."

    Meanwhile, the state continued to send school buses into the affected areas.

    One of Blanco's aides, Leonard Kleinpeter, said FEMA told him at one point that the state could stop sending school buses because the agency was going to bring in helicopters and use them instead of the commercial buses that still weren't there.

    Blanco told Kleinpeter to ignore those instructions.

    "She said, 'I'll be damned. You keep loading the wagons on the school buses,'" Kleinpeter said.

    Kleinpeter said he now wonders if FEMA temporarily halted its buses because the agency thought helicopters would work better.

    By Tuesday, the day after the hurricane, Brown was ready to cede control of state and federal relief efforts to the White House.

    Two days later, President George W. Bush met with Blanco on Air Force One and asked her for control of the troops that were finally pouring into the state. Blanco asked if Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour would be under the same regime. The answer was "No."

    Blanco told Bush she'd get back to him in 24 hours. The president didn't wait. That night, the White House faxed a memorandum of understanding for her to sign to cede control of the troops. Her answer was "No."

    "If I thought that it was going to bring one more resource to bear, if I thought that he was denying me resource because of it, and I don't think he was, then it might have been something that I would have considered," she said.

    "By that time, we were already getting the resources and commitments," the governor said.

    It wasn't the response that the White House wanted. People close to the Bush administration started criticizing Blanco, saying she bungled the state response.

    When Bush returned to the state a few days later, he didn't tell Blanco he was coming. The night before that second visit, Blanco learned about the visit from a news reporter and wrangled an invitation to accompany Bush on his tour.

    There was a noticeable tension between the president and the governor throughout the trip.

    "What was going on is the national media people started picking on the president. So the White House began to defend the president. So they turned some guns on me," Blanco said.

    "It was a colossal waste of our time and energy to get into the blame game," she said.

    Blanco said things are now fine between her and Bush.

    Bush has since acknowledged that his administration failed to respond adequately to the hurricane. The president has ordered a review of the sluggish response.

    "Four years after the frightening experience of Sept. 11, Americans have every right to expect a more effective response in a time of emergency," he told the nation in an address from Jackson Square Thursday night.

    "When the federal government fails to meet such an obligation, I as president am responsible for the problem, and for the solution," Bush said.

    Blanco is less emphatic in taking blame for the breakdown.

    She said she takes responsibility "for assuming that help was on the way" when it wasn't.

    Blanco said she's also learned a lesson.

    "In the end, in a really dangerous, life-threatening situation, there is no army that's going to be there to save you," she said. "It's going to be person-to-person, helping each other. Some people are putting their lives on the line to help other people whose lives are at risk. And that's the bottom line."

    Click here to return to story:
    http://www.2theadvocate.com/stories/091805...blanco001.shtml [/b][/quote]

    Oops.

    Will the President ever get to the bottom of this mess? Stay tuned!
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  • #2
    two different issues. One is use of state owned buses before storm, one is emergency buses sent from private bus companies outside the state after the flooding.
    Un-Official Sponsor of Randy Choate and Kevin Siegrist

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    • #3
      Remember the story of the 18 year old kid who 'stole' a schoolbus, loaded it with evacuees, and drove them out of there? The last I heard the feds were thinking of pressing charges against him. Anyone hear?
      Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the law ~

      A.C.

      Comment


      • #4
        QUOTE(bombay @ Sep 20 2005, 09:42 AM) Quoted post

        Remember the story of the 18 year old kid who 'stole' a schoolbus, loaded it with evacuees, and drove them out of there? The last I heard the feds were thinking of pressing charges against him. Anyone hear?
        [/b][/quote]

        He's a traitor. He needs to be sent to Guantanamo Bay for questioning/refusal of his rights.
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        • #5
          QUOTE(bombay @ Sep 20 2005, 07:42 AM) Quoted post

          Remember the story of the 18 year old kid who 'stole' a schoolbus, loaded it with evacuees, and drove them out of there? The last I heard the feds were thinking of pressing charges against him. Anyone hear?
          [/b][/quote]


          Would it suprise you? As this fiasco has demonstrated, it's not about search and rescue, but power and TV time.
          Un-Official Sponsor of Randy Choate and Kevin Siegrist

          Comment


          • #6
            Blanco is an idiot. LA is her state. She is the elected official in charge of that state. Yes, it is up to her to organize the relief efforts and to provide FEMA with a list of what she needs. The more this story unfolds, and the more Blanco blames everyone else for her mismanagement of her own state, the worse she is making herself look.

            Oh, I finally did look up Blanco's party affiliation, and guess what? She's a democrat. That explains a lot right there as far as her blaming the Federal Govt for something every time she turns around. Here is a link to the letters she has written to Pres. Bush that she has posted on her website:
            Blanco's Letters to Bush
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            • #7
              QUOTE(bombay @ Sep 20 2005, 09:42 AM) Quoted post

              Remember the story of the 18 year old kid who 'stole' a schoolbus, loaded it with evacuees, and drove them out of there? The last I heard the feds were thinking of pressing charges against him. Anyone hear?
              [/b][/quote]
              His name is Jabbar Gibson and nothing has happened yet and I wouldn't think anyone would do anything.

              Comment


              • #8
                QUOTE(pgrote @ Sep 20 2005, 08:47 AM) Quoted post

                QUOTE(bombay @ Sep 20 2005, 09:42 AM) Quoted post

                Remember the story of the 18 year old kid who 'stole' a schoolbus, loaded it with evacuees, and drove them out of there? The last I heard the feds were thinking of pressing charges against him. Anyone hear?
                [/b][/quote]
                His name is Jabbar Gibson and nothing has happened yet and I wouldn't think anyone would do anything.
                [/b][/quote]

                Here's the Houston Chronicle story. He's 20, not 18. Nothing the gubbrmint does would surprise me. Initially they were turned away from the Astrodome because they were 'unuauthorized'.


                http://www.chron.com/cs/CDA/ssistory...story2/3334317

                They were the FIRST evacuees to make it to the Astrodome. Amazing.

                PS: Some company that values initiative should give this guy a job.
                Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the law ~

                A.C.

                Comment


                • #9
                  QUOTE(Lois Lane @ Sep 20 2005, 08:46 AM) Quoted post

                  Blanco is an idiot. LA is her state. She is the elected official in charge of that state. Yes, it is up to her to organize the relief efforts and to provide FEMA with a list of what she needs. The more this story unfolds, and the more Blanco blames everyone else for her mismanagement of her own state, the worse she is making herself look.

                  Oh, I finally did look up Blanco's party affiliation, and guess what? She's a democrat. That explains a lot right there as far as her blaming the Federal Govt for something every time she turns around. Here is a link to the letters she has written to Pres. Bush that she has posted on her website:
                  Blanco's Letters to Bush
                  [/b][/quote]

                  This great nation has a National Response Plan.

                  Georgie's minions didn't follow it.

                  Edit: link fixed.
                  Damn these electric sex pants!

                  26+31+34+42+44+46+64+67+82+06 = 10

                  Bring back the death penalty for corporations!

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    QUOTE(Lois Lane @ Sep 20 2005, 09:46 AM) Quoted post

                    Blanco is an idiot. LA is her state. She is the elected official in charge of that state. Yes, it is up to her to organize the relief efforts and to provide FEMA with a list of what she needs. The more this story unfolds, and the more Blanco blames everyone else for her mismanagement of her own state, the worse she is making herself look.

                    Oh, I finally did look up Blanco's party affiliation, and guess what? She's a democrat. That explains a lot right there as far as her blaming the Federal Govt for something every time she turns around. Here is a link to the letters she has written to Pres. Bush that she has posted on her website:
                    Blanco's Letters to Bush
                    [/b][/quote]



                    Not only democrats are on dubya's ass....
                    I agree with Davhaf.....Kaiser March 9,2004

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                    Mick Jagger is in better shape than far too many NBA players. It's up in the air whether the same can be said of Keith Richards.

                    Bill Walton

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                    • #11
                      QUOTE(pgrote @ Sep 20 2005, 09:47 AM) Quoted post

                      QUOTE(bombay @ Sep 20 2005, 09:42 AM) Quoted post

                      Remember the story of the 18 year old kid who 'stole' a schoolbus, loaded it with evacuees, and drove them out of there? The last I heard the feds were thinking of pressing charges against him. Anyone hear?
                      [/b][/quote]
                      His name is Jabbar Gibson and nothing has happened yet and I wouldn't think anyone would do anything.
                      [/b][/quote]
                      It's all well and good that he was trying to save people and made a noble gesture. However, what if nothing was done/said and everyone got the idea that it was OK to hijack vehicles and go wherever they wanted. The anarchy down there would have been way worse than it was already. They have to look at the big picture.
                      Official Lounge Sponsor of Kentucky - The Bluegrass State
                      Proud Sponsor of Kirkwood Athletic Associations's Gameface #5 DK
                      Official Sponsor of the Lounge Badgers #13 Guppy
                      Official Lounge Sponsor of the Rams # 81 Torry Holt
                      NOW Sponsoring St. Louis Cardinals #3 Abraham Nunez
                      LET'S GO CARDINALS!!!!! \"IPB

                      "From there to here, from here to there, funny things are everywhere..."

                      formerly aka Lois Lane - Going back to my hillbilly roots!

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        QUOTE(Lois Lane @ Sep 20 2005, 08:54 AM) Quoted post

                        QUOTE(pgrote @ Sep 20 2005, 09:47 AM) Quoted post

                        QUOTE(bombay @ Sep 20 2005, 09:42 AM) Quoted post

                        Remember the story of the 18 year old kid who 'stole' a schoolbus, loaded it with evacuees, and drove them out of there? The last I heard the feds were thinking of pressing charges against him. Anyone hear?
                        [/b][/quote]
                        His name is Jabbar Gibson and nothing has happened yet and I wouldn't think anyone would do anything.
                        [/b][/quote]
                        It's all well and good that he was trying to save people and made a noble gesture. However, what if nothing was done/said and everyone got the idea that it was OK to hijack vehicles and go wherever they wanted. The anarchy down there would have been way worse than it was already. They have to look at the big picture.
                        [/b][/quote]


                        LOL

                        [img]style_emoticons/<#EMO_DIR#>/laugh.gif[/img]
                        Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the law ~

                        A.C.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          QUOTE(Lois Lane @ Sep 20 2005, 10:54 AM) Quoted post

                          QUOTE(pgrote @ Sep 20 2005, 09:47 AM) Quoted post

                          QUOTE(bombay @ Sep 20 2005, 09:42 AM) Quoted post

                          Remember the story of the 18 year old kid who 'stole' a schoolbus, loaded it with evacuees, and drove them out of there? The last I heard the feds were thinking of pressing charges against him. Anyone hear?
                          [/b][/quote]
                          His name is Jabbar Gibson and nothing has happened yet and I wouldn't think anyone would do anything.
                          [/b][/quote]
                          It's all well and good that he was trying to save people and made a noble gesture. However, what if nothing was done/said and everyone got the idea that it was OK to hijack vehicles and go wherever they wanted. The anarchy down there would have been way worse than it was already. They have to look at the big picture.
                          [/b][/quote]

                          The big picture is survival.
                          No president wants war. Everything you may have heard is that, but it's just simply not true
                          President George W. Bush, March 21, 2006

                          I'm a war president
                          President George W. Bush, February 8, 2004

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                          • #14
                            QUOTE(bombay @ Sep 20 2005, 09:55 AM) Quoted post

                            QUOTE(Lois Lane @ Sep 20 2005, 08:54 AM) Quoted post

                            QUOTE(pgrote @ Sep 20 2005, 09:47 AM) Quoted post

                            QUOTE(bombay @ Sep 20 2005, 09:42 AM) Quoted post

                            Remember the story of the 18 year old kid who 'stole' a schoolbus, loaded it with evacuees, and drove them out of there? The last I heard the feds were thinking of pressing charges against him. Anyone hear?
                            [/b][/quote]
                            His name is Jabbar Gibson and nothing has happened yet and I wouldn't think anyone would do anything.
                            [/b][/quote]
                            It's all well and good that he was trying to save people and made a noble gesture. However, what if nothing was done/said and everyone got the idea that it was OK to hijack vehicles and go wherever they wanted. The anarchy down there would have been way worse than it was already. They have to look at the big picture.
                            [/b][/quote]


                            LOL

                            [img]style_emoticons/<#EMO_DIR#>/laugh.gif[/img]
                            [/b][/quote]

                            um, was she serious?
                            [img]style_emoticons/<#EMO_DIR#>/huh.gif[/img]
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                            • #15
                              QUOTE(mw.2 @ Sep 20 2005, 09:56 AM) Quoted post

                              QUOTE(Lois Lane @ Sep 20 2005, 10:54 AM) Quoted post

                              QUOTE(pgrote @ Sep 20 2005, 09:47 AM) Quoted post

                              QUOTE(bombay @ Sep 20 2005, 09:42 AM) Quoted post

                              Remember the story of the 18 year old kid who 'stole' a schoolbus, loaded it with evacuees, and drove them out of there? The last I heard the feds were thinking of pressing charges against him. Anyone hear?
                              [/b][/quote]
                              His name is Jabbar Gibson and nothing has happened yet and I wouldn't think anyone would do anything.
                              [/b][/quote]
                              It's all well and good that he was trying to save people and made a noble gesture. However, what if nothing was done/said and everyone got the idea that it was OK to hijack vehicles and go wherever they wanted. The anarchy down there would have been way worse than it was already. They have to look at the big picture.
                              [/b][/quote]

                              The big picture is survival.
                              [/b][/quote]
                              yeah. leave the kid alone.
                              Sometimes elections have positive consequences!

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