Friday, September 23, 2005

You mean it wasn't all FEMA's fault?

After weeks of slamming FEMA, The Post has come to the realization that maybe it was the city and state that left all those school busses neatly parked (and flooded) in the now infamous photo from post-Katrina New Orleans (See here, here.):

The ability of the federal government and private charity to help is, after all, constrained by the actions of local politicians. The best national emergency plans will almost always turn out to be those that have concentrated hardest on local politicians: cooperating with them, coordinating with them, even training them if necessary. No matter what the Texas coast looks like in a few days' time, Rita's other lesson may be that all emergency preparedness, like all politics, is ultimately local.

Of course, this likely comes as no surprise to those in the blogosphere who have been saying as much for weeks. FEMA's guidelines warn local officials not to expect federal aid for 48-72 hours. Now, Texas is in the process of evacuating (what I think) is several times the population displaced by Katrina in advance of Rita. In the end, it's exactly what The Post said:

But there may be another reason the evacuation is going well: Texas is simply better prepared than was Louisiana. Its state government is richer and better-run. Its police are not so famously corrupt.