Saturday, September 10, 2005

FEMA, You read it here, first

Its time now for two specific predictions from the 49er.

Prognostication one. FEMA, as we now know and love it, will be replaced under a new law creating a “newer, better, more responsive agency” sometime within the next six months – or my name is Abner Doubleday.

And forecast two. Somewhere within the new law, as it is crafted by a crafty congress, will be provisions for el presidente to federalize an entire disaster area when certain conditions are met.
  1. The disaster area is widespread, and covers significant portions of more than one state, and
  2. The governor of at least one of the involved states requests such action, or
  3. The anticipated potential loss of human life or property exceeds - say 200 persons or one billion dollars.
You can bet on it, and you read it here, first.


Stephen (aka Q) said...

Interesting predictions, and they sound sensible to me.

But tell me, did Homeland Security not have any responsibility to respond in any way to the Hurricane Katrina tragedy? I ask because it was created four years ago. It's new enough to be up-to-date, and old enough that it has had time to get properly organized … but it doesn't seem to have played any part in the response.

Maybe Homeland Security isn't relevant to this situation, but I know Newt Gingrich singled it out for criticism.

49erDweet said...

Q, the Department is composed of multiple agencies, at least three of which had a direct role to play in Katrina.

Of those, the US Coast Guard gets an A in my book. (And that may be reflected further in the fact one of their senior officers is now in overall charge).

The Transportation Security Agency gets a D - mostly for stalling the reopening of several airports "until security conditions" could be met. Motto: We ain't very humane, but we are secure.

And, of course, FEMA. Where the worst of the worst in bureaucracy seems to find a home.

Mr. Gingrich, I believe, possibly uses the blanket name of the department to make the point it is probably TOO DIVERSE to manage well.

I've come to believe that "job security" provisions in governmental personnel practices are THE biggest impediment we have these days to good governance. When one is afraid to make a decision ones knows is right, but which could mean ruining or cutting short his or her 'career', there is no hope we will receive the kind of government we need.

I've experienced this first hand several times in my career. But my personal creed has always been, "What's the worse they can do? Fire me? I was looking for a job when they hired me".

I was fortunate to have good bosses. And I always tried to keep them in the loop, but I got ahead by making the good consumer service choices, not 'playing it safe'.

Stephen (aka Q) said...

Thanks for explaining, 49er. Despite all the attention I've paid to this issue, I didn't understand that FEMA is part of Homeland Security. Mr. Gingrich's comments now make sense to me.

Thank goodness for the Coast Guard. I'm glad somebody earned an "A".

49erDweet said...

And they've been doing it in one form or another for well over 200 years, which on this continent is pretty amazing.