Thursday, September 22, 2005

Galveston is getting it done...

If you would like to see first hand how to prepare for a Category 5 hurricane, look no further than Galveston, Texas.

I haven't even begun to watch the progress of Hurricane Rita like I did Katrina, but I can tell you that Galveston isn't going to let what happened to New Orleans happen to them. Again.

See, about 105 years ago Galveston, Texas was practically wiped off of the map. A gigantic hurricane destroyed the city and killed 8,000 people.

So today I flip over to the Weather Channel just to see what is going on and I see evacuation maps for Texas. I see the mayor on TV and I see emergency management officials on TV as well.

What are they saying, you ask?

Well the mayor told everyone they are evacuating the city. They set up loading times. They scrambled school buses and city buses and are making sure that everyone knows to get out and are making arrangements for them.

The mayor of Galveston stated that their flood walls are 7 feet high and the storm will be bringing in at least 14 feet or more of a storm surge. So they are packing up the pickup and heading for higher ground.

You can say that they are trying not to let what happened to New Orleans happen to them, but you'd be wrong. Even though it was over 100 years ago, Galveston knows hurricanes. They lost 8,000 people to a hurricane and that's a number that New Orleans and the rest of the gulf coast still may not reach.

The sad thing about it is that in 1900 Galveston didn't know what was heading their way and New Orleans did a few weeks ago. Now Galveston is using the knowledge and technology they didn't have to their advantage.

Watch and learn.


Travis said...

Important to note how uninvolved the federal government is and how smooth it's going. The National Guard is there, but that's a state decision.
People who call and clamor about the federal response to Katrina have a point about it being too slow. But they need to also realize that the key is what happens before the storm, and that is up to the state and local officials. In Texas, they're doing an outstanding job. In Mississippi, they did a good job. In Alabama they did a good job. In Louisiana, especially in New Orleans, they did a terrible job. And you can clearly see the results.
More and bigger government, despite what your politics may be, does not equal better government. Good leadership is the driving force to overcoming this type of major event. And that is a matter of quality, NOT quantity.

Piccu said...

I agree that the local and state government in TX is doing a great job and making the mayor of NO and the gov of LA look like morons, but I also notice that FEMA is sending all kinds of aid already to TX. The director of FEMA said he was happy to send too much instead of not enough. I am not one to believe that George Bush and our government hate black people; I think that is an ignorant statement. I do believe that our current administration do care more about their richy rich friends than Joe Schmo.

With all that being said, none of those beliefs were the reason for the fiasco that was the Katrina aftermath. The reason was good old fashioned idiocy on all levels, not just our federal government. I am glad to see that the federal government is trying to minimize the chance of another Katrina disaster, but I wonder if this effort is because of the results of live and learn or because of the horrible p.r. they received after Katrina. It’s a question of whether they are more interested in saving lives or saving face.

Travis said...

I think it's pretty naive to even consider that a president, no matter who he is, would be more concerned with saving reputation than saving lives. I'm not going to say the Fed didn't screw up with Katrina, and obviously hiring Brown as head of FEMA was a huge mistake, but I think your proposition that it could be a matter of saving reputation is a little off center.
I figure that hires like Brown happen in every administration, unfortunately for Bush it came into play and it bit him in the butt, as it should have.
But I'll assume people are good and virtuous for the most part. I'll assume that it's a matter of FEMA having better leadership and having learned their lesson from the Katrina disaster. Maybe that's me being naive, but I'd rather assume people want to save lives. If the opposite is true, we've got deeper issues.

Piccu said...

I may have gone a little overboard, but I would be willing to bet it is a closer race than you think. I just think that FEMA and the feds are making sure that we know that they are on the case this time and are heeding all the warnings that were ignored during the Katrina fiasco.

I am sure that hires like Brown to FEMA do take place in every administration, but Bush turned FEMA into what it is today. It used to be a stand alone agency that had no official ties to the Dems or the GOP, until Bush turned it over to Homeland Security and stocked it with his cronies. Bush is probably not doing anything that Kerry wouldn't have done in his hiring practices, it is just unfortunate that people's lives were taken and put in danger because of this.

I like to believe that people are good and virtuous too, but it is hard to think of politicians as people.

Travis said...

I'll grant you that politics and reputation are a motivator in the Rita situation. No doubt Bush realizes that another screw up like Katrina and right or wrong he would be political deviled ham.

Putting FEMA under the direction of Homeland Security was probably a mistake, but as with most of Bush's mistakes, I think it was well intended. But intentions get you about as far politically as they get you anywhere else.

Maybe one day people will stop hiring buddies to run important things. Bush got burned on it, Fletcher got burned (mostly because Dems just didn't like, thank God nothing serious occurred.) But at some point you think you would grasp the enormous responsibility that comes with elected office. Then again, probably not.