Refresher Needed On Roles Of Local, State, Federal Governments



After reading the "More than a Cheerleader" letter in Mail Call (Sept. 6), I felt that some folks need to look for factual information and not respond simply on emotion as is often the case. Some facts:

1. President Bush declared Louisiana a disaster area two days before Hurricane Katrina struck.

2. President Bush urged New Orleans Mayor C. Ray Nagin and Louisiana Gov. Kathleen Babineaux Blanco to order the mandatory evacuation that was issued Sunday, Aug. 28.

3. First responders to a disaster are always state and local emergency agencies. The Federal Emergency Management Agency is there to supplement state and local activities.

The hurricane threatened an area as large as 90,000 square miles covering three states. Immediate relief could not possibly have been delivered to all the places that required attention.

4. An AP photo showed a large fleet of New Orleans buses soaking in six feet of water. The mayor apparently had the means to evacuate many of the folks who ended up stranded at the Superdome and the convention center.

5. FEMA began its activities immediately, not expecting the magnitude of the flooding, the non-response at the city and state level, and the anarchy that resulted.

6. Local and state governments had rehearsed for a different scenario. Disaster drills in New Orleans had taken place, but with a false assumption that the levees would hold.

7. Law and protocol prohibit the president from ordering military troops into a state without a formal request from the state's governor.

I would encourage everyone to review the U.S. Constitution to see just what the federal government's role is as compared to that of the states -- specifically the 10th Amendment.

One must question why all American taxpayers are "on-the-hook" for the consequences brought about by those who choose to live in areas prone to these types of repeated natural occurrences. Americans are benevolent and caring and are now and in the past very forthcoming through charities to help out in these types of disasters. The "Feds" need to change the state and local mentality so that citizens recognize that it is the state and local governments that are responsible for addressing these emergencies, not every American taxpayer in the nation.

Ron Hamric, Pine

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