The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

SMU students gather around a bucket of markers to write an encouraging note to put in “Welcome to the Shelter” kits at event in mid-April on SMU’s campus.
Dallas homeless recovery center, The Bridge, is a home
Morgan Shiver, Contributor • June 20, 2024
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FEMA in better hands

New Director Paulison has paid his dues

To everyone who has been wondering who is to blame for inefficiencies in the response to Hurricane Katrina at all levels of government, the case has been settled. President Bush has claimed responsibility and vows to push out the kinks so that we will definitely be prepared to respond the next time disaster shows its 160 mph winds.

On Monday, only three days after Bush commended “Brownie” on the “hell of a job” he was doing, Mike Brown became Bush’s second director of FEMA to step down.

Although Brown handled over 160 disasters during the past two years, it is embarrassing when it takes almost 24 hours of televised news coverage for the director of FEMA to learn that citizens are stranded at the New Orleans Convention Center.

After the slow response to Katrina, people needed someone to blame. This was coupled with allegations of an inflated resume and cronyism. In 2003, Bush’s first director of FEMA, Joe Allbaugh, mysteriously resigned and appointed Brown, who was at that time his deputy and who had formerly been his college roommate. Such associations arouse suspicion.

Whether Brown was qualified or not, Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff made clear that new FEMA Director David Paulison worked his way up the ranks to become fire chief of Miami.

Since Brown stepped down, Coast Guard Chief of Staff Vice Adm. Thad Allen has been handling FEMA’s presence along the Gulf of Mexico.

Despite the squalor surrounding Hurricane Katrina, some things seem to be not quite so bad. On Monday, the number of estimated dead fell from 10,000 to 279. Although the count has rises to 656 since then, Ed Board sees the relatively low count as good news.

Also, if the EPA says the water quality is all right on Monday, Mayor Nagin will open parts of the city for business. We will all be back out on Bourbon Street in no time.

Elsewhere in the country, the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children has reconnected more than 100 children with their families.

As the water level drops and evacuees start to move out of the shelters, Ed Board thinks it is a good idea to allay the anger surrounding FEMA’s suspicious dealings for the time being and focus on getting levees secured, bodies off the streets and people out of shelters. David Paulson wants to “focus on the victims out there in this hurricane from this point forward,” and says, “there’ll be a time and place to sit down and look at the lessons learned.” Ed Board agrees.

But when that time and place comes, Ed Board hopes one of those lessons is to flush incompetents out of office. When the choice comes up between appointing a friend and saving lives, whatever administration is in charge should pick the latter.

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