First it was President Bush accepting blame for the federal response to Hurricane Katrina, then a couple of days later Louisiana Governor Kathleen Blanco accepted blame for not acting quickly enough. So I thought it would be only logical if New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin follow the other leaders and do the same for his role in the disaster. I must have been on drugs. Instead of being contrite Nagin appears on Larry King Live and said “If I have anything that I feel responsible for it’s the fact that, you know, we could have maybe screamed a little bit earlier. Hopefully, we could have gotten some more people to safety.” I don’t recall where screaming a little louder is part of an effective emergency evacuation plan.
Nagin went on comment about his initial reaction to the hurricane by saying “That was probably the biggest mistake that we set that signal out to the world that we were okay. And then the levee broke and then, you know, the rest is history. And so I think that was one of the biggest mistakes that were made.” Note the word we and not I.
In continuing to assess blame for the chaos in his city Nagin said it was a class issue since most of the displaced were African American and the poor don’t have a lot of power, and that if it had happened in New York, California or Miami there would have been a different response. The response probably would have been different, but not because of race but because local and state officials would have been better prepared. Also considering the growing minority population in the areas that he mentioned it is obvious that he doesn’t know what he is talking about.
The Governor said the buck stops here. The Mayor is too busy passing the buck to do what is right.