Letters to the Editor

State, city deserves some of the blame

In case you aren't familiar with how our government is supposed to work, ("Shame on feds for disgraceful response," To the Editor, Sept. 22) the chain of responsibility for the protection of the citizens in New Orleans is: the mayor, the New Orleans director of homeland security (a political appointee of the governor who reports to the governor), the governor, the secretary of Homeland Security and then the president.

What did each do? The mayor, with five days' advance notice, waited until two days before he announced a mandatory evacuation (at the behest of the president) then he failed to provide transportation even though he had hundreds of buses at his disposal. The city's director of Homeland Security failed to have any plan for a contingency that has been talked about for 50 years. Then he blamed the feds for not doing what he should have done. So much for political appointees.

The governor, despite a declaration of disaster by the president two days before the storm hit, failed to take advantage of the offer of federal troops and aid until two days after the storm hit. The homeland security secretary positioned assets in the area to be ready when the governor called for them.

The president urged a mandatory evacuation and even declared a disaster state of emergency, freeing up millions of federal aid, should the governor decide to use it.

Oh, and by the way, the levees that broke were the responsibility of the local landowners and the local levee board to maintain, not the federal government. The federal government gave New Orleans $100 million several years ago to maintain the levees. Now the president has promised $200 billion to rebuild this money trap.

Do you realize New Orleans is 6 to 10 feet below sea level? The final cost will not be $200 billion. Think about $500 billion. Instead of being ashamed of our government, you should be proud of what they are doing and trying to accomplish. The president was following protocol in this emergency. And he did an outstanding job.

- John Harley

Braselton Reid should not still be in the Senate

U.S. Sen. Harry Reid, D-Nev., says he'll vote no on the John Roberts Supreme Court nomination. Reid was a sure loser in 1998 when John Ensign came within 424 votes of knocking him out of the Senate. Ensign, a conservative Republican Nevada congressman, was robbed of victory by a third candidate, a "losertarian" on the ballot who drew some 3,000 votes, less than 1 percent of the votes cast.

So Reid squeaked by again. The Libertarians seem willing to front for the Democrats, knowing full well that they draw about 70 percent of their votes from the Republican candidate. Over the years, they have never come close to winning a congressional seat. It would be great to be rid of Reid, one of the most obnoxious and liberal Democrats around which is completely bogus in his case.

Reid needs to thank the losertarians for extending his Senate career. In a close race they can spell victory for the Demo-left, as they did for Reid. They are the only reason he's still there.

- Marshall Miller