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And the pretty blue pup tents were where in the Superdome during Katrina?

puptents

WaPo's headline:

Staying Cool Amid Flames

As opposed to keeping cool because you're drowning, or trapped in your attic by the rising waves, I suppose.

As a troll prophylactic, I should perhaps remark that I don't minimize any of the terrible things that California--or my friends in LA--are going through.

I'm only pointing out--as our famously free press seems absolutely unwilling to do--that every citizen should be treated equally when disaster strikes.

And the disparity between the treatment of a poor, mostly black, Democratic city, in a state with a Democratic governor, and the treatment of a more middle-class, mostly not black, more Republican area, in a state with a Republican governor, couldn't be more clear.

There really is no other explanation for this than racism.

Let's ask ourselves:

1. Whether Bush's staff had to prepare a CD of the fires to get his attention, as for Katrina.

2. Whether Babs is going to say "it's worked out very well for them" of the people who are forced to leave their homes and their city, or are living in arenas.

3. How many of those forced to leave SoCal will still be living in trailers a year from now.

4. Whether there will be a chorus of questions from Republicans about "whether Southern California should be rebuilt."

5. Whether Californians on the hunt for staples in a disaster zone will be labelled as looters.

6. Whether the the shouting heads of the VRWC will be calling Californians too stupid to leave, or blaming them for living there in the first place.

Again, I don't begrudge the victims of the fires a thing. I just think all citizens should be treated equally, and in this case, the disparity is just gross.

UPDATE Jack and Jill Politics has many details which are just too, too lovely. My favorite was the original AP headline: "Civility Reigns at San Diego Stadium."

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MJS's picture
Submitted by MJS on

One difference between NO's flooding & SoCal's fires: Bush didn't rush to New Orleans in the first 48 hours after Katrina struck--many rightfully questioned his callousness, his oblivious behavior. Wealthy white Republicans behaving indifferently and poor blacks in trouble is a strong storyline. This week, Bush isn't rushing to SoCal and I suspect the general feeling is "good...we don't need you." No one is wringing his or her hands at what an asshole Bush is, and perhaps that's because there is some privilege in being recently homeless in SoCal. I've looked at a lot of footage of the fires and the evacuees: lots of white folks in the greater San Diego area, but lots of people of color as well--largely Latinos. Our poor, urban blacks do not live in the attractive developments that are pushed into the foothills, in harm's way as it were, so the issues of poverty and racism are not at the front of these events.

As a Californian who drove with donations to the New Orleans area in the aftermath of hurricane Katrina (they wouldn't let us into the Big Easy so we went to Baton Rouge and LSU) I just wonder what the hurry is to make comparisons between the two natural disasters (with human beings being a large component in both situations). First comes action! Action can help in the moment, commentary can give perspective in the aftermath. Let's get to after before we dissect the math.

Another way to look at it: When a baby stops breathing we don't rush to check the stats to see if a different baby was denied treatment in a similar situation, and oh-my-god-how-wrong-was-that: we give aid to the baby who is struggling in the moment, and then later on we can assess the overall situation. If you can't help the baby, so be it. But while paramedics are administering CPR who really needs to hear observations about the impact of socio-economics on oxygen perfusion in an adjoining county? A baby turning blue requires people who can help it turn more pink.

We have tens of thousands of people who are now homeless in SoCal, people with children, people with mortgages and elderly parents and everything else you can imagine. Consider giving those who lost everything in these fires a psychic break before rapidly skimming over their losses.

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Submitted by [Please enter a... (not verified) on

Why would you put up tents inside a dome? Your headline accusation is just nonsense.

While I don't doubt that racism and classism is playing a big factor here, please also consider that California is not anywhere near as dysfunctional as a small, poor state in the south (including how smoothly federal agencies run in each area).

More importantly, there's just not all that much that is similar between these 2 disasters. Katrina was a far, far bigger mess. In SoCal right now, most of the roads are open, most people have cars, most people can get to an open grocery store and most people can afford to buy some groceries. The situation is tough on those evacuated and more so, of course, on those who have lost their homes, but it's still not nearly as severe as most of a poor, isolated city being underwater. So, while I'm disgusted, ashamed and angry about how things have gone for New Orleans, I think you're just kinda blindly wanking here.

A lot of what's happening in SoCal has nothing to do with government assistance and sensitivity -- it's people taking their own time out to help out their neighbors. This didn't happen nearly enough around N.O. but you could at least be glad that not all of America is as shameful as that.

And none of what I said is as important as what MJS said.

Submitted by lambert on

Well, they put up the puptents in QualComm, and I assume they're the experts. Privacy would be one obvious reason, eh?

MJS, true. I have the luxury of not being in the midst of it; but if we don't draw the comparison now it might not get drawn at all. (There is also the fact that after the Jena 6 discussion, I've made it my business to check out the black blogs regularly and link to them; and this is a topic of discussion there today.)

We. Are. Going. To. Die. We must restore hope in the world. We must bring forth a new way of living that can sustain the world. Or else it is not just us who will die but everyone. What have we got to lose? Go forth and Fight!—Xan

…and I realized that politically, whatever disaster assistance happens in SoCal is a no-win situation for the administration. If they did "learn" lessons from Katrina, it only goes to point out that they haven't applied them yet to the gulf coast, or maybe that they care more about saving the rich red enclaves of SoCal more than the poor blue bowl of New Orleans.

If they didn't learn anything, then it's equal-opportunity incompetence, unfixed after two years of time to get it right.

I don't know if this means anything or not; it's just rare to see the GOP's own actions box them into a corner where every option they have proves their own incompetence at something.

Sarah's picture
Submitted by Sarah on

as "bases" for evacuees with pets, small children, etc.

It's not a bad idea. Open rows of cots can be ... traumatic ... especially for anybody who hasn't had to survive basic military training school.

I was a volunteer working in the Lubbock Red Cross responses to Katrina and Rita. We had several hangars at the (shutdown in '97) former Reese Air Force Base (as well as Lubbock Municipal Coliseum, where they took evacuees with identified acute medical needs) for Katrina; for Rita we had one hangar and the Coliseum, and part of the United Spirit Arena.

Rows, and rows, and rows (I believe volunteers erected sufficient "beds" for 5,000 evacuees; in Katrina we received about 2700, and in Rita we received about 1700)
of cots, or air mattresses, with donated bed linens. Families broken up so that "female" and "male" orientations could be maintained (i.e. no moms in the men's shelter, no dads in the women's shelter).

A place to sleep out of the weather, with lines to stand in for toilets, food, necessary medicine, and a chance to register by name as "safe" and "located here" via a Red Cross web site; and of course, they came off Military Airlift Command aircraft at Lubbock International, were loaded onto buses and trucked out to the Air Force base's taxiways, and then had to stand in lines to (a) provide ID for checkin (b) shower (c) stand in line to be issued a "Katrina ID" or a "Rita ID".

In retrospect it looked a lot like the way cattle are handled at feedlots.

We can admit that we're killers ... but we're not going to kill today. That's all it takes! Knowing that we're not going to kill today! ~ Captain James T. Kirk, Stardate 3193.0

MJS's picture
Submitted by MJS on

MJS, true. I have the luxury of not being in the midst of it; but if we don’t draw the comparison now it might not get drawn at all.

This is Correntewire, yes? Is the point to make a point but not actually do anything?

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Submitted by lambert on

Yes?

We. Are. Going. To. Die. We must restore hope in the world. We must bring forth a new way of living that can sustain the world. Or else it is not just us who will die but everyone. What have we got to lose? Go forth and Fight!—Xan

MJS's picture
Submitted by MJS on

Here's a link with some ideas for folks who would like to help.

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Submitted by lambert on

... to the sticky post above. (That Charity Navigator they list is interesting.)

We. Are. Going. To. Die. We must restore hope in the world. We must bring forth a new way of living that can sustain the world. Or else it is not just us who will die but everyone. What have we got to lose? Go forth and Fight!—Xan

MJS's picture
Submitted by MJS on

One lesson: when humans impose their desires upon the environment without factoring out the true costs we all get billed for it. Throw racism and "shock doctrine" scenarios into the mix and it gets even uglier.

tbogg lives in San Diego proper and offers his take on the differences between two regional-yet-national disasters that have "kicked our ass*" in the past two years.

*thank you George Bush, you dried up rat turd...

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Submitted by lambert on

I read this little gem and literally didn't know how to react. So I'll just quote it:

Wars in Iraq and Afghanistan could cost as much as $2.4 trillion through the next decade, according to a new analysis Wednesday that the White House brushed off as "speculation."

The White House brushed off the estimate as too conditional.

"It's just a ton of speculation," said White House press secretary Dana Perino. "We don't know how much the war is going to cost in the future."

Re: TBogg. Of course the disasters are not the same. TBogg points out that San Diego learned from the last fire, and no doubt that is true. And I'd also agree that Southern California's political culture is a lot more resilient than NOLA's.

I don't see how TBogg's post bears on the central point of this post, which is that citizens in both disasters have not been treated equally. I mean, start with point 1 -- "Whether Bush’s staff had to prepare a CD of the fires to get his attention, as for Katrina" -- and work down.

We. Are. Going. To. Die. We must restore hope in the world. We must bring forth a new way of living that can sustain the world. Or else it is not just us who will die but everyone. What have we got to lose? Go forth and Fight!—Xan

bringiton's picture
Submitted by bringiton on

FEMA and Bush have nothing to do with the response in SoCal thus far, just as they had nothing to do with actions in New Orleans immediately pre and post Katrina. FEMA was reconstituted several years ago and is no longer in a first responder role. That responsibility has been shifted back to state and local authorities through block grants. When the locals are overwhelmed, then FEMA steps in. Does this system mean that when the locals are so clearly overwhelmed that Anderson Cooper can see the problem, FEMA sits on its ass? No. Does it mean that the President is somehow unable to federalize the effort, take control and make happen the things that need to happen when the state is so clearly overwhelmed? No. But the blame for what happened in New Orleans rests with a lot of people and a dysfunctional, corrupt system, not just with Bush and FEMA. Nagin and the government of New Orleans were unprepared and overwhelmed, and that wasn’t likely driven entirely by racism unless I’m missing something. Blanco wasn’t driven to incompetence by her soft racism (It’s Louisiana, damn near everyone is racist to one degree or another, Blanco’s is of the “poor little darkies” variety, not overtly malicious but still…), she just didn’t take care of preparedness nor did she respond as aggressively as she should have. Both Nagin and Blanco were incompetent more than anything. Bush is an insensitive narcissistic destructive sociopath. Racism is a byproduct with people like him, the underlying reality is that he doesn’t give a damn about anyone other than George W. Bush.

In comparison, the SoCal local governments and the State have spent a lot of their disaster money on effective preparedness planning, the more so after recent big fires, everyone concerned knew that there would be even bigger fires someday, and then there is the earthquake danger that also drives our preparation. The money has been well spent in SoCal – it was not well spent in New Orleans. Is that racist? I’m not so sure. I see it as much more a result of corruption and incompetence by state and local government, the consequences of which fell disproportionately on people of color because of the racism they had already suffered.

What is undeniably racist is the 400+ years of systematic oppression, physical and economic, visited on people of color in this country from all directions. The ugly poverty, dysfunctionality and squalor that Katrina exposed were already there; the hurricane just ripped the scab off for everyone else to see, on national television where it couldn’t be so easily ignored and denied. Will institutionalized racism persist and continue to infect New Orleans? Yes. Will the lesser prevalence of racism in SoCal facilitate a faster and more equitable recovery? Yes. Those are issues far outside the qustion of why things are going tolerably well in the case at hand. Seems to me the people of Southern California, hell, all of the people of California, deserve some appreciation for what they’ve been able to do, not as much as should have been done perhaps but still, this is the largest mass displacement of civilians since the Civil War and it is going pretty damn smoothly and that smoothness has nothing to do with George W. Bush or racism.

The differences between Katrina and these fires are greater than the similarities, making any comparison sketchy at best. Still, there are lessons to be learned and one of them is the need for accountability and competence in local government. All politics is local; if cities and towns and counties aren’t well run then the whole system will collapse. If they are well run, then Federal bungling becomes less important - at least acutely. Another lesson is the impossibility of reducing institutionalized racism and class oppression in this country at any level below the Federal, a matter that neither political party has addressed effectively but at least the Democrats have tried.

Regarding Lambert’s Point 1, in SoCal there was no need for anyone to actually get Bush’s attention because the locals already had the situation covered. Precisely because local and state agencies were prepared and effective and because the physical characteristics were less daunting, it has to this point been immaterial whether or not Bush was engaged. Depending on sociopaths for help is seldom rewarding; mercifully in this case we are not.

Sarah's picture
Submitted by Sarah on

as Texas still hasn't recovered from his and KKKarl's tenure here.

Compare and Contrast, better, the post-hurricane responses to Florida and NOLa.

Submitted by lambert on

... I think it would be better if (a) citizens could, in fact, rely on their government, including the Federal government, in time of disaster, and (b) were treated equally. Neither has been the case with the Bush administration--nor can it be, given the Conservative project to destroy the ability of government to function--although at least (a) was true under Clinton, at least after he reformed FEMA.

Dana Perino is fast taking her place in the pantheon beside Ari Fleischer:

We're very fortunate in America to have the means to take care of our citizens.

Apparently, she couldn't bring herself to mention Katrina at all! Funny. Then again, that wouldn't have been on message. So, it worked out well for them...

We. Are. Going. To. Die. We must restore hope in the world. We must bring forth a new way of living that can sustain the world. Or else it is not just us who will die but everyone. What have we got to lose? Go forth and Fight!—Xan

Submitted by [Please enter a... (not verified) on

There really is no comparison here in comparing Katrina to the So Cal wildfires.

1 - California has been through this already back in 10/2003 with the Cedar fires. Evacuees were sent en masse to the Q and it was pretty rough, but in the end, we all learned to be a lot more prepared.

2 - A lot of credit goes to California state/local government for *not* dropping the ball. We weren't sitting around waiting for the FEMA assclowns to show up and make things worse.

3 - The wildfires aren't affecting *everyone* in the state. These fires are far different from a flood that drowns an entire region. Subsequently, people can still get to and from the stadium, including the volunteers/law enforcement, etc.

4 - As someone has already stated, California is not a backwards little state in the south with the political corruption that has been endemic to Lousiana since the day it joined the Union.

The list goes on and on, but in the final analysis, there really is absolutely NO comparing Katrina to the So Cal wildfires.

BTW - the Santiago Cyn fire in Orange county directly affects me personally. I've been breathing smoke and living in Tolkien's Mordor for the past 3 days. If the winds don't die down, the fire rampaging in the canyon at the moment may just make its way onto my side on the Santa Margarita Pkwy and burn my residence. We're not outta the woods yet.

Sarah's picture
Submitted by Sarah on

Haven't you stupid libruhls grasped the fundamental truth yet? In everything from running a stadium properly to providing evacuee shelter, let the Free Market work, and keep good-for-nothing government out of the way.

(/sarcasm)

Submitted by lambert on

Er, here is the apples-to-apples part. Some find it difficult to read all the way to the end:

1. Whether Bush’s staff had to prepare a CD of the fires to get his attention, as for Katrina.

2. Whether Babs is going to say “it’s worked out very well for them” of the people who are forced to leave their homes and their city, or are living in arenas.

3. How many of those forced to leave SoCal will still be living in trailers a year from now.

4. Whether there will be a chorus of questions from Republicans about “whether Southern California should be rebuilt.”

5. Whether Californians on the hunt for staples in a disaster zone will be labelled as looters.

6. Whether the the shouting heads of the VRWC will be calling Californians too stupid to leave, or blaming them for living there in the first place.

See, part of it is a media critique. And the other part is a critique of Republican [cough] governance. See, those do tend to be common factors ("apples") in really big natural disasters. I draw particular attention to #4 and #6. And surely we know that Republican governance, as well as the Conservative movement that owns and operates vast swathes of the media, is racist to the core? However, Bush did show up, so apparently nobody needed to make him a CD. How nice for SoCal.

Sweet Jeebus. [snarl]

We. Are. Going. To. Die. We must restore hope in the world. We must bring forth a new way of living that can sustain the world. Or else it is not just us who will die but everyone. What have we got to lose? Go forth and Fight!—Xan

Submitted by [Please enter a... (not verified) on

There have been a few reports of sporadic looting, but not folks looking for staples.

However, there have been multiple reports of dirty "homeless" people trying to get some of the supplies at Qualcomm meant for the evacuees and newly temporarily homeless (but employed, insured, propertied), not those that were homeless before the fires. Can't have that!

Historically there has been a homeless encampment of dozens to a couple hundred homeless people a few miles down the San Diego River channel from Qualcomm, and smaller encampments of homeless day laborers and agricultural workers in the canyons among the rich homes burned by the Witch fire complex. I would love to see just one article on how the fires affected them, let alone one charity set up to help them, but I won't hold my breadth.

Sarah's picture
Submitted by Sarah on

I've been living over there for three nights now, and I'm too punchy to hunt through all 30 of the diaries for the links.

Two separate funds were set up to help the homeless and the folks coming over the border in/around the fire region.

It's feared that an uncounted number of these people have been killed in the fires, as at least three "known" camps were in the paths of the Witch fire complex (Witch has merged with and spawned other fires).

There are eight known deaths related to the fires, including two persons found this morning in the shell of a burned home. Nobody even has an estimate yet on the numbers of animals killed.

We can admit that we're killers ... but we're not going to kill today. That's all it takes! Knowing that we're not going to kill today! ~ Captain James T. Kirk, Stardate 3193.0

Submitted by [Please enter a... (not verified) on

I'm glad to be wrong about the north county & east county homeless. When I have time tonight I'll find the links & post them here as well as donate (I've scanned 5 without luck).

I'd _love_ to be wrong about the Mission Valley homeless, and have them inherit those nice blue tents at Qualcomm in time for the winter.

Does anybody in San Diego know where the tents came from? I doubt that San Diego County bought them.