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Conservatively liberal, moderately well-educated, and highly opinionated...

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Tuesday, December 13, 2005

FEMA gets told off

FEMA, along with all the other paralyzed, confused, and inept agencies (and that covers just about everybody these days) had the riot act read to them yesterday.

A federal judge in New Orleans yesterday ordered the Federal Emergency Management Agency to continue paying the hotel bills of thousands of Hurricane Katrina evacuees until as late as Feb. 7, criticizing the government for inaction 15 weeks after the storm.

It amazes me that FEMA still hasn’t processed something like 85,000 housing aid applications!

The judge had quite a lot to say, apparently, about the entire situation, calling FEMA’s policies (which morph daily) “eccentric and bizarre” – and used this example:

Duval noted that one pregnant hotel occupant, Lenora Brantley, said she received a letter dated Dec. 2 telling her she could stay in her hotel room until Jan. 7, then one dated Dec. 5 telling her she would have to leave by Dec. 15.

Madness. Judge Duval also called out one of the oddities I heard Mayor Nagin describe at the Town Hall meeting in Houston, in which people were advised to seek SBA loans for aid. I never did get that idea. Small Business Administration loans would seem (to me) to apply to…. well…. businesses. Am I missing something?

Will all this make the slightest bit of difference in terms of government responsiveness? I doubt it – but at least some folks will have a couple more months to sort out the mess they’ve been landed in.