What Gulf Coast Congressman Gene Taylor wanted the Easter Bunny to bring him.
South Mississippi Living 4/07

Monday, August 20, 2007

“Run for Cover!” Republican Gov. Evacuation Plan for Gulf Coast Residents

by Ana Maria

Run for Cover! Republican Gov. Evacuation Plan for Gulf Coast Residents

With Hurricane Dean tearing through the Caribbean, Gulf Coast residents watch the weather reports praying that whatever Mother Nature does, she does elsewhere. We’re still a long way off from recovering from Hurricane Katrina, which demolished the area two years ago. Many of our families—mine, included—have put into place evacuation plans that we had never before felt a need to have BK, Before Katrina.

The Associated Press reported that Mississippi’s Republican Governor Haley Barbour stated

people should think about where they will go if an evacuation is ordered and how they'll travel.
Oh, so that’s it? What is this?! Barbour’s admission that he has no evacuation plan?

Maybe Barbour is taking a page out of Karl Rove’s scare-‘em-half-to-death political playbook. After all, it is an election year for the governor’s mansion here in Mississippi.

Instead of real, effective, and efficient homeland security, however, Barbour decided to squander public dollars on little more than election-year posturing. Mississippi’s Republican Governor sent out a pre-recorded message to

some 70,000 land-based phone lines in the three southernmost Coast counties Saturday morning. The message reminded locals a hurricane was in the Caribbean, and now is the time to pay attention to weather reports and have a hurricane evacuation route in mind, as well as to load up on supplies.
Like we don’t know that. We’ve been through a few hurricanes in our day, and believe me, we’re watching the weather closely.
Click here to listen to Barbour's call to Gulf Coast residents telling us "not to panic." [Call courtesy of John Leek.]

Rather than election year posturing using fear that Karl Rove tells Republicans to instill in voters, how’s about something more important and effective for the situation at hand. Like what, you ask? Well, you know, homeland security kinds of things. The real kind, that is.

What A Homeland Security Plan Could Include
If the governor were so inclined—and apparently Barbour is not, he could have set up emergency hurricane evacuation hot lines staffed with calm, cool, collected, and well-trained individuals from right here in South Mississippi, good folks who provide information fellow South Mississippians need to keep us safe during the stormy hurricane season. These hotlines could provide a much-needed service to the Gulf Coast’s residents and business owners.

In addition, staffing these hotlines with local people provides much-needed revenue into the coffers of Katrina’s families who could use the income. Nothing like a good paying job to help buoy a person out of feeling totally depressed or a family out of its financial crisis, both of which are major problems throughout the region. The only people getting wealthy off of recovery efforts seem to be those with close ties to the White House or to Barbour himself.

To help keep our families safe and secure, hotline operators could provide important critical pieces of information. For example, operators could provide a list of items (children’s birth certificates, social security cards, driver’s license, medicines, doctors’ names, etc.) that everyone should have with them regardless of whether they go to a local safe haven or evacuate outside of the area.

For those who are need a local safe haven for shelter, hotline operators could be armed with the following critical pieces of information.

The closest places we can go for safety complete with addresses and directions on how to get there. This would require that the governor’s homeland security people would have scoured the area to locate and negotiate the use of the facility for this extremely important emergency usage.

Phone numbers to call to obtain a ride to the nearby safe havens that our responsible government has secured. This would require more organizing and negotiating with folks on the ground as well as finding out an approximate number of people that would request this important evacuation assistance.

A list of things that should be brought to the safe havens: (i.e. bedding and the like). Depending on where folks are going to ride out a storm, different items would be required and prohibited. We will need to know which is which. Through his emergency management people, the governor should ensure that this kind of information is available to us.

Barbour’s administration could send out tape-recorded messages to the homes with phone service informing South Mississippians of these hot lines staffed with wonderful homegrown folks providing this much needed service.

There may be plenty of Mississippians who are in a similar position as Keisha, the young single mother with two children and no car with which to evacuate on her own. Katrina ruined Keisha’s car, and she has not been able to replace it.

When she was talking with Democratic Gubernatorial nominee John Eaves the other day, I heard her tell Eaves that FEMA gave her $3,000 for all of her belongings, those of her two young children, and her car. Goodness knows that even if she had forgone replacing any clothes, bedding, toys, or books for her children, $3,000 would not have purchased a safe and reliable vehicle for her and her children. My heart went out to her as she was talking with Eaves and WLOX-TV 13, an ABC affiliate located in Biloxi, Miss.

The governor’s evacuation plan would also need to address how to keep safe those who are too sick to move, the disabled, and the elderly. These Mississippians need safety, too.

It’s been two years since Katrina. Plenty of billions of dollars have made their way from Washington, DC, to Jackson, Miss. With Hurricane Dean blowing its way through the ocean waters, none of us need more hot air from some high-ranking Republican government official.

Where are Mississippi’s coastal evacuation plans? Surely someone somewhere got federal money to create them. So where are they?

Rather than describing a well-though out deliberate plan of action to protect the Gulf Coast and its residents, Barbour announced “No government is big enough to do everything for everybody.

What a cop out. No one is asking our government to do everything for everybody. We do ask it to do some things for some people. And those “some people” includes regular families with regular lives. No matter how minimalist some one thinks that they want our government to be, when it comes to homeland security, we expect America’s public officials to act like we’re the number one nation on the planet.

Apparently, Barbour hasn’t figured out that homeland security requires more than screaming “Run for cover!”

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Lou Minatti said...

Barbour decided to squander public dollars on little more than election-year posturing.

Considering the fact that New Orleans Democrats squandered well over a billion dollars on new convention center facilities, pro sports stadiums and arenas and a trolley for the tourists, that's a mighty big potkettleblack of you. If New Orleans Democrats had spent that money wisely they could have fixed the levees.

Ana Maria said...

Oh my, you didn't bother to read my bio, did you? Tss. Tss. Tss. It looks like you have erroneously mistaken me for being a blogger from the Big Easy.

I'm not in New Orleans--though I have plenty of familial ties there going back over 100 years.

I was born and raised in Bay St. Louis, Miss., where I attended Our Lady of the Gulf School then Our Lady's Academy. After high school, I attended the University of Southern Mississippi from which I received my bachelor's and master's degrees. BSL--not New Orleans--is one of three tiny beach towns that comprise ground zero.

Perhaps next time you post a comment in an attempt to bash someone, you will at least consider carefully researching the matter before you make a bit of a school boy mistake and allow the entire world know that what you say is rather easily disputed, which does not assist your attempt at gaining respect for your self or yor position.

Ta ta for now!


Alasandra said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Alasandra said...

I know a lot of people didn't evacuate for Katrina, because they couldn't take their pets to shelters, and they had nowhere else to go.

There was talk after Katrina of making shelters pet friendly, but I am not sure if this issue was ever resolved. Any evacuation plan needs to also include a plan for our pets.

Ana Maria said...

Absolutely! Pets are part of our families. I don't have any at the moment, however, I know that I would keep them with me regardless of what I had to do. Personally, I'm a divinely devoted cat lover. My friend Louise in SF adopted a Katrina rescue dog that had been found, then transported out west. I'm sure that his owner would have loved to have had a place to bring him.

Yes, every evacuation plan needs to incorporate our pets!

Thanks for bringing that up. ;)


Anonymous said...

If the Gov himself went to every home in the state giving them a complete map of the states evac routes with numbers,and locations you would still be complaining about something. No matter how organized or unorganized, there will always be people like yourself who will never be happy. I'm sure if Blanco or Eaves was our gov your would sing to a different tune. Damn money hungry Republicans. It seems to be real easy being a liberal, maybe I'll change over.

Ana Maria said...

Another coward who is afraid to put her/his name to their silly opinion. The fact of the matter is that Barbour has no plan save a robo call essentially saying "Run for cover!"

Did you take his message to heart and now you are so afraid of life that you fear showing the world who you are? Now, why don't you just come on out into the sunshine and let us know your identity. Cowardice is so unbecoming. I'm sure the sunshine will do you some good. ;)

Ta ta for now . . .
Ana Maria

Anonymous said...

Its me, the anonymous villain who seems to of hit a nerve. Whats a name anyways on a blog. Ok, ok, you got me. My name is Ryan West.
I'm glad to know that you are so sure of the Gov's plans for evac. Did John Arthur Eaves put you up to this? Are you sure your name is Ana Marie and not Mike Womack? Its one or the other I'm sure.
I see that you are also psychologist along with being on the MEMA board and or the Eaves Camp. If, or when you respond to this comment, try to keep the personal attacks out of it. Liberals are so good at personal attacks. Whats your secret?

Ana Maria said...

See, now doesn't that feel better? Being in the closet is so, well, claustrophobic. Besides, closets are for clothes, not for people. (I saw that on a t-shirt someone was wearing at Tulane in the early 80s.)

What I am sure of is that the governor has not shared his evacuation plans with the public and that is, at this stage of the game, darling Rick, a clear indicator that he has none. Perhaps you can enlighten us? I would love to know that his "Run for cover!" message was, well, just what was its purpose?

I'm reviewing your comment which is a bit all over the place with rantings asserting that I'm a psychologist--I'm not, nor do I play one on TV. However, one of my best friends is a retired one.

Then you go off on MEMA and the John Eaves campaign.

Ahhh, yes. Many folks want me on their staff. That's true, but I'm focused on helping my family with renovating my mother's home. Lordy, lordy, will all the stuff involved with it ever end? Well, of course, it will. And that will be a glorious day, indeed!

Now what was it you were, ahhh yes. You were doing that male thing of imposing your will. Oh you crack me up, hun. Are you so afraid of a few words written on a page by a woman who obviously seems to have your number that you are publicly pleading in your own little way for me to . . . what exactly is it that you are pleading me to do?

You and Haley have a bit in common , I'm afraid. You do things in public and they seem a bit . . . well wacky crazy. But that's cool. Your rude behavior is charming in a backwoods so last century kind of way. ;)

OK I have other things I must do.

Ana Maria

Anonymous said...

Ha!! This is great stuff. You should run for office and fix all the problems in the state.
I bet many want you on their staff, but who are the many? Just wondering. You are right in helping your mother and anyone you can on the coast.
Clearly my message was over your head, but do not fret, emotion can cloud one's understanding and judgment. What does it matter if the gov, pres, or who ever, shares anything with the public? Is the government responsible to do so? SO, if someone does not make public, plans or policy, one can assume its non-existent? What are our plans when an earthquake hits Memphis, or when a F5 tornado rips through the state? Do we have plans for those? The gov has not stated such plans, so i guess not. Plans or no plans, this question is will it work. My heart goes out to all the people on the coast who have not had the care they need, but to sit here and bash the gov for something that has not and may not happen, is wrong. No matter how well Katrina was handled in Miss. there will always be people not happy and angry. What was he wrong in his message? Is it his responsibility to make such a statement? I understood his message. Did you? He didn’t tell me to call my aunt Sally or Uncle Bob, but he did inform me of the situation and to be thinking about the future. Is that a bad thing? What would you of done?
So many questions. Can you handle it? Oops, there’s another one. To answer your question, no, I have no idea, but I am confident that our government will be prepared to take action when action is needed. Since our governor had the worst natural disaster in history to deal with and did a pretty good job dealing it, I think that makes him well qualified to do so again.
As you can see, I am not imposing anything, I am simply asking. When you respond this time, please keep the personal attacks out of your response. Your sounding like John Eaves. Personal attacks such as yours show your insecurity. You don't have to tell someone how you better them, in doing so creates a sense of yearning for approval.
By the way, don’t flatter yourself too much, its just a blog.