Tuesday, October 10, 2017

If Maria Response was like Hurricane Andrew Response

After Hurricane Andrew hit South Florida, FEMA "awaited requests from the State of Florida. Unfortunately, the damage was so tremendous that State officials were unable to comprehend the damage and the needs of people in the disaster area. They couldn't ask for what they didn't know they needed."

Puerto Rico was in much the same situation after Hurricane Maria. But instead of learning the lessons from Hurricane Andrew (something that might have happened had FEMA been led by a more senior person with some connection to this administration), Trump drove the country to distraction.
Almost three weeks after Maria struck Puerto Rico, just 15 percent of the island’s electricity customers have power, according to numbers posted on a website run by the government of Puerto Rico. Half the island lacks phone service, and about 40 percent of households lack access to potable water.
Hurricane Andrew destroyed 65,000 homes, knocked out water, electricity and phones, and filled roads with heavy debris.  The devastation caused by Andrew prompted a full federal response.  By contrast, Hurricane Maria -- coming on the heals of Hurricane Irma -- caused "total destruction."  Even Trump described Puerto Rico as “absolutely obliterated.”

What would be happening now if the Trump Administration responded with the same kind of effort that the first President Bush employed after Hurricane Andrew:
  • If Andrew is used as a guide, more than 845,000 homes in Puerto Rico could be totally destroyed.  Of course, it could be more.
  • The president would have had a Defense Coordinating Officer assigned before the storm hit landfall.  A Joint Task Force would have been created for interoperations between services.  A Presidential Task Force would have been appointed when the extent of the crisis in response became evident.
  • Military Areas of Operations would be assigned, and local assistance requests would have been coordinated through those (instead of using twitter).
  • Instead of the 3 medical units (44th Medical Brigade and the medical units assigned to the 82nd Airborne and 10th Mountain Division) mobilized for Andrew, Puerto Rico would be assigned 39 military medical units.
During Andrew recovery efforts, military engineers filled the gap until contractors, NGO relief organizations and local communities could mobilize to continue disaster recovery.  Instead of the 750 USACE personnel assigned to Puerto Rico, the US Army Corps of Engineers utilized 2,500 of USACE and 841st Engineering Battalion personnel, 600 Army employees and 4,000 contractor personnel to remove debris at the start of recovery efforts.  If Andrew is used as a guide, 32,500 USACE and Army Reserve engineers would be assigned to Puerto Rico by now.  Another 7,800 Army employees would be sent and 52,000 contractor employees would have arrived in Puerto Rico.  2860 dump trucks and 715 bucket loaders would be sent. 

Instead of the "six U.S. Navy helicopters and three U.S. Marine Corps V-22 Osprey aircraft launched from the USS Kearsarge Amphibious Readiness Group," Joint Task Force Andrew utilized 120 DoD helicopters.  Another 1,014 USAF sorties were flown during Andrew recovery efforts.

In Puerto Rico, with 3.4 MILLION people affected, FEMA sent more than 1.3 million meals, whereas 1 million MREs were delivered for the 250,000 people left without homes after Hurricane Andrew.

No one should be bragging about disaster recovery efforts in Puerto Rico.  A competent administration would be trying to figure out how to respond adequately to the mess left in the wake of Hurricane Maria...

Are We Now Just Letting People Die?

Hurricane Maria struck Puerto Rico on September 20, destroying the electricity grid and leaving many of its 3.4 million people desperate for food, water and gasoline. Since then, the American people have watched as the Trump Administration has fumbled its responsibilities in the worst disaster recovery response since the Federal Emergency Administration was created.

The incompetence of Donald Trump and the people in his administration has been made public, for all the world to see.

Three weeks after the storm, this administration is bragging about "14,000 federal workers on the ground in Puerto Rico," while continuing to bemoan how "logistically challenging" it is for them.

Incompetence always has an excuse. And we have all learned that Donald Trump is the king of excuses!

In 1992, I was one of tens of thousands of people involved in the Hurricane Andrew recovery effort. While there were legitimate criticisms of the Bush Administration's response at the time, it was magnitudes better than how this administration has chosen to respond.

Within FIVE DAYS the federal government and neighboring states had mobilized 20,000 National Guard and active duty troops to South Dade County. By this time in the Hurricane Recovery efforts, more than 20,000 troops -- primarily comprised of the 82nd Airborne and 10th Mountain Divisions -- joined more than 6,000 National Guards troops in the recovery efforts to help with the 250,000 people left homeless in the affected areas. They joined another 1000 FEMA personnel, mostly temporary adjustors, in the effected area.

Let that sink in. Three weeks out from landfall of Hurricane Andrew, there were more than 26,200 guard and active duty troops in South Florida, and another 1000 federal employees, to help the 250,000 people left homeless. In total, "30,074 DoD and National Guard personnel were deployed to disaster locations in Florida."

That's one federal responder for every 8 people affected.

By contrast, Trump and his sycophants are bragging about one federal responder for every 243 people affected. They are calling this "a good news story."

Trump apologists keep trying to blame Puerto Rico for its incompetence. Yet under the 1988 Stafford Act (The law’s full title is the Robert T. Stafford Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance Act of 1988, P.L. 93-288), the federal government is supposed to get involved in disasters only if they are of “such severity and magnitude that effective response is beyond the capabilities of the state and the affected local governments.” The Congressional Research Service describes it this way:
Only after both local and state/tribal government resources have been overwhelmed, and the governor of the state has requested assistance, does the federal government begin to “supplement the efforts and available resources of States, local governments, and disaster relief organizations in alleviating the damage, loss, hardship, or suffering.
I doubt any honest person could argue that Puerto Rico does not meet that standard.

As a liaison between military efforts and the 40,000 out-of-area volunteers on the ground, there was a concerted effort to utilize all the resources made available for recovery efforts each and every day for months.  But the military did a lot of the heavy lifting.  Not only were there 30,074 military personnel, but "DoD provided much of the food, water, sheltering, transportation and medical care, even though the Federal Response Plan assigns those responsibilities to other agencies."

Why isn't Puerto Rico getting the same level of support?  Granted, there is a much, much greater need, but Puerto Rico isn't even getting Hurricane Andrew level of support at this moment (and it's been 3 weeks).  "Reporters on the ground in Puerto Rico have heard repeatedly that there was little sign of the government, or none at all, in the days after the storm hit the island."  Three weeks after Maria struck, "just 15 percent of the island’s electricity customers have power."

Moreover, the more than 70,000 people on the ground in South Florida were supplemented by Naval and Marine personnel who were stationed in ports close to the damaged areas.  Helicopters from the USS Sylvania delivered large amounts of food inland, making up most of the 850,000 meals delivered by military forces to victims of the hurricane.  Several Navy repair ships, with crews up to 1,000, used their engineering capability (electricians, plumbers, carpenters, etc.), and crews to re-roof and repair 43 South Florida schools.  The Marine Corps built two 2,500-person Life Support Center tent towns for displaced civilians.

We have heard of nothing similar in Puerto Rico.  The Navy has two amphibious ships off the coast of Puerto Rico (the USS Kearsarge and the USS Oak Hill), but it took public pressure from the Clintons to send the hospital ship USNS Comfort.  What is clear is that the Trump Administration is much more interested in taking credit for the relatively minor efforts to address the great needs of Puerto Rico after Hurricanes Irma and Maria.

America First seems like nothing more than an empty slogan as the Americans in Puerto Rico seem to be the last people this Administration intends to help.  Puerto Rico can't even account for all its dead because the island is trying to care for the living.  On an island of 3.4 million Americans, the Trump Administration wants to be hailed for providing 3,000 meals and 4,500 liters of water a day.  The Bush Administration was serving 35,000 meals a day for less than 8% of Puerto Rico's affected population.  The difference in response is simply staggering...

Monday, July 7, 2014

So I did my time...

I can't say that serving in the Obama Administration was the most fun I ever had.  Can't say that at all.  Nor can i say that it was the hardest work I've ever done.  Maybe the most frustrating.  Trying to pass a cybersecurity bill when no one wants to pay for cybersecurity is, well, hard. Trying to satisfy hundreds of generals and a hundred senators, that's insane.  I'd say I was proud of the work I did (which, I suppose, I am), but it would be more appropriate to say that I was proud to serve this administration...

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

No Local Post Offices on the Prospective Closing List

For the second year in a row, the USPS has proposed closing local postal facilities. The list for Illinois includes only two facilities in the 604xx zip codes. They are the Kinsman and Verona Post Offices in LaSalle County. The complete list for Illinois:

Office City Zip
CLARE CLARE 60111
ESMOND ESMOND 60129
HILLSIDE HILLSIDE 60162
KINSMAN KINSMAN 60437
VERONA VERONA 60479
LA GRANGE PARK LA GRANGE PARK 60526
LEE LEE 60530
MILLINGTON MILLINGTON 60537
WEDRON WEDRON 60557
NANCY B JEFFERSON CHICAGO 60612
CHINATOWN POSTAL STORE CHICAGO 60616
ENGLEWOOD CHICAGO 60621
OTIS GRANT COLLINS CHICAGO 60623
MARY ALICE HENRY CHICAGO 60624
OGDEN PARK CHICAGO 60636
FINANCE STATION U CHICAGO 60637
REV.MILTON R.BRUNSON STATION CHICAGO 60644
ROBERT LEFLORE JR. CHICAGO 60651
ASHBURN CHICAGO 60652
HAYMARKET POSTAL STORE CHICAGO 60661
RIVERDALE RIVERDALE 60827
BUCKINGHAM BUCKINGHAM 60917
CAMPUS CAMPUS 60920
CLAYTONVILLE CLAYTONVILLE 60926
ELLIOTT ELLIOTT 60933
EMINGTON EMINGTON 60934
GOODWINE GOODWINE 60939
IROQUOIS IROQUOIS 60945
PAPINEAU PAPINEAU 60956
STOCKLAND STOCKLAND 60967
WELLINGTON WELLINGTON 60973
WOODLAND WOODLAND 60974
CHANA CHANA 61015
ELEROY ELEROY 61027
HOLCOMB HOLCOMB 61043
KENT KENT 61044
LINDENWOOD LINDENWOOD 61049
NACHUSA NACHUSA 61057
NORA NORA 61059
SEWARD SEWARD 61077
BARSTOW BARSTOW 61236
BUFFALO PRAIRIE BUFFALO PRAIRIE 61237
ARLINGTON ARLINGTON 61312
BLACKSTONE BLACKSTONE 61313
BUREAU BUREAU 61315
CEDAR POINT CEDAR POINT 61316
COMPTON COMPTON 61318
DANA DANA 61321
DOVER DOVER 61323
KASBEER KASBEER 61328
LEE CENTER LEE CENTER 61331
LEONORE LEONORE 61332
LONG POINT LONG POINT 61333
MAGNOLIA MAGNOLIA 61336
MARK MARK 61340
MINERAL MINERAL 61344
NEW BEDFORD NEW BEDFORD 61346
RUTLAND RUTLAND 61358
SEATONVILLE SEATONVILLE 61359
STANDARD STANDARD 61363
TRIUMPH TRIUMPH 61371
TROY GROVE TROY GROVE 61372
VAN ORIN VAN ORIN 61374
WEST BROOKLYN WEST BROOKLYN 61378
BARDOLPH BARDOLPH 61416
BERWICK BERWICK 61417
BISHOP HILL BISHOP HILL 61419
CAMERON CAMERON 61423
CAMP GROVE CAMP GROVE 61424
CARMAN CARMAN 61425
CASTLETON CASTLETON 61426
EAST GALESBURG EAST GALESBURG 61430
ELLISVILLE ELLISVILLE 61431
FIATT FIATT 61433
GILSON GILSON 61436
HENDERSON HENDERSON 61439
LA FAYETTE LA FAYETTE 61449
LAURA LAURA 61451
LITTLETON LITTLETON 61452
LITTLE YORK LITTLE YORK 61453
MARIETTA MARIETTA 61459
NORTH HENDERSON NORTH HENDERSON 61466
PRAIRIE CITY PRAIRIE CITY 61470
RARITAN RARITAN 61471
RIO RIO 61472
SAINT AUGUSTINE SAINT AUGUSTINE 61474
SEATON SEATON 61476
SMITHFIELD SMITHFIELD 61477
SMITHSHIRE SMITHSHIRE 61478
SPEER SPEER 61479
DUNFERMLINE DUNFERMLINE 61524
EDELSTEIN EDELSTEIN 61526
KINGSTON MINES KINGSTON MINES 61539
LA ROSE LA ROSE 61541
LIVERPOOL LIVERPOOL 61543
TOPEKA TOPEKA 61567
BARTONVILLE BARTONVILLE 61607
ANCHOR ANCHOR 61720
ARMINGTON ARMINGTON 61721
ARROWSMITH ARROWSMITH 61722
BELLFLOWER BELLFLOWER 61724
COOKSVILLE COOKSVILLE 61730
CROPSEY CROPSEY 61731
DEWITT DEWITT 61735
KENNEY KENNEY 61749
LAWNDALE LAWNDALE 61751
SECOR SECOR 61771
SHIRLEY SHIRLEY 61772
SIBLEY SIBLEY 61773
STRAWN STRAWN 61775
UNIVERSITY STATION URBANA 61801
ALVIN ALVIN 61811
ARMSTRONG ARMSTRONG 61812
BONDVILLE BONDVILLE 61815
STATION A CHAMPAIGN 61820
CISCO CISCO 61830
COLLISON COLLISON 61831
DE LAND DE LAND 61839
DEWEY DEWEY 61840
INDIANOLA INDIANOLA 61850
IVESDALE IVESDALE 61851
LONGVIEW LONGVIEW 61852
MUNCIE MUNCIE 61857
PENFIELD PENFIELD 61862
ROYAL ROYAL 61871
BROCTON BROCTON 61917
HUME HUME 61932
LA PLACE LA PLACE 61936
METCALF METCALF 61940
MURDOCK MURDOCK 61941
VERMILION VERMILION 61955
EAGARVILLE EAGARVILLE 62023
FIDELITY FIDELITY 62030
HILLVIEW HILLVIEW 62050
KANE KANE 62054
LOVEJOY LOVEJOY 62059
NATIONAL STOCK YARDS NATIONAL STOCK YARDS 62071
OHLMAN OHLMAN 62076
PATTERSON PATTERSON 62078
PIASA PIASA 62079
ROCKBRIDGE ROCKBRIDGE 62081
ROSAMOND ROSAMOND 62083
SAWYERVILLE SAWYERVILLE 62085
VENICE VENICE 62090
WRIGHTS WRIGHTS 62098
FULTS FULTS 62244
HUEY HUEY 62252
MAEYSTOWN MAEYSTOWN 62256
NEW MEMPHIS NEW MEMPHIS 62266
RENAULT RENAULT 62279
ROCKWOOD ROCKWOOD 62280
BASCO BASCO 62313
CAMDEN CAMDEN 62319
ELVASTON ELVASTON 62334
FERRIS FERRIS 62336
KINDERHOOK KINDERHOOK 62345
LIMA LIMA 62348
NEW CANTON NEW CANTON 62356
NEW SALEM NEW SALEM 62357
PLAINVILLE PLAINVILLE 62365
ROCKPORT ROCKPORT 62370
TENNESSEE TENNESSEE 62374
TIMEWELL TIMEWELL 62375
WEST POINT WEST POINT 62380
MOUNT ERIE MOUNT ERIE 62446
YALE YALE 62481
CHESTNUT CHESTNUT 62518
CORNLAND CORNLAND 62519
GLENARM GLENARM 62536
LAKE FORK LAKE FORK 62541
OCONEE OCONEE 62553
PALMER PALMER 62556
TOVEY TOVEY 62570
WAGGONER WAGGONER 62572
ALEXANDER ALEXANDER 62601
ALSEY ALSEY 62610
BATH BATH 62617
BLUFF SPRINGS BLUFF SPRINGS 62622
BROWNING BROWNING 62624
CONCORD CONCORD 62631
KILBOURNE KILBOURNE 62655
MANCHESTER MANCHESTER 62663
NILWOOD NILWOOD 62672
CAPITOL STA SPRINGFIELD 62706
BONE GAP BONE GAP 62815
EWING EWING 62836
KEENSBURG KEENSBURG 62852
LOGAN LOGAN 62856
MAUNIE MAUNIE 62861
MILL SHOALS MILL SHOALS 62862
MULKEYTOWN MULKEYTOWN 62865
OPDYKE OPDYKE 62872
ORIENT ORIENT 62874
RADOM RADOM 62876
RINARD RINARD 62878
SCHELLER SCHELLER 62883
SIMS SIMS 62886
SPRINGERTON SPRINGERTON 62887
VERNON VERNON 62892
BELKNAP BELKNAP 62908
COLP COLP 62921
GRANTSBURG GRANTSBURG 62943
HEROD HEROD 62947
JACOB JACOB 62950
MILLCREEK MILLCREEK 62961
MILLER CITY MILLER CITY 62962
MUDDY MUDDY 62965
PERKS PERKS 62973

Monday, May 30, 2011

Friday, March 18, 2011

Chicago Heights getting nervous...

The Integrity Party has brought a lot of new people into the political scene in Chicago Heights. I usually call these people (political) virgins because it's not like what they teach you in school.

One of my candidates was horrified after Dave Gonzalez instructed a city worker to throw her out of city hall. "He was rude," she explained.

I've had to explain to these candidates, often more than once, that you don't take power out of the hands of those who have it graciously. You take power away by force. Especially when there is so much money at stake. Chicago Heights spends millions more than cities of a similar size. It employs more people than cities of a similar size. So it should be no surprise that it taxes its residents more than other cities of a similar size.

Not that it provides good (public) service for their dollar. I've been told by friends and supporters that I should be calling the police when we are threatened or we see things that shouldn't be. So this week I did.

But not a single police officer came to deal with the matter. No one.

This isn't unusual. And not just because Dave Gonzalez is forcing city workers to campaign on his behalf, apparently during working hours.

Yep, corruption costs someone money. And Dave Gonzalez sure has the house to show for it.

Tomorrow, 300 Hispanics from Cicero are supposed to arrive to help out Gonzalez. I assume he'll need the help. I think I was supposed to be surprised that 300 people were supposed to come down, but I already expected this. I've already duked it out with Gonzalez in a race in that area. And it will be an impressive show of force.

Of outsiders. But they have already had a slew of outsiders come in and knock on doors for them. Gonzalez has to have outsiders come in because he doesn't seem to be generating the kind of support in Chicago Heights that he expected.

Supposedly, last weekend, Gonzalez put up 1000 signs. But I don't know a single one that was placed in a yard of one of his supporters. Maybe he doesn't have any. Even some of the people who *they* mobilized to early vote claim they voted for Joe (one was a city worker!).

Like all politicians, Dave Gonzalez has an inflated view of himself. It's kind of pathetic, especially in this case. He has to hide from what is real, and project what is not. For example, Gonzalez has been telling other politicians that he has this race wrapped up and that he can mobilize this huge work force (presumably all the city workers that he's impressed into service illegally) but he's got to ship in hundreds of Hispanics to help him make "Latino Day" look good.

What a character.

Well, Gonzalez has already started to figure out that he doesn't have a strong grasp of politics. And he has an even weaker grasp of politics that is played at this level. A teenager could figure out what we are going to do. It's not rocket science, and it isn't a secret. So this upcoming week ought to be very, very interesting. But I'm having a *very* good time. Dave Gonzalez is an extremely rich oppo target and the only difficulty is in trying to decide which parts of his past and his hypocrisy I want to go after.

He's made it easy for me. For example, the city of Chicago Heights (ok, really Dave Gonzalez but they pretend that it is the city, so I will, too) has halted the provision of basic services to the 4th Ward (which is Joe Faso's ward), in the belief that they can blame Joe for their failure.

Which shows a basic disconnect from the residents in the 4th Ward (or just an assumption that voters are stupid). They know what is going on. This makes them more determined to get out and vote for Joe, not less likely. The only stupid person here is Gonzalez.

But we can pretend that he isn't an idiot. After all, he's bringing in 300 Hispanics from Cicero tomorrow. That ought to impress someone. Really. I mean, I assume...

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Would you elect the brother of a Domestic Terrorist to be your mayor?

That's the question in Chicago Heights this week.

Dave Gonzalez sent out a mailer claiming drug dealers are Domestic Terrorists. Which is a odd thing to say about your brother, someone you let into your home, someone who acts in the community as a representative for you.

Perhaps Dave didn't see the irony. But others did.

So would you?

Would you elect the brother of a Domestic Terrorist to be your mayor?

I know I wouldn't. I can't imagine too many people who would.

I'm really starting to wonder if Dave Gonzalez understands politics. I mean, I'd expect him to throw his brother under the bus. Dave Gonzalez isn't exactly known for his loyalty to people. In fact, quite the opposite.

But emphasizing your relationship to Domestic Terrorism?

That's not smart. Not smart at all. Not if you want to be mayor.