Somebody must have gotten a clue, but it’s half a loaf. Via Reuters:
The top Louisiana election official said on Friday that hurricane-ravaged New Orleans would not be ready to hold a mayoral election scheduled for February and recommended the vote be postponed by up to eight months.
Louisiana Secretary of State Al Ater said the city would not be ready to hold the Feb. 4 election since too many polling stations and voting machines had been destroyed in the flooding that followed Hurricane Katrina.
The finding leaves a final decision to Louisiana Gov. Kathleen Blanco, who is expected to approve the recommended delay until September or November, when statewide elections are scheduled.
November or December–it’s time to throw all these bums out. That enabling Congress. And in Louisiana, starting with Nagin and ending with Blanco.
Now if only FEMA will take their grimy paws off those addresses of New Orleans residents.
State officials have sparred with the Federal Emergency Management Agency over access to the addresses of the evacuees seeking federal assistance, another factor Ater cited in his decision.
Federal officials initially resisted handing over those records, citing privacy protection. But state officials said the records were needed to allow many of New Orleans’ more than 270,000 registered voters to file absentee ballots.
Nagin, meanwhile, hit Memphis this week and will speak in Atlanta tonight (Saturday, December 3). These are two more Southern cities with a high concentration of displaced New Orleans residents. His tour has the flavor of the campaign trail, including the insubstantial appeal:
Ashley El-Amin, 29, said she was not encouraged by Mr. Nagin’s comment that fast-food restaurants and hotels are offering salaries much higher than before the hurricane.
Ms. El-Amin, a former counsellor for troubled teenagers, said such jobs, despite the higher pay, “won’t even pay half of my college loans.”
And where will the workers live, if even the illegals are living in the street and large portions of the city are in pitch darkness come evening and have no heat or electricity?
Ms. El-Amin said she also was upset by the city’s announcement that Mardi Gras, though scaled back, will take place early next year.
“This is not the time to party,” she said.
Clinton Brown, 67, was also unmoved. Mr. Brown said he wants to rebuild his house on the city’s badly flooded eastern side, but dealing with government officials in trying to get started has been confusing.
“I’d like to go back,” Mr. Brown said. “But I don’t have any better feeling now about getting back.”
Meanwhile some ominous news regarding the strength of those levee walls that collapsed:
On Wednesday, government engineers performing sonar tests at the site of a major levee failure confirmed steel reinforcements barely went more than one-half as deep as they were supposed to, a U.S. Army Corps of Engineers official said.
“We’ve come up with similar results” to those from earlier tests performed by Louisiana State University engineers, said Walter Baumy, the Corps’ chief engineer for the New Orleans District.
Mr. Baumy said the Corps intends to pull out pieces of the remaining wall along each edge of the breach at the 17th Street Canal to verify the sonar test results. The canal is now mostly dry at the breach site, with temporary walls holding back water from each side.
Mr. Baumy said the Corps cannot explain the disparity between what its 1993 design documents show was supposed to be there and what they’ve found.
The documents indicated the steel reinforcements in the levee, known as sheet piling, went to a depth of 5.3 metres below sea level. Sonar tests indicated the pilings went only to three metres below sea level, meaning the flood wall would have been much weaker than intended.
Category 3 strength, my eye.
There should be a system of levees and dikes and pumping stations able to withstand Category 5 or 6 hurricanes.
Only then, can New Orleans truly party.