FEMA and H. Sandy- updates

Nov. 1, USNews&World Report. FEMA Can Deal With Disasters in a Way States Can’t. [Author is with Brookings.]

Kathleen Tierney’s comments on the NY Time blog re Do We Really Need FEMA?
October 31. Her concluding sentence:

The bottom line is that the U.S. currently has an emergency management system that is second to none in the world. It is by no means perfect, and it needs to continually evolve in response to new threats and disaster experiences. But it is clearly not in need of a radical overhaul.

[Tierney is the Director of the Hazards Center, Univ. of CO/Boulder]

Sandy Shows Why We Need FEMA; Oct. 31.

An excerpt:I hope the storm is a good reminder that when we hear candidates’ soothing words about shedding federal government functions, whether it’s FEMA, Medicaid, or safety nets in recession, we must think about what that actually means in practice. Disasters happen, recessions happen — like it or not, there are market failures and natural disasters in our future. If anything, it seems as though these 100-year storms come about every six months these days. (Which reminds me — here’s a great idea for a big, national infrastructure project that will create millions of jobs for white- and blue-collar workers and save billions in lost output: Bury the power lines!)

At the end of the day, we don’t need “big” government or “small” government. What we need is an amply funded federal government to meet challenges like those we’re facing today, ….

How to Tell if FEMA is Doing a Good Job or a Lousy One; the New Republic, Oct. 31

Superstorm Sandy has pushed on northward, leaving some of the most densely populated areas of the country a mess in its wake.  Now, rescue agencies will get in full gear—none moreso than the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). What can the storm’s victims expect from FEMA? And how can we evaluate whether the agency, which so famously bungled its response to Hurricane Katrina, is doing a competent job? To answer these questions, I called on Mark Merritt, a FEMA official under Clinton who spent years coordinating its disaster relief efforts with state and local governments, and who is now the president of a crisis management consulting firm. Merritt and I spoke by phone just after his plane touched down in D.C.—“a ghost town”—on what to watch for as FEMA’s efforts get underway.

The Conservative View:  See the article titled: How a Smart Conservative Would Reform FEMA, by Matt Mayer of the Heritiage Foundation, as interviewed in the Atlantic , October 31. In my view, he is the best informed conservative commentator. [I just took issue with a writer in Forbes online.]

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