Tuesday, September 06, 2005
Where were the buses?
People defending Chertoff, Brown and Bush are asserting that RTA buses never ran to transport people to the Superdome, and that the city was derelict in not using RTA and school buses to evacuate the 115,000 the US Census Bureau estimates live in NOLA without cars.
I haven't been able to confirm a statement that the buses didn't run, attributed to former US Senator John Breaux. However, all local media reported that the buses were running until curfew Sunday evening to ferry people from twelve marshaling points to the Superdome.
To presume they were not running requires an assumption that the NOLA media staking out the Superdome didn't notice that buses weren't showing up. I think that unlikely at best.
Standing protocol is that the RTA maintains its normal schedule until tropical force winds or a curfew. This is done to ensure that those same people can get back to their homes or to some other shelter from their jobs, etc.
The main argument is that buses should have been provided to evacuate the city. The RTA has, as best I can estimate, about 400 buses, seating about 60 persons. That means you could move out 24,000 of those 115,000 people under ideal conditions.
School buses were not used, but the protocol would require Nagin to make a request through FEMA to get those buses. That would be funny if it weren't so tragic.
He might have commandeered those buses under his emergency powers in Louisiana, but that did not occur. I can't determine the size of the Orleans Parish School Board fleet, but I would wager it is not much larger than that of the RTA. That still leaves over 50,000 people behind.
I was ask those who are pushing this story: which evacuees would you chose? Those strong enough to make it to marshaling points and force their way onto a bus? This would have been a recipe for anarchy? What about the people trying to get home from work to their children before they boarded a bus, but who could not get home because the regular RTA routes weren't running?
This has become a major point of criticism from those defending the Federal cabal. It originated with an online version of the magazine National Review, which is not a reliable source of news. It is, however, a major clearing house for right-wing broadcasting talking points.
I hate to get all political here, but those trying to protect the federal government have kicked out all the stops. What they are doing is acting as accessories after the fact to negligent homicide.
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