Thursday, September 15, 2005

Newsletter from the dishonorable Mike Honda

I have the misfortune of being represented by the worst congresscritter, Mike Honda. He sent the attached email scapegoating Brown et all.

This cries out for a fisking.

The difficulty of trying to focus on religion is, life keeps intruding. There is evil in addition to suffering. They are not the same.
When I get time, i will prepare a response to the dishonorable honda.

Here is Honda's screed.
September 14, 2005
Congressman Mike Honda - Fifteenth District of California

Dear ,

My deepest condolences go to the victims of Hurricane Katrina, many of whom lost their lives, their homes and their livelihoods. Many of you have contacted my office, concerned about the well-being of your relatives, friends and communities from the Gulf Coast region. Please rest assured that I will continue to help you locate them and identify appropriate federal assistance programs.

The American spirit of generosity will be evident in the days to come, as communities in the afflicted areas come together and our American family offers assistance. The Santa Clara County Red Cross has arranged for many brave volunteers from the South Bay area to travel to Louisiana and neighboring states to help with relief efforts.
In this newsletter:

Congressional efforts to help the victims of Hurricane Katrina

Federal response begs tough questions

Risks remain for California and the rest of the country

The Red Cross Website has more information on relief efforts, including the efforts of ordinary citizens. Relatives and loved ones who are struggling to cope with the disaster may also contact the Santa Clara County Red Cross to speak with a disaster mental health volunteer.


I would like to take this opportunity to update you on several steps Congress is taking to respond to Hurricane Katrina. Congress is moving aggressively to help the victims of the hurricane, but Congress must also demonstrate true leadership by investigating the federal government’s abysmal response to this disaster and ensure that it doesn’t happen again.

Congressional Efforts to Help the Victims of Hurricane Katrina

Last week, Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi publicly called for a special session of Congress to send immediate relief to victims of Hurricane Katrina. In response, the Congress quickly passed an emergency funding measure that will deliver more than $10 billion for the people suffering in Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama and in temporary shelters all across the country.

This week the House also passed an additional $51.8 billion of aid to support the relief effort. The vast majority of this money will be given to Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), and a small portion will be used to fund the disaster relief work of the Department of Defense and Homeland Security. In addition, Congress approved emergency funds for individuals participating in the Temporary Assistance to Needy Families (TANF) program (H.R. 3672) and a bill to help students who were enrolled in colleges in the afflicted region (H.R. 3668).

Passage of these bills sends a strong bipartisan signal to the victims of this natural disaster that their welfare is a top national priority. The Congress must provide leadership in helping those displaced by the hurricane to rebuild their lives and communities out of the wreckage left in Katrina’s wake. In the weeks and months ahead, Congress will consider additional spending measures to aid victims of the hurricane. I will work to make sure that these bills provide clear and effective assistance at levels commensurate the challenges faced by the Gulf Coast region.

The indirect effects of this hurricane will become truly apparent in the days and weeks to come. Businesses will not re-open. Schools will need to be rebuilt. Parents have been left destitute with their jobs and their homes washed away by the flood. Families have lost access to critical records and documents. It is the responsibility of our government to help the survivors of this disaster to rebuild their lives after this catastrophe. It is critical that we develop a comprehensive program of job retraining and economic incentives for rebuilding to help reconstruct the affected area. Through governmental efforts in conjunction with non-governmental organizations, we must provide assistance to the men, women and children whose lives were disrupted by this terrible tragedy.

Federal Response Begs Tough Questions

Next week, Congress will begin hearings on the woefully inadequate federal response to Hurricane Katrina. While our priority right now lies in helping the people of the region, it is critical that we reflect on what went wrong.

On August 27th, two days before Katrina hit, President Bush established federal control over the disaster reponse by declaring a State of Emergency in Louisiana. The President’s declaration authorized the Department of Homeland Security and its Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to coordinate all disaster relief efforts.

FEMA moved slowly, failing to understand the gravity of the situation and to allocate the resources necessary to rescue victims and provide the essentials of survival. FEMA’s chief, Under Secretary Michael Brown, has come under particular criticism. The Under Secretary, who was appointed by the President, had no previous experience in disaster management before being named FEMA’s general counsel in 2001. Less than two years later, he was promoted to become the head of the agency.

FEMA's slow response has proven to be tragic for the hundreds, if not thousands, of lives that may have been saved had FEMA performed more effectively. FEMA refused pre-storm offers by aid from government officials and organizations across the country, including New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson, Chicago Mayor Richard Daley, and the American Ambulance Association. Newly released documents indicate that FEMA did not place a request for Homeland Security employees to travel to the hurricane afflicated areas until five hours after Katrina hit land and then gave these reinforcements two days to get to the region. In interviews, the FEMA Chief admitted that he knew nothing of the thousands of New Orleans residents that had gathered at the convention center for food, water and evacuation.

The American people deserve a well-qualified leader for FEMA. As you know, Under Secretary Brown has resigned from his position and has been replaced by David Paulison. I hope and expect that Acting Under Secretary Paulison will offer the strong leadership that FEMA lacked under his predecessor. He must be ready to make needed reforms within the agency and communicate to Congress and the President the tools and resources he needs to, once again, make FEMA a trusted and exemplary federal agency. In the meantime, I will continue to advocate for effective and unwavering Congressional oversight to ensure that future disasters are minimized and responded to successfully.

Congress should also explore other policy issues that may have contributed to this disaster and the lackluster federal response, including:

Cuts to the Army Corps of Engineers – The budget proposals which the President has submitted to Congress over the last five years have consistently requested cuts to the budget for the Army Corps of Engineers. The Army Corps of Engineers is responsible for work on the levees that have protected New Orleans for so long. Unfortunately, President Bush’s proposed budget requested reduced funding allocations to the Army Corps of Engineers, including cuts to the work on these Gulf Coast levees. The Congress should explore what impact these cuts had on the failure of these levees.
FEMA Moved to the Department of Homeland Security - I joined with many Democrats to fight Republican proposals to move FEMA and the Coast Guard to the newly-created Department of Homeland Security (DHS). I believed that such a shift would compromise the non-security related duties of both agencies. FEMA has gone from being an independent Cabinet-level agency to an underfunded, isolated piece of the sprawling Department of Homeland Security. With DHS emphasizing terrorism at the expense of other threats, FEMA has suffered. FEMA’s poor response to Hurricane Katrina proves my worst fears. I recently cosponsored legislation that would make FEMA independent once again.
Allocating Appropriate Resources – Congress must provide as much funding as necessary to aid the victims of Hurricane Katrina. Non-emergency relief should be part of a comprehensive package of aid that helps provide new opportunities to low-income Americans and impoverished regions.

Risks Remain for California and the Rest of the Country

Our country remains at risk from further natural catastrophes, as well as terrorist attacks. We must make sure that our response to future disasters is better than the lackluster response which followed Hurricane Katrina. Our own region, in fact, faces the potential of a similar disaster, and I demand that the government adequately prepare for this possibility.

In early 2001, the Federal Emergency Management Agency ranked the three most likely catastrophic disasters facing America: a terrorist attack on New York, a major earthquake in San Francisco and a hurricane strike on New Orleans. The list has proven almost eerily prophetic, and so I am working with my colleagues to ensure that the Bay Area is prepared. In the wake of the levee breaches in New Orleans, one key area that we are looking at is the levee system in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta. A UC Davis study has predicted a 2-in-3 chance that a major earthquake or storm would cause widespread levee failures in the next 50 years. A major breach in the levees could imperil hundreds of thousands of people and endanger most of our state's water supply. A pending Energy and Water Appropriations bill includes $900,000 that could help fund a comprehensive review of levee risks and repairs.

As we respond to this tragedy, I will continue working with my colleagues to provide needed federal assistance to the people harmed by this disaster. As Americans, we have pulled together through tragedies in the past, and I am confident that we will demonstrate that same unity in overcoming the devastating effects of Hurricane Katrina.


Mike Honda

Please answer the following questions so that I can learn how our district feels about these issues. If you'd like to receive my weekly newsletter, you may check the box below.

Do you think that the federal response to Hurricane Katrina should be investigated in a Congressional Inquiry?



Are you satisfied with the current state of emergency preparedness in our district and California in general?



Contact Information
Washington, DC Address:
The Honorable Michael Honda
1713 Longworth House Office Building
Washington, DC 20515
Phone: (202) 225-2631
Fax: (202) 225-2699 District Office:
The Honorable Michael Honda
1999 South Bascom Ave - Suite 815
Campbell, CA 95008
Phone: (408) 558-8085
Fax: (408) 558-8086


Blogger anybudee said...

Notice nothing about a state or local response which was more directly responsible and more culpable in its neglect. Democrats. At least they're consistent.


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