FEMA machinations

Looks like the judge, who ruled that FEMA“had violated evacuees’ constitutional rights by eliminating their housing payments without notice,” is losing his patience and FEMA is stalling…

WASHINGTON – A federal judge called the Bush administration’s handling of a Hurricane Katrina housing program “a legal disaster” Wednesday and ordered officials to explain a computer system that can neither precisely count evacuees nor provide reasons why they were denied aid.</blockquote

Quotes from the judge

–“Let me make this clear,” [Judge] Leon told government attorney Michael Sitcov. “Tell FEMA that I’m expecting them to get going on this. Like immediately.”

–“I’m not looking for a doctoral dissertation,” Leon said. “I’m looking for a couple of paragraphs in plain English.”

–“This is a legal disaster. People’s rights are being denied,” Leon said. “I don’t want us to get so mired in the minutiae and the law while, in the meantime, people who need help are not getting help.”

FEMA which is hoping the judge’s ruling will be blocked on appeal also reported through its government attorney that their computers are not capable of what the judge has ordered…

“It’s not as adept at doing these kinds of machinations,” said Sitcov, who said the best estimate of evacuees covered by the order was 5,479.

The judge pointed out it could have been done by hand in the 2 weeks that has been wasted since his order. He has now ordered FEMA officials to testify next week.