From today's American Progress Report:
KATRINA -- FEMA ABANDONS RECOVERY OFFICE IN NEW ORLEANS: In Sept. 2005, President Bush stood in Jackson Square in downtown New Orleans and pledged, "We will do what it takes, we will stay as long as it takes, to help citizens rebuild their communities and their lives." Nearly eight months later, "Housing remains in short supply, only a handful of public schools have reopened and many neighborhoods resemble ghost towns." The Bush administration's response is to cut and run; FEMA is closing its long-term recovery office in New Orleans. FEMA says it is leaving because it's tired of waiting for a plan from city officials. But "[o]ne major hold-up was the late release of FEMA's flood elevation advisories," WWL reports, "which offer guidelines on how high homeowners should raise their homes to qualify for flood insurance." The advisories were issued last week, months late. New Orleans officials say they need federal help to pay for the planning efforts, and the former director of the FEMA's recovery office "made a verbal promise to city officials to fund the effort." In fact, "[s]everal employees of the disbanded office agreed [that the city needs federal assistance], saying that at the beginning the office worked closely with city officials, helping implement their plans." Now that promise has been broken.