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Monday, December 26, 2005

HURRICANE KATRINA RECOVERY UPDATE: And We Want More Federal Bureaucracy?

Herb Strenz, Professor Emeritus of Journalism and Mass Communication at Drake University, points to these graphs in today's edition of The New York Times on the difference in how private contractors and federal bureaucrats are performing in the post-Katrina recovery. Note the emphasis of the bureaucrats on controlling the flow of information:

"In Biloxi, whole neighborhoods are now primed for new development. But in Pascagoula, 25 miles east, only about 25 residential lots have been cleared.
"Officials in Jackson County and Pascagoula cite numerous reasons for the delays.
"One is the complexity of the contract the Corps of Engineers has with Ashbritt, a Pompano Beach, Fla., company that is overseeing the debris collection in Mississippi and parts of Louisiana.

"Its 192 pages include sections on the type of office paper the company uses and a ban on releasing information to the news media without the written permission of the Army Corps. (Ashbritt officials declined to comment for this article.)
"Simply getting an agreement from the Army Corps on the exact wording for the legal release document that residents must sign to authorize contractors to clear their homes took several weeks, officials said."

This is an important news report and not just for what it tells us about the pace of recovery on the Gulf Coast. Go here for the whole story.