Michael Brown, you just failed to prepare the federal government for one of the greatest natural disasters in U.S. history, you got called out in Time magazine for lying about your qualifications for the job, and you just got demoted by the President of the United States. What are you going to do now?
I’m going to go home and walk my dog and hug my wife and, maybe get a good Mexican meal and a stiff margarita and a full night’s sleep. And then I’m going to go right back to FEMA and continue to do all I can to help these victims.
Michael Brown’s FEMA biography:
Under Secretary Brown has led Homeland Security’s response to more than 164 presidentially declared disasters and emergencies, including the 2003 Columbia Shuttle disaster and the California wildfires in 2003.
A refresher: the 2003 wildfires lasted seven weeks and burned three-quarters of a million acres. The billowing smoke was easily visible from space. By the time they were extinguished, 3,600 homes had been destroyed, 22 people were killed, and $2.5 billion in damages were amassed.
How did Brown perform? The reviews of his work may sound familiar:
Sen. Barbara Boxer, D-Calif., and some other California members of Congress have criticized the Federal Emergency Management Agency for not declaring a disaster area in Riverside, San Bernardino and San Diego counties last spring because of the bark beetle infestation.
The bugs killed drought-stricken trees over 415,000 acres of forest, making them particularly prone to fire. On April 16, [then-Gov. Gray] Davis wrote to President Bush urging a disaster declaration. Eight days later, Boxer, Feinstein and 10 House members from Southern California “” seven of them Republicans “” urged Bush to approve the request.
The request was passed to FEMA, which turned it down last week. [San Jose Mercury News, 11/1/03]
FEMA was refusing California’s pleas up to the tragic end:
On Oct. 24, just hours before the Southern California wildfires began to rage out of control, the Federal Emergency Management Agency denied a state application for $430 million to clear dead trees from fire-prone areas. The letter came six months after the governor’s office warned the agency that the state considered the dead trees an immediate threat to lives and property. [Los Angeles Times, 12/15/03]
Same Michael Brown, different day. He should have been fired two years ago.
from his role managing Hurricane Katrina relief efforts,” AP reports. Don’t worry he hasn’t been fired and you’ll continue to pay his salary.
After the 9/11, Congress approved a program to give loans and to small business impacted by the attacks. Some businesses “at New York’s Ground Zero were turned down for the loans.” The AP reports who was approved:
The AP review looked at two Sept. 11 loan recovery programs administered by the Small Business Administration…In Colorado, companies approved for loans included liquor stores, a rug company in Aspen, Big O tires, Quiznos sandwich shops, a nail salon in Englewood, a cleaning service in Fort Collins and a drive-through hamburger stand in Colorado Springs that received approval for $995,000.
More of the same in Georgia:
In Valdosta, veterinarian Creamer said his $1.5 million loan was warranted.” You would not think a veterinary practice in south Georgia would be that impacted. I certainly did not expect to be, not nearly to the degree we were.”
Not surprisingly, the AP concluded that there “was little oversight over who was getting the money.” Not a good sign for small buisnesses in Lousiana, Alabama and Mississippi in need of assistance.
(P.S. Who was the “associate administrator” at the SBA while these loans were distributed? Patrick Rhode — who is now Michael Brown’s top deputy at FEMA.)
Josh Marshall has relayed word of a “sea change in the treatment of reporters trying to get access to the city from yesterday to today.” Journalists now seem to be getting through New Orleans without any troubles. Speaking for most of us, he writes, “I’d be curious to know what may have happened behind the scenes over the last thirty-six hours” that led to the change.
Good question — what did happen? After all, it’s fairly clear who had the incentive to keep journalists out of New Orleans: President Bush’s handlers, who are worrying themselves over public opinion fallout. But who would ever pressure the administration to let the journalists back in? Read more
This morning, Time Magazine reports that FEMA director Mike Brown has lied about his professional qualifications.
Brown is a member of the Oklahoma State Bar. According to the “Oklahoma Rules of Professional Conduct” conduct involving “dishonesty, fraud, deceit or misrepresentation” is a violation constituting “professional misconduct.”
Oklahoma state law specifies that “any lawyer violating these Rules of Professional Conduct shall be subject to discipline.” Discipline includes “disbarment, suspension of a respondent from the practice of law for a definite term…public censure or private reprimand.”
Note to other members of the Oklahoma State Bar: According to Rule 8.3 of the Oklahoma Rules of Professional Conduct, “A lawyer having knowledge that another lawyer has committed a violation of the Rules of Professional Conduct that raises a substantial question as to that lawyer’s honesty, trustworthiness or fitness as a lawyer in other respects, shall inform the appropriate professional authority.”
– the Department of Defense event this Sunday commemorating the anniversary of 9/11 — without registering in advance you will be arrested.
More evidence the White House may not have put a lot of thought into making former Internation Arabian Horse Association commissioner Mike Brown the head of the Federal Emergency Management Agency: A new report from Time Magazine shows Brown fudged his resume.
BROWN CLAIM: Worked for the city of Edmond, OK from 1975 to 1978 “overseeing the emergence services division.”
FACT: Brown was actually an assistant to the city manager, says Edmond officials. “The assistant is more like an intern. Department heads did not report to him.” (One former city manager is kinder, allowing, “He was always on time. He always had on a suit and a starched white shirt.)
BROWN CLAIM: Director of the Oklahoma Christian Home nursing facility from 1983 to present.
FACT: The nursing home’s administrator told Time Magazine Brown was “not a person that anyone here is familiar with.”
BROWN CLAIM: “Outstanding Political Science Professor, Central State University”
FACT: According to a director of University Relations at the school, Brown “wasn’t a professor here, he was only a student here.”
(Makes you wonder”¦don’t they check references in the White House?)