Friday, September 02, 2005

More from Corner correspondents
    Mr. Goldberg: I'm sick and tired of the media's treatment of the Katrina relief efforts. I run a trade association of tank truck carriers trying to assist in the relief efforts by transporting food and potable water. I'm in regular contact with many of the companies, and here are some "on the ground" facts:

    1) Large trucks (80,000 lbs. gross weight) almost always have to use the Interstates. For trucks attempting to come in from outside the area, most of those roads (approaching the disaster area) are either closed or have bridges out. The so-called secondary roads may be somewhat passable, but their bridges (over rivers and streams) are not built to sustain such loads. Simply stated, you can't get there from here.

    2) Trucks domicled in those areas (because that's where the companies traditionally serve customers) are still underwater, thus the equipment is not accessible;

    3) Nobody in their right mind is going to take loads of gasoline and fuel oil into a city controlled by unfriendly folks carrying automatic weapons. A tank truck loaded with 8,000 gallons of gasoline can produce a very impressive fire;

    4) Those local trucking companies can't contact their drivers. There's no power, thus (even) cellular is unavailable, and many of the drivers homes (in places like Kenner, Slidel, Metarie, etc) have been destroyed and families dispersed. I have one member with about 120 drivers and mechanics in that immediate area. To date, management has been able to contact 12. Those in the National Guard have been mobilized and are not available to drive.

    5) Pumps -- needed to load the vehicles -- don't work because there's no power;

    Finally, it's very interesting to see the media not-so-subtly inferred racism. NO's neighboring communities, noted above, and others are mostly composed of middle-class white neighborhoods. They too were flooded with the same level of devastation and face the same food/water shortages. So far, they've been "off camera". I'm genuinely puzzled by this.

    If only George Bush could join the Governor in a photo-op "cry-a-thon" all of these problems would go away.
I do think that the President's image was weak the last couple of days, but I also think that things are happening. Are there problems? Of course, as he said. But are they as serious as it sometimes seems? I don't think so.

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