October 24th, 2007
05:23 PM ET
7 years ago

Senators say fire response an improvement from Katrina

California Sen. Barbara Boxer praised Schwarzenegger's response to the fires.

WASHINGTON (CNN) - Key senators Wednesday praised the federal government's emergency response to the Southern California fires - in sharp contrast to their negative reaction to its slow response to Hurricane Katrina.

"To this stage, I am satisfied with the response," said Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, who was a vocal critic of the White House's response to Katrina.

"I believe lessons were learned from Hurricane Katrina," said Sen. Trent Lott, the Senate's second-ranking Republican who lost his own Gulf Coast home to Katrina.

"What I see happening long-distance, just looking at the media, it looks to me like the administration is responding aggressively and appropriately in trying to help the people of California with this fire," he said.

Even Sen. Barbara Boxer, D-California, who in the past has raised concerns about having so many National Guard troops serving in Iraq and not available to respond to a natural disaster in California, said she is pleased.

"Because of the governor's swift action," Boxer said, "we have enough personnel at our disposal."

The senators praised Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff for going right to California with his Federal Emergency Management Agency director, David Paulson, to help marshal the response.

"I think that sends a good message to the American people," Reid said.

Lott said it's also important that President Bush plans to visit the scene Thursday.

California's other senator, Democrat Dianne Feinstein, said the response shows the federal government "has really learned from Katrina."

She said she's concerned about reports that not enough aircraft are available to fight the fire but said Bush was right to quickly declare an emergency and issue orders to provide assistance to homeowners who need help with rent and rebuilding costs.

"That's a big step forward," she said.

– CNN Congressional Producer Ted Barrett


Filed under: Senate
soundoff (34 Responses)
  1. sashy,dover,DE

    Ya, you just want white people to feel better in the middist of horrible things that have happened to them.
    Of course we know hurricane Katrina was well goverment Engineered!

    October 24, 2007 06:38 pm at 6:38 pm |
  2. Mark, Sacramento, CA

    Gov. Arnold is a strong leader. We Californians are lucky to have him! He is a role model for us all. :-)

    October 24, 2007 06:45 pm at 6:45 pm |
  3. RightyTighty

    Another liberal flipflop..

    October 24, 2007 06:49 pm at 6:49 pm |
  4. Me, Fullerton, CA

    No comment for the good thing that Republicans has done? See, only the bad things are exposed, not the good ones. You guys are disgusting.

    We the conservatives usually are more fair in assessing something than you are the liberals. If it's good, we'll say good. If it's bad, we'll say it's bad in a constructive way.

    God bless you, my friends.

    October 24, 2007 06:53 pm at 6:53 pm |
  5. Kirk, Palm Beach FL

    Southern California is a rich, white region symbolic of prosperity, technology, and entertainment in the USA. We'd be fools not to save it. New Orleans has little economic importance beyond some minor cultural/musical history, which honest who really cares about. Weigh it yourself: which is right, which is prudent?

    October 24, 2007 07:14 pm at 7:14 pm |
  6. jedi, vancouver, washington

    From the look of it, the terrorists might have found an easy target to create fear and disrupt our economy.

    I just wish that George Bush has not sent too many soldiers and equipments to Iraq and Afganistan, and keep more soldiers for our internal security.

    On another note, is George Bush quick response this time because of having a republican governor in california?

    October 24, 2007 07:25 pm at 7:25 pm |
  7. marquie knightdale nc

    The response time in the wildfires in California and Hurricane Katrina seem to be a matter of economic and racial differences. I am not surprised that there is response for the Southern California people just as I wasn't surprised that the Katrina victims were not taken care of in a timely manner. There is a bit more money and to be honest a lot less African American people in the news stories about who has been displaced in California. It is sad that if you are rich or white the government will respond rapidly even though all races and economic levels make up this country.

    October 24, 2007 07:29 pm at 7:29 pm |
  8. Gorbashov

    Wow, you mean this administration actually learned from it's catastrophic blunder during Katrina? Keep it up folks, and you won't go down as absolutely the worst administrtation in history, just the worst!

    October 24, 2007 07:29 pm at 7:29 pm |
  9. Karen,nj

    I also think that the government let Katrina people down. They didn't want those people there because they have other plans for that area. I don't know what, but there is a hidden agenda.

    October 24, 2007 07:37 pm at 7:37 pm |
  10. Manny Doubts, Speculator, NY

    I also think that the government let Katrina people down. They didn't want those people there because they have other plans for that area. I don't know what, but there is a hidden agenda.

    Posted By Karen,nj : October 24, 2007 7:37 pm

    Oh most wise and clairevoyant Karen, please do tell us what hidden agenda brought a Cat 4 hurricane to the shores of New Orleans? Oh please tell me what secret plan the Mayor of New Orleans was using to force his city's citizens from leaving with a four day warning Oh please tell us what plans Governor Landreau had for hundreds of square miles of ruined lives – maybe secretly egging the insurance industry to deny claims? Oh, please leverage your keen paranoia crystal ball and elevate us all with your wisdom.

    October 24, 2007 07:55 pm at 7:55 pm |
  11. ronnie knoxville tn.

    the first and only sensible thing I've ever heard barbara boxer say was to praise gov. schwarzenager.

    October 24, 2007 07:58 pm at 7:58 pm |
  12. Mike, Palm Desert, CA

    Just love how all of the politicians want to jump in and be heroes. The federal gov't had virtually nothing to do with the success of these efforts. And for those of you making the accusation that the poor black folks were left to suffer and the whites received special treatment, the truth is that the people of New Orleans are for the most part uneducated, lack any type of motivation, and live off of the government. The people who are at Qualcomm Stadium in San Diego actually have a job and work for a living and don't depend on the government to take care of their daily needs, are at least high school graduates, and actually believe that maybe they should take care of themselves instead of expecting others to do the hard work. I wouldn't give you 10 cents to rebuild New Orleans. Why? So all of the freeloaders can go back and sit around to wait for their welfare checks? No thanks. Congratulations to the people of California for taking charge and getting the job done. The only thing we really have to fear now is FEMA....please stay away!

    October 24, 2007 08:00 pm at 8:00 pm |
  13. James, Phoenix AZ

    No need to worry folks – the DNC will get to Ms Boxer, requesting she change her tune.

    Tomorrow I fully expect Ms Boxer to apologize on the floor of the House about her remarks.

    October 24, 2007 08:03 pm at 8:03 pm |
  14. Inyer Aye, Telegraph Hill, CA

    The response time in the wildfires in California and Hurricane Katrina seem to be a matter of economic and racial differences. I am not surprised that there is response for the Southern California people just as I wasn't surprised that the Katrina victims were not taken care of in a timely manner. There is a bit more money and to be honest a lot less African American people in the news stories about who has been displaced in California. It is sad that if you are rich or white the government will respond rapidly even though all races and economic levels make up this country.

    Posted By marquie knightdale nc : October 24, 2007 7:29 pm

    Yup – being white caused the better response.

    Oh, it couldn't be that the populace was better prepared and not in a state of denial before and during the crisis.

    Oh, it couldn't be becuase in the land of earthquake, wildfire, and drought – these people took responsibility for themselves and didn't wait for the government to 'take action'.

    Oh it couldn't be because there are less blacks (and more Hispanics) in Southern California being the reason for fewer black stories.

    Oh, it couldn't be that New Orleans citizens thought they could 'ride the storm out'. I defy anyone to 'ride a fire storm' out.

    Oh, and it couldn't be that California's politicians set politics aside and asked for federal help right away – which is why help is getting there sooner.

    I guess you haven't seen the news videos of all of the displaced fire storm victims – from every economic walk of life – helping each other out at QualComm stadium.

    Yup – its the white folks fault once again.

    October 24, 2007 08:07 pm at 8:07 pm |
  15. jess,las vegas,nevada

    The people of california, california california (lol) I just wanna laugh arnold~!

    October 24, 2007 08:10 pm at 8:10 pm |
  16. trekks, kansas

    I agree, California deserves a standing applause. Bob, I hope you and yours and everyone in southern Cal, are doing o.k.!

    October 24, 2007 08:12 pm at 8:12 pm |
  17. therealist

    So everyone quickly responded, to sit and watch the fire burn. Nice job..

    October 24, 2007 08:17 pm at 8:17 pm |
  18. E. Elliott, Orlando, FL

    In NO the land was owned by poor people that the rich peeps want to develope. Naturally those peeps are repubs since they have most of the money. Hence, no clean up progress. The land will default for taxes at some point and the deal goes down. In California, these are the millionaires Malabu estates, amoung the other not so wealthy. Many rich repubs there and they have influence. And after a few years to think about it, FEMA actually has cleaned up their act. Result, the response is much better. No thanks to W. Thank $$$.

    October 24, 2007 09:09 pm at 9:09 pm |
  19. Farrell, Houston, Tx

    California's success vs. Katrina failures is because loving, caring Californians went to Louisiana during Katrina giving their helping hands, money and support. Did you give your support to Katrina victims and if not this is a great time to support California. God Bless You for Helping.

    October 24, 2007 09:47 pm at 9:47 pm |
  20. Moon Pie

    WHO CARES WHAT THAT MOON BAT THINKS -THAT LADY IS NUTS. I SURE AM GLAD SHE IS NOT REPRESENTING ME.

    October 24, 2007 10:26 pm at 10:26 pm |
  21. Matt, Canoga Park CA

    Of course they better praise Schwarzenegger for his response to the fires. Arnold understands his duty and the oath he took as the Govenor of California. Arnold knows that he has the ability to mobilize the National Guard and how to use them as a effective tool to handle a crisis situation. Arnold knows that this is a Republic and his role as the Govenor is to run the state like a small country that is a member of a Republic along with 49 other states. Unlike the fool that WAS the Govenor of Louisiana.

    It did not take him days to declare this a state of emergency. He did that on day one. It did not take him more than a day to ask for Federal Assistance (thats when other states in the republic help out their fellow state) This has nothing to do with Black or White people. This has everything to do with who you elect as a leader and if they truly understand the job and their role in leading a state.

    He acted and not reacted. The govenor of Louisiana should have been strung up for what she didn't do. She could have mobilized the states National Guard and every State Trooper, commendeered every school bus in the state and moved every person in New Orleans away kicking and screaming if need be to safety. But she did none of these things that were in her right to do so.

    But to this day people blame the federal governement for slow response. If your Govenor does not ask for help then how can help be given. And by the time they do respond it's too late.

    It's called a weather report for a reason. I live here in California and I knew a bad Hurricane was coming days before Katrina hit. And knew that was a place I did not want to be. I saw the weather reports out here days before the first fire started saying Santa Ana winds are blowing, brush fires are a high possibility given the drought conditions. I saw this and so did Arnold. It's why so many people were in place ready for this to occur.

    Don't blame the federal government for the inactions of state leaders. This is a Republic just like the second line of the Pledge of Allegence says so. Maybe if more people payed attention to the words and what they ment then so many people in New Orleans would have been saved. Just like the people in Mississippi who were also hit by Katrina only their Govenor knew what to do.

    Bravo Arnold, I'm so glad you are my Govenor. Now you truly are a Action Hero. And not a inaction zero.

    Thanks

    October 24, 2007 10:44 pm at 10:44 pm |
  22. Mike, Coarsegold, Cal.

    If Barbara is so concerned, why is she still in Washington?

    October 24, 2007 11:28 pm at 11:28 pm |
  23. Moe Ron, City of Stupidity, State of Insanity

    Who are the bigger idiots?

    The ones who build homes in a area known for fires or the ones who build homes below sea level?

    Or the ones who will re-build their homes in the same areas?

    October 24, 2007 11:40 pm at 11:40 pm |
  24. FT Doylestown,Pa

    Such a shame that the Democrats are really NOT HUMAN any more. Every thing is bend and slanted toward one of their agendas. Harry Reid(poor dear)said ...It was caused by global warming. Boxer came out and said..if we didn't have the troops in Iraq we could have put this out. We don't have machinery etc..Bush's fault.
    Dam Sam...they only have one Tune!
    Hey Guys...Did you know that San Diego is a Hugly Republican City and the Congressman is Duncan Hunter and he's running for GOP President. The are not Liberals and they know ..when some says get out...they listen and get out. Also they pull together and help each other in time of need. They must believe in God too. Gee seems like it Working for them!

    October 25, 2007 12:17 am at 12:17 am |
  25. Susan Weinstein, Santa Clarita, CA

    Katrina had African-American victims, the California fires had white upper class victims. Go figure.

    October 25, 2007 01:40 am at 1:40 am |
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