Planning and Execution
Covid, Afghanistan, and Ida all appear as recent examples of planning gone wrong. If the planning fails, the best execution can’t usually fix it. The first two have been discussed at length and quickly devolve into political name calling. That is counterproductive for everyone. Think about Ida. We heard about it several days in advance. People were warned it was going to be tough. A day or two before, it was a Category 4 Hurricane. It was not a surprise.
So why is the devastation such a surprise and why is the response so slow and disorganized? Why are people waiting hours for gasoline? Why don’t people have drinking water? I appreciate the sign that says: Poor planning on your part does not create an emergency on mine, but where is FEMA, isn’t this its job? Where are the tanker trucks of gas and potable water? Where are the pumping crews (water evacuation), chainsaw gangs, and other volunteer associations? Why were people in flood zones? The reaction to natures fury seems slow.
The flooding is crazy, but this is what happens when you build a city below sea level and you get a ton of rain in a short time frame. But these same streets and buildings have flooded before. Why are they allowed to build back? Do the insurance companies believe the next hurricane will not flood the streets? Do they think another Ida, or Katrina, will not happen? Unlikely, or stupid, comes to mind. Who pays the bill? Some will be paid by the Federal Government and others by insurance companies. This is all built into the rates, my rates. Maybe that is an idea, insurance for people who are proactive and avoid ignorant behavior, but I digress.
I look at Ida, and the planning or lack thereof, and execution that is involved in its response and see it as representative of other aspects of government. To be clear, it is not the workers and in most cases even the supervisors, but the leadership of these organizations that is at fault. The managers have some challenges (…the inability to fire anyone is a huge problem), but this is another area where people need to demand accountability. Who is responsible for this response? Names, titles and reports as to why the response was inadequate, in real time.
Money is another thing that must demand scrutiny. Ida will cost billions and billions will be spent by the government. For what, to whom and for what services. I want to see the invoices. The government is quick to chastised places of business for inflating prices (gas, water, etc.) during catastrophic events, but what about services. Specifically those services provided by public service entities (utilities [phone, internet, gas, electric, water], public safety, and roads) or contractors. Based on the planning and execution of what was clearly forecasted, I’m afraid to ask what these folks might be charging for stuff they want fixed after the damage has been done. I’m pretty sure it is not normal rates. How is efficiency merged with a valid audit trail?
It would be nice to see a Governor have a press conference to say, we are on it. We have done x, y, and z to respond. We started before the rain stopped and will back to normal as water levels recede. Our planning is exemplary, crew execution commendable, and our extensive volunteer force is deployed and coordinated. How come that never happens, in Red or Blue states?