04 September 2005

Chicago Rebuffed by Bu$h...



From the Chicago Sun-Times:

Daley 'Shocked' As Feds Reject Aid
September 3, 2005


A visibly angry Mayor Daley said the city had offered emergency,
medical and technical help to the federal government as early as
Sunday to assist people in the areas stricken by Hurricane Katrina,
but as of Friday, the only things the feds said they wanted was a
single tank truck.

That truck, which the Federal Emergency Management Agency requested to support an Illinois-based medical team, was en route Friday.

"We are ready to provide more help than they have requested. We are
just waiting for their call," said Daley, adding that he was "shocked" that no one seemed to want the help.

Meanwhile, U.S. Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) said he would call for
congressional hearings into the federal government's preparations and

"The response was achingly slow, and that, I think, is a view shared
by Democrats, Republicans, wealthy and poor, black and white," the
freshman senator said. "I have not met anybody who has watched this
crisis evolve over the last several days who is not just furious at
how poorly prepared we appeared to be."

Response 'baffling'

The South Side Democrat called FEMA's slow response "baffling."

"I don't understand how you could have a situation where you've got
several days' notice of an enormous hurricane building in the Gulf
Coast, you know that New Orleans is 6 feet below sea level. ... The
notion that you don't have good plans in place just does not make
sense," Obama said.

Obama said he expects his counterparts in Louisiana, Mississippi or
Alabama will call for congressional hearings, but he is ready if they
do not. "It's heartbreaking and infuriating and, I think, is
embarrassing to the American people.''

Daley said the city offered 36 members of the firefighters' technical
rescue teams, eight emergency medical technicians, search-and-rescue
equipment, more than 100 police officers as well as police vehicles
and two boats, 29 clinical and 117 non-clinical health workers, a
mobile clinic and eight trained personnel, 140 Streets and Sanitation
workers and 29 trucks, plus other supplies. City personnel are
willing to operate self-sufficiently and would not depend on local
authorities for food, water, shelter and other supplies, he said.

Flanked at a Friday press conference by a who's who from city
government, religious organizations and business, the mayor also
announced formation of the Chicago Helps Fund for storm victims.

"I'm calling upon every resident of Chicago to donate what they can
afford, whether it's 50 cents or 50 dollars," the mayor said.

People can make tax-deductible cash or check donations at any of Bank
One's 330 Chicago area branches or by check at Chicago Helps, c/o
Bank One, 38891 Eagle Way, Chicago 60678-1388. A phone line to take credit card donations will be set up.

Churches were urged to take up collections this Sunday, and
firefighters are planning to collect at major intersections this

In addition, donations will be taken at this weekend's Jazz Fest in
Grant Park, and $2 of every ticket purchased through Ticketmaster for
the Chicago Classic football game at Soldier Field today will go to
hurricane relief. The Shedd Aquarium announced it will donate $1 from
every ticket sold this holiday weekend to relief efforts and has set
up "donation stations" at the aquarium.

Homeless shelters enlisted

By midday Friday, Inner Voice, a private agency that runs 27 homeless
shelters for the city, had rounded up space in unused facilities for
about 2,000 storm refugees, should they need it, said president Brady

Ed Shurna, executive director of the Chicago Coalition for the
Homeless, suggested the city tap recently vacated units at Cabrini-
Green and Lathrop Homes that were slated for demolition but still
have heat and electricity available.

Daley reiterated that students from stricken areas are welcome to
enroll in the Chicago Public Schools and in the City Colleges.
Cardinal Francis George on Friday asked that Catholic schools in the
archdiocese waive tuition for displaced children.

More than 400 students have applied to Loyola University Chicago,
most coming from its sister Jesuit school, Loyola University New
Orleans. Half had been admitted as of late afternoon Friday.
Spokeswoman Maeve Kiley said the school "will honor their tuition
that they already paid.''

University of Illinois campuses in Urbana-Champaign and Chicago have
admitted more than 100 students, including two foreign students who
had Fulbright scholarships to attend Tulane.

Northeastern said it would waive tuition and fees for Illinois
residents who already paid another school, and would grant in-state
tuition to out-of-state students. Northwestern plans to let students
pay what they would have at their original school and forward the
money to that school.

Contributing: Andrew Herrmann, Dave Newbart