Reactions critical of Gulf Coast aid | VailDaily.com

Reactions critical of Gulf Coast aid

J.K. Perry

BEAVER CREEK – Many Oktoberfest goers said Saturday the federal government’s reaction to the damage wrought upon the Gulf Coast by Hurricane Katrina was lackluster.”It sucks,” said Californian Wendy Blumenschein, who attended the festivities with two friends. “The fact that Bush didn’t take off vacation was bad. The south doesn’t support our economy so why should they respond?””If it was San Francisco they would have been in there right away because they support the economy,” said Blumenschein’s friend Alissa Mitchell.Still, others felt the federal government responded adequately.”Some people complain about (the response), but considering the enormity of it, I think they’re doing a good job,” Denver resident Verna Cole said.Cole did say that the National Guard, heavily deployed overseas, should be in a position to react to the hurricane-torn area. “That’s what the National Guard is there for,” she said.Others agreed, but one man, Neil Wisler of Eagle, said the Guard’s numbers in the states are adequate. The weekend warriors would just need to travel to the Gulf Coast from greater distances.”They’re not short-handed. They’ve still got enough,” he said.Some expressed concern that an attack on the country could catch the country unawares. Those concerns included nuclear, biological and terrorist attacks.”I think (the government) is learning from this,” Cole said. “Something like this could happen with al-Qaida and they have a lot of work to do.”Asked if the response by the federal government was slow, Carol Ann Silver of Denver said, “That’s a no-brainer. It was slow, chaotic and unorganized. It’s hard to believe the U.S. government took that long to help citizens,” she said. Silver said she was frustrated people remained in New Orleans for many days without food or water. She said she understood the difficulty of the task but still questioned the slow aid.Silver’s husband, Jensen Silver, has a brother-in-law whose sister and mother are missing in the gulf region due to the hurricane.Jensen Silver said he wanted to travel to the region to help. His father, who lives outside Mobile, Ala. told him not to come because of the looting and people breaking into gun stores.Carol Ann silver said the fact that many minorities in New Orleans, who are mostly black, were not evacuated from the city could be turned upon the government and made into a “race issue.””They’re in poverty, they live off the system,” Jensen Silver said of his family and others in and around the stricken area. But he added the reason the government failed to react quickly was not because of ethnicity.Staff Writer J.K. Perry can be reached at 949-0555, ext. 450, or jkperry@vaildaily.com.Vail, Colorado