March 21, 2006
Perry to sign executive order for hurricane evacuation plan

You may recall the task force that Governor Perry appointed to study the lessons learned from the Hurricane Rita evacuations, which issued its report exactly one month ago. Today, Governor Perry is expected to sign an executive order to make some of its recommendations happen.

The executive order will require the governor's Division of Emergency Management to develop a detailed plan for implementing contraflow highways during evacuations.

The division also will be charged with developing a plan for distributing fuel to service stations and making fuel available to motorists along evacuation routes.


The governor's order also will:

  • Create a new unified command and control structure within each of the state's 24 councils of government. Each region will have an "incident commander" to oversee evacuation issues in that area.
  • Instruct the emergency management division to develop a more detailed statewide evacuation and shelter plan.
  • Call for the division to work with local school districts, colleges and universities to identify buses that may be used in some evacuations and develop a system for coordinating their use.
  • Call for the division to develop a statewide evacuation and shelter plan for persons with special needs.
  • Instruct the division to create a computer database of people with special needs so the state will know who and where they are when evacuations are ordered. It also must develop criteria for evacuating people from special needs facilities.
  • Direct the Texas Department of Transportation to prioritize construction that needs to be done along evacuation routes.
I don't have any particular quibbles with this plan, which drew praise from both Harris County Judge Robert Eckels and Mayor Bill White's office via Frank Michel. I am curious as to how much some of this is going to cost, and how hard it will be to get the funding in place for each aspect of it. I'll say again that this is the sort of thing that the current budget surplus is best suited for, since many of these items are likely to be one-time expenditures or have most of their costs up front. I don't intend my mention of cost as a criticism, I'm just pointing out that securing the needed funds is a multi-step process, and we're only at the beginning here. I don't want to be reading stories a year from now about how some of these solutions have not been implemented because the bill to authorize funding for them is tied up in committee because of a dispute over an unrelated side item.
Perry's executive order will not address the task force's biggest recommendation — to make the governor the sole decision-maker on when evacuations should occur. That would require a change in state law.


[Perry spokeswoman Kathy] Walt said Perry might add hurricane preparedness to the special session set to begin April 17, but only if lawmakers first pass a public school finance plan that addresses a Texas Supreme Court order.

"Once there is a bill on his desk addressing that, he's willing to open it to other issues," she said.

If the Lege can beat the June 1 deadline for school finance reform, which also happens to be the start of hurricane season, I'll be impressed. Let's just leave it at that.

Posted by Charles Kuffner on March 21, 2006 to Hurricane Katrina | TrackBack

I don't want to be reading stories a year from now about how some of these solutions have not been implemented because the bill to authorize funding for them is tied up in committee because of a dispute over an unrelated side item.

Oh, I'm sure we will be reading those stories, but it was nice of you to give our elected officials the benefit of the doubt. ;)

Posted by: Kevin Whited on March 21, 2006 1:42 PM

I think we should have an emergency evacuation of Rick Perry and his staff.

Or maybe the entire capitol needs and enima.

Posted by: John Cobarruvias on March 21, 2006 6:33 PM

This comment is in response to Texxas Redd's comment downstream under (Et Tu Bob?) but ends up being tied to the problems solving needed for this upcoming scary Hurricane Season.

Republican Dirty Tricks and non-evidentiary e-voting and uncounted paper ballots in e-scanning were what wounded Kerry and the Democrats. However, Democrats like Christopher Dodd and Steny Hoyer who aided these non-evidentiary voting machine companies could also be added to the wounding of Democrats. Any Others? I would suggest that NY Republicans and Democrats who got so used to non-evidentiary Lever voting left a logic trap-door so wide open as to allow these other non-evidentiary voting schemes to get a foot in the door.

However, if you take a look at how states are turning so blue ( see: ), you cannot say that Democrats are wounded… Democrats are building their base with Good Steward Evangelicals, rational Republicans, Libertarians and Independents who are not concerned about either party but are much more concerned about the current lack of problem solving on many fronts, but especially the lack of problem solving for everyone's biggest, most dangerous problem--global warming which could take us all down together regardless of party.

For more about this realignment going on now, read Kevin Phillips's (the Republican who devised Nixon's southern strategy) new book, American Theocracy: The Peril and Politics of Radical Religion, Oil, and Borrowed Money in the 21st Century. He makes the case that Post Conservatives don't want to play ball with Bush anymore because of his radical power base built on an Apple Pie, Hyper-Patriotic Authoritarian Party made of an Apocalyptic Theocracy, Empire for Oil and a crippling burden of debt encouraged by the Financial Industrial Complex. Phillips makes a hopeful point that a realignment is taking place now which will include a more reality-based cooperation to problem solve.

So maybe commenter Texxas Redd is right about Dubya has mortally wounded the republicans.

We do not know if we have already passed a tipping point with global warming, but we can see it already happening all around us. So what do we do…nothing (Dubya’s position is to continue studying)....something (80% call themselves Good Stewards and/or Environmentalists who want to do something to help their families, our nation, and our planet). In the face of changes now from global warming, we must start problem solving now to reduce the impact of even sharper and more sudden rises in temperatures producing much bigger and more frequent storms, hurricanes (this next hurricane season may be as bad or even worse than last year), droughts, fires. We don’t have years to wait.

If we wait, then Dubya will have mortally wounded us all, everyone.

Posted by: Support Science to Reverse Global Warming, if still possible on March 22, 2006 12:39 PM

happy new year its 1st jan 2007

Posted by: sam on January 1, 2007 9:38 AM