Calhoun: Wake-Up Call

Wake-Up Call: FEMA trouble

Among the residents who evacuated in the face of a fast-moving fire in Boulder this week was Michael Brown, current consultant and talk-show host, and former head of the Federal Emergency Management Agency, a man who will be forever linked with this remark by President George W. Bush over his handling of Hurricane Katrina: "Heckuva job, Brownie."

Brown certainly knew how to handle himself in the Boulder evacuation situation -- he has a "go bag" always packed -- and, as he shared with me in a wide-ranging interview a year after Katrina, there was a lot more to the Katrina situation, too, including a complete disconnect between FEMA, the Department of Homeland Security and the White House.

Janet Napolitano, the next head of Homeland Security, could do worse (and likely will) than listen to Brown's cautionary tale. And you can listen to him on KOA, where he does a weekend show and frequent fill-in work. -- Patricia Calhoun

KEEP WESTWORD FREE... Since we started Westword, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Denver, and we'd like to keep it that way. With local media under siege, it's more important than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" program, allowing us to keep offering readers access to our incisive coverage of local news, food and culture with no paywalls.
Patricia Calhoun co-founded Westword in 1977; she’s been the editor ever since. She’s a regular on the weekly CPT12 roundtable Colorado Inside Out, played a real journalist in John Sayles’s Silver City, once interviewed President Bill Clinton while wearing flip-flops, and has been honored with numerous national awards for her columns and feature-writing.
Contact: Patricia Calhoun