Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Times-Picayune Spins, Filters, Blows Smoke over warning that "temporary" pumps in N.O. could fail catastrophically
~A federal whistle-blower continues to claim that temporary hydraulic pumps in New Orleans outfall canals aren't properly tested and contain potentially fatal flaws that could cause them to fail catastrophically in a hurricane.
~Editilla Crowtellas~This lead-off sentence is a misleading and almost false statement by Sheila Grissett and the Times-Picayune because it is no longer that "A federal whistle-blower continues to claim" --but the Office of Special Counsel issues the findings of an independent report to the President done by their own engineer which states more factually the malfeasance and corruption surrounding the Corps of Engineers and this entire operation since the Corps' Levees Failed and killed over 1200 citizens 8/29/05.
This is why they call it Conflicts of Interests.
Hey, believe me we would like to hail this as valid journalism and support the T-P but unfortunately we cannot compete with the Corps/OPP Ad Budgets, despite having already funded that contract with our own $5,000,000 in taxes.
This article seems like A Thing at face value, but it is No Thing --since the reality of this crime goes much deeper than what Ms Grissett has laid out here in this Cool Aid Partay.
This story Is Not About Whistle Blower Complaints. It is about the results of a Federal Investigation of Wrong Engineering and Corrupt Contracting and Building of Our Future Flood Protection.
And an update from this same "journalist" who appears to be popping out the COPPPR (Corps OPP PR) in rapid-fire: Corps plans to Close Outfall Canal Gates during Rainstorms!

We would have expected Mark "Big Schleif" Schleifstein to cover such a huge story but they put up Sheila Grissett, a cub reporter with a proven Corps Bias. Indeed when we corresponded an email string to several of our favorite T-P journalists (and others) about this story, only Mark Schleifstein responded at first, albeit with a guilt-tripping "I am insulted by your inferences that OPP influences our paper's editorial policy and btw we lost people too" crying game. While we would love to give you Editilla's response to that passive-aggressive boo'rah horse shit, let us instead give you the only other response to our query thread thus far:
Dear Mr. Schleifstein,
You are also one of my favorite journalists and my concerns are related to Editilla's; however, I have a different angle as the attorney who represents the whistleblower, twice vindicated by the U.S. Office of Special Counsel, who blew the whistle on the defective hydraulic pumps. The Times-Picayune has not covered the report by the U.S. Office of Special Counsel finding that the hydraulic pumps are defective, the Corps wasted hundreds of millions of dollars, New Orleans residents are currently at risk, and the Corps probably violated the Clean Water Act.
It was covered by
USA Today on August 25 and in a 4-part series by NPR affiliate Molly Peterson from August 25-29.
“WWL, The Think Tank with Garland Robinette” also did a piece on it.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is pushing an astronomically expensive fix on Congress to fund its supposed grand master “Hurricane and Storm Damage Risk Reduction System.”
In reality, it’s nothing short of an expensive cover-up of the Corps’ own mistakes since Katrina.
To add insult to injury, the Corps is telling the roughly 311,800 of New Orleans residents that they are safe.

Brigadier General Michael J. Walsh, commander of the Mississippi Valley Division of the Corps, claimed in a Times-Picayune editorial that today’s pumps were only meant to be “temporary.” But the Corps’ recent assertion the pumps require replacement was never part of the original game plan.
Walsh’s assertion that the pumps were built to last just five-to-seven years is repeated by Corps officials as if it were gospel, when in reality, a 50-year lifespan is what the Corps had always contemplated and what Congress approved.
Think about it. Would Congress really have spent over half a billion dollars on something with only a five-year lifespan?
Three official Project Information Reports that the Corps submitted to Congress to obtain authorization and funding for its quagmire repeatedly presented the economic lifespan analysis of water pumps using a 50-year period.
Col. Jeff Bedey, commander of the Corps' Hurricane Protection Office in New Orleans, told the public a year and a half ago that the current pumps "have something around a 50-year lifespan. These were designed to be there for 50 years."

Rather than paying what the Corps estimates would be $430 million to correct the problems associated with the defective hydraulic pumps now in place, the agency instead is proposing to abandon the half a billion dollar project it already built, destroy it and haul away the “temporary” gated closure structure with installed pumps, and then spend almost $700 million to rebuild everything from scratch. Moreover, the Corps is making deceptive and dangerous public pronouncements that the present pumps have been “battle-tested” by Hurricanes Gustav and Ike (Brigadier General Walsh said this in his Op-Ed you ran). The U.S. Office of Special Counsel hired an independent engineering expert to evaluate the pumping system, and the expert criticized this very assertion because it fails to mention that the pumps were run at low operating speeds and pressures, intermittently, and for short periods during the hurricanes. [Links to the report can be found here and here.]
The Special Counsel’s report and the "black box" information (known as "SCADA data”) prove the hydraulic pumps were not utilized when canal water levels were highest at the beginning of each storm, not allowed to run at full operating speeds and pressures, and not allowed to run for extended periods of time that replicate a real-life hurricane event.

I wrote an Op-Ed to this effect, which was accepted by the Times-Picayune and edited down to the tag line, only to have it killed because it had “no local nexus.” No local nexus?
This is information that affects 311,000+ people.
Why has the New-Orleans Times-Picayune not covered the recent news about the defective hydraulic pumps when the national media has done so?

Jesselyn Radack

Editilla pulls the Pin on our Sanity Grenade! This is getting Ridiculous. It is time to boycott the T-P Advertisers.
2 different other journalists have been hammering this story during the Anniversary, and WWL covered it --and yet when finally we get our local Times-Picayune to weigh in it is with the Last Word of the Exquisite Corps!
My favorite bias of Ms Grissett and the T-P here is how she opens with such a "slider" and closes this article with the Corps Last Word from Karen Durham-Aguilera, the Task Force Hope chief: "Their problems are with the Department of Defense inspector general's report, and I'm not going to comment on what she believes or doesn't believe, " Durham-Aguilera said. "She has a right to her opinion, but she's in Los Angeles and hasn't been here since 2006."
Sorry Mxz D-A, but when did YOU show up on this scene? 2007? Before that you oversaw the flooding in the Northwest Districts in 2005-2006 and the Corps Contracting Fiascoes in Iraq?
Where'Yat, Ms Ramrod of Hope?
While the Exquisite Corps builds yet another "Worlds Largest Pump" across the river, do we assume that that project will also proceed with just the same honesty and open budgets of Flood Funding that we find from the Office of Special Counsel?
AND, this current crime of course begs the question of the Corps costs Over-estimates on Pump Option 2, opposed to this Option 1 which they have skillfully shoved up our ASCEs.
~Jesselyn Radack:

Molly Peterson: The January after Katrina, two weeks after it opened bids, the Army Corps awarded a $26 million contract for the pumps to Florida-based Moving Water Industries. Garzino says that’s a fast schedule.
Public records indicate the company’s schedule was more aggressive than she knew. Even before the Florida company won the contract, it ordered 37 diesel engines from Caterpillar, at an estimated cost of more than $2 million.
The winning company also requested custom pump parts called impellers from a foundry three days before it was certain to need them.
In a debriefing with the Corps, another company that bid for the contract, FPI, raised questions about the way Moving Water Industries, or MWI, won the project. The first voice is FPI’s Bill Miller. The second is Corps contract officer Cindy Nicholas.
Bill Miller:
MWI had already ordered the engines, and everyone else said that would be awarded the job.
Cindy Nicholas:
Well, I don’t know anything about that, sir. If they ordered them on their own, they must have taken a big risk.
Well, obviously that was a risk that paid off, let’s put it that way.
The Army Corps maintains it properly issued the contract. Maria Garzino is a contract specialist, but her concerns go far beyond contracting. She was present when Moving Water Industries started to test the pumps in Deerfield Beach, Florida.
As we turned the machinery on it started failing.
The more we ran it, the more severe the failures were.

"New Orleans and its residents have been ruthlessly slandered"
~Your Right Hand Thief

The feeling is Mutual
--so is the fact~slabbed

Soft job market expected for NO metro area~Don Ames

RTA floats proposal for 3 new streetcar lines in New Orleans
~Frank Donze

Pitfalls for Planning in NOLA ~Will Cordeiro

Delgado turns away students due to lingering storm damage
~Emilie Bahr

The Printabulous Publishing Machine~ Katie Van Syckle

Center for the Study of New Orleans hosts first event

NolaFunk NYC Lagniappe

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