Giuliani says 9/11 comparison to Katrina unfair
4/24/2006, 2:03 p.m. CT
By RUKMINI CALLIMACHI The Associated Press
NEW ORLEANS (AP) — It's unfair to compare the pace of rebuilding in hurricane-battered New Orleans with the swift recovery of New York after 9/11, former New York City Mayor Rudolph Giuliani said Monday on a visit to the city.
"They're two different kinds of things. One was a singular incident — on one day, in one place, with tremendous implications. But the rest of the city was not affected," Giuliani said at a pre-tournament gathering for this week's Zurich Classic PGA event in New Orleans.
While local and state leaders here were criticized for being unprepared and indecisive during Katrina, Giuliani became a symbol of effective leadership after the attacks, known since then as "America's Mayor."
Giuliani stressed the two disasters should never have been compared.
In New Orleans, "the devastation is so extensive — mile and mile and mile. It can really break your spirit," he said. By contrast, in New York, police officers and rescue workers could at least return to the safe haven of their untouched homes.
The resources of the two cities were also unequal, he said.
"New York starts off already with more resources," said Giuliani. "The government of New York City is bigger than the government of most states, and it has uniformed forces that are bigger than the armies of some countries."
And still, New York received large amounts of aid.
Although the two disasters can't be superimposed, Giuliani said the lessons of New York are applicable to New Orleans.
He stressed the importance of having not just an overarching plan for the city's recovery, but also a checklist of smaller, easily achievable goals. In New York, when the city was reeling from crime, Giuliani said he began by touting a program to remove graffiti from city buildings.
"I had to have a long-term plan, and I had to have small successes," he said.