Posted By: Rayelan

26 September 2000

from RumorMillNews Website


The Federal Emergency Management Agency an independent agency reporting to the President and tasked with responding to, planning for, recovering from, and mitigating against disaster can trace its beginnings to the Congressional Act of 1803. This act, generally considered the first piece of disaster legislation, provided assistance to a New Hampshire town following an extensive fire. In the century that followed, ad hoc legislation was passed more than 100 times in response to hurricanes, earthquakes, floods, and other natural disasters.

By the 1930s, when the federal approach to problems became popular, the Reconstruction Finance Corporation was given authority to make disaster loans for repair and reconstruction of certain public facilities following an earthquake, and later, other types of disasters. In 1934, the Bureau of Public Roads was given authority to provide funding for highways and bridges damaged by natural disasters. The Flood Control Act, which gave the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers greater authority to implement flood control projects, was also passed. This piecemeal approach to disaster assistance was problematic and it prompted legislation that required greater cooperation between federal agencies and authorized the President to coordinate these activities.

The 1960s and early 1970s brought massive disasters requiring major federal response and recovery operations by the Federal Disaster Assistance Administration, established within the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD).

  • Hurricane Carla struck in 1962

  • Hurricane Betsy in 1965

  • Hurricane Camille in 1969

  • Hurricane Agnes in 1972

  • the Alaskan Earthquake hit in 1964

  • the San Fernando Earthquake rocked Southern California in 1971

These events served to focus attention on the issue of natural disasters and brought about increased legislation. In 1968, the National Flood Insurance Act offered new flood protection to homeowners, and in 1974 the Disaster Relief Act firmly established the process of Presidential disaster declarations.

However, emergency and disaster activities were still fragmented. When hazards associated with nuclear power plants and the transportation of hazardous substances were added to natural disasters, more than 100 federal agencies were involved in some aspect of disasters, hazards, and emergencies. Many parallel programs and policies existed at the state and local level, compounding the complexity of federal disaster relief efforts. The National Governorís Association sought to decrease the many agencies with whom state and local governments were forced work. They asked President Jimmy Carter to centralize federal emergency functions.

President Carter s 1979 executive order merged many of the separate disaster-related responsibilities into a new Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). Among other agencies, FEMA absorbed:

  • the Federal Insurance Administration

  • the National Fire Prevention and Control Administration

  • the National Weather Service Community Preparedness Program

  • the Federal Preparedness Agency of the General Services Administration

  • the Federal Disaster Assistance Administration activities from HUD

  • Civil defense responsibilities were also transferred to the new agency from the Defense Departmentís Defense Civil Preparedness Agency

John Macy was named as FEMAís first director. Macy emphasized the similarities between natural hazards preparedness and the civil defense activities. FEMA began development of an Integrated Emergency Management System with an all-hazards approach that included  direction, control, and warning systems which are common to the full range of emergencies, from small isolated events to the ultimate emergency war. 

The new agency was faced with many unusual challenges in its first few years that emphasized how complex emergency management can be. Early disasters and emergencies included:

  • the contamination of Love Canal

  • the Cuban refugee crisis

  • the accident at the Three Mile Island nuclear power plant

  • the Loma Prieta Earthquake in 1989

  • Hurricane Andrew in 1992 focused major national attention on FEMA

In 1993, President Clinton nominated James L. Witt as the new FEMA director. Witt became the first agency director with experience as a state emergency manager. He initiated sweeping reforms that streamlined disaster relief and recovery operations, insisted on a new emphasis regarding preparedness and mitigation, and focused agency employees on customer service. The end of the Cold War also allowed Witt to redirect more of FEMA s limited resources from civil defense into disaster relief, recovery, and mitigation programs.

Wittís plans were put to the test by the Great Midwest Flood of 1993 and Californiaís massive Northridge Earthquake in January, 1994. The agencyí transformation was recognized as an integral part of the Clinton Administrationís efforts to reinvent government, and in 1995 President Clinton recognized the agencyís accomplishments in his State of the Union address.

Today, FEMA a 2,500-person agency supplemented by over 5,000 stand-by disaster reservists has a mission to provide leadership and support, reduce the loss of life and property, and protect the nation from all types of hazards. FEMA provides preparedness and response and recovery support to the nation and, through Project Impact, provides leadership in preventing and reducing risk before disaster strikes.


Initiated in October 1997, Project Impact focuses on creating disaster-resistant communities in all 50 states, Washington, D.C., and Puerto Rico. By taking action before disaster strikes, FEMA hopes to reduce the amount of federal money spent on picking up the pieces after a disaster and hopes to reduce the risks for property loss and loss of life that every state faces. (Updated: May 28, 1999)


  • Gordon Vickery (April 1979 - July 1979)

  • Thomas Casey (July 1979)

  • John Macy (August 1979 - January 1981)

  • Bernard Gallagher (January 1981 - April 1981)

  • John W. McConnell (April 1981 - May 1981)

  • Louis O. Giuffrida (May 1981 - September 1985)

  • Robert H. Morris (September 1985 - November 1985)

  • Julius W. Becton, Jr. (November 1985 - June 1989)

  • Robert H. Morris (June 1989 - May 1990)

  • Jerry D. Jennings (May 1990 - August 1990)

  • Wallace E. Stickney (August 1990 - January 1993)

  • William C. Tidball (January 1993 - April 1993)

  • James L. Witt (April 1993 - Present)


James Lee Witt was appointed by President Clinton and confirmed by the U.S. Senate as Director of the Federal Emergency Management Agency in April 1993. He was the first agency head who came to the position with experience in emergency management, having previously served as the Director of the Arkansas Office of Emergency Services for four years.

As FEMA Director, Mr. Witt coordinates federal disaster relief on behalf of President Clinton, including the response and recovery activities of 28 federal agencies and departments, the American Red Cross and other voluntary agencies. He also oversees the National Flood Insurance Program, the U.S. Fire Administration and other pro-active mitigation activities that reduce loss of life and property from all types of hazards. Mr. Witt oversees 2,500 employees located in Washington, D.C. and 10 regional offices. In 1997, Mr. Witt started Project Impact, a national initiative to help build disaster resistant communities through education, mitigation, and public and private partnerships.

Since taking office, Mr. Witt has led FEMA through more than 348 Presidentially declared disasters in some 6,521 counties in all 50 states and territories, including the most costly flood disaster in the nation s history, the most costly earthquake, and a dozen damaging hurricanes. He reorganized FEMA into a pro-active customer-focused agency recognized by President Clinton and Vice President Gore as a model for successful government. The agency has received increasing public accolades and specific honors in recent years, including, in 1996, the Innovations in American Government award from the John F. Kennedy School of Government, at Harvard University.

In February 1996, President Clinton elevated Mr. Witt to Cabinet status a first for a FEMA Director.

Mr. Wittís professional career includes the formation of Witt Construction, a commercial and residential building company. After 12 years as a successful businessman and community leader, he was elected County Judge for Yell County, serving as the chief elected official for the county, with judicial responsibilities for county and juvenile court. At age 34, he was the youngest elected official in Arkansas, and was later honored for his accomplishments by the National Association of Counties. After being re-elected six times to the position, Mr. Witt was tapped by then-Governor Bill Clinton to assume leadership of the Arkansas Office of Emergency Services.

A native of Arkansas, Mr. Witt has been nationally recognized for his work in emergency management, environmental health, earthquake mitigation, and veterans affairs. He was charter Board Chairman of Child Development Incorporated, an organization dedicated to advancing Head Start programs for children. (Updated: May 28, 1998)


Lynn Gilmore Canton was appointed Executive Director for FEMA in June 2000. In this new position, she is responsible for overseeing the agency s personnel and management issues, employee development diversity, labor partnership and strategic planning. Prior to this appointment, Ms. Canton was Regional Director of FEMAís Region 2. In that position, she coordinated mitigation, preparedness, and disaster response and recovery activities in: New Jersey, New York, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

Prior to joining FEMA, Ms. Canton served as Executive Director of the Division of Minority and Women s Business Development for the Department of Economic Development of New York State. While in that post, Ms. Canton also served as chair of the New York State Affirmative Action Advisory Council and of the Task Force on the Status of Women in the New York State Department of Economic Development. Earlier in her career, Ms. Canton served as a member of the New York State Board of Parole and worked for the State Division for Youth, the Executive Chamber, and the Division of Budget.

Ms. Canton has taught college and graduate level courses at the State University of New York at Albany in the Women s Studies Department and the Center for Women in Government. She is a member of the National Emergency Management Association and the State Association of Public Administrators.

A native of Buffalo, New York, she holds a B.A. in African American studies and an M.S. in Education from the State University of New York at Albany. (Updated: July 28, 2000)


  •   In fiscal year 1998, FEMA asked Congress for $3.2 billion dollars.

  •   In fiscal year 1999, FEMA asked Congress for $3.1 billion dollars.

  •   In fiscal year 2000, FEMA asked Congress for $3.4 billion dollars.

  •   In fiscal year 2001, FEMA asked Congress for $3.6 billion dollars.

So there you have it the  Jekyl  and  Hyde  sides of FEMA.

If you believe the public relations version of FEMA, then we have a customer-oriented service organization, something like a multi-faceted, high-powered Red Cross. If you suspect something not so nice is going on with FEMA beneath the altruistic face something all ready and just waiting for the right  national emergency  to be declared to suspend our Constitution and bring martial law down upon us then you re ready for the next part of this investigation.


With all of the contrasting information presented to this point on FEMA as background, let s now turn our attention to the present moment in time and some revealing legislative preparations going on right now to  welcome  FEMA in many towns across the country. The following article is by Don Harkins and appeared in the August, 2000 edition of The Idaho Observer; it is reprinted here with permission:



If it was coming to yours, how would you know unless you looked 

I am going to be frank. I was disappointed in the response we received in our call to readers of the SPOTLIGHT and The Idaho Observer to determine the status of  emergency powers  among public officials at the city and county level. It is outrageous that conspiracy  theorists  would gripe about the coming New World Order and await some overt and inevitable sign that it has arrived, and not spend an hour in county or municipal code to find out if their elected leaders had passed ordinances locally which provide the infrastructure for our national occupation, one town and one county at a time.

If we, as informed Americans, do not draw our countrymen a map of our pending occupation by despotic forces, we are going to lose what was once the greatest nation the world has ever seen. What is worse, if we do not take responsibility for the freedom of our children and the freedom of our countrymen by spending an hour at city hall or the county courthouse, then we, as a people, deserve to have our freedom taken away.

The passage of emergency powers ordinances in most cases places an unelected bureaucrat in control of all municipal functions in the event of a declared state of emergency. They are being passed all over the country at city, county, and state levels. They are being passed in conjunction and in cooperation with federal emergency provisions that will be administrated by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).

In a declared state of emergency, your unelected city manager (or the police chief, the sheriff, the fire chief) assume the power to ration food and water, ration power and utilities, create roadblocks, and enforce curfews. This emergency  czar  will be the point-man for communications with FEMA which, under a variety of laws and executive orders, will have the authority to control everything from commerce and trade to the food and other provisions you have stored for your family in case of an emergency.

While we stupidly await a stock market crash or a world war or a disease pandemic to justify a federal declaration of martial law in response to a national emergency, we are paying  our  duplicitous local leaders to pass laws and ordinances that will make it easy for the kleptocrats to take control of the activities and resources of our nation.

Believe me, I know how dark it is out there. There is nearly no hope left that we can see in our lifetimes a peaceful return to our birthright of freedom and self responsibility. But what are we going to do give up  Are we going to complain until such utterances mean a rope or a firing squad  Are we going to sit back as passive activists and hope that an active activist is able to turn the tide all by himself  Are we going to hope that our detractors were right and that we are really just a bunch of silly conspiracy  theorists  and that this is all a bad dream and that everything is just fine 

Or are we going to do our small part to make a big noise?

I am trading the productive years of my life to work with principled men and women who believe that all men are equal in their rights to pursue life, liberty, and happiness. I refuse to give up.

These emergency powers ordinances are easy to find in county or municipal code. They are usually found in a chapter for public health and safety. If you are nice, county and city clerks are usually very accommodating and will help you find the city or county emergency powers ordinance. The process will take less than an hour. If you have access to the Internet, you may find your city or county code to be on-line. Get a copy of the ordinance and send it to The Idaho Observer, P.O. Box 457, Spirit Lake, Idaho 83869.

There are over 3,000 counties in the U.S. We have about 3,000 counties to go. Help me to draw your countrymen a map.

1.   San Marcos, California (San Marcos Municipal Code 2.28.030 2.28.060 1990)
2.   Selah, (Yakima County) Washington (Selah Ord. # 1441, 1999)
3.   Jackson County, Oregon (Jackson County Code, 244-14, 1994)
4.   Allen, Texas (Code of Ordinances, 2-2, 1984)
5.   Long Beach, California (Municipal Code, Chapter 2.69, Civil Defense)
6.   Village of Fox Point, Wisconsin (Ord. #99-20, 1999)
7.   Burlington, North Carolina (Burlington Code Section 10-26 10-29, 1986)
8.   Hernando County, Florida (Ord. # 97-07 Section 5-6-97, 1997)
9.   Medford, Oregon (Ord. #1999-162, 1999)
10. Tucumcari, Quay County, New Mexico (Joint Resolution, November, 1993)
11. Anchorage, Alaska (Anchorage Municipal Code 3.80.010 3.80.110)
12. Costa Mesa, California (Costa Mesa Municipal Code 6-4 6-11, 1999)
13. Eddy County, New Mexico (Joint Powers Agreement with cities of Carlsbad and Artesia; villages of Hope, Loving, and the U.S. Department of Energy, 1993)
14. Whatcom County, Washington (Ord. #89-115, 1989)
15. Santa Rosa County, Florida (Ord. #93-13, 1993)
16. Jackson, California (Jackson Municipal Code 2.32.010 2.32.120)
17. Escambia County, Florida (Escambia County Code 1-24-76 1-24-95, 1995)
18. Bonner County, Idaho (Title 4, Ch. 1, County Code, 1995)
19. Benewah County, Idaho (Ord. #68, 1990)
20. Bakersfield, California (Chapter 2.40-2.4090)

[End quoting]

Is FEMA usurping state constitutional authority through the use of legislation at a city or county level? The story you just read should answer that question.

In speaking with a well-informed source in Indiana, Iíve been told that the  Federal Regional Agency  LEAA, which stands for Law Enforcement Assistance Administration, was the precursor to FEMA.


Is FEMA slowly and methodically making in-roads throughout the nation, quietly, in the hopes that no one will notice the gradual  take-over?  How does FEMA go about their work with the counties? Iím told there is an excellent book which clearly outlined this take-over plan. The name of the book is Rockefeller Regionalism The Shadow Behind Oregonís LC/DC, by Joe Spenner. While I have not received a copy of this book yet, I am merely passing that bit of information along for those of you wanting to explore this issue in greater depth.

In the meantime, turning now to an article obtained from the FEMA website, we can see one way they make inroads with local government officials:



Washington, D.C., July 27, 2000  

The National Association of Counties (NACo) and the Federal Emergency Management Agency have introduced a new awards program for elected county officials. At NACo s 65th Annual Conference, which was held in Mecklenburg County (Charlotte), N.C., July 14-18. FEMA Director James Lee Witt addressed conference attendees, speaking on the importance of proactive disaster prevention and the key role of elected county officials in building disaster-resistant communities.

Leaders are assessing their communityís risks from disasters and developing ways to address them. These solutions directly contribute to the growth and sustainability of their community as a whole  said Director Witt.  I believe it is important to recognize the achievements and commitment of local elected officials who have taken steps to make their communities disaster resistant. 

The Building Disaster Resistant Communities Leadership Awards are presented to elected county officials who have demonstrated outstanding leadership in the area of disaster prevention and mitigation. Award winners are recognized for implementing effective programs that have resulted in a more sustainable, long-term quality of life for their county s citizens. State Associations of Counties play an important role in identifying elected county officials to commend.

There are five award categories:

  •   Building Code Enforcement

  •   Innovative Floodplain Management

  •   Innovation in Disaster Resistant Growth

  •   Community Outreach and Risk Education

  •   Comprehensive Mitigation Planning.

One local elected county official per state will be recognized at the NACo Legislative Conference in February 2001. National awards in each of the five categories listed above will be presented during NACoís 2001 Annual Conference in Philadelphia.

This award is for individuals who take a stand in the name of saving lives  said C. Vernon Gray, NACo Immediate Past President.  Thatís what proactive prevention is all about saving lives and livelihoods. 

During Director Wittís address to the NACo conference, he kicked off the awards program by presenting the first Building Disaster Resistant Communities Leadership Award to Gray.

Over the past several years, NACo and FEMA have worked as partners to help America s communities become more disaster resistant. The new Building Disaster Resistant Communities Leadership Awards program is the latest in a series of joint efforts to highlight the importance of disaster prevention.
To find out more about The Building Disaster Resistant

Communities Leadership Awards you can call FEMAís Office of Intergovernmental Affairs at 202-646-4515 or send an email to (Updated: August 17, 2000)

[End quoting]

Another announcement (holding out a carrot ) on the FEMA website promotes something mysteriously referred to as Project Impact Summit 2000 whatever that is. Notice, again, exactly who is targeted for this particular  pep rally  to promote the FEMA team:



Celebrate what Project Impact has accomplished and share wisdom for what s yet to be done to ensure that your community is disaster resistant.

When: Week of November 12, 2000 at the Marriott Wardman Park Hotel, Washington, D.C.

Who should attend:  Chambers of Commerce; Elected Officials; City Managers and County Administrators; Community Risk Managers; Infrastructure Officials; Building Code Officials; Fire Service Personnel; Economic Development Officials; Environmental Officials; Small and Large Business Representatives; Community-Based and Volunteer Organizations; Teachers and Educators, grades K through College; Media Partners; Project Impact Community Coordinators; Local Emergency Managers; State Emergency Managers.

More specific details available soon.

[End quoting]