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Michael Brown, a.k.a. 'Brownie' Evacuated From Colorado Wildfires

By Ed O'Keefe

What goes around comes around.

Michael Brown
Former FEMA Director Michael Brown addresses a gathering of meteorologists on Jan. 18, 2006, in Mammoth Lakes, Calif. (Photo by AP)

Former FEMA Administrator Michael Brown, a.k.a. "Brownie," was among approximately 11,000 residents of Boulder, Colo. evacuated yesterday amid raging wildfires that have scorched at least 1,000 acres. After his eagerly anticipated resignation in Sept. 2005, the poster boy for the Bush administration's botched response to Hurricane Katrina moved back to the Boulder area, where he once served as legal counsel to the Arabian Horse Association and now operates a disaster consulting business.

"I got back home to Boulder, the winds were just whipping up 60, 80 miles an hour, I was working in my home office, the dogs start barking and lo and behold there’s a Boulder County Sheriff with lights flashing saying there’s a mandatory evacuation," Brown said during an interview this morning on KOA-AM's "Colorado's Morning News." (Listen to the audio here.)

Co-host Steffan Tubbs noted the irony of a top FEMA veteran evacuating his home, and Brown agreed.

“It was strange being told to evacuate, because, you know, I firmly believe in evacuations. When they told me that, you know, I just loaded the dogs up, grabbed my briefcase and headed down the mountain," he said.

"It was interesting because when he said there was a fire, you know, I couldn’t smell the smoke or see it, because the [wind was] just pushing the smoke due east. I couldn’t see the fire until I got down to Highway 36. And when I saw it I was just astonished at just how large it was. So I sat and watched it for about two hours."

Brown also said that FEMA has authorized the use of federal funds to reimburse local firefighters.

“I was just chuckling to myself, because I used to get calls, you know, at 2, 3, 4 in the morning all the time for these grants all over the country, and here I am on the other side of the fence now.”

Brown spoke with KOA by phone from nearby Longmont, Colo., where he slept last night with his wife and three dogs in a corporate apartment rented from a friend. He hosts a Saturday afternoon talk show on KOA.

In early 2006 Brown admitted he deserved some of the blame for the government's response to Katrina, saying among other things that "I should have demanded the military sooner."

"I think it's important to realize that all of us made mistakes. . . . After a while you get a different perspective," he told the AP at the time.

More than three years after his resignation, Brown now has the perspective of an evacuee.

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By Ed O'Keefe  | January 8, 2009; 1:28 PM ET
Categories:  Overheard  
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Why was he evacuated? He should have been left there like he let New Orleans resident suffer. Put him back to his house for disposal, let's see what hack'of'a'job he can do ?

Posted by: rakeshpol | January 8, 2009 1:53 PM | Report abuse

Ouch, Rakespol! I get it - just desserts.

Posted by: free-donny | January 8, 2009 2:26 PM | Report abuse

Put Brownie up in one of the FEMA-issued trailers for months on end and see how he like the government-issued "accommodations". Let Brownie stand in line to file insurance claims to be told by insurers that the damage is not covered. Then he'll get the perspective of a Katrina evacuee!

Posted by: meldupree | January 8, 2009 2:34 PM | Report abuse

Still a dimwit.

Posted by: edeckel | January 8, 2009 3:03 PM | Report abuse

Put him in a stadium with 100,000 others with no air conditioning or heat, no food and no water for 6 months.

That's what Karma would want.

Posted by: LoonyLeft | January 8, 2009 3:30 PM | Report abuse

FEMA is not supposed to be "First Responders." When it came to Kartrina, how many school buses were found sitting in water? Where was Ray Nagin? What about Governor Blanco who couldn't make-up her mind, i.e., she choked? Where was the National Guard or law enforcement?

I remember the pictures of the California Highway Patrol Officers, who "volunteered" for duty in NOLA and was focused on only seizing some senior citizen's, a lady, side-arm and broke her arm in the process of her protecting her property while she was in her own home. Nagin ordered the se seizure of all weapons, in which the city of New orleans had to settle the case out of court because of the Mayor's unconstitutional actions.

How about that Rep. Wm. Jefferson making ut with his "loot" and being caught on video?

'nuff said.

Posted by: Computer_Forensics_Expert_Computer_Expert_Witness | January 8, 2009 3:34 PM | Report abuse

Just go ahead and chuckle. That's nice, Brownie. After all, you could afford to chuckle. You had a vehicle in which to evacuate, didn't you.

How many of those in New Orleans died because they did not have the means to evacuate for Katrina? At least you are still alive to chuckle, unlike those you did not help.

Posted by: baileywick | January 8, 2009 5:42 PM | Report abuse

Sounds like know....has a bit of a speech crutch.

Posted by: bryan3 | January 8, 2009 6:07 PM | Report abuse

With the scale of the Katrina disaster, the City of NO was powerless and it WAS FEMAs job to step in sooner. Trying to blame everyone else as - Computer_Forensics_Expert_Computer_Expert_Witness - is trying to do, just doesn't fly. The Prez and his crew blew it and the entire WORLD was there to witness it. And then for the Prez to give a "good job, Brownie" was the most insulting thing to do to the population of NO and the state of LA and MS. No, Brownie WAS the disaster! Too bad he doesn't have to depend on FEMA for his housing and food. He just doesn't get it. . . "a disaster consulting business"??!! What jacka$$ would take (pay for) advise from this loser?!! That's like taking shooting lessons from Dick Chaney . . . but then, he did hit "a" target - a lawyer!! LOL

Posted by: HumanofEarth | January 8, 2009 6:21 PM | Report abuse

Why was he evacuated? He should have been left there like he let New Orleans resident suffer. Put him back to his house for disposal, let's see what hack'of'a'job he can do ?

Posted by: rakeshpol | January 8, 2009 1:53 PM | Report abuse

First of all, the people of New Orleans were ordered to evacaute. Unlike New Orleaneans, Brownie knew how to follow directions and evacuated when told.

And that bit about being too poor to evacuate....if you live in a low lying city, regardless of your income status, you need to have a freaking evacuation plan. But like most poor black folk, they choose to blame the guv mint for not sending chaffuers to their homes to pick them up and take them to their choice destination....for free. People who live on the side of a live volcano usually don't pretend that it will never happen to them.

Thus, survival of the fittest.

Posted by: changingfaces | January 8, 2009 8:16 PM | Report abuse

Brownie runs a 'disaster consulting business'? That's perfect- yeah, hire him and he'll guarantee you a disaster. To make double certain he'll get Chris Cox, head of the SEC, on a side contract so you can be sure of a financial disaster too.

Posted by: hairguy01 | January 8, 2009 8:22 PM | Report abuse

"changingfaces" is a fool! There were poor WHITES in the low-lying areas of New Orleans that had no way to evacuate, as well. Like most stupid people, he only cares about his sorry a$$. I hope he is in a position one day and the "guv mint" doesn't show up for him either. Sorry excuse for an American. Karma rules!

Posted by: HumanofEarth | January 8, 2009 9:23 PM | Report abuse

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