Sign The Guestbook
View The Guestbook
Archived Guestbook
Submit An Article
Staff List
Privacy Policy


Weekly Features
The X Files
Xavier Hermosillo is the President of, a national Crisis Communications, Marketing, and Management firm he founded 23 years ago. He is a former political chief of staff, an award-winning reporter and photographer, and a former radio talk show host and TV commentator in Los Angeles. He has co-founded two publicly-traded companies where he served as a member of the Board of Directors and as the Senior Vice President of Investor Relations and Corporate Communications. He has also served as a Hearing Examiner for the Los Angeles Police Commission on police officer discipline cases, and holds degrees in Administration of Justice and Business and Communications. He can be reached at

The X Files

By Xavier Hermosillo

September 25, 2005

Please allow me to meander with you for just a bit on a few topics.

We all tempt fate every now and then, but I seem to be on a streak right now, unlike anything else in my life.

My new business involvement took me to North Carolina for a four-day trip that turned into 11 days, including dealing with the landing of Hurricane Ophelia, which was more bark than bite. I found it interesting how the people there took it in stride, much like we do with earthquakes in California.

In fact, many of them asked me what it was like to go through an earthquake and when I described it as a gentle rocking motion, and nudged the dinner tale a bit to give an example, they freaked. I got a hearty laugh out of it because they often deal with hurricanes and tornadoes and we rarely have a quake. Yet, they couldn't think of dealing with a little rocking and rolling, but had no problem having to constantly board up their homes and businesses and hit the road to escape the wind and rain.

I had another interesting experience there when I ventured out of Raleigh towards the airport and found the community of Cary, North Carolina. It looks much like the suburbs of Los Angeles, Orange County, Chicago, Seattle, you name it. When some of the locals jokingly asked me on the ninth or 10th day if I had bought a house yet, they asked which communities had impressed me. I mentioned Cary and they all began to laugh.

Unaware of what I had said that could be so funny, the look of puzzlement on my face was obvious. Not wanting to let one of their senior corporate officers hang out to dry too long, one lady quickly volunteered an answer. She said, "We're not surprised you liked Cary. That stands for Containment Area for Relocated Yankees." Yes, my friends, the South is still waiting for its chance to reign again in some form or fashion.

It was clear to me that their way of living, as modern and suburban as it may seem, is still wrapped up in some history and a way of life that is as different to me, as MY California/Hollywood way of life must seem to them. I plan to visit them again soon and continue my study of Southerners. They're an interesting bunch.

My next tempt with fate was Houston. It's an okay town, I guess. It has its high points and its low points like everywhere else. But my planned visit there got cut short by - guess who - Hurricane Rita. It also messed up a shipment from a vendor there to a big trade show to New York because unlike New Orleans, the evacuations in Houston began a full two days before Rita reached the coast. FedEx and UPS ceased all operations on Thursday morning before Rita landed. The mayor ordered all businesses to shut down and everyone obeyed. You can thank nasty Katrina for that lesson.

The third tempt with fate involves JetBlue. No, I wasn't on that flight that landed so spectacularly, but safely, at LAX. But the next day I was booked on their flight to New York City. It was a little tough thinking about getting on a JetBlue lane, because of the landing gear problem. But I did it anyway because the landing at LAX was proof positive the company has an incredibly highly trained staff.

Now that I've dealt with two hurricanes and JetBlue, let me touch on politics just for a moment.

It is unbelievable to me that as we deal with the final two months or so of the hurricane season, that Democratic lawmakers in Washington, especially the House-leader-Nancy Pelosi-crowd, want to start their finger pointing about the response to hurricane Katrina while our emergency and military planners looked at Rita with great worry and anticipation. The Democrats just don't get it. American is sick and tired of such blatant partisan politics, on all sides.

The Bush-bashers just can't help themselves. They will defy all logic and reason in any way possible just so they can spew their political rhetoric and blame the President for as much as they can get away with, and still try to salvage some credibility. I think they're failing miserably.

Those of us who have either covered or endured wildfires, mudslides and the aftermaths of earthquakes all know that the primary and principal responsibility for response to tragedy is the province of local and state government. That's why the cities ask the state to declare areas a disaster zone and the states then ask the same of the federal government.

The undeniable truth, and we saw it with our own eyes, is that the Mayor of New Orleans and the Governor of Louisiana blew the call. I know, I know, they WERE overwhelmed by it all. But it doesn't change either the applicable laws or the politicians' ability to finally wake up and make the right call.

For those who fear the role of the military in our country, we should find it instructive that once the troops landed, and the Coast Guard began its miraculous rescue missions, the civilian politicians were more impotent than they looked at first blush. The no-nonsense men and women of our military knew just what to do, and they didn't have to rely on indecisive powder puff morons to make the right calls.

It was sad to see the majority of the New Orleans Police Department cut and run when they were needed most, and I understand many of them lost their homes along with everyone else. But that's why we give our safety officials so much authority and trust, and usually, such great pay and benefits. We expect them to be a cut above and to be there for us when we need them the most. The Crescent City Cops failed the test. For them in the Big Easy, being a quitter was way too easy.

Finally, I have avoided this topic like the plague but cannot do so any longer. The notion by African-American leaders that the response was somehow racist by our government, or as some claimed, it was an attempted genocide, sickens me.

New Orleans, the poverty capital of the South has only its own Black leadership to blame. The number of poor people who had no transportation to escape Katrina, and who were thrown into a pile at the Super Dome, should blame their own corrupt local officials, both Black and White.

The military rescuers did not discern nor discriminate in their live-saving heroics based on the color of a victim's skin color. In fact, we now know that African-Americans in the Big Easy got priority rescue and attention over the poor White and Black folks in Mississippi and Alabama.

It's a real shame that so many of our colleagues in the media chose to cover the accusations of racism, instead of the abandonment of equally suffering people of a different skin color in other areas. This disaster was NOT about race, ethnicity or gender. Too bad some in the media couldn't resist the temptation to get sucked in by the usual suspects, the Poverty Pimps.