Andrew Cuomo claims that Hurricane Sandy has wrought more destruction (measured, apparently, in business dollars and square miles) than Hurricane Katrina, setting off a collective slapping of foreheads. Oh my god, is that where he had to go to get money out of John Boehner? Blech. Politics.
Anyway, the good people at the NYTimes Cityroom created a side by side comparison of the two storms that you should check out by clicking right here.
By the numbers, Sandy is bigger and badder. But remember that New Orleans had a much smaller, poorer, population. The city had fewer politicians like Andrew Cuomo and Mike Bloomberg and Chris Christie who have the influence and visibility to effectively freak out and make life hell for people until they get justice in the form of federal dollars.
Going into Katrina New Orleans was a city that had long flirted with some sort combo of social/infrastructure collapse.
And practically no one got out of Katrina unscathed, while, let’s be perfectly honest, much of NYC is only dimly aware of just how bad things are for their fellow New Yorkers hidden out by the coast in the outer boroughs.
It’s an imperfect comparison, since Ed Blakely was chosen by Andrew Cuomo, not Mike Bloomberg, but if he has an influential voice on the commission it could set up an epic clash between politicians/planners and the local New Yorkers and the grassroots organizers who actually did all the work in the two weeks after the storm… you know, the people who have first hand dealings with what worked and what didn’t after Sandy swept in.
Why was Blakely picked to be on this commission? Because he did such a great job in New Orleans? He called Ray Nagin a hero and took the credit for a recovery that was driven by community organizers.
From the Time Picayune online (hat tip the the fabulous Bebe, a NOLA native with some very strong opinions on hurricanes):
"The city’s post-Katrina recovery director — deemed a failure by many New Orleanians despite his self-congratulatory book taking credit for the city’s rebound — has been appointed to a commission aimed at arming New York state for future disasters.
“In a post called “Ed Blakely to the rescue!,” Gambit Weekly reported Friday that Blakely told an Australian radio station about his appointment to the New York State Respond Commission, created by Gov. Andrew Cuomo in the wake of Hurricane Sandy’s massive damage.
"Blakely, who once famously forecast "cranes on the skyline" in New Orleans by September 2007, now directs an urban planning center at the University of Sydney in Australia.
"He has opined on various occasions that New Orleans "isn’t likely" to exist a century from now; recommended that the 9th Ward be left to wash away; compared former Mayor Ray Nagin to President Abraham Lincoln; and published a book about New Orleans with a photo of a flooded Slidell on the cover.
"The book, called "My Storm: Managing the Recovery of New Orleans in the Wake of Katrina" and published by the University of Pennsylvania Press, details how his work — not New Orleanians or community organizers — led to the city’s recovery. Blakely’s “target zone” recovery plan is considered by many a failure that accomplished little of what it set out to do.”
First Chris Christie yelled at the mayor of Atlantic City for not taking Hurricane Sandy seriously.
Then he saved Halloween from the storm
Now his approval ratings are soaring, up to 77% in some polls. From the Philadelphia Inquirer:
"Not only are the Republican governor’s approval ratings soaring - 65 percent in one poll, 77 percent in a second poll released Wednesday - but two-thirds of registered Republicans who responded to a survey said Christie’s work with Obama was right on. Both polls found that more than 90 percent of respondents approved of the governor’s handling of Hurricane Sandy.
"Gov. Christie has emerged as a clear leader in this crisis, with New Jerseyans applauding his efforts, and in particular his literal and figurative embrace of President Obama in a time of need," said David Redlawsk, director of the Rutgers-Eagleton Poll and a professor of political science at Rutgers University. "Despite a recent New York Times story that some national GOP leaders are condemning the governor for his show of bipartisanship, New Jerseyans of all stripes say it was exactly the right thing to do."
Mayor Bloomberg, City Council Speaker Quinn and Comptroller Liu today announced a $500 million emergency plan to repair public schools and hospitals damaged by Hurricane Sandy.
The plan calls for an appropriation of $200 million for the Department of Education and $300 million for the New York City Health and Hospital Corporation. School and hospital repair needs include structural restorations, new boilers, new electrical systems, roof repairs, flood remediation and more.
Wednesday, Nov. 14, 2012
1. Head to Coney Island (via everywhere)
If you’ve been to Coney Island and looked beyond Luna Park you’ve no doubt noticed that high rises dominate the landscape. Those building blocks are full of elderly and disabled residents who need your help. An Occupy Sandy volunteer is predicting a humanitarian crisis could consume the area, and frankly I don’t think he’s wrong.