Tag Archive: Hurricane Sandy


HuffPost Live HuffPost Live

Published on Jan 13, 2014

Just days after dismissing two top advisers for their roles in the George Washington Bridge scandal, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie is facing questions over the use of Superstorm Sandy relief funds.

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Chris Christie rocked by Superstorm Sandy relief scandal

NEW JERSEY governor Chris Christie is being investigated over claims he used Superstorm Sandy relief funds to make tourism ads starring him and his family.

News of the investigation couldn’t come at a worse time for the “scandal-plagued Republican”, says CNN. Late last week he was forced to sack two aides who allegedly ordered the closure of lanes on the George Washington Bridge as part of a vendetta against a political opponent.

Christie’s office has been “paralysed” by the bridge scandal which is about to trigger a “flurry of subpoenas”, according to reports.

CNN says the federal probe examining New Jersey’s use of $25m in relief funds for a marketing campaign to boost tourism in the state, could be even more damaging to Christie’s political ambitions than the bridge scandal. That’s because the governor’s performance during and after the storm has been “widely praised and is a fundamental part of his straight-shooting political brand”.

The New York Post understands that Christie’s deputy chief of staff, Bridget Anne Kelly, and his campaign manager, Bill Stepien, are likely to be issued with subpoenas as early as today in relation to the bridge scandal. Kelly allegedly orchestrated the lane closures in an effort to undermine a New Jersey mayor who refused to support Christie’s re-election campaign; Stepien was “kept in the loop” about the plan.

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Natural disasters uprooted more than 32 million people in 2012

32,4 million people were forced to flee their homes last year due to natural disasters such as floods, storms and earthquakes, according to a report released by Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre on May 13, 2013. According to the report, 98% of those uprooted were displaced by climate- and weather-related events. Climate change is believed to play an increasingly significant role in global disasters. 2012 Special Report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change stated that, “disasters associated with climate extremes influence population mobility and relocation, affecting host and origin communities.”

This map shows internal displacement worldwide in 2012 by state and number of displaced people. CLICK ON IMAGE FOR LARGER VIEW (Credit: NRC/IDMC)

Floods in India and Nigeria were responsible for 41 % of displacement worldwide last year. Monsoon floods in India uprooted about 6.9 million people, while in Nigeria some 6.1 million were newly displaced. While Asia and Africa were hardest affected, some 1.3 million people were displaced in wealthy nations, especially the United States. Last year, the U.S. was among the 10 countries that experienced the most new displacement. Following Hurricane Sandy, most of those displaced were able to find refuge in adequate temporary shelter while displaced from their own homes.

The largest regional increase in the number of internally displaced people in 2012 was in the Middle East and North Africa, where 2.5 million people were forced to flee their homes. There were almost 6 million affected in the region at the end of 2012, a rise of 40 % on the 2011. Asia showed the second highest increase in new displacement after the Middle East and North Africa, with 1.4 million people forced to flee their homes during 2012.

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Six months after Hurricane Sandy, thousands are still homeless

Posted:   04/28/2013 12:01:00 AM MDT

By Wayne Parry
The Associated Press

Flags decorate a fence around the burned remains of more than 60 small bungalows Thursday at Camp Osborn in Brick, N.J. The structures were destroyed by Hurricane Sandy in October. Six months after the storm, recovery has been slow. (Mel Evans, The Associated Press)

MANTOLOKING, n.j. — The 9-year-old girl who got New Jersey’s tough-guy governor to shed a tear as he comforted her after her home was destroyed is bummed because she now lives far from her best friend and has nowhere to hang her One Direction posters.

A New Jersey woman whose home was overtaken by mold still cries when she drives through the area. A New York City man whose home burned can’t wait to build a new one.

Six months after Hurricane Sandy devastated the Jersey shore and New York City and pounded coastal areas of New England, the region is dealing with a slow and frustrating recovery.

“Some families and some lives have come back together quickly and well, and some people are up and running almost as if nothing ever happened, and for them it’s been fine,” New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said at a news conference Thursday. “Some people are still very much in the midst of recovery. You still have people in hotel rooms, you still have people doubled up, you still have people fighting with insurance companies, and for them it’s been terrible and horrendous.”

Lynda Fricchione’s flood-damaged home in the Ortley Beach section of Toms River, N.J., is gutted. The roof was fixed just last week.

The family is largely living out of cardboard boxes in an apartment. Waiting for a decision from federal and state authorities over new flood maps that govern the price of flood insurance is tormenting her and many others.

“The largest problem is, nobody really knows how high we’re going to have to elevate the house,” she said. “At town hall, they told us 5 feet, but then they said it might go down to 3 feet in the summer. Most of us are waiting until the final maps come out. It’s wait-and-see.”

More than anything, Fricchione is optimistic, buoyed by a recent trip to New Orleans with her daughter during which they met a resident of the Lower Ninth Ward who was one of the first to move back in after Hurricane Katrina.

“Talking to that man was wonderful!” Fricchione said. “He said it takes time and you just have to have hope and know it will all work out eventually.”

The recovery from Hurricane Sandy, which struck Oct. 29, has been slow. From Maryland to New Hampshire, the National Hurricane Center attributes 72 deaths directly to Sandy and 87 others indirectly from causes such as hypothermia due to power outages, carbon-monoxide poisoning and accidents during cleanup efforts.

Read Full Article Here

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Thousands still homeless after Sandy

Published time: April 29, 2013 19:06

A destroyed by Superstorm Sandy home is viewed in Oakwood Beach in Staten Island on February 5, 2013 in New York City. (AFP Photo / Spencer Platt)

A destroyed by Superstorm Sandy home is viewed in Oakwood Beach in Staten Island on February 5, 2013 in New York City. (AFP Photo / Spencer Platt)

Tens of thousands of Hurricane Sandy victims still remain homeless, desperately waiting for government assistance while fearfully anticipating the start of another hurricane season.

Some victims are living out of cardboard boxes, overstaying their welcomes at the homes of friends and family while their own houses remain demolished. Families remain separated, dispersed throughout the country as they continue to fight with their insurance companies for assistance that has never come. Businesses are shuttered, homes are overtaken by mold and piles of rubble litter the backyards of the houses that now stand empty.

Victims relying on subsidized hotel rooms could soon end up on the streets, since government relief funding is set to expire. Advocates claim there is not enough public and low-income housing to accommodate the hundreds who have relied on FEMA-subsidized hotel rooms for the past six months.

In the seaside community of Breezy Point, Queens, 2,400 of the 2,800 homes remain unoccupied. The neighborhood stands as a ghost town, illuminated only by the flames of the fire burning down the houses red-tagged for demolition.

“Insurance and the new building codes delay everything. It’s like Breezy is frozen in time,” Michael Sullivan, a resident of the seaside community, told the New York Daily News.

And after six months of a gruelingly slow recovery, tens of thousands of residents remain homeless, dreaming of a normal life that they may never be able to return to.

“Some people are still very much in the midst of recovery. You still have people in hotel rooms, you still have people doubling up, you still have people fighting with insurance companies, and for them it’s been terrible and horrendous,” said Gov. Andrew Cuomo, ahead of the six-month anniversary of Hurricane Sandy.

 

Read Full Article Here

Bloomberg unveils $12m gun control ad campaign as NRA squares up

Advertising blitz aims to put pressure on Congress as pro-gun lobby accuses New York mayor of ‘intimidating senators’

Michael Bloomberg gun violence

New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg speaks out for gun reform at a press conference. Photograph: John Moore/Getty Images

 

The television ads are set to run in 13 key states during the congressional recess and are aimed at influencing an upcoming Senate vote on gun reforms.

Announcing the move, Bloomberg – the co-chair of Mayors Against Illegal Guns and one of the US’s most high-profile advocates of tighter controls – said: “These ads bring the voices of Americans – who overwhelmingly support comprehensive and enforceable background checks – into the discussion to move senators to immediately take action to prevent gun violence.”

But pro-gun lobby group the National Rifle Association (NRA), accused the New York mayor of attempting to “intimidate senators”.

The new ads feature a man holding a gun on the back of a pickup truck. In one, he says he will defend the second amendment but adds that “with rights come responsibilities”. He goes on to urges viewers to tell Congress to support background checks.

In the other ad posted on the Mayors Against Illegal Guns website, the man says “background checks have nothing to do with taking guns away from anyone”, rather they are aimed at preventing criminals and mentally ill people from owning deadly weapons.

The advertising plan comes days after the Senate disappointed advocates of greater controls by effectively abandoning a proposal to ban military-style assault weapons.

Last Tuesday, Senate leader Harry Reid said than the ban would not form part of a bill members are due to vote on, as it did not have the support needed to force it through Congress.

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********************************************************************************************************* Politics prevent relief for victims of Hurricane Sandy

 

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Hundreds of families placed in hotels since Sandy hit the city are being asked to check out

The city will look to relocate almost 2,000 Hurricane Sandy victims who have been living in hotels since the storm struck.

By / NEW YORK DAILY NEWS

Published: Saturday, March 23, 2013, 8:54 PM
Updated: Saturday, March 23, 2013, 8:54 PM
NYC PAPERS OUT. Social media use restricted to low res file max 184 x 128 pixels and 72 dpi

Joe Marino/for New York Daily News

Jaime Betancourth, 20, was displaced from his Far Rockaway Beach 47th street home after Hurricane Sandy, he now lives in the Park Avenue Hotel.

Checkout time has arrived for homeless Sandy victims living in hotels.

The city is moving to relocate some 777 displaced families — about 1,900 people — out of hotels and into alternate housing by April 30, said Seth Diamond, the head of the city’s Department of Homeless Services.

SHELTER23N_3_WEB

Bryan Smith/for New York Daily News

Debris piles line Beach 118th Street in Far Rockaway following the effects of Hurricane Sandy.

PHOTOS: HURRICANE SANDY: BEFORE & AFTER

Those who can will move back home, while others will go to relatives, said Diamond. The city has also set aside 400 New York City Housing Authority units and 150 section 8 vouchers for Sandy victims without other options.

SHELTER23N_2_WEB

Joe Marino/for New York Daily News

Sandy victims who were displaced are relocated multiple times to fleabag bedbug run down SROs.

Read Full Article Here
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Watchdog: Hurricane Sandy New Jersey Relief Fund has raised $32M, doled out $0

Sandy fund: It’s not speed, it’s doling it out right

Mar 11, 2013   |

 

First Lady Mary Pat Christie's Hurricane Sandy NJ ...
First Lady Mary Pat Christie’s Hurricane Sandy NJ …: New Jersey first lady Mary Pat Christie at the Morristown office of the charity she chairs, the Hurricane Sandy New Jersey Relief Fund. Staff Video by Bob Karp
‘We have a very, very thin staff, really hard workers. We get everything we can on a pro bono basis,’ Mary Pat Christie says at the Harding office of the charity she chairs, the Hurricane Sandy New Jersey Relief Fund. / Bob Karp/staff photographer

“I have taken excruciating steps to make sure that we give the money out in a really judicious way.”
MARY PAT CHRISTIE

The Sandy relief fund chaired by New Jersey first lady Mary Pat Christie has raised more than $32 million so far. But four months after the superstorm, none of that aid has reached storm victims yet.

In an interview, Mary Pat Christie pointed to the logistical challenge of starting a charity from scratch, the relief fund’s focus on addressing long-term recovery needs, instead of short-term relief, and her own “methodical” approach to putting the proper resources and safeguards in place, as reasons for the delay.

It was never the intent for the Hurricane Sandy New Jersey Relief Fund to quickly provide monetary aid directly to storm victims, she noted. Instead, the plan was to lend support to reputable nonprofit groups that will be providing victims with financial assistance and other services in the months and years to come. The relief fund plans to distribute $1 million in grants this week, with another $5 million to follow several weeks after that.

“I have taken excruciating steps to make sure that we give the money out in a really judicious way,” Mary Pat Christie said.

“You want accountability, you get accountability when you go through a methodical structure,” she said. “So, in three years when I’m still distributing money at Hurricane Sandy Relief, ask me if we’re doing enough.”

Mary Pat Christie’s defense of her charity’s performance, however, comes on the heels of the pointed barbs her husband, Gov. Chris Christie, has hurled at the Federal Emergency Management Agency and Speaker of the House John Boehner, among others, for what the governor sees as inexcusable delays in helping the state’s residents, businesses and communities still reeling from the Oct. 29 storm. Christie famously called Congress’ holdup of Sandy relief “disgusting.”

‘Let’s move it’

The deliberate pace of Mary Pat Christie’s 4-month-old charity contrasts with the Robin Hood Foundation’s rapid turnaround of the $67 million raised by the 12-12-12 Concert for Sandy Relief.

To date, Robin Hood has awarded more than $50 million in grants to dozens of nonprofit groups, with nearly 40 percent of the funds earmarked for relief efforts in New Jersey. The foundation expects to commit almost all of the remaining concert money by the end of the month.

 

Read Full Article  and  Watch Video Here

Earth Watch Report  –  Disaster Management

DISASTER MANAGEMENT

Victims of Hurricane Sandy forgotten in Haiti

by Staff Writers
Petit-Goave, Haiti (AFP)

 

Flooding from Sandy killed 54 people and left thousands homeless in Haiti, another woe for a country still struggling to recover from a 2010 earthquake that left more than 200,000 dead.

A cholera epidemic that broke out afterwards has since killed around 7,600 people but even its effect worsened with the recent rains — 44 deaths were reported in the past month, according to Haiti’s Ministry for Public Health.

Nearly a month after the government of President Michel Martelly declared a national emergency due to Sandy, scores of residents in the hard-hit town of Petit-Goave, in south-western Haiti, still live in emergency shelters.

In the Nan banann (Among the Bananas) neighborhood located between the Caiman river and the sea, residents mourn their dead outside homes still buried under layers of mud and banana trees swept in by flood waters.

“It’s the Caiman river that is the cause of our misfortunes,” said Elnee Prophete, one of the storm victims.

“When it overflows, it sweeps away everything in its path,” Prophete said, pointing to what remains of her house, buried to the roof in a reddish mud.

Some neighborhood families were given shelter in a school in another neighborhood. Others, however, chose to stay in place.

Marie-Yolaine, 24, is distraught over the loss of her young to the storm. She refuses to speak about her experience. “What’s the point?” she whispers, tears streaming from her eyes.

At Nan banann, which was built next to the Petit-Goave cemetery, “there is no separation between the living and the dead,” said Guy Mathieu, owner of a local radio station.

According to Mathieu, Petit-Goave’s geography “is like a bowl, where the water of several rivers pours in.”

Dordy Charles, a resident who advocates building stone levees to keep the rivers from overflowing, blames many of the town’s woes on flooding.

“The problem is the water, and learning how to manage it is the solution,” Charles said.

Sandy flooded several Petit-Goave neighborhoods, including Acul, founded in 1663. Acul was “the first capital” of neighboring Spanish-speaking Santo Domingo, which shares the island of Hispaniola with Haiti, Mathieu said.

The radio station owner notes with some bitterness that Petit-Goave is preparing to mark the 350th anniversary of its foundation next year.

“We sleep with one eye open”

In the vulnerable neighborhoods, catastrophe is on the mind each time it rains. “We sleep with one eye open,” a young man told AFP.

Since Sandy struck and the first Haitian emergency workers briefly visited Petit-Goave, “nobody has come to see us,” complained Paguy Labbard, who is living in the shelter along with 300 other people.

“We were thrown into a school where adults and children sleep on the same ground, we have received no assistance,” said Labbard.

Immaculee Achille, who lost her home to the 2010 earthquake, found herself in the shelter again, this time with the eight grandchildren she has been caring for since the quake killed their parents.

“We cannot go back home, everything has been swept away,” said Achille. “But we do not want to stay here.”

She wants government help. The first day after the hurricane tore through she recalls receiving a warm plate of food from emergency workers.

“Since then … nothing,” Achille said.

.

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Earth Watch Report

NEW: Ghiorse – Son of Sandy on the Way to New England

 

John Ghiorse, GoLocalProv Meterologist

 

Don’t Look Now But …

This is just what storm-ravaged areas of the northeast don’t need … another large and potentially destructive storm. This one, perhaps some will dub the Son of Sandy, will not be quite so intense or devastating but nonetheless will cause significant coastal problems and perhaps a small preview of winter at some inland locations.

This storm will not have the tropical connection that boosted Sandy to super-storm status but instead will be a powerful garden-variety northeaster not unusual from this time of year through the winter months. The storm will begin to develop tonight off the coast of the Carolinas, move toward New England tomorrow and slowly pass the region by Thursday later afternoon.

The air around at the outset tomorrow is cold enough to produce some wet snow mixed with rain for many of us and perhaps even a couple of slushy inches over higher terrain of northwest Rhode Island and central Massachusetts. Sheets of rain and northeast winds will pick up later tomorrow and tomorrow night into Thursday morning, gusting over 50 mph inland a perhaps to 60mph in a few gusts along the coast. Scattered power outages are not out of the realm of possibility. Tides may run 2-4 feet above normal especially early Thursday morning around the 2 am high tide. Once again significant beach erosion could occur leading to coastal flooding much less significant than occurred during Sandy.

As more data comes in the track of the storm center may adjust some so I will keep you posted on any updates.

 

 

Nor’easter ‘Athena’ Bombards Areas Hardest Hit by Sandy

—By

| Wed Nov. 7, 2012 2:39 PM PST
Satellite photo from NASA’s GOES-E of the Nor’easter hitting the Northeast. NOAA

Parts of the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic battered by Hurricane Sandy last week are now getting clobbered by a Nor’easter, unofficially dubbed Athena. The National Weather Service predicts that the storm will last until Thursday and could bring 6-12 inches of snow to southeastern New York and New England, as well as 3 inches to Philadelphia. The storm has reportedly already caused 22,000 new power outages in the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic, and in western Connecticut the Capital Weather Gang is reporting that as much as 4.5 inches of snow has already fallen.

Wind gusts up to 60 mph are expected, and coastal flood warnings are in effect for the tri-state area. Airlines have cancelled more than 1,500 flights, mostly around NYC, and Bloomberg encouraged residents in low-lying areas to evacuate. New Jersey has ordered mandatory evacuations of some communities on the shore. Meanwhile, the impact of last week’s hurricane still remains—approximately 270,000 homes and businesses in New York remain without power, as well as about 370,000 in New Jersey.

Folks are once again taking to Twitter to document the storm, as the snow begins to fall:

Thanks for sharing this.Conditions are no doubt getting worse @JoeyBoots: “Wet freezing sleet falling NYC.” pic.twitter.com/gAhi71CP

 

Definitely an inch or two of snow in Lower Manhattan. Flakes are huge. yfrog.com/odt4tjuj

Some of the areas hit the hardest by Sandy, are feeling the brunt of this storm as well:

 

starting to stick on victims stuck without power and h @ Lake Riviera instagr.am/p/RvhEGQQLaW/

is pissed the Northeast voted for Obama

 

 

 

Related Articles

Community  :  Taking Matters Into Our Own Hands

Published on Nov 5, 2012 by

Visit http://www.democracynow.org for the complete transcript, additional reports on this topic, and more information. Watch the independent, global news hour live weekdays 8-9am ET.

In our first broadcast since the Democracy Now! studio regained power, we’re joined by three staffers who have been on the ground taking part in and reporting on the tri-state’s response to Superstorm Sandy: Democracy Now! senior producer Mike Burke, who visited the devastated peninsula of Far Rockaway; Democracy Now! producer Steve Martinez, who lives in northwestern New Jersey and has a family home on the Jersey shore; and Democracy Now! social media coordinator Jessica Lee, who lives in Red Hook, one of the hardest hit areas of Brooklyn.

Tune in to Democracy Now! for our upcoming Election Night broadcast on November 6: http://www.democracynow.org/blog/2012/10/10/expanding_the_debate_upcoming_dem…

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Crossroads News : Changes In The World Around Us And Our Place In It

 

 

 

Published on Nov 2, 2012 by

Help isn’t coming fast enough for people living through Hurricane Sandy’s aftermath. Not surprising considering the numbers involved yet the fact remains. A community based organization Occupy Sandy is attempting to fill that void setting up rally points across the affected areas in order to collect things for the needy and get them out to people in need. Patrick Jones has the details.

Check out more videos https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PL1ABDF07E63824ED1&feature=edit_ok

Buzz60 is designed for the way we live now. Short, quirky video snacks that are a little sassy, and always smart. Buzz 60 — and the Buzz60 channel on YouTube – produces all kinds of newsy video clips for web viewers who want more than just repurposed content. Our team is a diverse group of video journalists with dozens of Emmy awards, an authentic sense of humor, and a mandate to connect with viewers every day.

 

 

Global Disaster Watch

A Grisly Question: Did NYC’s Subway-Dwelling ‘Mole People’ Get Out Alive?

In 1993, Jennifer Toth horrified the world with her book The Mole People: Life in the Tunnels Beneath New York City. The work detailed the lives of the homeless citizens who’d established communities in the subway and railroad tunnels beneath the streets of New York. Though criticism of the validity of some of Toth’s claims ran rampant following her book’s release, over the years various other sources have indeed found many people—one documentary estimated as many as 6,000—living illegally and dangerously in the subway tunnels.

New York City has been trying to get rid of the mole people for decades now, but video footage shot by documentarian Andrew Wonder in 2010 and released last year confirms that there are still homeless living in the city’s subway tunnels. Some of them have been down there for as long as 10 years. This in mind, it makes sense to ask two gruesome but necessary questions in the wake of Hurricane Sandy: Did all of the so-called mole people escape? And if not, how long will it take for MTA workers to find their bodies?

Owing to the fact that there were some recorded instances of homeless people refusing to take cover in the lead-up to this week’s storm, it’s likely the answer to the first question is: No, not all of the mole people did get out of the tunnels (might some of them not even have known a storm was coming?). As for the second question, seeing the MTA’s weak defenses against subway flooding, and all the damage that wrought, we have to assume that if anyone was down there and drowned, they won’t be discovered for weeks. Hurricane Sandy: The hell that keeps on giving.

—Cord

Politics, Legislation and Economy News

Michael Brown, ex-FEMA head, has advice, criticism for Obama about Hurricane Sandy

Michael Brown thumb.jpg
Michael Brown.

Colorado is not facing any danger from Hurricane Sandy, but the effects of the storm can still be felt here, with the Obama and Romney camps canceling scheduled rallies. Today, we decided to check in with a local expert on natural disasters who also has a perspective on potential political ramifications of Sandy: Michael Brown, former director of the Federal Emergency Management Agency, who’s now a local radio host. He feels Obama may have jumped the gun with his first announcement about the storm, which is expected to hit the East Coast tonight.

Brown, who faced a great deal of backlash for the Bush administration’s handling of Hurricane Katrina in 2005, eventually stepped down and returned to Colorado, where he now partners with David Sirota during KHOW’s afternoon-drive program.

President Obama FEMA.jpg
White House photo / Pete Souza
Obama receiving update at FEMA headquarters.

According to Brown, who famously dubbed “Brownie” by President Bush, it’s unlikely that Hurricane Sandy will dramatically impact the presidential race and news coverage in the final week of the election. However, he has some words of advice for the president and his reelection team.

Holding a press conference at FEMA yesterday might have been a bit premature, given that the most serious impacts of the storm are not expected until later today, he feels.

“Here’s my concern,” Brown says. “People in the northeast are already beginning to blow it off…. [New York City Mayor Michael] Bloomberg has shut down the subway…[launched] evacuations…. I don’t object…they should be doing all of that. But in the meantime, various news commentators…[and others] in New York are shrugging their shoulders, saying, ‘What’s this all about?’ It’s premature [when] the brunt of the storm won’t happen until later this afternoon.”

Brown says he understands why the president might have chosen to have a news conference earlier rather than later.

“My guess is, he wants to get ahead of it — he doesn’t want anybody to accuse him of not being on top of it or not paying attention or playing politics in the middle of it,” he says. “He probably figured Sunday was a good day to do a press conference.”

For a FEMA director, Brown says, timing is always an important question: When is it most effective for the president to make an announcement?

“He probably could’ve had a little more impact doing it today,” says Brown. (The president did hold another press conference today as well: He told reporters that he is not worried about the storm’s impact on the election).

Brown expects that in the coming days, there will also be comparisons between Obama’s quick response to Hurricane Sandy and his slower response to the attacks in Benghazi, which has become a challenging campaign issue for the president.

“One thing he’s gonna be asked is, why did he jump on this so quickly and go back to D.C. so quickly when in…Benghazi, he went to Las Vegas?” Brown says. “Why was this so quick?… At some point, somebody’s going to ask that question…. This is like the inverse of Benghazi.”

Michael Brown, ex-FEMA head, has advice, criticism for Obama about Hurricane Sandy

By Sam Levin Mon., Oct. 29 2012 at 2:56 PM

In general, Brown feels, it’s a challenge for both campaigns to respond to an issue like Hurricane Sandy, when it’s still unknown what kind of impact it will have once it really hits.

“The problem is — everybody, both campaigns, the public, the media, even the first responders, are in this awkward time period,” he says. “It’s either gonna be the worst thing…or not be nearly as bad as expected or fizzle out.

Michael Brown, Governor Hickenlooper, KHOW.jpeg
Courtesy of KHOW
Michael Brown interviewing Governor John Hickenlooper

“It’s the most awkward time…. You don’t want to send the wrong message politically…on how seriously you should take it…. The message should be, you need to take it seriously.”

And as someone who has experience in natural disasters, does Brown have any general advice for the president?

“My advice to him is that he needs to call the cabinet and tell the cabinet members that if [current FEMA head] Craig Fugate calls and asks for something, the expectation is he is going to get whatever he needs,” Brown replies. “The cabinet will fully cooperate and give him whatever he wants.”

And when it is appropriate for either side to resume campaign activities and travels?

“It’s really a tough question,” he concedes. “It depends on if there’s really minimal-to-no loss of life, if there’s minimal property damage. If it just boils down to subways and airports being shut down, if it’s a huge inconvenience, then I say go ahead…. But if it turns into a situation with a major blackout in the northeast…infrastructure problems, bridges and railroads out, then he needs to weigh that…. It might be 24 hours, 36 hours, might be three days.”

The president was scheduled to have a rally in Colorado Springs tomorrow, but that has since been canceled. At this writing, however, he has a scheduled rally in Boulder on Thursday.

Paul Ryan was also supposed to attend rallies throughout Colorado tomorrow, but at this time, all those events have been canceled as well.

“Right now,” Brown maintains, “both campaigns need to let the first responders and governors do what they need to do. Basically say, ‘If we can help in any way, let us know.'”

Since Hurricane Sandy has dominated headlines in recent days, 2011 comments from Romney saying that FEMA should be shut down and power should be given to the states have resurfaced. His campaign has clarified that Romney believes states should have more authority, but he does not think FEMA should be abolished.

Brown agrees. “It’s more of a statement of fact…. This has always been my theory. The stronger you make the federal government, the weaker you make local governments…. State and local responders need to be as robust as they possibly can…. What FEMA should be doing right now is coordinating, [telling governors and mayors], ‘What do you need? How can we help?'”

He adds, “Everything that really needs to be done is a state and local issue…. The feds are more about helping financially.”

Even though early voting has already begun in Colorado, could the canceled rallies have any sort of impact on either campaign in this key battleground state?

“The rallies drive…media, and that helps keep enthusiasm up to the extent that rallies can,” he says. “So if the enthusiasm is at a level five, a rally might take it up to a level six… They just need to make sure their ground games continue.”

Offering his take on the state of the race in Colorado, he adds, “I think the enthusiasm level is great in Colorado for Romney, and at the end of the day, that’ll carry Romney over the top.”

More from our Politics archive: “Immigration advocate, legal citizen gets Scott Gessler’s non-citizen letter

Follow Sam Levin on Twitter at @SamTLevin. E-mail the author at Sam.Levin@Westword.com.

Michael Brown is seen in a 2006 photo. (©AP Photo/Dennis Cook)

Michael Brown, aka “Brownie,” the former FEMA director who did a “heckuva” job seven years ago during Hurricane Katrina, thinks President Obama was premature to react to a looming Hurricane Sandy with a press conference on Sunday, a full day before the storm made landfall. Brown says that could’ve caused some residents to get complacent and “blow off” warnings. “[The president] wants to get ahead of it,” Brown speculated. Good guess! Brown then linked Obama’s Sandy response with that surrounding the attacks in Benghazi, and wondered why the response this time was so quick. “At some point, somebody’s going to ask that question,” he said. And it looks like a guy with a poor grasp of two different situations was the first to ask it. [Source]