The initial response to Hurricane Sandy appeared adequate, at the very least. All levels of government seemed engaged, first responders had the resources needed, and confidence was high that we could quickly address the immediate human needs and then shift quickly to rebuilding. Those hopes have vanished in a fumbled response at the local and federal levels. On the local level, Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s bizarre idea to keep the New York City Marathon in place while people on Staten Island can’t get water, power or heat has undermined confidence in his approach to the crisis — as Bloomberg himself discovered when attempting to meet and greet some of the locals (via NRO’s Eliana Johnson):
Storm-ravaged and weary Rockaways residents cornered Mayor Bloomberg yesterday to angrily demand more aid for their devastated neighborhood.
“When are we gonna get some help?” blasted one desperate woman, who had to be held back by the mayor’s security detail as Bloomberg stood by with a deer-in-the-headlights look.
“When are we gonna get some f–king help?” she demanded.
“There’s old ladies in my building that don’t got nothing,” lashed out a man on video caught by a NY1 reporting crew.
Bloomberg’s trip to the Rockaways wasn’t announced and wouldn’t have been caught on cameras if the news crew hadn’t happened to run across him. Back in City Hall, he expressed sympathy with the residents’ plight.
Bloomberg’s predecessor doesn’t have much sympathy for him — or for Barack Obama, either. Rudy Giuliani angrily castigated both for their inadequate response to the disaster. Where are the generators, Giuliani wondered — and the water?
At a Sunday gathering of Mitt Romney partisans in West Palm Beach, Florida, former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani delivered a blistering attack on President Barack Obama for what he said was a “disgraceful” response to Hurricane Sandy.
“Maybe the first day or two of the storm, the president did a good job,” Giuliani said. “The last three or four days? It’s disgraceful.”
The Brooklyn-born firebrand excoriated the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) for neglecting to bring bottled water to the Northeastern U.S. during the days before the superstorm hit.
“It’s disgraceful what he’s done. It’s disgraceful what his FEMA has done,” Giuliani said. “There are people in New York City who don’t have bottles of water like this. See this little bottle of water? They don’t have it in New York. You know why? Because Barack Obama’s FEMA didn’t think to pre-position it.”
“What — they didn’t learn anything from Katrina?”
Breitbart has more on the water situation, and it’s as bad as Giuliani says. While FEMA administrator Craig Fugate told NBC that “We already had the water that was initially staged and based upon the demand that was there that the state had,” documents — and photos — paint a very different picture:
But contrary to Fugate’s claims, there simply was no “water that was initially staged” by FEMA. When the storm hit, all the FEMA bottled water was in its Georgia or Maryland warehouses. The request for proposal sent out hurriedly on Friday, November 2 for an additional 2.3 million gallons of bottled water, for delivery to Long Island on Monday, November 5, was not a pre-negotiated, pre-bid contract “turned on” that day according to a FEMA master plan. Instead, it was an example of FEMA scrambling after the fact to meet the needs of victims that it should have planned for weeks earlier.
In addition, Fugate’s claim that “once we go into response we have pre-negotiated, pre-bid contracts that are in effect, and we turn those contracts on and go to our vendors and say we want the water delivered at this rate to these locations,” is not supported by the facts surrounding the request for proposal that was made on Friday, November 2 upon which the Breitbart report referenced by NBC’s Klein was based.
Indeed, that request for proposal, which can be seen here, was an open bid available to any vendors interested in bidding. All of the vendors for the request for proposal, FEMA contracting officer Annette Wright told Breitbart News on Friday, “are currently being evaluated.” Presumably, the vendor was selected some time over the weekend so they could fulfill the delivery requirement of Monday.
The language of the request for proposal clearly stated that it was neither “pre-negotiated” nor “pre-bid.” In fact, it was a hurriedly put together “open bid[.”]
Giuliani told the West Palm Beach crowd that if this occurred while George Bush was President after the lessons of Hurricane Katrina, Congress would be impeaching him by now, and the media crucifixion would be well under way. It’s difficult to argue with that assessment.