A dangerous storm destroys or damages the homes of entire communities. Hundreds of thousands languish in the storm’s aftermath while waiting for federal and state aid to help them rebuild. Governmental incompetence prolongs the recovery period indefinitely. This sounds like the story of Hurricane Katrina, but could apply equally as well to the saga of superstorm Sandy. When the storm hit in 2012, damaging around 200,000 homes in New York and New Jersey, President Obama said, “My message to the federal government: No bureaucracy, no red tape.”But seventeen months later, the reality has been vastly different, according a new WSJ piece. Of the 15,000 New York residents who have applied for relief, only 352 have received it; of the 11,500 eligible New Jersey residents, only 2,032 have been able to start rebuilding or repairing their homes. More:
Allison Galdorisi and Claire Watson are trying to hold on. Their bungalow in Staten Island’s Midland Beach neighborhood was inundated. They need $173,000 to repair and elevate the home. They applied for aid in June, but their case was held up until November by paperwork issues. In December, they learned they had been placed in the second tier of New York City’s three-tier distribution system, behind people with lower incomes whose homes might have been less damaged. They don’t know when reconstruction will begin and are paying for both a mortgage and a rental home. “I’m going to be using all of my insurance money to pay rent and expenses,” said Ms. Galdorisi, a 49-year-old real-estate appraiser.
For all the similarities between Katrina and Sandy, however, there’s one big difference: curiously, we hear a lot less about Sandy than we did about Katrina. Stories like this used to get a lot of ink when George W. Bush was in the White House and the press couldn’t say enough about the botched recovery after Katrina. But now that the greatest President since Lincoln occupies the Oval Office, trivial stories like agonizingly slow hurricane recoveries bore our enlightened press corps to tears.There is a clear message here: if you hate bad news, vote the straight Democratic ticket. True, bad things will still happen, but instead of rubbing your nose in them day after day, the press will say as little about them as is humanly possible.