promoted by Rosi
Today, the Christie Administration announced its plan for the next $1.4 billion in Sandy funds. The bottom line: the recovery from Sandy is apparently, in the Governor’s mind, going so well, that it’s time to double down on the same strategy!
The plan, released today, keeps going on the same strategy that led to 75% of people impacted by Sandy saying the Administration does not care about people like them.
The plan opens a 30-day comment period, with public hearings next week in Newark, Middletown, and Galloway. These hearings are good opportunities to voice the widespread dissatisfaction with Sandy recovery to date – there is a sign up in advance to speak.
The details below the fold…
Here’s what’s wrong with the new plan:
– In the past, money has gone to politically connected projects not related to Sandy such as the Belleville senior center because Governor Christie called his cabinet members and told them to approve the projects. Now, there’s even fewer criteria to make sure that funds go to the most impacted communities.
– The Stronger than the Storm ad campaign was severely criticized as essentially political ad spending from federal funds – so Christie is seeking a waiver for another $5 million in such spending
– Nobody knows why the Christie Administration fired HGI, the company running many of the recovery programs under a $68 million state contract. So the new plan doesn’t mention that they’ve even been fired (were they ever going to tell anyone if not for Matt Katz’s reporting on it?) and provides no plan for who is actually running the show.
– The Christie Administration and HGI gave people misinformation in Spanish or their applications were “lost” or otherwise mishandled by HGI. The response? Those people are out of luck for Sandy funding.
– The plan only provides a total of 30% of housing funding to date to renters, although 40% of damage was to renters, who are predominately Latino, African-American, and Asian-American.
– The plan continues the lack of focus on climate change and preventing damage from future storms.
It will be critical to tell Secretary Shaun Donovan of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development to require that New Jersey changes it plan to get it right – or else too many people impacted by Sandy will be left behind as politically connected mayors and contractors benefit.