All Articles Tagged "Hurricane Sandy"
With Moore and surrounding Oklahoma cities and towns still reeling from the effect of what has been called “the biggest, most destructive tornado in the history of the world” (it’s definitely among the worst), the area is still just trying to get a grip on the extent of the devastation. President Obama, almost immediately, signed a disaster declaration Monday night, and he’s assured the people impacted that the country stands with them. With this action, The Huffington Post reports on the voting record of that state’s two Senators, particularly as it relates to disaster relief. As it turns out, Sens. Jim Inhofe and Tom Coburn, both Republicans and fiscal conservatives, voted against more funding for the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and supported a plan to cut assistance to Northeast victims of Hurricane Sandy.
“In a December press release, Coburn complained that the Sandy Relief bill contained “wasteful spending,” and identified a series of items he objected to, including ‘$12.9 billion for future disaster mitigation activities and studies,’” HuffPo reports. A spokesperson for Sen. Coburn says he would like to see the aid offset by other cuts. Those “offsets” were made in the wake of the Oklahoma City bombing in 1995.
The article goes on to say that Oklahoma comes in third behind Texas and California for federal fire and disaster declarations.
“And despite their voting record on disaster aid for other states, both Coburn and Inhofe appear to sing a different tune when it comes to such funding for Oklahoma,” the HuffPo says. Oh really?
FEMA is already in Moore, according to US News & World Report. The magazine says that colleagues may decide not to make any cuts in order to fund disaster relief, which would put the Senators in “the hot seat.”
Minority and low-income families were hit the hardest by Hurricane Sandy, found an analysis of the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA’s) data. And the research shows that they continue to face the toughest challenges in recovering from the massive storm.
Of the more than 500,000 households who have registered for FEMA assistance, 43 percent have household incomes of less than $30,000 a year. In New York City, 52 percent of renters affected are people of color and in New Jersey – 56 percent, according to a press release.
The study was done by Enterprise Community Partners and NYU Furman Center for Real Estate and Urban Policy.
“These data show that Hurricane Sandy was devastating to many low-income families and that many of them are likely to be still struggling to recover,” said Sherrilyn Ifill, President and Director-Counsel of the NAACP Legal Defense Fund, which has joined together with other civil rights organizations to express concern over the findings. ”Given that low-income families in the NY-NJ region, who are more likely to be people of color, were already facing severe affordable housing shortages, FEMA and other federal aid for Sandy recovery must prioritize aid to these families and help them find housing that they can afford.”
“When a natural disaster strikes these communities, the results are often even more devastating for the residents who have fewer resources and fewer housing options, this comes as a direct result of past housing policy,” notes the Poverty & Race Research Action Council.
According to the data, among FEMA registrants in New York City owners are 62 percent white, 20 percent African-American, seven percent Asian-American, and eight percent Hispanic. Most renters are racial and ethnic minorities: a quarter African-American, 19 percent Hispanic, and eight percent Asian-American.
Many of those affected homeowners are facing the threat of foreclosure. The foreclosures are on hold right now. Since the storm, the Federal Housing Administration and Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac placed moratoria on foreclosure filings and foreclosure sales on damaged homes until April 30, 2013. After this, more people–mostly homeowners of color–may lose their homes.
Selvena Brooks, a communications specialist for the Service Employees International Union, is running for a vacant seat in the New York City Council’s 31st District. The district covers the city’s Far Rockaway area, which was hit hard by Hurricane Sandy. In fact, Brooks is submitting paperwork to run as a “Rebuild Now” candidate, representing a party that’s focused on the Sandy recovery effort.
The New York Observer‘s Politicker blog quotes a statement from Brooks: “I am asking for people’s support on the Rebuild Now line, because we need strong leadership in not only rebuilding from the devastation of Hurricane Sandy, but also rebuilding our education system, local economy and neighborhoods.”
Brooks is one of a number of candidates running for the position, which became vacant when the previous official, James Sanders, left for the State Senate. A special election is set for February 19.
Parts of New York and the surrounding area are still coping with Sandy’s aftermath, months after the storm hit in October. It was only last week that Congress approved a government flood insurance program that would pay out $9.7 billion to 120,000 victims of the storm. The measure passed overwhelmingly in the House and unanimously in the Senate. One of those who voted against the measure, Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI), the former Republican Vice Presidential candidate, who said the flood insurance program is “insolvent,” according to Bloomberg.
That vote followed a thorough blasting from fellow politicians, including New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie.
A vote for a larger relief package was cancelled on the 1st after fiscal cliff talks were finally resolved. The governors of New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut had originally asked for tens of billions of dollars in aid.
There will be another vote on January 15, which would bring the aid total to $60 billion.
Members of Congress from the New York and New Jersey area are livid over the House of Representative’s failure to take up a bill that would send billions in relief to victims of Hurricane Sandy.
According to The New York Times, the Senate approved $60.4 billion in aid last week. But time ran out before the 112th Congress wrapped up yesterday with the fiscal cliff vote. So it has to wait until the 113th Congress, which gets started tomorrow.
Local lawmakers at the state and federal level have been on a tear today over the delay. A statement from Govs. Chris Christie of New Jersey and Andrew Cuomo from New York says, “With all that New York and New Jersey and our millions of residents and small businesses have suffered and endured, this continued inaction and indifference by the House of Representatives is inexcusable.” Here’s more from a Christie press conference, in which the Governor takes it a little further.
Republican Rep. Peter King (NY) took to the House floor to openly blame House Speaker John Boehner, who Rep. King said, “walked off the floor and said for whatever reason that the bill was being pulled” after yesterday’s tax vote. Speaker Boehner’s office says a meeting will take place today at 3pm and a vote will take place this month, according to Politico.
Sen. Chuck Schumer also said today, point blank, that he was “angry” over the situation, lamenting that now, because of the wait for a new session, the “we’re gonna have to start all over.” His comments were joined by those of Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand.
Besides the fact that the fight over the fiscal cliff superseded any other legislative discussion, it’s believed that the size of the bill was a hindrance. The $60-plus billion is actually less than what had been first suggested.
The money would be used, according to the Times, to “ help homeowners and small-business owners rebuild from the storm; to repair bridges, tunnels and transportation systems; to reimburse local governments for overtime costs of police, fire and other emergency services; and to replenish shorelines.”
Hurricane Sandy caused more than $42 billion in destruction. Many lives were lost and people left homeless. So the $50 million relief from the recent “12-12-12” Sandy benefit concert is more than welcome.
Although the organizers of the star-studded concert have yet to announce the total amount raised, they have said that the first installment of donations is ready to be distributed, according to Rolling Stone magazine.
The fundraiser for The Robin Hood Relief Fund included performances at New York’s Madison Square Garden by Kanye West, Alicia Keys, the Rolling Stones, Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band, Bon Jovi, Billy Joel, the Who and Paul McCartney. The concert was broadcast on a number of television stations.
The money will go to various groups aiding victims of the late October storm that devastated parts of New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut, the Los Angeles Times reports. Money was raised not only through ticket sales but also sponsorships, merchandise, telephone and Internet donations, as well as online auctions of memorabilia and advance orders of a forthcoming live album, which hit number one on iTunes as a pre-order. In all, two billion people were said to have had access to viewing the event.
“The money raised to date is going right to hundreds of organizations in the tri-state area serving those who need it most,” said David Saltzman, executive director of Robin Hood Foundation, in a statement. “Robin Hood has already begun granting the funds for Sandy relief. We are continuing to raise funds through various ongoing sales opportunities and donations and we urge people to continue to contribute.”
If you haven’t booked your Thanksgiving flights yet, the tickets may cost you a little bit more this year. And the lingering efforts of Hurricane Sandy could be the reason. During the storm period, airlines grounded thousands of flights, causing them to lose revenue. In order to make up their losses, carriers might have to raise airfares.
Holiday travel prices were already expected to be most costly this year. “The average round-trip domestic airfare will be 4 percent to 9 percent higher than a year ago,” reports Tulsa World.
United Airlines just announced that Sandy caused its October revenue to be cut by about $90 million and profit by $35 million because the carrier was forced to cancel nearly 5,300 flights. Traffic in October fell 3.3 percent. “That’s nearly an entire day’s worth of United’s schedule lost. It runs about 5,500 flights a day throughout the world, including those operated by its regional partners,” reports The Chicago Tribune.
Delta, too, was affected, and according to the Trib, the hurricane cut its October revenue by $45 million and profit by $20 million. Both airlines expect the negative impact of Sandy to continue through the month of November.
There are still a few deals to be found, Courtney Scott, senior editor of the online travel website Travelocity tells Tulsa World. According to Scott, the average round-trip domestic airfare this Thanksgiving is $386, including tax—but you can do better. How? Don’t travel when everyone else is. “If you can adjust your travel dates, you can save as much as $288 on your Thanksgiving airfare. We recommend leaving on Thanksgiving Day and returning home on Friday, Nov. 23, or Tuesday, Nov. 27, to see the most savings and avoid the crowds at the airports,” Scott explains to Tulsa World.
This might sound counterintuitive, but according to experts Hurricane Sandy will actually boost the economy.
Sandy, which swept through mid-Atlantic and Northeastern United States, caused an estimated $30 to $50 billion worth of damage and more than 120 deaths. Certainly, this isn’t the most important issue the region is dealing with, but it is a historic trend that following natural disaster, certain business sectors see a boost, which results in economic growth.
So how will it improve the economy? Construction is one sector that will see increased business. “The biggest impact will be on housing, construction, and retail sales…The initial decline in these areas will be followed by a boost in building materials purchases, added construction, and some home sales, as families who lost homes enter the market,” reports the Business Insider. Some had suspected early on that this would be the case. With the damage now being assessed, that projection continues.
According to a Forbes article, “Companies in the housing and construction sector, like Home Depot, Loews, KB Home, and Lennar, could see a meaningful boost in the coming months from the rebound in activity. Beyond the human tragedy, there may be a silver lining to Sandy.”
The auto industry could also see a boost. According to Reuters, at least 16,000 new cars and as many as 250,000 used cars might be junked following Hurricane Sandy. Major automakers like GM have yet to give their tallies.
New cars had been moved to safer spots, but some, for instance at the port of Newark, were destroyed. Drivers may have to replace cars that were ruined, which could bump sales. Dealers, which are slowly reopening their doors, are already offering deals on new cars.
Reuters reports that 350,000 cars were destroyed during Hurricane Katrina.
Game Spends $10,000 To Help NY And NJ Voters Get To Polling Places; Young Jeezy Releases New Song For POTUS, “We Done It Again”
Okay, okay, okay, so maybe rapper, Game, is not so bad after all. Well, at least around election time that is.
According to TMZ, The Los Angeles born and raised MC was actually in NYC during yesterday’s nerve-racking election. And since many residents were still struggling with no electricity, no gas and even being displaced from their homes that were hit by Hurricane Sandy, he decided to step up and try to help folks get to the polls–by any means necessary. The rapper doled out $20 for cab fare to more than 500 people who had no way to get where they needed to be in order to vote, and he also drove people in New Jersey to polling places using his own means of transportation. All in all, he says he spent about $10,000 in his efforts, but says that he planned to do so because he didn’t want the many people he saw affected by last month’s hurricane to lose out. Plus, he says it was “small change” anyway. And while he did vote for Barack Obama via absentee ballot for California, he told TMZ that he wasn’t trying to influence anybody to vote for any particular candidate–he just wanted them to get out there and vote.
Well isn’t that nice! Can’t say whether this was done for publicity for his new reality show “Marrying The Game,” or if he was just that moved by people hurting on the East Coast, but the man deserves some major props for coming through and helping out in such a way. Some claim he was trying to push people to vote a certain way, but I doubt that. Plus, I’m sure those folks riding around in whatever luxury vehicle he was rolling around the city in were appreciative. Check out what he had to say to TMZ cameras:
And in other rapper news that has to do with the election, according to BET.com, if you’ve been missing Young Jeezy, you’ll be glad to know that he’s got a new single out, and it’s in honor of President Obama and another historic win for the President. I’m sure that in 2008 and after the results came in last night, you were probably banging “My President Is Black” by the rapper out of your speakers, your cars, your computers, etc. And while that track is great, “We Done It Again,” is a bit more calm, cool, and collected and reflective of things that have happened since 2008. Jeezy says the thirst for another four years of leadership from someone like the President–NOT Mitt Romney–is real (“What does Romney know about my ghetto? I say the least”), and he’s hoping the President’s win will help every little boy and girl struggling in ghettos around the country. As Young Jeezy says, “We waitin’ on a savior, maybe Barack.” I’m also digging the fact that this track isn’t so heavy with expletives like “My President Is Black,” but it’s still a dope one. Check it out and let me know what you think!
Another big storm is headed to the Northeast and airlines have already started cancelling flights.
United announced today that it has cancelled most flights in the New York area starting tomorrow at noon, through noon on Thursday. The airline also anticipates delays and other cancellations, according to MarketWatch.
American Airlines will also discontinue service starting today at 3pm. Philly flights end at noon. JetBlue and Delta are asking fliers to reschedule their flight with a promise to waive the usual change fees, the AP reports.
New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie just held a press conference, reassuring listeners that the state has been preparing the already-devastated Jersey coastline for the coming nor’easter, bringing in sand, building up fortifications and putting supplies at the ready.
“Winds are the biggest threat, especially in towns hard-hit Oct. 29 by Hurricane Sandy, with additional power outages possible,” the paper says, adding that 300,000 are still without power from that storm. Even with preparations, wind and rain could be a problem along the Shore. People in the areas across the region that were hardest hit by Sandy have been asked to evacuate. For more about the preparations, click here.
The news from the gas pump just won’t stop.
Gas shortages in the Northeast following Hurricane Sandy have led to long lines and mass frustration. In New Jersey, the rationing continues, with eligibility for a fill-up determined by a person’s license plate. And in New York, Gov. Andrew Cuomo declared that things are getting better but “[t]hat does not mean there will be a total alleviation of the problem in the immediate future.”
The ever-industrious have started selling gas on Craigslist. And the downright unscrupulous are being investigated for price gouging. According to NBC News, tankers full of gas have made their way to the area and continue to do so. However, ongoing power outages are a hindrance. Though the restoration of some utility service is helping to get gas stations back up and running.
Social media is, of course, helping. We tweeted a link this morning to a story about GasBuddy, an app that will let you know which gas stations have a supply, and which are tapped out.
If there’s a silver lining to all of this, it’s the news that gas prices are dropping. The average was about $3.49 per gallon nationwide as of yesterday, more than seven cents cheaper than last week and nearly 12 cents less than the week before. The drop in price has nothing to do with Sandy; it had been predicted a couple of weeks ago, when it was predicted that the price would go down to $3.25 per gallon by Thanksgiving.
Separately but related, a lot of talk during this election has been about what can be done by President Obama and Congress to lower gas prices. It should be noted: gas prices are largely based upon demand and international investors. Where our government can do something is in gas taxes. The federal tax is 18 cents per gallon, but state taxes vary, according to The Deseret News. Would lowering these taxes make a big difference for your wallet?