Frustrated Storm Victims Want To Know Who Will Pay For Sandy Recovery
NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — The White House said it will soon reveal how much money it will seek from Congress to help local victims of Superstorm Sandy.
But the dollar amount is nowhere near what local leaders are asking for, even after some direct pleas to President Barack Obama.
The ruins of the Rockaways are piled high in Jacob Riis Park, a mountainous symbol of Sandy’s legacy. The damage is still piled everywhere and some residents said it’s time Washington stepped up.
“If we could give all this federal money to all those banks to bail them out, why can’t we bail out the people of this country,” Lana Meli told CBS 2’s Dick Brennan on Thursday night.
“We need something. We don’t want to live like this. It looks like we’ve gone through a war,” another woman added.
In the Brick section of the barrier island in New Jersey, the destruction is hard to fathom.
“The worst part of it is sitting here looking at it piled up all out front, all of our things,” Judy Randolph said.
Some of from the storm devastation may look like Roman ruins, but it’s actually what is left of the Rockaways boardwalk. The devastation goes on for blocks. Now, people are debating the true price tag of Sandy and who is going to pay for it.
New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie met with President Barack Obama and then lobbied for aid on Capitol Hill, but said little. New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo was in Washington on Monday.
New York and New Jersey are asking for a total of $77 billion in federal aid, but the White House reportedly will only ask a cash-strapped Congress for approximately $50 billion.
“There is no question that as the president saw when he was on Staten Island that there is enormous suffering that continues and that’s why we are working closely with states and localities to continue the effort to assist in the recovery,” White House Press Secretary Jay Carney said.
But skeptical people said they are worried Washington will forget about them.
“After a while out of sight, out of mind, and we’ll put the money away for the next crisis, but this is my crisis,” one woman said.
Officially, the White House has only said that it’s still crunching the numbers and it has declined to give a specific timeline on when it would have its proposal read.
Meanwhile, the Moreland Commission met Thursday night in New York City. The commission, authorized by Gov. Cuomo to investigate state utility companies, heard from a handful of experts at the meeting.
1010 WINS’ Eileen Lehpamer Reports
Charles Bell, with Consumers Union, which is the publisher of Consumer Reports magazine, said the utilities won’t improve until the public gets more involved, 1010 WINS’ Eileen Lehpamer reported.
“Each utility has its own set of attorneys and lobbyists and media relations staff. We don’t have consumers represented on the Public Service Commission, which is the highest body in the state that provides oversight of utilities,” he said.
The poorly advertised meeting had just one member of the public who spoke Thursday.
The commission, meanwhile, could make recommendations by the end of the year.