Bloomberg Diverts Food, Generators from Devastated Staten Island to NYC Marathon
Fresh off his "climate disruption"-driven endorsement of President Obama, New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg has chosen to divert critical food supplies and power generators from desperate residents of Staten Island to Sunday's New York City Marathon. Gothamist reports:
[T]hose urging the city to halt the run believe that the thousands of Marathon volunteers could direct their efforts towards post-Sandy relief and cleanup, "and they also argue that the event will divert thousands of police from important hurricane-related duties." But despite petitions circulating, work started up again yesterday on the Marathon route.
A tipster, who wishes to remain anonymous, told us there were lots of workers in and out of the park today, who had "started before the storm and then came back starting yesterday." Trailers are lined up from around 71st to 66th Streets on Central Park West, a food truck was set up today, and "generators have been sitting there at least a week." The tents that were taken down prior to the storm have also been set back up, and there is a stage set up near 73rd Street.
Considering all the volunteer help and NYPD attention that's already being diverted to the Marathon, the added sight of generators and food being channeled to the event is probably going to strike some New Yorkers as a little misplaced—we're thinking of the ones who are currently lined up waiting for the National Guard to ration out MREs and bottles of water.
Staten Island residents are frantically calling for help, ABC News reported on Thursday:
The residents of Staten Island are pleading for help from elected officials, begging for gasoline, food and clothing three days after Sandy slammed the New York City borough.
“We’re going to die! We’re going to freeze! We got 90-year-old people!” Donna Solli told visiting officials. “You don’t understand. You gotta get your trucks down here on the corner now. It’s been three days!”
Staten Island was one of the hardest-hit communities in New York City. More than 80,000 residents are still without power. Many are homeless, and at least 19 people died on Staten Island because of the storm.
Staten Island Borough President Jim Molinaro blasted Mayor Bloomberg's decision to divert needed supplies from Staten Island to this Sunday's New York City marathon:
Molinaro urged New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg Wednesday to cancel Sunday’s New York City Marathon. The race’s staging area is on Staten Island and Molinaro said it would be “crazy, asinine,” to have the race after what has happened.
“My God. What we have here is terrible, a disaster,” Molinaro said Wednesday. “If they want to race, let them race with themselves. This is no time for a parade. A marathon is a parade. Now is the time to put your shoulder to the wheel. If they want to prepare for something, let them prepare for the election, not a marathon.”
“Do you realize how many police officers you need for a marathon?” he asked. “There are people looting stores on Midland Avenue. There is looting taking place in the homes on the South Shore that were destroyed. That is where we need the police.”
In New York City, apparently these days the Bloomberg show must go on -- even at the expense of those truly in need.