California Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) finally requested a federal disaster declaration and relief aid from President Joe Biden for residents of the town of Pajaro on Tuesday — three weeks after a levee broke and flooded the area.
Newsom has been under withering criticism from residents of the predominantly Latino area, after he made promises of $42 million in aid that turned out to be just $300,000 left over from Trump-era COVID relief.
Relief workers were furious at the deception, and relatives filled town hall meetings to jeer at the governor and other local officials.
Newsom had specifically promised to ask Biden for the aid, and took weeks to deliver. His request covers several counties in the state, including Monterey County, in which Pajaro is located.
The sticking point for state officials had apparently been that the number of structures damaged in the flood — several hundred — was less than the threshold of 1,200. But that was little consolation to residents without homes.
The San Francisco Chronicle reported:
Newsom estimated that property losses alone statewide exceed $329 million. The governor’s office said the state has already invested more than $60 million in direct response and recovery action to support communities affected by these storms.
But residents, nonprofit advocates and local officials have until now criticized the state and federal government for a lack of financial help. Pajaro is a small community south of Watsonville that is home predominantly to Latino farmworkers. State officials said more than 600 Pajaro residents have been living in shelters since the flood.
Biden is expected to agree to the request. A 13th “atmospheric river” is currently dumping more rain and snow on the state, which has already seen snowpack levels reach record depths in some parts of the state.
Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News and the host of Breitbart News Sunday on Sirius XM Patriot on Sunday evenings from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. ET (4 p.m. to 7 p.m. PT). He is the author of the new biography, Rhoda: ‘Comrade Kadalie, You Are Out of Order’. He is also the author of the recent e-book, Neither Free nor Fair: The 2020 U.S. Presidential Election. He is a winner of the 2018 Robert Novak Journalism Alumni Fellowship. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.