“We are the people – we are the middle class, and we are getting the finger,” said frustrated resident Scott McGrath. “You were there when I met Obama, and I told the president … that the middle class was getting the royal finger. And he said, ‘FEMA works for me.’”
Well obviously. And Obama is great at giving the finger to the middle class. And it doesn't help that Staten Island trends conservative, especially around the shorelines.
“We are the people – we are the middle class, and we are getting the finger,” said frustrated resident Scott McGrath, who personally spoke to President Obama and New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo when they came to Staten Island to inspect storm damage earlier this month. “You were there when I met Obama, and I told the president … that the middle class was getting the royal finger. And he said, ‘FEMA works for me.’”
“FEMA ain’t doing nothing,” McGrath added. “They keep going around in circles.”
Storm-ravaged New Yorkers say President Obama’s promise to cut red tape and get them aid in the aftermath of Sandy has proven to be hot air.
Angry citizens vented at FEMA officials at a town hall meeting held by the disaster relief agency Thursday, with tempers boiling over. Some 1,000 people, many left homeless by the Oct. 29 storm, attended the meeting at Staten Island’s New Dorp High School. They were initially scheduled to submit written questions that would be picked and answered at random, but the session turned into an angry shouting match where residents booed FEMA officials and accused them of lying.
Obama addressed the nation from FEMA headquarters in Washington on Nov. 3, promising to cut red tape and bring the full force of FEMA to hard-hit residents.
If you know FEMA, that's really more of a threat than a promise.
A private recovery worker providing transport and logistical support to the first responders told the Voice about receiving a request for blankets and sleeping bags needed at Floyd Bennett Field. He was confused—wasn’t that the FEMA headquarters? Shouldn’t goods like that be going out to the city?“I called my contact back for clarification,” the logistics worker tells the Voice. “He says to me: ‘We’re firefighters and EMTs and nurses. We’ve been here for days, and they haven’t let us off the compound, they haven’t given us marching orders, they haven’t even given us our equipment. We’ve been sleeping on plastic chairs since we got here.’”Through his work with other relief operations, the logistics worker knew there was acute need just down the road for medical checks, prescriptions, and other work for which the medical workers would be perfectly suited.“I asked, ‘Why haven’t you been sent out?’” he says. “Then he just lays the story on me, tells me about all the personnel they have out there, more than 100 ambulances, two paramedics per ambulance, everybody waiting for marching orders.”
Horrified, the logistical worker offered to help transport them to a place where they could be useful.
“He said they couldn’t do it because FEMA had them all under contract, and they couldn’t go out without FEMA’s say-so. They were so frustrated. They came all this way, and now they’re not going anywhere, and there’s something in their contract telling them they can’t even throw up their arms and say ‘Fuck it’ and go into the city and do good.”