From The Nation:
Though many of the details of Narh’s death remain vague, serious questions are beginning to emerge around why a man was required to work (or believed he was required to work) in the middle of an evacuation zone as a deadly hurricane bore down on his city. Here is what is known.
On October 28th, more than a day before Sandy struck, New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg ordered a mandatory evacuation of all low-lying areas, including the western fringe of TriBeCa. By noon the day of the storm, the superintendent of the adjoining apartment building, 92 Laight Street, had issued an evacuation warning to all parties. But the garage remained open. A source, who declined to be identified, spoke with the person who was managing the garage on site that day. The manager explained to this source that Empire Parking wanted attendants to remain behind to watch over the cars.
“I told him, look, you should really send everybody home,” said the source. “He said, look at the garage, there are still cars here.” The source estimated that there were still 20 to 30 cars in the garage.
When reached for a response, the manager of Empire Parking, who gave his name only as Wilfred and declined to provide a last name, said the company did not have a comment on “this subject.”
From NY Daily News:
With Election Day turmoil expected because of the ongoing problems caused by Superstorm Sandy, Gov. Cuomo has signed an executive order allowing displaced voters to cast ballots at any polling site.
A person would go to a polling place, sign an affidavit and fill out a ballot anonymously, Cuomo said.
The vote will count for the presidential race or the U.S. Senate race.
But a person’s vote won’t count if they are voting at a site that is not their home state Senate or Assembly district.
From NBC News:
New Jersey state officials say they are extending the deadline for mail-in ballots and will deploy military trucks to serve as polling places on Election Day in storm-battered communities.
Republican Secretary of State and Lt. Gov. Kim Guadagno said Thursday county clerks’ offices have been ordered to remain open this weekend to help process mail-in ballots.
Voters will be able to go to the clerks’ offices through Tuesday to fill out mail-in ballots and hand them in.
Requests for mail-in ballots are typically accepted by mail up to a week before an election and in person until 3 p.m. the day before an election.
Guadagno says it’s unclear how many of the state’s 3,000 polling places have electricity but she will know better Friday. More than 1.7 million electric customers are without power.
Meanwhile in NY, the deadline to vote by absentee ballot has been extended:
Attention All New York State Voters:
Extension of Absentee Ballot Application Deadline. The State Board of Elections has approved an extension of the Absentee Ballot deadline for all voters in the state from October 30th to November 2nd. Therefore, for all absentee ballot applications sent by MAIL or FAX, they now must be received no later than Friday, November 2nd. The IN PERSON deadline remains Monday, November 5th.
Extension of Absentee Ballot Receipt Deadline. The State Board of Elections has approved an extension of the deadline for absentee ballots to be received and counted from 7 days after Election Day to 13 days after Election Day. Ballots must still be postmarked no later than Monday, November 5th, however they now have until November 19th to arrive at the local Board of Elections.
For the latest information concerning the Board of Elections in the City of New York please follow this link:
From the NYC BOE:
The Board of Elections in the City of New York staff has been working diligently around the clock to make sure that we are prepared for Election Day. Hurricane Sandy and the loss of electricity have made our task more challenging. Our central phone bank (866 VOTE NYC) is not functioning properly and our Manhattan and Staten Island offices have been closed since Monday due to loss of power. Our offices in the Bronx, Queens and Brooklyn are now open and operating between the hours of 10AM and 9PM. Since the Manhattan Borough is closed due to loss of power, temporary office has been set up in Manhattan at the Borough’s Voting Machine Facility. Our Staten Island office is closed, however, we are working closely with building management to serve the voters of Staten Island as soon as possible. The processing of absentee ballot applications has been delayed by the storm but our staff are working diligently to process all absentee ballots that will be distributed by USPS overnight mail. Other NYC agencies have assigned some of their workers to assist in our efforts and we appreciate their assistance. We will keep voters informed of developments in our Election Day operations by posting updates on our website and periodically issuing news releases. For additional information, please visit our website at www. vote.nyc.ny.us.
1780 Grand Concourse, 5 Fl
Bronx, NY 10457
345 Adams Street, 4 Fl
Brooklyn, NY 11201
126-06 Queens Boulevard
Kew Gardens, NY 11415
Manhattan Borough office is closed. Operations temporarily relocated to the Manhattan Voting Machine Facility
450 West 33rd Street, 10Flr
New York, NY 10001
Staten Island Borough office is closed until further notice.
1 Edgewater Plaza, 4 Fl
Staten Island, NY 10305
Bipartisan Halloween: Obama and Christie Survey the Damage in NJ Caused by Climate Change, Christie Lauds Obama
From Scientific American:
Hurricane Sandy has emboldened more scientists to directly link climate change and storms, without the hedge. On Monday, as Sandy came ashore in New Jersey, Jonathan Foley, director of the Institute on the Environment at the University of Minnesota, tweeted: “Would this kind of storm happen without climate change? Yes. Fueled by many factors. Is [the] storm stronger because of climate change? Yes.”
Raymond Bradley, director of the Climate Systems Research Center at the University of Massachusetts, was quoted in the Vancouver Sun saying: “When storms develop, when they do hit the coast, they are going to be bigger and I think that’s a fair statement that most people could sign onto.”
A recent, peer-reviewed study published by several authors in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Science concludes: “The largest cyclones are most affected by warmer conditions and we detect a statistically significant trend in the frequency of large surge events (roughly corresponding to tropical storm size) since 1923.”
Greg Laden, an anthropologist who blogs about culture and science, wrote this week in an online piece: “There is always going to be variation in temperature or some other weather related factor, but global warming raises the baseline. That’s true. But the corollary to that is NOT that you can’t link climate change to a given storm. All storms are weather, all weather is the immediate manifestation of climate, climate change is about climate.”
As part of their bill to void the military spending cuts included in the Budget Control Act — which was passed as a result of 2011′s GOP inspired debt ceiling standoff — House Republicans proposed eliminating a program that helps states and localities respond to disasters like hurricanes.
The House Republicans’ Sequester Replacement Reconciliation Act of 2012, which was passed without a single Democratic vote, called for zeroing out funding for the Social Services Block Grant (SSBG), a program that provides funding to state and local governments to aid needy children, adults, and the disabled. As the Center for Budget and Policy Priorities noted, the SSBG also offers assistance for disaster relief:
The SSBG has served as a conduit for emergency appropriations to help residents and communities respond to the additional social service and health needs resulting from natural disasters, such as floods, wildfires, and hurricanes.
For example, in response to the 2005 Gulf Coast Hurricanes — including Hurricane Katrina —Congress provided an additional $550 million in emergency funding to states via SSBG for use by public, non-profit, and private entities to repair, renovate, or construct health care facilities, among other purposes. The funds were disbursed promptly — within two monthsa — and SSBG’s flexibility allowed states to streamline eligibility for services funded by the emergency appropriations. Eliminating SSBG could make it harder to provide this sort of flexible human services funding in the face of emergencies.
President Obama’s budget proposed maintaining the SSBG’s annual funding of $1.7 billion; it has had that funding level since 2001. As CBPP noted, “Although the SSBG has received bipartisan support from governors and members of Congress, it has lost 77 percent of its value since 1981, due to inflation, funding freezes, and budget cuts.” This chart shows the drop: