Sandy Scapegoats. And Don’t Forget to Vote!

This morning, Greg David at Crain’s New York identified villans and heros in the ongoing response to Superstorm Sandy. Mary Wittenberg, New York Road Runners’ CEO, was one of the identified villains. She insisted that the marathon move forward despite Sandy’s evident destruction. Wittenberg’s actions further affirm the NY Times’ critique of her leadership: that she cares more for boosting running nationwide than enhancing New York City’s well-being. Another identified villain is Kevin Burke, CEO of Con Edison, who is under extreme pressure to return heat and power faster. This is not the first time his leadership has been critiqued. Earlier this year, Burke came under fire from Speaker Christine Quinn as well as other elected officials for locking out workers in the midst of a heat-wave. Finally, he identifies Mayor Michael Bloomberg as someone who hasn’t messed up… yet:

As the need to relocate tens of thousands of people becomes clear – a monumental task – there is no way the mayor won’t be blamed for what is likely to be a messy and difficult task.

David names only one (unlikely) hero: MTA CEO Joe Lhota. We want to add to that list.

  • Occupy Sandy, whose immediate response to Hurricane Sandy’s devastation has been the most effective and coordinated in providing services to some of the most hard-hit areas. Some argue that Occupy is outperforming the Red Cross, as their crowd-sourced, grassroots status allows them the flexibility to provide what is needed right away.
  • NY1, who, as media blog notes: “NY1 is the soul of New York and Pat Kiernan is our spiritual leader.” The New York Times also lavished praise on NY1 for their calm and responsible reporting in the midst of Sandy-hysteria. (This is still going on.)
  • Hold the phones… Chris Christie! New Jersey’s beleaguered governor gave a serious and decidedly non-partisan response to Sandy’s might, by displaying that leadership is more important than politics regardless of what Big Election Day is around the corner. (It’s today, Go Vote!)

It’s probably a little to early to name call, and villans is a strong word. So, here are some people we’d like to see a little more from:

  • The American Red Cross has been slow to show up and coordinate relief in Staten Island and the Rockaways. Staten Island’s Borough President, James Molinaro, even held a press conference asking people to give their money elsewhere.
  • John Rhea, Chairman of NYCHA, hasn’t said enough about how his office is working with Con-Edison to restore power to tens of thousands of public housing units. We would hope that any leader of one of New York City’s major agencies providing vital infrastructure would explain restoration process of said infrastructure. This is what Joe Lhota of MTA has been doing; John Rhea has not met this standard.

Finally, everyone should get out to your polling place and VOTE. At the Surrealestate, we don’t endorse candidates, but we don’t hide our political views either. Vote for Obama!


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