This is good news because Christie's opponent, State Senator Barbara Buono (D. NJ), has been making this an issue:New Jersey Democrats are criticizing the handling of housing funding for victims of superstorm Sandy and intend to make it an issue in the November governor’s race.
In response to two stories in The Wall Street Journal Monday, officials with the New Jersey Democratic Committee said that housing aid to Sandy victims should be delivered in a more efficient and sensitive manner.
The stories documented some criticisms among homeowners of a Louisiana contractor administering the housing programs for Sandy victims. The contractor, Hammerman & Gainer Inc., was also criticized during its handling of a large rebuilding effort after Hurricane Katrina. Also, a powerful New Jersey Republican and his law firm helped HGI with its bid in the Garden State.
Gov. Chris Christie is “known for the persona he projected during hurricane Sandy. Implicit in that was the promise that New Jersey families would be well taken care of,” said Matt Farrauto, communications director for the state committee, which coordinates the Democrats’ campaigns. “We’re seeing signs that he hasn’t followed through.”
The state Department of Community Affairs defended HGI’s work, as did Louisiana officials for the firm’s efforts to help the state rebuild after Katrina. HGI declined to comment on open contracts. - Wall Street Journal, 9/23/13
Not to mention the press has been taking notice of how Christie's been handling the relief funding:Democratic gubernatorial candidate Barbara Buono says her Republican opponent is taking advantage of Superstorm Sandy for political benefit while residents remain troubled by damage caused by the massive hurricane.
While Gov. Chris Christie starred in the “Stronger Than The Storm” campaign and appeared at numerous photo-ops at the Jersey shore this summer, some homeowners are still waiting for help and running out of patience.
Standing outside the storm-damaged Keansburg home of Elena Pagonis and Joe McLaughlin on Friday, Buono said “There’s a whole other Jersey that needs to be rebuilt.”
The couple turned to Buono after not getting a response from the state Department of Community Affairs on the status of their grant application, they said.
“They want to know at least when they’ll hear back from somebody, anybody, with a definitive answer on where they stand with respect to recovery funds,” Buono said. “If the governor had enough time to travel out to Texas to see the (Dallas) Cowboys, I see no reasonable explanation why he can’t come here and speak to these people and give them an answer.” - NJ Today, 9/23/13
I can understand why Democrats have been hesitant about not going after Christie on this issue. Christie could easily accuse Buono and Democrats of trying to politicize a tragedy for their own gain but Hurricane Sandy and Christie's call to action made him look like a hero and explains why he's ahead of Buono in the polls. But if Democrats want to pull off a miracle win, this is the way to go. If you would like to get involved with Buono's campaign or donate, you can click here to do so:As if they haven’t suffered enough, some Hurricane Sandy victims are now being turned down for federal rebuilding funds and aren’t told why. The form letter from the state lists a few potential reasons, then adds cryptically, "among other possible disqualifying factors."
Which could mean anything.
Imagine their frustration. Desperate people who are rejected can fill out another form to appeal, but that doesn’t help much when they don’t know why they were turned down in the first place. And those who do appeal can’t get an answer on that, either.
They deserve real explanations. Yet Community Affairs Commissioner Richard Constable, who’s in charge of distributing these grants, has revealed little so far about the state’s criteria. So advocates at the Fair Share Housing Center are suing his agency, demanding details. Because from what data it has released, it appears that low-income people aren’t getting their fair share of this money.
These grants to residents, totaling $850 million, are a major part of New Jersey’s rebuilding effort, adding up to nearly half the $1.8 billion first installment of federal money that Gov. Chris Christie’s administration controls. And because our governor has behaved callously toward low-income people in the past, we begin with suspicions here. - Star-Ledger, 9/15/13