This Saturday, Chris Christie will be occupied with more than attorneys and the press.
In light of the recent disturbing disclosures concerning Governor Chris Christie's flagrant misuse of federal Sandy aid money, the collective of storm survivors and their allies who organize under the Occupy Sandy New Jersey banner are hereby calling on residents of New Jersey to join us in Trenton in Occupying outside the Capitol starting this Saturday, January 18th, at noon. We intend to maintain our camp through Chris Christie's re-inauguration festivities on Tuesday, January 21st.Occupy Sandy arose from the ruins of Super Storm Sandy. They were often the first on the scene after the disaster, working with and earning plaudits from the National Guard and Red Cross. Mountains of food, water, blankets and supplies were stockpiled in churches with volunteer cars and vans delivering the goods directly to stricken citizens. They have remained committed to the poorer communities of the New Jersey coastline and continue to press for help.
~ personal email from Occupy Sandy
Now they are calling for Camp Sandygate. While national media is focused on Bridgegate, the larger more damning scandal is Governor Chris Christieâs possible misuse of federal relief funds for an ad campaign featuring Christie and his family during his election.
See below the orange squiggle for why.
Occupy Sandy cites many inequities in the distribution of aid to the most vulnerable New Jersey citizens:
Racial discrimination involving both resettlement and reconstruction grants where the rejection rate of White applicants was 14.5% and 13.5%, the rejection rate for Latinos was 20.4% / 18.1% and a whopping 38.1% / 35.1% for African-Americans.
Mishandled recovery for renters where 2.5 million of the 4.7 million fund went to rich Essex County which did not suffer as much damage as poor devastated Ocean County which received $47,484. The fund was paid out to landlords, giving renters no relief whatsoever.
Discrimination against mobile home owners who have faced mass confusion in applying for grants, who by federal law are eligible for funds, with language on the website that expressly excludes them. (Link to news item below in first comment)
Leaving people out in the cold with no comprehensive survey of the needs of survivors who are huddled still in their condemned homes, living in the dunes or in overcrowded motel rooms.
I will let Occupy Sandy have the last word (their emphasis).
To Governor Chris Christie, here is our one demand: do your damn job!