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Tuesday, August 27, 2013

FEMA: Shows Up Late, Does Nothing, Complains, Leaves Early...

just another day working for the Federal government.

Black or White, FEMA Doesn't Like You Very Much

When George Bush was in charge of FEMA, it was widely claimed that people of a certain color were ignored by the hapless agency after Katrina hit New Orleans.

Now that Barack Obama is in charge, I can state with certitude that FEMA does not discriminate: They treat everyone, regardless of skin color or political affiliation, like crap (more on that later this week).

So it's nice to know that now that George W. is out of office, the races are treated equally by Barack Obama. We're all serfs who can count on being treated poorly by our government while our government lies to us and tells us what a great job it's doing.

Here's How FEMA Helped A Charity I Was Involved In

Back in May, I had the extreme privilege of working with about 2,000 motorcyclists to raise over $36,000 for Hurricane Sandy relief. I co-founded and was part of a team of dedicated people who ran a charity called Roar to Restore the Shore, which consisted of a motorcycle run through most of the Shore towns that were hit by the hurricane with a rally a the end with food and music.

At the rally, we invited vendors who came and sold food, or whatever. They paid an entrance fee and most of them also donated good chunks of their proceeds afterward.

Except FEMA.

The kindly folks from FEMA refused to pay the vendor fee, because they were "a government agency."

We waived the fee for them (and them only), figuring maybe they could help some people get some questions answered. I also would have had no problem if attendees at the rally had decided to vent a little to them, but people obviously couldn't be bothered wasting their time with them.

Here's How FEMA Helped On the Day of the Rally:
  1. The two FEMA representatives showed up about 45 minutes past the time we requested vendors to arrive. You know, with 2000 motorcycles coming we needed to control traffic in and out of the event.
  2. It was a cold and misty New Jersey spring day; the FEMA agents pretty much sat in their car they parked behind their table (against our regulations). They interacted with absolutely zero people during the entire event, based on multiple observations and the FEMA agents' own words. Not one person approached them, and they put no effort into approaching anyone.
  3. FEMA was not happy that we did not provide them with a tent and tables, and they weren't thrilled about the location of their booth. The two booths on either side were constantly busy all day.
  4. They left about an hour early, driving their car through the middle of the fairgrounds, in spite of the fact that 2500 people were milling about trying to enjoy themselves. No matter, FEMA was cold and it wanted to go home.

Here's the Letter We Got From FEMA, Congratulating Themselves On a Job Well Done

U.S. Department of Homeland Security

Federal Emergency Management Agency
Joint Field Office FEMA-4086-DR-NJ
307 Middletown-Lincroft Road
Lincroft, NJ 07738

August 19, 2013

Dear Jeannette and Roar to Restore the Shore

On behalf of the Community Education and Outreach Program and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) we thank you for your commitment to the recovery of the citizens of New Jersey after Hurricane Sandy.  On October 30, 2012 when President Obama signed the Federal Disaster Declaration for New Jersey we knew the “Jersey Strong” citizens would begin their recovery immediately.

By opening your doors to the Hazard Mitigation Outreach Teams we were able to provide information to survivors on how to repair and rebuild stronger, safer, and smarter.  Our team members discussed and distributed information on retrofitting homes, elevating utilities, the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP), how to clean up mold safely, and where survivors could receive additional help on disaster related questions.  Survivors armed with this knowledge were empowered to repair and rebuild their homes to reduce their future risk.

The survivors helped us as well.  During the course of our interactions we were able to collect valuable information about the community.  Any issues, concerns, or trends we identified were forwarded to our External Affairs Team who then developed Fact Sheets, Flyers, and News Releases to address these items for the whole community.  Again, thank you for the opportunity to help us provide a very successful outreach during a very critical time.

Many thanks,

Melva D. Guzman-Cabrera
(CEO) Community Education and Outreach Specialist

Kathleen Rhodes
CEO Group Supervisor

Again, they didn't speak with one single person the entire day. And frankly, every single person I've spoken to in the past 10 months resents being called a "victim." You will notice that I will not ever refer to one person in this state who was affected by Sandy as a "victim." 

If FEMA would like to kindly send me a register of the people they spoke to on May 18, 2013 at the Roar to Restore the Shore Rally in Brick, NJ, and then present me with the"Fact Sheets, Flyers, and News Releases" they developed after meeting with people at the Rally, I'll publicly apologize.
But until then, I'll stick with what I know: These people work for you, and they're ripping you off.

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