The Transom, Ben Domenech, October 2, 2017
Carmen Yulin Cruz, the mayor of San Juan, is an ambitious local politician with an intent to run for governor and no experience dealing with hurricane relief. She is also now a Democratic darling for her stance against President Trump, her screenprinted shirt bearing her slogan “help us, we are dying”, and her argument that FEMA’s response has been insufficient to what she describes utterly inaccurately as “genocide” on the island. Here’s Mike Lupica, noted Puerto Rico expert, describing her as a hero. http://vlt.tc/30y8 She had puff pieces in multiple news outlets yesterday, despite the fact that the mayor has been spending more time creating photo-ops than participating in the relief effort – she has to this point attended just one meeting of local officials. http://vlt.tc/30xr FEMA has been working around her for several days because of her lack of engagement in the relief process. http://vlt.tc/30xv
If you know anything about Puerto Rico, this is not a surprise. The island’s elected officials get that way because of their position on the island’s status – Commonwealth, Independence, or Statehood – and not because of their diligence in addressing local infrastructure issues, with the mayor herself has repeatedly ignored. Glenn Reynolds writes in USA Today that Puerto Rico has big problems, but President Trump isn’t one of them. http://vlt.tc/30z2 “Maria was the second hurricane to hit Puerto Rico, and the third to hit the United States in the space of a few weeks, and many U.S. government assets were already committed elsewhere. That means recovery is going to be slower no matter what. Relief officials on the island say that aid is getting to the ports now, but the problem is distribution, with most truck drivers unable to get to work because of the destruction.
“It’s a lack of drivers for the transport trucks, the 18-wheelers,” Col. Michael Valle, who is in charge of the Hurricane Maria relief efforts, told The Huffington Post. “There are ships full of supplies, backed up in the ports, waiting to have a vehicle to unload into. However, only 20% of the truck drivers show up to work. These are private citizens in Puerto Rico, paid by companies that are contracted by the government.”
“Politicians and pundits will do what they can to wring partisan advantage out of the fact — see the tweet-fight between Trump and San Juan’s mayor — but that’s just because that’s what they do.”
RELATED: Trump charges into the Democrats’ trap on Puerto Rico. http://vlt.tc/30yj Puerto Rico’s power company was already bankrupt. Then Maria hit. http://vlt.tc/30xy US military on Puerto Rico: ‘The problem is distribution’ and here’s why. http://vlt.tc/30yn Puerto Rican CEO: Local government ‘corrupt’ and ‘totally inexperienced’ in Maria cleanup. http://vlt.tc/30xs San Juan mayor’s anti-Trump rants: Helping Puerto Rico or just politicizing disaster? http://vlt.tc/30ym Trump slams ‘fake news’ and ‘ingrates’ as he defends Puerto Rico relief efforts. http://vlt.tc/30y6