Pet Peeves

Based on coverage of the hurricane hearing yesterday, it looks like nursing home residents are in bad shape, but there is some hope for pets.

Assemblyman Richard Brodsky, the Westchester Democrat who called the hearing, is still unsatisfied that some documents he subpoenaed haven’t been turned over, according to an aide, including implementation details. Jarrod Bernstein, press secretary for the Office of Emergency Management, told The Real Estate that the department turned over all requested materials except for those that it was still gathering and others that were third-party reports produced by other agencies.

He defended OEM against Brodsky’s charges that we posted earlier. In a message to our sister site, The Politicker, Bernstein wrote: “The city’s hurricane evacuation plan was updated in the spring of this year based on new numbers from the Army Corps of Engineers’ population study of areas of New York City vulnerable to hurricanes. In addition, the plan was further updated to incorporate lessons learned from hurricanes Katrina, Rita and most recently, Wilma. As more data becomes available on these responses, we will update our plan as necessary.”

But was the plan actually updated in the spring or not until this fall? When the media, including The Observer, started its rash of hurricane stories around Labor Day, OEM was still saying it expected 1 million evacuees, not the 2.2 million figure in the Army Corps study, nor the 3.4 million that OEM, taking into account the hurricane paranoia that Katrina produced, is now expecting. Bernstein says it took until August to analyze the numbers and identify new shelters that would accommodate the additional evacuees.

Brodsky’s assertion that “the city simply paid no attention to weather-related evacuations over the last five years” seems like a bit of an exaggeration. The question is: would Joe Bruno, the Emergency Management Commissioner, have revised his plan as quickly as he has without some Attorney General candidate running after him with a rolled-up subpoena in his hand?

Matthew Schuerman Pet Peeves