Saturday, August 27, 2011

So wrong - Updated 2X

I can't believe they're doing this. Shades of Katrina:
"We are not evacuating Rikers Island," Mayor Michael Bloomberg said in a news conference Friday. Bloomberg annouced a host of extreme measures being taken by New York City in preparation for the arrival of Hurricane Irene, including a shutdown of the public transit system and the unprecedented mandatory evacuation of some 250,000 people from low-lying areas. But in response to a reporter's question, the mayor stated in no uncertain terms (and with a hint of annoyance) that one group of New Yorkers on vulnerable ground will be staying put.
The place is built on a freaking landfill and within the mandatory evacuation zone. But they're not moving the prisoners? We're talking about human beings here. And if you've forgotten what happened to prisoners in NOLA during Katrina, click the link. Just horrible.

Update: For what it's worth, lost the link but Mayor Bloomberg claims Rikers wasn't in the evac zone and is on high enough ground to be safe. Thankfully, it wasn't put to the test.

Update Two: Thanks to Kevin T. Keith in comments for doing the research that shows Bloomberg is lying about Rikers. And as Kevin points out, there isn't an evac plan for Rikers in the event of any kind of natural disaster. So -- still really horrible.


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Blogger Kevin T. Keith said...

The claims about it not being in the evac zone, and on high ground, are obvious lies.

The City itself assigns the evac Zone designations. The City's own official evacuation map ( clearly shows that every inhabited island in New York waters is zoned for evacuation - most of them in the high-priority zones A and B. Rikers island is the only exception - it is not zoned at any level at all. Therefore it is not "in the evacuation zone" because the City refused to assign an evacuation priority to it at any level.

As being on "high ground", Google Earth gives elevations above mean sea level for every point on its map. It shows that almost all of Rikers Island - including most of the cell blocks - is at elevations between 20 and 30 feet MSL, and some of it lower than that. All of the waterfront areas and islands with elevations at that level are zoned for evacuation - most of them Zones A and B. There are parts of Lower Manhattan above 30 feet MSL that are in Zone B. Again, Rikers has no evac zone assignment whatsoever, even though it is at lower elevation than areas that do.

Finally, what prompted all these stories was the revelation - less than 24 hours before the storm hit - that the City had no evacuation plan of any kind for Rikers Island, and did not intend to develop one. In other words, regardless of the fact that the City totally neglected the facility in its evacuation zoning assignments, they never intended and never could have accomplished an evacuation in the first place. It had nothing to do with zoning or elevation - they were never even going to try.

These facts are easy to confirm: look at the zoning map; look at a topographic map or Google Earth. The claims about zoning and elevation are just lies. The plan for Rikers Island always was and always had been to - literally - let nature take its course.

3:55:00 PM  
Blogger Libby Spencer said...

Thanks Keith. I was pretty sure Bloombito was full of shyte but was too lazy to check. Appreciate the research.

11:22:00 AM  

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