Showing posts with label Hurricaine/ Storm. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Hurricaine/ Storm. Show all posts

December 14, 2019

The Funds Approved As Disaster Relief for Puerto Rico are Being Held By HUD

                        HUD withholding billions Puerto Rico disaster aid

Thursday marked more than three months since HUD was supposed to begin the process of allowing Puerto Rico to apply for one of the withheld aid batches—about $10 billion—and 22 months since the funds were signed into law.

Jose Javier Santana holds a Puerto Rican flag he found on the ground after Hurricane Maria passed through on October 6, 2017, in Utuado, Puerto Rico. 
Rep. David Price (D-NC) accused HUD of "singling out Puerto Rico once again" with the second tranche of delayed money, which was on the brink of being delivered to Puerto Rico until the department in recent weeks suddenly chose not to approve the island nation's grant agreement. An aide for Price, who chairs an appropriations subcommittee that oversees HUD, said they've been notified by HUD that it signed the grant agreements for each state receiving the same tranche of funds—minus the U.S. Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico.

Price said he's been offered no explanation by HUD as to why the grant agreements for the two U.S. territories were not signed, despite HUD giving their action plans the green light. The move has left him to wonder whether the White House may have played a role. The HUD officials who testified to Price in October said they would allow Puerto Rico to apply for the first tranche of illegally delayed aid "very soon" and claimed the decision to withhold it was based on HUD's overall concerns about corruption—not a directive from Secretary Ben Carson.

After the publication of this story, HUD provided the following statement, attributed to an unnamed department spokesman. The department noted that Puerto Rico has only spent a fraction of the funds they already have access to.

"The Administration has taken historic action to help the people of Puerto Rico recover from Hurricane Maria. Given the Puerto Rican government's history of financial mismanagement, corruption, and other abuses; we must ensure that any HUD assistance provided helps those on the island who need it the most. This process must be handled in a prudent manner with strong financial controls to mitigate the risk to Federal taxpayers. In addition, it is worth noting that Puerto Rico already has access to $1.5 billion and has so far only spent $5.8 million—less than one percent of those funds."

President Donald Trump (L), holds an African American History Month listening session attended by the nominee to lead the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Ben Carson (R) and other officials in the Roosevelt Room of the White House on February 1, 2017, in Washington, D.C.

HUD did not address Newsweek's questions about who determined the two tranches of aid should be withheld or why Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands' grant agreements were not signed. The White House did not respond for comment.

"They're asking for it, wouldn't you say?" Price told Newsweek in an interview on the prospects of defunding a portion of the agency. He chairs the appropriations subcommittee responsible for overseeing HUD.

"What the legal options might be, we need to consider. But what we do know, appropriations bills do offer leverage," Price said. "The best approach is not to have this problem. But if you do have it, you write a deadline into the bill. If that's ignored, then you start thinking about more drastic moves, like withholding funds for something HUD wants."

In October, the HUD officials would only go so far as to say Puerto Rico could begin applying for the funds "very soon."

"The other day, I had a mayor call me and ask, 'could we sue the federal government for their inefficiency, bureaucracy, and ineffectiveness?'" Cruz claimed.

The corruption argument by HUD and Republicans is moot, Democrats like Price have said because Congress placed safeguards that require the money to be monitored by HUD as it's dispersed. HUD's Office of Inspector General also pledged to conduct audits as additional oversight.

"I think all of us who are scratching our heads over this are wondering whether maybe all this traces back to some kind of order from the top or desire to please the president. We just don't know," Price said.

Throughout his tenure, Trump has made false claims about the U.S. territory, such as inflating the amount of hurricane relief aid and refusing to acknowledge the high death toll of Hurricane Maria. He's also feuded with Puerto Rican leaders, like Cruz and ousted Governor Ricardo Roselló.

And Price and his Democratic colleagues aren't the only ones who are casting doubts on HUD's motives. 

"It's blatant racism," Cruz, San Juan's mayor, told Newsweek. "It's blatant discrimination."

She doesn't like the way HUD handles its disaster block grant program to begin with, much less when the department singles out Puerto Rico.

Cruz said she feels the entire system is designed to help big businesses and powerful people profit from the misfortunes of those whose communities were devastated by tragedy, rather than operate as a system that aims to weed out corruption. She said local governments are required to choose from a certain list of contractors or companies to complete the major projects that they outline in action plans for HUD, which are required in order to receive the federal grants.

"For anyone from the federal government to be talking about corruption with the most corrupt president of the United States sitting on a chair an inch away from being impeached," Cruz added, "it's really the pot calling the kettle black."

Prior arguments show that HUD contends that recent events are why, in part, they need to keep a close eye on such a large amount of money. The department maintains financial monitors on the island and has reiterated its concerns over Puerto Rico's recent political unrest with Roselló's ouster and a debt crisis that has for years handicapped the local government.

Cruz doesn't buy HUD's concerns, however, citing the safeguards that Congress put in place to have the aid routinely monitored for fraud or waste.

When aid is withheld from an island nation that's been devastated by hurricane after hurricane year after year, Cruz explained, those who don't live in Puerto Rico fail to realize the real-world effects that will have on local communities. And when HUD officials continue to offer few or no explanations, she feels it only hinders their preparation for the next Hurricane Maria.

"People die because of the federal government's and Trump's ineffectiveness," the mayor said. "People continue to die."

The graphic below, provided by Statista, shows that Puerto Rico is fourth worse affected globally in terms of fatalities caused by extreme weather.

April 6, 2019

Trump Keeps Repeating Lies About Puerto Rico While He Cuts/ Withholds $$ / Programs They desperate Need

Jose Javier Santana holds a Puerto Rican flag he found on the ground after Hurricane Maria. 

Jose Javier Santana holds a Puerto Rican flag he found on the ground after Hurricane Maria.

(More than one million are cut from Food stamps..good timing !!)
WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump has continued attacking disaster relief for Puerto Rico in the wake of two devastating hurricanes, repeating his false claim the US territory “got 91 Billion Dollars for the hurricane, more money than has ever been gotten for a hurricane before,” and blaming the island’s slow recovery on local authorities.
Puerto Rico has received $11 billion, about a quarter of the $41 billion in funding it has been allocated by federal authorities, as it tries to recover from hurricanes Irma and Maria, according to data from the Federal Emergency Management Agency — not the $91 billion the president claims the island has received.

A senior administration official said the source of the $91 billion figure Trump has repeatedly used is a combination of the $41 billion in disaster aid that’s been allocated to the island and another $50 billion the administration anticipates will be needed over the “life of the disaster,” which usually means several years and possibly decades. 
Trump raised the same number during a closed-door meeting with Republicans last week, when he told senators the island has already received too much disaster relief and has squandered those funds.
Trump also repeated his false claim on Tuesday that the federal government has spent more on the aftermath of Hurricane Maria than any other storm in history. The federal government spent around $120 billion in total in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, some of those funds continuing for years after the storm as communities continued to deal with the fallout.
Democrats said the president’s aversion to providing aid to the island is based on a racist and colonialist attitude toward Puerto Rico, and the idea that Puerto Rico and its 3.1 million US citizens are not really part of the US.
“Denying the funds they need to recover while requesting the ‘A+ treatment’ for other states is insulting to Puerto Ricans and for Latinos in general to say the least,” Sen. Bob Menendez told BuzzFeed News last week. 
In part of his Twitter diatribe against Puerto Rico on Tuesday, Trump tweeted that Puerto Rican officials “only take from USA.”
White House deputy press secretary Hogan Gidley also referred to Puerto Rico as “that country” during a segment on MSNBC Live with Hallie Jackson this week; Puerto Rico is a US territory. Later in the segment, after being questioned by Jackson on that point, Gidley said that it was a mistake.

While the president continues to rail against Puerto Rico, Congress is struggling to passa disaster relief funding bill that provides money for Puerto Rico as well as states on the mainland that have been hit by hurricanes and other natural disasters. The funding has been held up in large part because the president has made it clear to Republicans that he opposes further disaster relief for the island.
The president has specifically blamed Puerto Rico for holding up disaster relief for the states.
“The best thing that ever happened to Puerto Rico is President Donald J. Trump,” Trump tweeted. “So many wonderful people, but with such bad Island leadership and with so much money wasted. Cannot continue to hurt our Farmers and States with these massive payments, and so little appreciation!”
Aid for Puerto Rico in terms of funding, federal emergency personnel on the ground, and supplies, came in slower than it did for Texas and Florida in the aftermath of their storms in 2017, according to several investigations since.
In the immediate aftermath of Hurricane Maria, Trump compared the storm to Katrina, saying the storm that hit Puerto Rico was not a “real disaster” like Katrina, because the official death toll at the time stood at just 16, compared to the 1,833 people who died as a result of Katrina. When Puerto Rican authorities finally admitted that approximately 3,000 people died in Puerto Rico as a result of the hurricane, Trump refused to acknowledge the deaths, instead saying the death toll was “done by the Democrats to make me look as bad as possible.” 
Trump’s reluctance to give Puerto Rico more disaster funding is at the center of a fight on Capitol Hill over how much the island will get in a disaster funding bill that’s currently stalled in the Senate. The Democrat-majority House passed a bill in January that included $600 million in emergency food stamp funding — the island began making cuts to food stamp benefits last month due to a lack of funds — as well as $700 million in disaster recovery funding for Puerto Rico and other areas hit by natural disasters.
In the Senate, Republicans sought to pass a $13.4 billion bill that included just the $600 million for food stamps but excluded other funding for Puerto Rico. The rest of the disaster recovery funds in the bill go to states, including North and South Carolina, Georgia, Iowa, Nebraska, Missouri, and Kansas, giving Republicans from those states a strong incentive to find a compromise that can make it through the House and the Senate and get the president’s approval. Republicans argued that alternatives offered up by Democrats, which closely mirrored the House bill, would have left out some of those states.
On Tuesday, Democrats introduced another measure, which adds up to $16.7 billion to the total package and reinstates some funds for Puerto Rico. That bill includes funding for North and South Carolina, Florida, and other states hit by disasters, in addition to $1.1 billion for Puerto Rico (including the $600 million in food stamp aid). Both sides said they aren’t giving up on negotiations, but Senate Appropriations Committee chair Sen. Richard Shelby said on Tuesday that the Democratic bill is unlikely to make any headway in the Senate because the president will not sign proposals that include additional funding for Puerto Rico.
Democrats acknowledge the urgency of passing the $600 million in food stamp funding for Puerto Rico, where 1.3 million people have already seen cuts to their food stamp checks. But they argue that the federal government needs to provide more funds for Puerto Rico and assurances that more of the federal funds already allocated to the island will be released within 90 days. 
The two agencies with the largest chunks of funding for Puerto Rico, FEMA and HUD, have $15 billion and $20 billion allocated for the island, respectively. About $9 billion of the FEMA dollars have actually reached the island, according to the agency, while HUD just made its first $1.5 billion available to the island in February, 18 months after the hurricane. Puerto Ricans have been waiting on these HUD block grants in particular to reconstruct houses, relocate communities living in high-risk areas, and for programs to improve the infrastructure’s storm resilience.
Puerto Rico’s governor, Ricardo Rosselló, is hoping for around $78 billion in federal funds in total from federal agencies, according to his fiscal plan released last week, which the governor is required to prepare as part of the government’s bankruptcy agreement with federal authorities. Rosselló estimated in November 2017 that Puerto Rico would need $94.4 billion to recover and rebuild with infrastructure that could withstand another storm.
Rosselló (Who has been a problem by going half way with Trump under the auspice that being weak works with this phycho when just like his buddy Putin, he only respect power and even though he  can't do without brown-noses he has no respect for them.)responded to the president on Twitter on Tuesday. ~~~~Adam
“Mr. President, this ‘place’ you refer to, #PuertoRico, is home to over three million proud Americans that are still recovering from the storm and in need of federal assistance. We are not your adversaries, we are your citizens,”  

April 3, 2019

Trump’s Latest Hate Filed Tweets Towards Puerto Rico Are Based on Trump’s Ugly Premise

In the town of Yabucoa, residents say the Trump administration let them down and their struggle continues. 
Opinion writer
President Trump wants Midwestern farmers to believe that Puerto Rico, with the complicity of Democrats, is trying to take their disaster relief money from them — and that the island is undeserving of any further financial help.
As usual, these arguments are based on lies. But as Trump’s lies go, these are particularly instructive — and ugly.
Yet these new lies also raise a question: Why does Trump assume that Midwestern farmers will believe them?
A battle has erupted in the Senate over disaster relief, one that, if Trump has his way, will pit more recent disaster victims (Midwestern farmers dealing with flooding and Southerners dealing with tornado damage) against those on Puerto Rico who are still suffering under the aftereffects of the 2017 Hurricane Maria.
On Monday night, the Senate failed to pass a massive $13.45 billion emergency aid bill for victims of all these national disasters, amid an impasse over money for Puerto Rico. Democrats say the $600 million for food stamps for Puerto Rico in the bill is far short of what is needed, and support a bill the House passed a few months ago that contains hundreds of millions of dollars more for the island.

President Trump on March 28 defended his administration's assistance to Puerto Rico, saying he has taken care of the island more than "any man ever." 
Trump opposes any of that additional funding. In an unusually disgusting and hateful series of tweets, he claimed that Puerto Rico has already gotten $91 billion in aid, which he said has been “wasted” by “grossly incompetent” leaders there. 
Crucially, Trump also argued that Puerto Rico politicians “only take from USA” and that Democrats now “want to give them more, taking dollars away from our Farmers.”
Trump’s claim that Puerto Rico has already gotten $91 billion in aid is a lie. As Glenn Kessler demonstrates, less than $20 billion has actually been laid out or identified, and Trump’s figure is based on an internal government estimate of what might be spent under current statutes over 20 years, an estimate that is itself very fuzzy and subject to change.
The claim that Democrats want to take money from Midwestern disaster relief and give it to Puerto Rico is also a lie.
As Erica Werner and Jeff Stein explain, what actually happened is that House Democrats passed a relief bill with money for Puerto Rico and other more recent disasters months ago — well before the Midwestern flooding occurred. So Senate Democrats on Monday tried to add an amendment to that bill that would make billions in disaster money accessible to the Midwest and Southeast. Thus, the Democratic approach was to fund Midwestern, Southern and Puerto Rican aid. But Republicans opposed that amendment. 
At the same time, Democrats opposed the Republican version of the disaster relief bill. This one funded Midwestern disaster relief, but by their lights insufficiently funded Puerto Rico.
The idea here is that this is supposed to create a serious political predicament for Democrats. As the 2020 Democratic presidential hopefuls are campaigning in Iowa, this story goes, they just voted against a bill that funds help to the beleaguered Midwest.
Multiple Republicans have made versions of this argument. And Trump did, too, bashing Democrats for killing “great relief to Farmers.”
The core dispute
But the core dispute is not over whether Midwestern disaster relief should be funded, or by how much. It’s over whether more money should be added to help Puerto Rico. And even if more were added for Puerto Rico, as Democrats want, it would not come out of funding for Midwestern relief. 
And so, the underlying premise of the Republican attack is that it should be a political liability for Democrats if they want to fully fund disaster relief for everybody.
In the real world, of course, if the true nature of this dispute were understood, it probably wouldn’t be a political problem for Democrats. That’s why they are embracing their demand for funding relief for all who are afflicted. As Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer put it, “we help our fellow Americans when there’s a disaster, wherever the disaster strikes. We do not abandon them. Period.”
It should be noted that Puerto Rico is still in desperate straits. Recently New York Times reporters visited more than 150 homes in Puerto Rico and came away with numerous wrenching stories.
This is why Trump needs to flagrantly distort the underlying dispute, by claiming both that Puerto Rico is undeserving of the aid money that Democrats want to give it, and that in so doing, Democrats would take money from Midwesterners, both of which are based on lies. 
The underlying premise of this story is that the voters Trump plainly hopes to arouse with it will be inclined to believe those lies.
The things Trump will do to please his base 
We already know that much of what Trump does is geared, to an extraordinary degree, toward his base. Trump embraced a lawsuit that would unleash enormous damage throughout the health-care system in part because it would please his base. Trump pardoned abusive racist Joe Arpaio after growing convinced that it was “a way of pleasing his political base.” Trump reportedly claimed of his horrific family separations that “my people love it.” Trump revived his attacks on football players protesting racism while believing it “revs up his political base.”
We don’t know for sure if Trump believes his latest attacks on Puerto Rico will please his base. But, given that he’s telling rural voters in a region he needs in 2020 that Puerto Rican disaster sufferers do not deserve any more help and that such help would take from them, it seems like a reasonable assumption.
It is unlikely that large numbers of those voters will believe this story. But what does the fact that Trump is telling it say about his view of those voters, and of what they want to hear

September 23, 2018

One Year After The Situation in Puerto Rico is Untenable


             SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico—
Puerto Rico se levanta. It’s become something of an official motto among officials on the island, draped across buildings and making its way into press releases and speeches. 
It captures an optimistic and hopeful feeling, one a world away from mainland America’s posture toward the island, which vacillates between indifference and sensationalism. The best English translation is probably “Puerto Rico is rising,” but a few others might do as well. Puerto Rico rises. Puerto Rico raises itself. Puerto Rico is waking up. 
But a full year after the destruction of Hurricane Maria—with blue tarps as ubiquitous on the island as the se levanta slogans and the murals declaring fuerte—just what do “rising” and “waking up” really mean? 
Thursday marks the tragic anniversary of one of the most deadly disasters in American history, and somber vigils and actos ecuménicos across Puerto Rico will mark it as such. The subtext of each event is the push and pull of grief and hope, a battle between past and future, a struggle between colony and colonizer, a complicated relationship between a diaspora and home, and an unresolved mix of questions about status and citizenship.

What have we learned since Hurricane Maria? Most of the attention in the past few weeks has been focused on how to quantify the damage done by the storm and its aftermath. That discussion took on a heated, partisan character when President Donald Trump disputed the estimate, rendered by academic researchers, that almost 3,000 people died as a result of the storm. 

His dispute—and that of the praetorian guard of pundits dedicated to preserving his presidency—is not one rooted in facts or even in goodwill toward the Puerto Rican people, but in dismissal and negligence. The number makes the federal government look bad, so it must be a hoax, or the result of poor conditions on the island before the storm, or a poor response from Puerto Rican authorities long after.

It’s a self-contradictory argument, but one that, above all else, denies any kind of federal responsibility. 

According to Trump, the federal government’s response was monumental and historical, but was somehow also hampered by the fact that Puerto Rico is a five-hour flight away from Washington, D.C. 

In his telling, that response is what kept the island from enduring a fate similar to Louisiana and other states in the Gulf of Mexico after Hurricane Katrina.But the truth is that the federal government’s reaction was deeply inadequate, and likely led to hundreds or perhaps thousands of deaths.

 A report released by Trump’s own Federal Emergency Management Agency even outlines some of the ways in which the response was lacking.

 The report found that local stores of emergency supplies in federal warehouses in Puerto Rico were all but nonexistent, and that many of the agency’s critical staff were deployed elsewhere during the early stages of Hurricane Maria.

 Federal communications were a mess, making it difficult to get a handle on the true scope of the damage or marshal resources to the worst-hit areas, and leading to logistics logjams in the provision of emergency goods. 

Outside reporting from Frontline and NPR has found even more worrying deficiencies in the federal response, including a critical lack of planning, a misunderstanding of the island’s fragile electric grid, and a contracting process during the response phase that was wanting, to say the least.

 There is no reading of fema’s response, official or otherwise, that indicates that it was as swift or efficient as it was after mainland disasters like Hurricane Harvey in Texas.But the responsibility for Maria’s aftermath doesn’t just rest with the federal government, either. 

Puerto Rico’s vulnerable electricity grid and its weak critical infrastructure were almost entirely destroyed by the storm, and the story of how they got so weak is one that involves authorities on the island and federal lawmakers from both parties. Then there’s the financial crisis that wracked the island, and the Puerto Rico Power Authority’s financial troubles, which left the territory with a power grid that was a strong storm away from complete collapse. 

The fact is that last year, Hurricanes Irma and Maria struck an island that was uniquely fragile, in political and financial turmoil, and probably in the worst shape possible for a major disaster.The ongoing question of responsibility is still being sorted out in the territory. 

Multiple levels of government have been involved in Puerto Rico’s restoration, as well as its political struggle for power within the United States. 

A federal oversight board, implemented by Congress two years ago and signed into law by President Obama, is technically in charge of major fiscal decisions on the island, and as such was the major player in a recent decision to privatize Prepa. But it still exists uneasily alongside the official elected government on the island, led by Governor Ricardo Rosselló, and the two have often clashed on infrastructure and finance, among other matters.

Under the direction of the oversight board, the island has embarked on an austerity program, which includes slashing public assistance and government support to municipalities and institutions like Puerto Rico’s robust university system, as well as major cuts to public education and a massive slate of school closings. 

In a post-Maria world, the goal of this program is essentially to starve off the informal economy and massive public sector that have developed over time in Puerto Rico , and replace them with a robust formal tourism industry and private developers, all buoyed by an influx of credit from mainland investors. But that program has highlighted another rift within the territory, one in which public-sector employees and students are naturally squeezed and now find themselves often in protest. 

 Even as those tensions heighten within the increasingly complicated social and political structures within Puerto Rico, rebuilding is still taking place. After eight months in the dark for some citizens, most of the power grid is back in place. 

It’s still fragile, and still faces outages during storms in some areas, but the deafening hum of generators that characterized the island’s metropolitan areas after Maria is no longer. Most of the critical roads are repaired, and the hospitals are in no worse condition than they were before the storm. 

Tourism is back—and this week especially, Rosselló has made a show of entertaining visitors—even though some of the signature hotels in San Juan and Old San Juan still haven’t been rebuilt.

Officials within the tourism industry have decried news coverage of dysfunction and destruction in favor of a narrative that highlights strong recovery. 

“Six months after Hurricane Maria hit, more than fifty percent of travelers said media coverage negatively impacted their view of Puerto Rico as a destination and we’re hoping to change that as the one year anniversary approaches,” said Brad Dean, the CEO of Discover Puerto Rico, a new nonprofit created to promote tourism, in a press release earlier this month.Still, it’s hard to visit Puerto Rico and not see that the recovery is incomplete, perhaps even hollow in some places. 

The blue tarps covering roofs are so common that they are visible on the flight into San Juan. Municipalities far away from the bustle of the capital still lag behind in rebuilding, only compounding the miseries of rural, poorer residents that existed before the storm. As Kathy Gannett, a resident of Vieques, a small island off the eastern coast, told me, most of the population there still has “great needs for housing, health services, sustainable energy, jobs, ferry service, and mental-health services.”
One of the most difficult problems for the island to deal with is the fact that so many people have left it. According to an analysis released Thursday by the Center for Puerto Rican Studies at Hunter College in New York, almost 200,000 people have departed for the mainland in the year since the storm. 
That’s a steep drop of about 6 percent from the total population of roughly 3 million people, and it’s on top of the half million residents who left in the 12 years before Maria. According to Edwin Meléndez, the center’s director, the exodus of Puerto Ricans to the mainland “is an indication of stagnant conditions on the island and the impatience of the population with the governmental responses at all levels.”
Those numbers get to the heart of the problem in Puerto Rico, one that exists beyond Trump’s government, and one that Maria exposed rather than created. It’s that the political and economic situation of the island is untenable, and that the old specter of colonialism is more and more unbearable.
As people continue to leave, the disaster of Hurricane Maria is still exerting its influence, and the political questions of how to truly confront the catastrophe and its root causes are in front of the island and its diaspora—not behind them. 
A year is not enough time to measure the scale of a disaster as massive as Maria. The effects on local and federal politics alone will reverberate through future elections. The effects on the economy of Puerto Rico have only just begun, and it increasingly looks like the hurricane marks an epochal shift in the nature of the relationship between the island and the broader United States. Puerto Rico se levanta, but exactly where it will rise is still a mystery.
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San Juan Mayor, Carmen Yulín Ortiz Sharply Blames Trump For The Astronomical Death Rate From Maria

Puerto Rico's mayor of San Juan has sharpened her attacks against Donald Trump, blaming his administration for "structural negligence" that led to thousands of deaths in the wake of Hurricane Maria. 
Carmen Yulín Cruz said the president was responsible for the federal government’s slow response to the deadly hurricane estimated to have killed nearly 3,000 people, during an interview with CNN's Anderson Cooper on the one-year anniversary of the storm. 
"This is President Trump’s Katrina," the mayor said, referring to the catastrophic hurricane that struck the US in August 2005. "He can spin it all he wants — 3,000 people died on his watch." 
Ms. Cruz has frequently criticised Mr. Trump ever since Hurricane Maria’s impact was felt across the US territory, while the president has said he earned a "10 out of 10" for his government’s disaster recovery efforts. He's also denied the revised death count from the storm of 2,975, claiming the study commissioned by the Puerto Rican government was a conspiracy created by Democrats to make him "look bad". 
Trump in North Carolina brings pizza and food...  But Trump has to be Trump: He Tells the people in the car "have a good time". Sure they will, at least is not paper towels like in San Juan.
The mayor's latest comments arrived shortly after the deadly Hurricane Florence struck the Carolinas, Virginia and other parts of the country. Mr. Trump traveled to impacted regions during the week after warning that the storm would be "tremendously big and a tremendously wet" hurricane.
The president was restrained during his visit to North Carolina on Wednesday, serving as consoler-in-chief while touting the storm's damage.  
Ms Cruz added, "Today, 3,000 Puerto Ricans opened their eyes, and because they didn't have insulin, they didn't have appropriate medical care, they didn't have dialysis, and they didn't have access to their medication, they died."
The president has sparred directly with Ms. Cruz, who previously told The Independent that he has personally attacked her "just out of spite".  
In one instance, the mayor was invited to participate in a White House conference call to discuss relief efforts, only to be reportedly be told not to speak. 
He’s also mocked her on Twitter and in multiple speeches, describing Ms. Cruz as the “incompetent mayor of San Juan”

September 14, 2018

Carmen YulÍn Cruz Small in Size But A Giant as San Juan Mayor in PR and Savior of Lives

 Meet Carmen Yulin Ortiz "El Pitirre" de San Juan  El Pitirre is a bird that never stops flying, singing, nest building

San Juan Mayor Carmen Yulín Cruz’s debut on the world stage was unforgettable. “We are dying here,” Cruz said in a Sep­t. 29, 2017, press con­fer­ence after Hurricane Maria ravaged Puerto Rico and a slow, inadequate response from the U.S. federal government compounded the disaster. “So I am done being po­lite.”
Cruz, now 55, was bold and defiant. But it was far from the first time. Five years before she found herself standing up to President Donald Trump, Cruz, whose remarkable journey to power is the subject of this week’s episode of Breaking Big, airing at 8:30 p.m. EST Friday on PBS, was challenging another giant — one of Puerto Rico’s most established political bosses — in order to win her current job. 
Puerto Rican society, including its political life, remains defined by a machismo culture that can make it daunting for women to pursue their dreams and ambitions. As Cruz tells OZY’s editor-in-chief Carlos Watson, “If a man raises his voice in the Congress, he’s being vocal. You are being hysterical.” 
And in San Juan, the embodiment of that machismo culture for years was its mayor, Jorge Santini, a bombastic political strongman with slicked-back hair who ruled over the island’s capital for 12 years and had a reputation for wasting public money on extravagant projects. Cruz, a graduate of universities like Boston University and Carnegie Mellon, returned to Puerto Rico in the early 1990s to start her own career in politics, working under Sila María Calderón, Santini’s predecessor as mayor of San Juan and the first woman to become governor of Puerto Rico. Cruz ran for office herself in 2008, winning a seat in the Puerto Rico House of Rep­re­sen­ta­tives.
Four years later, the candidate from Cruz’s Popular Democratic Party had to drop his challenge to Santini when he became embroiled in a controversy over domestic abuse. The party was scrambling to find a last-minute replacement — but nobody wanted to challenge the powerful Santini, already serving his third term in office. Well, almost nobody. “So I’m saying, ‘Pick me. Pick me. I want to do it,’” says Cruz. “Well, my party had meetings and meetings and was like, ‘Anybody but Yulín.’ And finally, there was nobody left.”  So Cruz got her shot. Nobody thought she had a chance against Santini. “I went to talk to her and said, ‘Listen, are you sure you want to do this? There’s no possibility that you’re going to win this election,’” says Charlie Hernandez, an attorney and the former majority leader of the island’s House of Representatives. “And she said, ‘I know I can win, and I will win.’” Cruz’s campaign director, Cesar Miranda, says she started with just two people on her campaign and zero money. But after watching Cruz in action, it was clear to Miranda and other political veterans that they had a candidate who would not require much polishing. “We said, ‘Let’s not touch this woman. She’s a wildflower. You don’t touch wildflowers.’”
Santini, known as “the Hawk,” mocked his opponent’s gender and experience on the trail, addressing her not by her name but as “esa señora” (“that woman”). Running on a platform of inclusion and change — and building a coalition of students, women and LGBTQ voters — the under-5-foot-tall Cruz billed herself as “La Pitirre,” a tiny but aggressive bird (the gray kingbird) that is the subject of a well-known saying on the island: A cada guaraguao le llega su pitirre (“Every hawk has its pitirre”). Wearing a red bandanna like a political revolutionary, Cruz took to the streets, launching a grassroots campaign dedicated to job creation, transparency, the needs of the poor and connecting with everyday Puerto Ricans. “She can convince. She can talk to people,” says Hernandez. “She is a political monster because she can find a way to do things, to convince the people.” 
And on Nov. 6, 2012, Cruz pulled off a David-beats-Goliath victory over the once-mighty Santini, beating him by around 6,000 votes. “The girl triumphed over the hawk” read San Juan’s El Nuevo Día the following day. “Our machismo culture in Puerto Rico resists a strong-willed, smart woman like [Cruz]; of course they do,” says Hernandez. “I’m still amazed at the way she did it.”
The day of her inauguration, Cruz ditched her red bandanna for an all-white outfit meant to send the message that with her at the helm, the residents of San Juan would be getting a clean slate. But, as San Juan realized when Hurricane Maria hit, a fresh start does not mean that Cruz fights any less hard than the men who have traditionally ruled the island. “I fight like a man,” says La Pitirre herself. “And I’m telling you this in the machismo context: I’ll give it to you as hard as you give it to me.”

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