The Leadership Disconnect from Sandy

The other day something truly horrible happened to New Jersey, Staten Island, and much of the rest of New York City. The electricity is still off in most places. They are pumping out the tunnels and subways as best they can, but food and fuel and services are short in many neighborhoods. The rescue efforts have been hampered by a lack of coordination and resources. The greatest city in the world is now more akin to Nairobi at the moment. People are having to seek water, restrooms, and help wherever they can.

The people are hanging tough in most cases. There have been few fights and crime here and there but overall New Yorkers and Jerseyites and even some of y'all up in Connecticut are making us proud as a nation.

But there is one group who have not done us proud. It's the same group as always. Despite the mayhem and the need, Bette Midler and Cipriani and a number of other socialites just had to proceed with their parties and events. There's never a time like a crisis to party for some of us, it seems.

So while NYPD and FDNY and National Guard are pulling double shifts and linemen and tree surgeons are collapsing from too many hours on the job, the leadership elite has not been setting a very good example either.

Dwayne Wade let his feeling be known about the stupidity of holding the Nets -- Heat game tonight as scheduled. The Steelers will be flying into town late for their game with the Jets but may not be able to get the gas to get back home after the game the way things are shaping up. Who cares about the fans, anyway? It's all about TV revenue and the sponsors.

The worst and most egregious case is the Marathon. Generators desperately required to power infrastructure and clothes and food required to feed people who really need it have been purposed for a nonessential event that runs through all five boroughs. As people in the projects are forced to use hallways as latrines, thousands of Port-O-Sans have been dropped along the marathon route to provide comfort for the runners. Mayor Bloomberg and the organizers are way out of line on this one. There is a real danger of protests and disruption, which frankly I would support.

People are dumpster-diving in the Village and yet down at Ft. Dix there are helicopters to deliver MRE's and water ready to go. So who is tasking these resources? The disaster relief just isn't happening in any logical manner.

We learned from Katrina in 2005. Emergency responders around the country rewrote their manuals for exactly this kind of disaster. But with poor leadership and a Dolce Vita mentality at the top the rest of us suffer. Leadership is lacking in New York. We have to do better. How about tasking those marathoners to load up and deliver water and food to those who are in real need instead of running a pointless, self-indulgent vanity event to start with?