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President Obama visited storm-ravaged Staten Island yesterday to console victims and reassure residents that their lives would be rebuilt. Despite his understanding words this is what some of them had to say:

His house sits just across from Miller Field where white FEMA tents are clustered and the sound of distant cheers Thursday afternoon meant President Barack Obama had just arrived.

Standing on his porch, littered with bottles and debris, Bellantoni said he didn't vote for Obama, “but I'm a true patriot,” he said, "so my theory is, he's my president. I want him to prove me wrong.”

Prove him 'wrong' how exactly we don't learn.

This Republican, who preferred Romney's version of FEMA being dissolved and turned to the states, wants to know what the President will do for her. She also thinks the President should have visited sooner, despite Mayor Bloomberg's insistence that he not visit and not send FEMA help.

That sentiment was echoed by other residents in this historically conservative borough who had mixed feelings about Obama’s visit to the region as the clean up crawls forward. Obama won Staten Island, but the margin was 50 to 49 percent — the narrowest margin of any of the five boroughs.

Lisa Mazza, 42, waited to see the president along Miller Field with her video camera, even though she said she didn't vote for him either. The mother of three said Obama should have visited Staten Island sooner. She also wanted to know what else the president could do to help the neighborhood, over and above the work of non-government groups like the Red Cross.

“As far as government: what are you going to do to help us? We need to get this taken care of,” said Mazza who lost the entire first floor of her home. She applied for help from FEMA but was confused by questions on the application.

While New York City voted overwhelmingly for President Obama, Staten Island voted for him 50 to 49%. Fortunately for these people President Obama understands that he is the president of all Americans and did not limit his attention to Democratic areas. The hurricane hit right in the midst of the election, and as one commenter wrote
'they voted for Romney's version of 'you're on you're own' right in the midst of their destruction'.  
Below is video of President Obama speaking to residents yesterday. He calls out the private sector to have some 'heart and spirit' to help their customers. A woman who lost her home and has flood insurance, says the insurance company has not even visited yet and was told she will have to wait eight weeks before they even show up to inspect her home (or former home). While there is disagreement with some as to whether it adequately covers damage, FEMA has already written checks to homeowners.  People continue to criticize FEMA for their response, in the midst of a disaster area that lacks services. There is a FEMA worker filling out a form on a mobile tablet. This is far more than anything insurance companies appear to have done.

President Obama has appointed HUD Secretary Sean Donovan to lead post-Sandy recovery efforts. The victims of Hurricane Sandy have a direct line to a cabinet member leading the recovery effort. Mr. Donovan is uniquely qualified to fill this position as he is the former director of New York City's housing authority.

President Obama has directed Housing and Urban Development Secretary Shaun Donovan to lead the federal government’s long-term recovery efforts in the areas hit by Hurricane Sandy.

After traveling to New York on Thursday to visit storm-struck areas, President Obama said Donovan will coordinate federal action for states that are looking to redesign and rebuild communities following the devastation caused by Sandy. The Federal Emergency Management Agency will continue to lead the federal government’s continuing disaster relief efforts in areas such eastern New Jersey and New York City.

So I do hope, Mr. Bellantoni, that the President is proving you 'wrong'.
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