The relentless pounding of hurricane Irene was made worse by the news of the decision of the Governor of the State of New Jersey to open the flood gates upstream
at Pompton lakes on the unsuspecting poor residents of Paterson. The Mayor and or the citizens were neither consulted nor warned of the impending dangerous condition soon to present itself as other areas in the path of the hurricane were evacuated on the shore communities.
The flood waters came raging with a vengeance in the first ward but before it got there it still flooded areas of the second ward not reported as frequently as the other. The damage to property and daily living has been forever changed in the wake of the flood where people over two weeks ago still have no power and water remains above flood range. The people of the first ward of Paterson and others have endured for decades the flood cycles from upstream and the growth of severity due to development and inability to absorb the water in the ground from said development. What was missing, then as is now are the subsequent enhancements to absorb the increase of water flow down river? As historically has been the case and predictably will be the case the water will recede and so will the interest in addressing the problem. We can only hope that of the many devastations done by this hurricane that there will be a hurry or push to help the defined lower class victims and that they do not become the object of class discrimination that was thrust upon them when the flood gates were opened in Pompton Lakes. However in identifying the real issues of accountability, as we saw the Mayor or should I say the absence of the Paterson Mayor J. Jones in any public venue with the President coupled with silence when addressing the opening of the flood gates presented no strong approach. Paterson may need to find a way to address the needs to fix the flood issue in the Courts as a class action for the community at large as a discriminatory action. Not by race but by economic conditions of which race (a secondary component) has a larger racial connotation by default… However in the absence of leadership in the Paterson NAACP, other resources of another route is advised. This is the reality and danger of neglected leadership in the organizations that should be sounding the horn in bringing these issues forward.