By Paola Crespo, Bri Eveler, Alexa Corea and Jessica Keesee
As Hurricane Sandy tore through Atlantic City, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and Atlantic City Mayor Lorenzo Langford are fighting like children.
Christie accused the mayor of undermining his order for complete evacuation of the city and sending a mixed message to his residents. He assured them that they could use shelters as a last resort if they chose not to evacuate. “Despite my admonition, he gave them comfort, for some reason, to stay,” Christie said.
Five-hundred residents are now stranded for choosing to stay. Christie refused to send out rescuers to the citizens that chose to stay and bear the storm.
“I cannot in good conscience send rescuers in as the storm is about to hit in the next hour, nor can I send them in the dark with all the various hazards that would occur potentially today,” Christie said.
Christie was right in what he said. The residents of Atlantic City should have completely evacuated but they were misguided by their mayor who offered them the option of staying in the city. Christie’s decision to not send rescuers out was understandable; he didn’t want to risk their lives as well.
Nevertheless, reprimanding the mayor on national television was unprofessional; so was abandoning the people of Atlantic City.
“So for those of you who are on the barrier islands who decided it was a better idea to wait this out than to evacuate, for those elected officials who decided to ignore my admonition, this is now your responsibility,” Christie said.
Christie continued his reproach of Langford, whom he called a “rogue mayor,” and said “I don’t have a feud with the guy. But I wish he’d do his job.”
Mayor Langford responded to Christie’s criticisms, saying Christie was “dead wrong” and would like to confront him “mano-a-mano.”
The 500 stranded citizens of Atlantic City need help and support from their government officials. They don’t need to see or hear them duking it out in the media like children. It’s time to throw in the towel and the drop the dispute. Langford and Christie need to focus on the people and this disaster.