San Jose Mayor Sam Liccardo failed to protect his city’s residents from anti-Donald Trump riots last June. Now he has failed to protect them from flooding.
The city was forced to evacuate 14,000 residents earlier this week as the Coyote Creek overflowed its banks, bringing a potentially toxic flood of water contaminated with fuel and sewage.
City officials, however, had underestimated the danger. The San Jose Mercury News notes that they only expected flooding to happen if flow rates in the creek exceeded 7,400 feet per second. They did exceed that rate — but flooding had begun even before that. The city relied on faulty assumptions and failed to warn residents, meaning that the first time many people found out they had to leave was when they were told they had to do so by emergency responders moving through flooded streets.
“If the first time a resident is aware that they need to get out of a home is when they see a firefighter in a boat, then clearly there has been a failure,” Mayor Liccardo admitted, according to the Los Angeles Times. “There is no question that we’ll need to do things differently next time.”
Residents endured what the Times describes as “harrowing” escapes, and expressed anger at not being warned.
The Associated Press described other residents’ angry reactions:
“It was scary,” said Irma Gonzalez, 59, whose two-story apartment complex is alongside the creek. She was awakened about 2:30 a.m. by police pounding on her door. “They were like, ‘You’ve got to hurry up and go! Move it!”
Resident Sandy Moll said she had prepared for about a foot of water, but the flooding spilled over sandbags stacked 3 feet high and broke down her back door. Moll told the Mercury News in San Jose (http://bayareane.ws/2mcmIFD ) she was angry at the lack of warning.
“I’m seething,” she said. “It’s the lack of information and forewarning when they had to have known. They never even said you need to prepare for a major flood.”
The flooding marks the second major controversy for Liccardo in less than a year. When mobs of anti-Trump protesters attacked and bloodied Trump supporters leaving a political rally as police stood by, Mayor Liccardo blamed Trump for the violence: “At some point Donald Trump needs to take responsibility for the irresponsible behavior of his campaign,” he said.
Earlier this year, Liccardo also vowed to maintain San Jose’s status as a “sanctuary city” for illegal aliens, and to defy federal immigration laws, despite warning in an executive order issued by the president.
Now, however, it appears that Liccardo cannot even provide the most basic sanctuary to his own residents.
Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News. He was named one of the “most influential” people in news media in 2016. His new book, How Trump Won: The Inside Story of a Revolution, is available from Regnery. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.