Show: POLITICS NATION Date: January 24, 2016 Guest: Hari Sevugan; Sheldon Neeley
REV. AL SHARPTON, MSNBC HOST: Good morning. Welcome to "Politics Nation." I`m Al Sharpton.
Big news this morning from the presidential race and from the health crisis in Flint, Michigan. I`ll have that coming up.
But let`s start with Richard Lui who has full coverage of the aftermath of this massive blizzard here on the east coast - Richard.
RICHARD LUI, MSNBC CORRESPONDENT: Good morning to you, Rev.
Yes, lots to talk about in terms about the storm. We will talk to you as little bit later in the hour. The east coast is waking up this morning to record setting or near record setting amounts of snow. Yesterday`s massive blizzard that dumped as much as three feet of snow in some places finally taking off overnight. We can now confirm at least 20 storm related fatalities this morning, unfortunately. The travel ban in New York City has now been lifted after almost 27 inches of snow fell in central park just shy of the record there.
Also this morning, many major airports on the east coast effectively closed. Over 60,000 people still do not have power in places on the east coast.
For more we`re joined now by NBC meteorologist Bill Karins.
And almost that record, Bill.
BILL KARINS, NBC NEWS METEOROLOGIST: Yes. Some areas did and some areas were very close. Historic storm, maybe once in every ten, 20 year type event. This huge blizzard is now heading towards the Canadian Maritimes, the last of the snow ended on Cape Cod. So we are done with storm. And it is good deal of clearing behind it. So it is going to be a Sunny day for the clean-up which helps with the road.
The only problem we still have to watch is the high tide cycle. We are now going through. Coastal flood warnings from areas out of Roanoke all the way back to coastal areas of New Jersey and even here in Cape Cod. These are the high tide times this morning, 8:25 a.m., 7:48. So a lot of these are already past. And it wasn`t horrible. We do have another high tide cycle this evening that will still have some high water. But we are not pointing to be worse than what we saw yesterday anyway. So whatever damage was done yesterday maybe just take a little longer to clean up because of the high water today and tonight.
The wind gusts are not that bad. Couple of gusts in the 28 three-mile frame. So people out there shoveling, at least you`re not dealing with blowing and drifting of the snow. But the wind chill values are cold. So this is not a fun day to be shoveling out there. Wind chills, I mean, in the single digits to the teens. They will get better this afternoon as the winds die off. And I`m sure the kids will be out there enjoying it and playing it.
So let`s give you and show you the historical impacts of it. Baltimore as far as the big city goes that highest total 29.2 inches. New York right behind that. Philadelphia over 20 inches. D.C. almost got up to 20 inches. A lot of people arguing this total and that this wasn`t measured correctly. But that is a different story for a different day. And even Boston got into it last night with six inches of snow. So let`s take you from the cities up the coastline to see how does that range historically.
Washington, D.C., this goes as your third greatest all time snowstorm in the beltway right there at Reagan national airport. Dulles, by the way had 29 inches of snow. It was very impressive. New York and Baltimore, you set your all-time record. So Allentown, Pennsylvania and Baltimore, two of the big cities that saw their biggest snowfall ever measured, 29.2. And you crushed your old record from 20 from 2003.
Philadelphia you didn`t get the top three but ended up number four with 22 inches of snow. I mean, this is how historic the storm was. You go all the way up I-95, New York City, by the way, one-tenth of an inch away from tying your all-time record. So we were very close. Second place for central park. So you get the picture here. This will go down maybe as the third possibly fourth greatest snowfall ever in the mid-Atlantic region as far as impacts.
LUI: And Bill, you were there for all three of those, I believe, even going back to `47. But we are here in 2006 and that was a big one.
KARINS: I know that one as well.
LUI: I do as well. On the note, though, of the cold weather, is there concern and what are you watching in terms of ice? We were talking about that last night, the Carolinas, black ice that concern was this morning.
KARINS: Yes. There is no more snow or ice in the forecast over the next seven days which is nice. But the temperatures, we are going to get in this pattern here where actually going to warm up. There is no storms coming. But as we go back to school and back to work, now we have this huge snow banks and we are going to have temperatures in most areas.
This is New York City but it is pretty representative of the mid-Atlantic region are going to go above freezing during the day and then at night, the overnight lows are going to drop down into the 20s and in to the teens in some cases. So, we are going to go with the pattern here of the freezing, refreezing and it is a good bet that it will be hard to find salt in any hardware stores in the week ahead. This could be using a lot of it, not just from today`s clean-up, but when we get the melting and the refreezing every single day, people will be throwing salt constantly over the next week. But it is better than another storm, Richard.
And we stay warm. It looks like even until the end of the month beginning of February. It is nice mild pattern for the east. They deserve it after this.
LUI: All right. The sunrises on a new day for us certainly on the east coast.
Thank you, Bill Karins. Thank you.
Records also falling in the Washington, D.C. metro area as Bill Karins was intimating. Baltimore breaking their all-time record with 29 inches. It looked like that. Easily doubling the previous record. Some parts of suburban Maryland getting more than three feet of snow. The massive blizzard also blanketing the nation`s capital, accumulations at nearly two feet there. Reagan, Dulles airport, closed today.
Let`s go to NBC`s Luke Russert who has been there for the last three days.
And I`m hoping you`re starting to see some slush. It maybe a little too early but, of course, that would be good, right, Luke?
LUKE RUSSERT, NBC NEWS CORRESPONDENT: Well the slush would be a welcome sight, Richard. However, it`s not going to come at least probably not until early next week because we had freezing temperatures last night and that`s really phase two of this storm process is the cleanup process.
Now, a lot of the main streets and arteries in and out of the city here in Washington, they have been plowed and they have been continuously plowed and that`s a good thing. And you`re starting to see more of those trucks move this morning. However, all the side streets, many of them which actually serve as crucial arteries to get around especially for life long residents who want to avoid the traffic from the Virginia and Maryland people, those are still very much blocked up and have not been plowed. And I have spoken to some residents all through the neighborhood throughout different wards who said look, it is going to be a really difficult time for me to get my car out on Monday morning if, in fact, I`m supposed to try and get to work.
So that`s the big question, Richard, is what will be open on Monday, tomorrow. Will federal government be open? Will schools be open right now? It is unclear.
What I can tell you is that public transportation will be closed in Washington through tonight. Still unclear when exactly the metro system or our train system will be up and running tomorrow. However, despite all this, there is a silver lining. We talked a lot yesterday about the power, through fear of power outages because of this snow and how so much of this city is built around trees and old above ground power lines. Thankfully they did not have a lot of power outages in D.C. proper and the surrounding areas. So that`s good.
Also, a lot of folks have made the best of this. You saw pictures of people sledding on Capitol Hill. People out with their dogs. That`s all fine and dandy. However, the police chief and the mayor saying, look, please, please, please still stay home. Please stay off the roads. We need you out of the way so that we can have as much flexibility to plow and so no one is in danger.
What is better, though, is it unlike yesterday, if you were driving down the street you might not be able to see a block or two in front of you, now it`s pretty clear. So at least that is safer for those out walking.
LUI: Something you know well here, Luke, and that is government. What does this mean for Monday when doors theoretically would be opening? Are they going to be shut down still?
RUSSERT: Yes. Well, that`s the good question. I think that is something they are still trying to figure out. They go back and forth on that. However, if I were to give you that answer right now just looking around, I`m here at freedom plaza in the middle of downtown D.C. where so many government buildings are, streets are not really passable especially if you`re trying to get in and a lot of workers in Maryland and Virginia, where a lot of federal workers live.
Also, the metro system is not working. You pretty much say goodbye to the possibility of folks getting here in the city being up and running at a 100 percent. I can tell you Congress is not slated to come back until Tuesday. We`ll see if they make that. Probably because they are slated to come back Tuesday evening and they do a really good job of clearing things out over there.
But look. The airports today, they are still closed. So they got to get those back up and running all those runways for those members of Congress to get back.
LUI: The difference is that sun over your right shoulder that we are seeing hitting the trees and that`s a welcomed sight.
RUSSERT: A welcomed sight.
LUI: That`s right. For your and many other Washingtonians. Thank you so much, Luke. We will talk to you a little bit later.
RUSSERT: Thanks, Richard.
LUI: One footnote there on an area very close by to Luke, and that is Virginia. Virginia state police, as you know, we were watching the number of crashes that they had to handle. Yesterday the number when I was speaking with you on a Saturday was about 1023 if I remember properly. Virginia state police 20 minutes ago saying they have handled 1,410 traffic crashes, 2,040 disabled vehicles since Friday. So they are still updating that. And that underlines why they wanted folks to stay home because of those potential crashes. Of course we continue to watch what`s happening there in the D.C. metropolitan area.
New York City is where we take you now. The travel ban, which was instituted from 2:30 p.m. on a Saturday then lifted one hour and nine minutes ago, getting around the city not easy as streets and sidewalks still covered in mounds of snow. Those drift, a live shot here of Times Square. You can see that the plows were working overnight. Cars just starting to trickle back down on to the ground.
Adam Reiss is live in Times Square with the latest how the big apple is dealing.
And I have to tell you here, Adam, I got on the road at exactly 7:01:00 a.m. And there was one taxi driver that said I`m going to turn on my meter as soon as that ban was lifted.
ADAM REISS, MSNBC CORRESPONDENT: It`s unbelievable, Richard. This city slowly come back to life. Quite a sight to be seen here. First the cars. You were one of them. Coming back on the road. Then trains and the buses trying to come back online. The airports, unfortunately, not so much. We`re going to see of hundreds of delays and cancellations. We`re already seeing that as a lot of that equipment tries to get back here into New York City so they can get going again, hopefully by later today or tomorrow morning.
Snow totals, 26.8 inches in central park. As you mentioned earlier a tenth of an inch away from that record, 30.5 inches at Kennedy airport. The scene here last night was really a ghost town, a sight to be seen. People walking through the streets, enjoying themselves. Most people heeding the call to stay indoors and stay safe. And that kept the streets pretty much cleared so they could clear some 6,000 miles of streets that need to be cleared off by today.
Now, unfortunately, there were five deaths related to the storm. Three of them people shoveling snow. So as you get out there today, shoveling your walk, shoveling your driveway, whatever it may be here in New York City, maybe you have some stairs to shovel be very careful. This snow is wet and heavy - Richard.
LUI: Adam, yes, we are now understanding overnight that new death total for the storm is 20. It`s an unfortunate occurrence as we see in every one of these major storms. On the flip side as you reported yesterday many folks out there in central park enjoying themselves and getting out and seeing some snow that they haven`t seen before.
REISS: Yes. It was quite a scene. We saw sledders, skiers, people with snow shoes, I saw people in shorts and t-shirts. We even saw people on bikes in central park, people really wanted to take advantage of this, really, maybe once in a lifetime for some who never saw snow like this before. A lot of tourist here in Times Square today saying from Argentina and Greece, Oslo, they really enjoyed it. Now everybody wants to get back to where they were supposed to be and enjoy themselves today as they make this big clean up.
You see these guys behind me, lots of shovels, lots of snow blowers, people trying to clean their walks and driveways today, trying to get back online.
LUI: Adam Reiss, after a long day yesterday, 18 hours now back with a crispy orange jacket, it looks a lot and it looks a lot fresher on this cleanup day in New York City. Thank you so much my friend.
And while residents of Washington, Philadelphia and New York and many other major cities on the east coast are digging out, folks along the jersey shore, they are drying out or at least trying to do that. We`ll go live to the jersey shore for the latest.
SHARPTON: Welcome back. The storm may have shut down much of the east coast, but it hasn`t slowed down the presidential race.
Former New York mayor Michael Bloomberg is considering an independent run depending on who the nominees are from the two major parties. The "New York Times" says he is willing to spend a billion dollars of his own money on the campaign.
Meanwhile, today Hillary Clinton and Marco Rubio are enjoying endorsements from "the Des Moines Register" in Iowa. And Donald Trump is raising eyebrows with this comment from the campaign trail.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I could stand in the middle of Fifth Avenue and shoot somebody and I wouldn`t lose any voters. OK. It`s incredible.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: But the big story on the GOP side is still the feud between Trump and Ted Cruz.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. TED CRUZ (R-TX), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: If as a voter you think what we need is more Republicans in Washington to cut a deal with Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer, then I guess Donald Trump is your guy.
TRUMP: You know, his new line of attack is that I have become establishment. Give me a break. Let`s get to be a little establishment. We got to get things done, folks, OK. Believe me. Don`t worry. We are going to make such great deals, but at a certain point you can`t not get along. We have to get along with people.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: On the Democratic side, Clinton and Bernie Sanders are rolling out tougher attacks as well.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
HILLARY CLINTON (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I`m not interested in ideas that sound good on paper.
SEN. BERNIE SANDERS (I-VT), DEMOCRATIC PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Secretary Clinton defeat Mr. Trump by nine points. We beat him by 23 points.
(CHEERS AND APPLAUSE)
WOLF BLITZER, CNN HOST, THE SITUATION ROOM: Are you the establishment?
CLINTON: Is that elected to office a lot longer than I have. He has been in the Congress for 25. And so I`ll let your viewers make their own judgment.
SANDERS: I know we`re a week out of election and Clinton people will try to spin these things.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: Joining me now from Chicago is Hari Sevugan, former spokesman for Obama for America and former national press secretary for the DNC.
Thank you for being with me, Hari.
HARI SEVUGAN, FORMER SPOKESMAN, OBAMA FOR AMERICA: Hi, Reverend. How are you?
SHARPTON: Good. This comment by Donald Trump that people will stay with me, my supporters even if I got in the middle of Fifth Avenue and shot somebody or shoot somebody, it`s pretty out there even for Donald Trump.
SEVUGAN: Well, I think anything is out there. I don`t think anything is too out there for Donald Trump. The thing is, you know, who is his audience here? I think for most people, I think probably most of the electorate, general the election electorate see something like that are completely turned off and alienated. But in Republican primary electorate I that probably goes over very well. I think it`s that kind of stuff that has him in a commanding position in the polls.
SHARPTON: Well, doesn`t say a lot for his appreciation for the mentality of his supporters. But he also said that he would welcome Michael Bloomberg into the race. Any effect on the current race you think because he says he would love to see Bloomberg in the race.
SEVUGAN: Yes. It would be an all billionaire race. Listen, I think, you know, if Bloomberg gets in the race he is going to have to explain in an era of sort of populace anger why billionaires should be elected president. I think that is going to be the fundamental question for him. I think it is going to be a similar question for Trump and he seems to sort of answer it with his anger.
But I think in the end what we`re seeing, you know, with a Bloomberg candidacy or potential Bloomberg candidacy is real a result of the polarization of the parties. On one hand you have sort of this populace anger from Donald Trump and Ted Cruz and on the other you see a rise in sort of the anger in populism you see in the support of senator Sanders and that gives rise to something like an independent candidacy that Michael Bloomberg might present.
SHARPTON: Now, on the other side, we also see Glenn Beck has now come out in support of Ted Cruz. Does that kind of, or is it an attempt to balance out Sarah Palin`s endorsement of Donald Trump?
SEVUGAN: Yes. I don`t know. I mean, it`s funny. The Republican Party, I have given up trying to figure them out. But to the degree that anyone can, I think endorsements don`t mean a lot. You know, Marco Rubio just got endorsed by "the Des Moines Register." I don`t think that means a lot for him. In fact I think it probably a negative, you know, sort of establishment endorsement candidacies aren`t really helping and in fact I think are going create some sort of push back. You know I think Sarah Palin`s endorsement of Trump again serves two purposes. For the Republican primary electorate probably great. For a general election audience probably terrible.
SHARPTON: Now talking about endorsements, Jeb Bush came out with a new political ad featuring his mother and Donald Trump immediately comes out saying needing mommy to help him. Kind of making this what could be an effective ad for long time Republican voters, backfired with the Trump salvo.
SEVUGAN: Well, the irony there, Reverend Sharpton, is Donald Trump`s entire career is based on his daddy helping him. I think that`s pretty much the only line the Bush campaign would offer back or should.
SHARPTON: Now what about "the National Review`s" attack on Trump? It`s a very respected conservative magazine journal for years. Will it have any impact?
SEVUGAN: Yes. I think the impact is going to be positive for Donald Trump. Again, I think, you know - listen, here`s the thing with Donald Trump. Donald Trump is the monster that the GOP establishment for the last seven years under the Obama presidency has raised and fostered and now it`s coming back to eat them. They are vitriol, their anger that they stoked, the brinksmanship that they engaged in is all coming back at them now in the form of Donald J. Trump.
The irony here is the very thing that they can use, the very institutions that they can use to discredit him, political leadership and the media, are the institutions that they spent the last seven years discrediting. So "the National Review" comes out, that`s an establishment attack on Donald J. Trump and that just plays right into his message.
SHARPTON: You know, Hari, that is what has struck my attention a lot. It`s like establishment. That word has become like a bad word now. You know, the last time everyone aspired to take over the establishment. Now, no one wants to be called the establishment.
SEVUGAN: Yes. I look like it. Again, this is part of the anger that`s been stoked in the last seven years. And you know, the way that`s playing out in this race is essentially anybody, including "the National Review" or "the Des Moines Register," especially on the Republican side getting behind a candidate is probably not a good thing for that candidacy.
SHARPTON: Hari Sevugan, thank you so much.
I`ll be back in a few minutes with a look at the health crisis in Flint, Michigan.
But first we`ll go back to our storm coverage with a live report on how the airlines are digging out.
LUI: Starting this with some pictures at a supermarket in Bel-Air, Maryland, north of Baltimore. Firefighters say the roof there collapsing under the weight of the snow. No one was hurt. More than 20 inches of snow fell near Bel-Air and that`s what many homes will be looking at throughout the day today. Because of that weight of snow itself. Cubic foot somewhere around 15 pounds. The question is how much snow is on your roof and can your roof support that.
Airports also across the northeast looking at similar problems. But on the ground themselves, rather, they are still effectively closed today because of the storm. Nearly 10,000 flights cancelled since Friday and many more expected to be cancelled today. And in fact, that number that we`ve been looking at now has gone to some 12,000 flights has been cancelled.
Kristen Dahlgren, you`re there at LaGuardia. And I see not much has changed, my friend, unfortunately for a lot of folks.
KRISTEN DAHLGREN, NBC NEWS CORRESPONDENT: Yes. I mean still very quiet here. We`re hearing from American airlines no flights out today from any of the New York airports. I spoke with some agents at United. They said no flights here out of LaGuardia. They may have some limited service out of Newark later on today.
But it`s a tough situation here at the airport. Let me show you over here. And Richard, these are probably the same people that were here when I was speaking with you yesterday. Now the airlines don`t have to do anything for you if it`s, you know, an act of nature. A snowstorm they are not to bring gated to get you a hotel room, to give you a coupon for food or anything. So these people say they have nothing. They have got no help at all. Nobody has come by to give them a blanket or pillow. They have been sleeping on these hard wooden chairs. They don`t know when they are going to get out of here. Many of them very confused about what`s going on. And I actually just saw somebody trying to ask a JetBlue agent as she arrived to work what was going on. She actually told them get out of my face. So they are not even being treated well. It really is just a terrible situation.
A lot of them also at this point are out of money. They have been traveling. Some have come in from overseas. They landed at JFK. They came here. One woman said she has money from Cameroon but she doesn`t have any dollars to spend at all. So she has been here for two days and is now out of money. Can`t afford to buy something to eat, can`t afford to rent a car to get back. She was worried about losing a job, had to call her boss and explain what was going on and there was no way she wasn`t going to get out today. She wasn`t going to be at work tomorrow. So really, just a tough situation for a lot of people stranded here and I imagine this is happening at a lot of airports around the country.
LUI: Have you heard anything, Kristen, in terms of that calculus that you and I were talking about yesterday, how these airlines now, you know, have to put together these some 12,000 flights and try to catch up if they do open today and get back to functioning today or tomorrow morning?
DAHLGREN: Right. So think about the numbers. You have, you know, 12,000 flights and what does a flight have 100, 200, on bigger flights 300 people. All of those people need to be rebooked. And so, it really is just a difficult situation. And then think about that all of the airlines sent their planes out of the New York area, out of the D.C. area to avoid getting snowed in and have to dig out all those planes. So now they need to bring the planes back in and they need to get people on them. All of the flights for say tomorrow and Tuesday already have passengers that had booked for those days, you know, a long time ago.
So now, they are just working with a few seats they have to fit people in. It really is just sort of a chess game trying to fit all the people. I imagine all the planes going out later this week will be jam packed and it`s going to take several days, you know, if not a week or more to get things back to normal in the system.
LUI: Yes. And Kristen, it`s going to be one of those days where the noise of airplanes will be welcomed by many as they try to get the stuff back into the airports like LaGuardia where you`re at.
Thank you so much, Kristen Dahlgren.
DAHLGREN: That`s right. You bet.
LUI: All right. We`ll have much more on the blizzard of 2016 throughout this hour including the latest on the coastal flooding along the jersey shore.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I`m very proud of what I have done as president. But the only job that`s more important to me is the job of father. And I know that if I was a parent up there, I would be beside myself that my kids` health could be at risk.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: President Obama on the water crisis in Flint, Michigan. He has now declared a state of emergency. Nearly two years ago the city switched water sources to save money. And wound up exposing residents to lead poisoning.
Michigan`s governor has come under fire for his handling of the crisis. This past week, he apologized. And on "Morning Joe" Friday said there were major failures in the system.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It was people being much too technical, not having the culture of asking the common sense questions, and then the tone of how things were done. What is so frustrating and makes you so angry about the situation is you have a handful of quote-unquote "experts" that were career civil service people that made terrible decisions, in my view, and we have to live with the consequences with that.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: But there are still many questions about who is responsible? Emails newly released by the governor show officials blowing off complaints from residents. Now those residents are being heard. Like this mother whose 1-year-old son tested positive for lead.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I can`t do nothing about it but continue to buy bottled water with money that I do not have to buy it. They don`t want us to take a shower in the water, but I have to wash my kids up. And that`s the only way I`ll be able to wash them up is with that water. It makes it real hard. For the ones that`s low-income and trying to make it out here. It makes it real hard for us.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: Joining me now is state representative Sheldon Neeley, a Democrat who represented Flint in the Michigan house. Thanks for being here.
STATE REP. SHELDON NEELEY (D), MICHIGAN: Thank you for having me.
SHARPTON: Representative, Governor Snyder blaming civil servants for all of this. What`s your response to that?
NEELEY: Well, it seems like this governor is much more about the cover up versus the cleanup of the problem that is at his hands. He has to own this. He has not talked about the emergency manager law here in the state of Michigan. It is (INAUDIBLE) where scripts democracy and this is a by- product of that type of law.
SHARPTON: Now, the emergency management law for people around the country know is where the governor appoints an emergency manager who really supersedes the power of the elected mayor and local city council people, is that right?
NEELEY: That is right. It`s an anti-democracy law. No other state in the country in American has this. It`s what I call a bastardized law because it has no mother or no father in a country where we have democracy, where you have an appointed person that comes in and it strips all elected leaders of their power and makes unilateral decisions for whatever reason, Snyder has not owned up to this. He didn`t sign this law one time into law, he did it twice. And you know, the people of Michigan voted it down and he went back in and reinstituted it where people could not even have a say so how they should be governed in their local communities.
SHARPTON: Now, let me connect this to this water crisis and this lead poisoning of children. It was the appointed emergency manager by Governor Snyder that really made the decision that was kind of rubber stamped by the city council, but he made the decision on this water transfer, is that not right?
NEELEY: That`s correct. This governor, you know, people of Michigan wanted truth, transparency and accountability from him. But he has been disingenuous in his words and his apology. He hired a press firm to help cover up this tragedy that happened in this American city. Right now we have 200 troops on the ground inside the city of Flint. We have Red Cross moving through the city of Flint taking bottled waters to families.
You know, he made this American city a third world country. It looks like a third world country in my home town, my hometown. It`s terrible what this governor has done. We can`t even get a fresh drink of water in a state where we`re surrounded by fresh water.
SHARPTON: Now the -- when you look at the population, the statistics of Flint, 57 percent black, 41 percent live below the poverty line. If this was a wealthy suburb, would we even be having this conversation, Representative Neeley?
NEELEY: I believe not. I think the sense of urgency would have been bigger. This governor with his emergency management act I want to keep revisiting that because cities throughout the state of Michigan, urban communities with a high ratio of African-Americans and poverty stricken city, Detroit, Pontiac and Flint have been stricken with this emergency manager virus. That`s proven but not successful.
SHARPTON: But he didn`t do it in other cities where there were wealthier and whiter. They didn`t get emergency managers appointed by this governor?
NEELEY: No they did not, even though they face financial issues in those other communities where they didn`t have a high concentration of African- Americans or minorities these communities were not stricken that particular virus of emergency management.
SHARPTON: Let me ask you one other question. The governor released a lot of emails this week. He was pressured to release it. But look at this one. It`s marked high importance, but the entire email is completely blacked out and redacted. And you say one of your emails about the water was in that batch of released emails too. Are we getting the whole story here Representative Neeley?
NEELEY: No, we`re not getting the whole story and we need other investigative entities to come in. We need the federal government to come in and take a look at the level of culpability and those that committed, the crimes being committed on the residents inside the city of Flint right now. It is really hard, Reverend Sharpton, to figure out who is our allies and who is accessories of crimes committed against this great American city.
SHARPTON: Now, when we look at the fact, I mean we`re talking about people that are drinking water that causes lead poisoning. We just showed a young child, seniors. I mean where does the humanity kick in? Where does the concern? You talk about people that could have permanent damage here. This is unthinkable in 2016 in America.
NEELEY: Right. You got to think about this governor. When we work together at the capital in Lansing, Michigan, I worked one building away from him. I have not yet even met the governor. I have shaken his hand once. He has not dome meet to have a discussion or a dialogue about the community which I represent, a community that says he is going to help fix this. He has not even have the courtesy and to give me any conversation about what`s going to happen.
The plan that`s on the ground now is not sustainable. What will happen in two weeks when the American public may turn the page on this? We still going to have residents there that will suffering through permanent effects through this crisis that we are having. He`s just trying to run out the clock on this. And we want to encourage everybody to stay focused on this American city because if this can happen in the city of Flint this can happen anywhere. And we want to make sure this governor is held accountable for his actions and let`s not get caught up with the red herrings that his PR company is throwing out so he can absolve himself of this responsibility.
SHARPTON: Michigan state representative Sheldon Neeley, thank you for your time.
And Rachel Maddow will host a special town hall from Flint, Michigan on Wednesday at 9:00 p.m. eastern.
Still ahead we`ll go back to our storm coverage with a live report on how the New Jersey shore is doing this morning.
LUI: If you`re just joining us this hour I want to get you up to date in terms of what we know right now. 8:45 on the east coast, 20 deaths, that`s grown from 17 last night, that`s up by three confirmed so far. We also understand there are concerns of yet more flooding. They are watching that and icy roads too.
Now, the travel ban that was put in place yesterday in New York City, that has been lifted. Most outdoor subway service will be restored by 9:00 a.m. eastern. Underground trains never stopped running in central park. Specifically the measurement there, 27 inches, almost snow falling yesterday. Shy of an all-time record 26.8 is what the actual number was.
Hundreds of flights cancelled today. Actually thousands is more properly said. And some are seeing major coastal flooding as well as we look up and down the east coast. All that this hour, 45 minutes in case you`re just joining us. Now New Jersey shore residents they don`t deal with major flooding and power outages this morning.
NBC`s Rehema Ellis is live in Point Pleasant, New Jersey. That`s a difference, Rehema, as we talked to you on a day after.
REHEMA ELLIS, NBC NEWS CORRESPONDENT: Yes. Absolutely, Richard. I should tell you, though, that high surf advisories and warnings do remain in effect but as you can see this is a very different day. Yesterday, however, conditions on this beach and all along this area of jersey`s coast were very dangerous.
ELLIS (voice-over): Overnight fierce winds continued on jersey`s south shore. Streets were mostly deserted. Crews were busy checking for damaged power lines. At one point during the massive storm tens of thousands had no electricity. And there was historic coastal flooding in some places. Water rushed through neighborhoods like Sea Isle City and Wildwood, areas hard hit three years ago by hurricane Sandy.
But officials say many residents were prepared this time. Some complying with volunteer evacuations. A rough night for many including those working to stay ahead of the storm.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I`m just going to be going. I haven`t slept since Thursday. I`ve been going out. I was buying salt and all kind of stuff. But I`m just running on adrenaline, so.
ELLIS: When you look at this water now the high tide is still up and we`re advised that there could still be some moderate flooding in the area. But this is extremely different from what was experienced yesterday. Even in communities like Atlantic City on the coast and Stone Harbor they got pounded pretty hard. In fact Stone Harbor got so much flooding the mayor there says the flooding conditions were worse yesterday than they were during hurricane Sandy in 2012 which really devastated so much of this area.
But it is picture perfect out here right now as people begin the process of putting their lives back together. They are going to be assessing what kind of beach erosion occurred here and what it`s going to do to bring this. What they will have to do bring this community back to normal. Probably some people are going to be looking at the surf and thinking that it is pretty picture perfect for surfers. But there are still a lot of work to be done here yet to make certain people get their lives back to normal -- Richard.
LUI: Rehema Ellis, I can`t thank you enough for that report. Appreciate it.
Let`s bring back in NBC meteorologist Bill Karins.
And Bill, Rehema laid it out there for us. Yesterday she was standing up on the coast. She remember that wind sideways now she`s able to stand right there on the beach.
KARINS: Yes. She might as well have been in a tropical storm yesterday, the way it was there. (INAUDIBLE) was coming in and out and everything in.
The storm is gone. So that`s great. Sunshine is out across all the areas that got hit by the snow. The high tide cycle is just about over with the portion that we are worried about. Up and down the mid-Atlantic continue that. So we are going to go through another high tide cycle this evening and that will be lower.
As the storm pulls out our winds are now offshore. So it is starting to pull the water out. We have a little bit of issues we could watch on the back bays by Cape Cod, but that is really it. There will be a dig out day. The winds are not that bad. Only the 20 to 30 mile-per-hour range and we have no gusts to report at all Philly to New York to Atlantic City. That makes it even more enjoyable.
The wind chill values are starting to come up. They were down in the single digits. And some are still very cold in Boston. New York is at 10. Philly at 10. D.C. is at 17. So, it is definitely the ski gear. The warmer stuff you had as you head out there.
And the snow totals in the big cities, very impressive. We almost got D.C. up to 20 inches. There`s a lot of arguments actually going out of the D.C. area about whether those measurements are correct because people are right near the airport that said they had almost 30 inches. But officially, the measurement at the airport was 19.4. So they will try to iron that out in the days ahead.
Regardless, it is still one of the top three snowfalls ever in the history of Washington, D.C. So that`s at 19.4. They didn`t quite get up there to number two. As far as other areas went, Philadelphia had a very significant snow. Little snow hole. That`s why your total was a little bit lower. Baltimore you broke your old time record 29.2. So that`s one of the biggest cities that saw their all-time biggest snowfall.
And Philadelphia I mentioned you didn`t quite get there. You were almost there. You were at 22.4 which puts you is fourth place all-time. And that how about New York City? We thought we were going to do it. It was so close. But officially we were only a tenth inch away from the all-time greatest. That was only ten years ago. That was like thunder so. That was a little different.
So Richard, I want to share some of the photos that I just took on my way into work this morning. And this one is for everyone knows, Radio City, one of the huge mounds they put out there. The way they clear snow around "30 Rock" is they actually put it in these huge massive piles and then the dump trucks come in because they can`t leave it on the sidewalks. And also, everyone showing off their patio furniture. So I went around and found that some patio furniture around "30 Rock" at a restaurant. This is how much snow was on top of the patio. So that looks like about two and a half feet. But, very impressive stuff even around here. If you have pictures, you want to send it ti me. Send to my twitter account @billkarins. And I will be happy to share for me of your stories and photos too.
LUI: Quite the photographer. Great meteorologist as well.
KARINS: We`ll work on the photography.
LUI: You know, it is not bad.
KARINS: You gave me some lessons.
LUI: Not me. You proved the point, though, of course. Bill Karins thank you very much.
We`ll go live to another part of the jersey shore that`s under water this morning.
LUI: If you go to the national weather service website there`s one list of concerns that`s the longest compared to all the rest and that`s the high water concerns. Although our own Bill Karins say that`s subsiding but not for some.
Let`s go New Jersey and NBC`s Jacob Rascon, Sea Isle is where we saw a lot of water yesterday. How does it took today as we get close to another high tide there, Jacob?
JACOB RASCON, NBC NEWS CORRESPONDENT: Yes. We`re still looking at neighborhoods under water. With me I have Bill and Justin who just came from back there. Tell me how it is back there, in the worst of it?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Well, yesterday morning I had two feet of water in my house. I woke up at 8:00 and it was just at the first step on the sidewalk and in a half hour it was rushing in.
RASCON: I don`t know if you could hear but he said yesterday morning he had two feet of water in his house. Thank you guys so much.
As far as you can see, this neighborhood and the one behind it and the one behind that are all under water. None of the new stations were able to get here yesterday. In fact, this is the first time anybody has been here because at the height of it this was waist deep and higher. Nobody could get in or out. The emergency crews, the residents tell me were back and forth getting everybody out of here to safety and now they are still checking on taxpayer homes to see how bad the damage is.
LUI: Jacob, can you give us a sense how deep the water is. I can see it`s covering your boots there. How far back and how deep?
RASCON: Yes. So if I go back to the intersection it`s back to the top of my boots. And as they were telling me if you go back further and to the left it`s about up to your knees. But as I said yesterday during the height it, it was too deep to drive through and they say it`s much worse than super storm Sandy.
LUI: All right, Sea Isle City, New Jersey. Jacob Rascon, one of the areas that`s seen flooding today. For now, let`s go back to Reverend. Al.
SHARPTON: Well thanks, Richard.
That does it for us. I`ll see you back here next Sunday for a special edition of "Politics Nation" covering the Iowa caucus. In the meantime, stay safe.
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