*Newark, N.J. Mayor Cory Booker borrowed some lyrics from Jay-Z Monday during a “Piers Morgan Tonight” appearance when asked if the media and local governments had overhyped Hurricane Irene.
Quoting the rapper’s “99 Problems,” the mayor said, “For us still in the trenches trying to help people out, there’s a song that goes, ‘I’ve got 99 problems and that’s not one.’ ”
The question follows opinion pieces from outlets such as the Washington Post, the Daily Beast and the Huffington Post on whether the storm was blown out of proportion this weekend, considering the hurricane was downgraded before landfall and did not cause severe damage in New York City as anticipated.
But Booker, who famously shoveled residents out of a major snowstorm last December, said the alerts were of greater help than harm, “Those debates to me are academic, we still have thousands of people without power, we still have people who are dealing with floods, sewage in their homes.
“There’s a real crisis on our hands and I’m very happy that the President of the United States, that our governor and others called a state of emergency because in my book it’s always better to be prepared for an emergency and not have one than have an emergency and not be prepared.”
Booker also said that while social media is useful in emergencies, it does not replace a plan of action, “Social media is a great tool. It shouldn’t replace boots on the ground. We were literally out there knocking on doors in areas we thought were going to flood, having direct face-to-face conversations with residents.
“It is a powerful, powerful tool for me to be able to get in touch with tens of thousands of my residents and I can crowd source ways that I could never have done a few years ago.”
Booker has nearly 1.1 million Twitter followers and more than 51,000 “likes” on Facebook.