By Chen Cheng-yu and Jake Chung/staff reporter, with a staff writer
New Taipei City Mayor Hou You-yi (侯友宜) is focusing on next month’s elections instead of dealing with New Taipei City residents who were badly affected by Typhoon Nesat, said said Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) legislator Michelle Lin (林楚茵) yesterday.
“New Taipei City shouldn’t just be a springboard for Hou’s political ambitions,” Lin told a press conference.
Disasters are critical moments that test a political figure and its abilities, she said.
Hou rallied support for Hsinchu City candidates during the floods in his city, showing his claims that he is a mayor who ‘gets things done’ and ‘brings prosperity’ to residents are empty words meaningless, Lin said.
The floods also showed that the New Taipei City government had done little in terms of building the city’s resilience to disasters, Lin said.
It is impossible to prevent natural disasters, but governments can prevent man-made ones, Lin said, adding that Hou should take full responsibility for damages caused while he was away, especially since the storm was forecast for the less than a week in advance.
Lin said Hou’s experience as deputy mayor of New Taipei City should have taught him that neglect exacerbates the effects of a disaster.
Hou’s actions suggest he is seeking to run for president, Lin said.
DPP lawmaker Lai Pin-yu (賴品妤) said city mayors should stay in their cities in times of disaster instead of attending election campaign events elsewhere.
The New Taipei City government says it “detected several possible flood areas” as early as April, but failed to improve those areas, Lai said.
Lai also criticized Hou for not delivering on his promises to “get things done”, saying Hou only cared about fighting his way to the presidency.
Lai said there were traffic jams in New Taipei City’s Sijhih (汐止) district the day after the floods.
The government did not try to improve the situation, but instead blamed the traffic police, Lai said.
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