[Ed. – The flood-warning failure is fair criticism. Residents can’t see what’s coming beyond their own neighborhoods; they rely on public authorities to give them warning to evacuate. Even Liccardo admits the city didn’t warn residents in time. Maybe San Jose voters will wise up and kick this guy out.]
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.”