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Cedar Rapids city leaders on storm response: ’We really don’t need the National Guard in here’

This picture shows damage in NE Cedar Rapids from the derecho that hit eastern Iowa on Monday.
This picture shows damage in NE Cedar Rapids from the derecho that hit eastern Iowa on Monday.(Maureen Usher)
Published: Aug. 13, 2020 at 2:47 PM CDT
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CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (KCRG) - In the aftermath of Monday’s severe weather that devastated Cedar Rapids and other communities, storm victims are saying they are frustrated by the response by the City of Cedar Rapids and its leaders.

In an interview with KCRG-TV9, Mayor Brad Hart said that in the immediate aftermath of the derecho City Manager Jeff Pomeranz didn’t think support from the National Guard was necessary.

LISTEN TO OUR INTERVIEW WITH MAYOR HART

“I talked to him about the National Guard. I talked to him about it immediately, and they, and the thought was that we really don’t need the National Guard in here,” Mayor Hart said in an interview. “I didn’t think, enough at that time to say, ‘OK well could they do charging stations? Could they bring ice? Could they direct traffic?’ I didn’t think to ask those things. That’s why I’m trying to reach him and say, ‘Are there resources they could help with?’ But, but it’s not like the National Guard shows up and everything is fine.”

KCRG-TV9 asked the mayor for response to criticism that the city isn’t asking for help from the National Guard.

“I don’t know that we need help. That’s the thing…I...I just told you, I don’t know what other resources the National Guard could do. Could they do traffic control? Could they bring ice? Could they bring water? I don’t know that, I’m trying to find that out.” When asked about who is leading the City of Cedar Rapids’ response to Monday’s storm, Hart said he views his role as that of a spokesperson and that Pomeranz was in charge of operations.

“I am a bit of kinda the spokesperson for this city so that’s certainly part of my role,” Hart said. “Part of my role is to help get information out. Part of my role in this is to reassure people that we’ll get through this, and here is what the city is doing and will continue to do . . . he’s not in charge of policies; he’s in charge of operations.”

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