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Disaster averted 


  Over Thanksgiving weekend, Dr. Ed Blakely — the hapless, hopeless Hurricane Katrina "recovery czar" who is now employed at the University of Sydney in Australia — gave an interview to an Aussie radio station, claiming that New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo had appointed him to a state commission to assess response to Hurricane Sandy. The university issued a press release touting the appointment as well.

  But last week, Brad Penuel, the co-chair of the commission to which Blakely claimed he had been appointed, told Gambit he wasn't familiar with Blakely. In a subsequent email, Penuel added, "Just received confirmation that Ed Blakely will not be serving on the Commission." And when Cuomo's office issued its own press release on the commission Nov. 28, Blakely's name was not on its list of members.

  The Respond Commission is one of three announced by the state of New York to analyze the response to Hurricane Sandy and its aftermath. Penuel is also director of the Center for Catastrophe Preparedness and Response at New York University.

  Was Blakely ever slotted to be on the commission — or was it all his signature fabulist braggadocio? No telling. But a second Northeast wind event was, happily, averted. — KEVIN ALLMAN


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