Kaohsiung Mayor Chen Chu (陳菊) apologized again yesterday for having taken a nap at her residence on Sept. 19 while Typhoon Fanapi left the city under water.
“Even though I went home to change out of wet clothes and had a short rest ... I should not have done these things. Because of this, the city government left people with a very bad impression. I feel really guilty and sorry,” she said. “I was in Kaohsiung City and did not forsake my duty, but I feel really guilty, I should not have taken a rest.”
A teary-eyed Chen made the comments before entering the Kaohsiung City Council hall for a question-and-answer session.
While fielding questions from several Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) councilors on Tuesday, Chen admitted that she returned to her residence at 2:30pm after an inspection tour and rested for about 20 to 30 minutes. She said she went out to inspect the flood situation at 4:52pm before heading back to the emergency operation center at 6:30pm.
At yesterday’s city council session, KMT Kaohsiung City Councilor May Zai-hsin (梅再興) accused Chen of incompetence and demanded her resignation.
“Which one of you would like to take political responsibility? One of the two deputy mayors has to resign,” KMT Kaohsiung City Councilor Wang Ling-chiao (王齡嬌) said, referring to Lee Yung-te (李永得) and Lin Jen-yi (林仁益), who both admitted to being at home.
Chen said she would not shy away from shouldering responsibility for post-flood reconstruction tasks and that she would leave it to the public to judge her performance when they vote in the Nov. 27 special municipality elections.
At a separate setting, Chen’s KMT rival Huang Chao-shun (黃昭順) urged the Control Yuan and prosecutors to launch an investigation into what she said was “negligence of duty” on the part of Chen and her administration.
Premier Wu Den-yih (吳敦義) joined the chorus of critics.
“I don’t understand why Chen Chu had to go back to take a rest at that time,” he said, adding: “If local government chiefs were as cautious as President Ma [Ying-jeou (馬英九)] when the typhoon was approaching, the disaster would not have been so bad.”
KMT Legislator Lin Tsang-min (林滄敏) blasted Chen for not resigning, saying that when Typhoon Morakot hit last year, the opposition attacked then-premier Liu Chao-shiuan (劉兆玄) for getting a haircut and then-Executive Yuan secretary-general Hsueh Hsiang-chuan (薛香川) for dining with his father. They both stepped down to take political responsibility, Lin said.
“There’s no point in having people who had a haircut or had rice porridge [at a five-star hotel] resign, while those who slept at home refuse to do so,” Lin said.