Monterey Bay locals come out to see President Biden during flood damage tour

It was a patriotic scene on a picturesque Monterey Bay day. A woman displayed an American flag on Cliff Drive, overlooking Capitola, ahead of a presidential visit.

"I wanted to show more support. And I love that he’s supporting us," said Beverly Connelly.

The focal point for people gazing at the sky, or taking pictures, was the helicopter arrival, and subsequent tour by President Joe Biden.

"When’s the next time we’re gonna see our president in our little community of Capitola? It’s such a memorable experience," said resident Kami Johnson.

Biden’s visit to Capitola, a small coastal town in Monterey Bay, is designed to steady nerves, and shore up federal dollars to help with flood recovery.

"It means that Santa Cruz [County] is an important place not only to the people that live here but the tourism. And that we can get some help to repair all the damage," said resident Jacqueline Rogers.

PREVIOUS COVERAGE: President Biden arrives in California to survey storm damage in Santa Cruz County

Weeks of heavy rainfall had left some communities underwater. Some roads are broken or collapsed, and others are impassable. And many businesses have sustained enough damage to question their economic survival.

Some cynics said the chief executive’s visit was nothing more than publicity and politics, not substantive.

RELATED COVERAGE: President Biden surveys storm-battered California

"Actually the publicity is maybe good for our businesses. But I think it does mean something. It means there will money that will be put behind it. And we have local businesses that have suffered a lot," said resident Peggy Kenny.

The last sitting president to visit Monterey Bay was Theodore Roosevelt, in May 1903. He came to see the area’s beauty.

SEE ALSO: Monterey County lifts all evacuation orders

Biden is also looking, but at destruction, with a promise of federal money for restoration.

"I think it sets the tone that he’s aware of what’s going on, on different coasts. And this was a big deal," said Connelly. 

"I think it’s really important that we get this opportunity to have him here, look at the damage, and see how they can help," added Rogers.

This week, FEMA added Monterey County to the list of California counties that are eligible to receive federal funds.

Many residents and business owners said they hope that money will start flowing quickly.

Jesse Gary is a reporter based in the station's South Bay bureau. Follow him on Twitter, @JesseKTVU and Instagram, @jessegontv