Copying the tactics of existing disaster response organizations (albeit with a grass roots spin) Is hardly anything like a startup.
I also think that Occupy Sandy is building a repeatable and scalable output - that is relief effort for a disaster. They iterate constantly on their ability to gather, parse, and disseminate donation goods and manpower.
They struck me as very similar to a startup in culture. Smart people with mutual respect and a shared mission dealing adaptively with complicated issues. Rapid delegation, low on hierarchy, experimental, collaborative, supportive. I was impressed as hell. It was very different than the culture in an established hierarchical organization.
I agree that startups are up to something fundamentally different, but that doesn't mean that they don't have a ton in common.