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LIer’s petition demands investigation into LIPA’s response, preparation for Sandy

LIPA crews work to restore power in St.

LIPA crews work to restore power in St. James. (Nov. 7, 2012) (Credit: Heather Walsh)

What started as “a productive avenue for my frustration” ended up as a petition with more than 2,000 signatures that James Rothpearl, 23, said he sent via United Parcel Service Tuesday to Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo.

The petition demands an investigation into LIPA’s “abysmal response and preparations” for superstorm Sandy and the resulting “prolonged power crisis.”

The same day he sent the petition, LIPA chief operating officer Michael Hervey announced his resignation, and the governor announced a committee to investigate what he considered a failed response by the public utilities after Sandy.

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In addition to the paper copy, which was also sent to state and county legislators and officials and several news organizations, legislators and officials were pinged by email, Rothpearl said, each time a person “signed” the online version at Change.org, which facilitates such petitions.

Rothpearl, a 2011 graduate of The George Washington University now living in Brooklyn, said his family home in Roslyn was without power for about 12 days and during that time his and his father’s attempts to get answers from LIPA resulted in “a trail of nothingness.”

As of late Wednesday afternoon, Rothpearl said he had gotten no response from legislators or officials and that his main goal is to get them to “reconsider how LIPA should function and, most important, where responsibility lies.”

He said he turned to Change.org as it seemed like “a good avenue for social change in the Internet era.”

Indeed, the site shows that the number of signatures jumped from 50 to 1,000 in two days, and hit 2,000 four days later, which was Tuesday. Rothpearl, a part-time bartender working with partners on launching a business, said he got the ball rolling by sharing news of the petition on Facebook.

The petition seeks:

-An accounting of LIPA’s preparations for the storm, as well as “precautions and remedies” it implemented in the wake of 2011’s Tropical Storm Irene.

-An accounting of LIPA’s post-storm assessment and allocation of repair personnel to specific blacked-out areas.

-An assessment by the state attorney general of possible negligence by LIPA’s officials and board members.

-An inquiry into reports of possible demands by the IBEW 1049 electrical workers union that may have stalled repair work.

Find it here: http://www.change.org/petitions/investigate-and-hold-lipa-long-island-power-authority-accountable

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