Letters: LIPA must have better leadership

During the LIPA trustees meeting and vote on During the LIPA trustees meeting and vote on who gets the new 10-year management contract, Chairman Howard Steinberg listening to other trustees speak. (Dec. 15, 2011) Photo Credit: Newsday / J. Conrad Williams, Jr.

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Some may recall that it was Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo's father, Gov. Mario Cuomo, and his administration that conceived of LIPA to somehow reconcile the $6-billion Shoreham debt and give government a chance to run a utility. The elder Cuomo appointed Richard Kessel to head this debacle. How ironic that the son shifts his shortcomings in planning by railing against the utility created by his father's administration!

If Mario Cuomo allowed the U.S. Department of Energy to proceed with its plans to bring Shoreham on line rather than concede to the mob mentality fearing nuclear power plants, we'd have safe nuclear-generated power and no LIPA.

Those who successfully argued that there was no evacuation route off Long Island can look to the Oyster Bay community that managed to shut down the proposed Oyster Bay-to-Rye bridge: another Long Island project that fell victim to the mania of a minority.

Richard Weiss, Westhampton

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You may be correct that a regulated, privately held electric company would now be better for the ratepayers of Long Island, but almost anything would be better than the record of LILCO-LIPA so far. Each entity was politically manhandled, mismanaged and bound to fail.

For the record: LIPA does own an 18 percent share of one of the Nine Mile Point nuclear generators upstate and we will be subject to any liability that may occur from the cost of eventually decommissioning it. This was another part of the abominable takeover of LILCO by the state that many of us fought.

The public-private ownership philosophy is always there to kick around. It is part of the psychosis that developed in many folks during the Cold War, but it is irrelevant to intelligent operations. It may be correctly pointed out that nongovernmental LILCO's handling of Shoreham and many other fiascos were engulfed in political manipulation. Turning LIPA over to a private corporation won't fix the political system.

Much more is needed to give Long Island affordable, dependable energy and a sustainable future. It will have to start with an informed, involved public, which Newsday might play a role in fostering. It will have to go beyond looking for scapegoats to looking for capable leadership. It is unclear that the current system is able to accomplish this.

Good leadership could have rebuilt a more rugged, forgiving electrical distribution system, had a regular program of trimming and removing trees, burying critical distribution lines, and on and on -- all for much less, probably, than recovery from superstorm Sandy. A robust organization would include engineers and activists to blow whistles, and ratepayers on its board. As always, it comes down to people.

Robert M. Goldberg, Jericho

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Joye Brown's column "LIPA leaders out of touch" [News, Nov. 18] overlooks one major point: Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo controls the leadership of LIPA.

We knew there were problems after Irene, so what did the governor do? Nothing. The closest he came to anything resembling taking action was to float North Hempstead Supervisor Jon Kaiman's name for the chief executive's job.

At some point, perhaps after a dozen commissions have analyzed the problem, one of them will have the temerity to point out that Cuomo is the coach of this team, and it's been a losing season.

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Martin Dekom, Manhasset

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