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Letters: The politics of recovering from Sandy

An exhausted Dalia Abott, 39, of Belle Harbor,

An exhausted Dalia Abott, 39, of Belle Harbor, drags a bag Sunday down Beach 128th Street as recovery from superstorm Sandy begins in the Rockaways community. (Nov. 4, 2012) Credit: Anthony Lanzilote

For many, many years kindhearted Americans have helped unfortunate people throughout the world who suffered through wars, earthquakes and other natural disasters. Helping with food, housing, clothing and medical services.

Where are China, Japan, Russia, France, Germany and Italy, along with numerous other countries throughout the world? Where were they when thousands of people died and lost their homes from Hurricane Katrina?

Where are they now, while hundreds of our citizens claw through the rubble of their homes, hoping to find a cherished memento of their lost lives, which were swept out to the Atlantic Ocean with its deadly waves?

Oh! That's OK, the Americans are rich, they don't need help.

Well, we would be a lot richer if we didn't pour billions of dollars into countries that have been ungrateful and uncaring about our needs.

America, take care of your own. The money we have sent overseas could have helped our own.

The poor in Appalachia that live in crumbling shacks, without heat, running water or toilet facilities. What about our once-proud Native Americans who used to roam our thousands of acres, who now live penned up on reservations? What of the thousands of young children who go to bed each night crying from hunger?

Joseph A. Fackovec, North Bellmore

The following questions are for Gov. Cuomo and all our other leaders: Why was gas not stockpiled before the storm? Why were the tankers not sent immediately after the storm? The tankers should have already been in transit and remained out of harm's way until the ports were opened.

Why were generators not stockpiled for delivery to gas stations and for other uses? Why didn't the Long Island Power Authority have trucks deployed throughout many areas? Why must we pay billions for recovery but refuse to pay to put our electric lines underground to eliminate such catastrophes?

What I've said is common sense, something our leaders do not have.

Al Zanone, Elmont

Regarding President Barack Obama's visit to inspect the hurricane damage, thanks, but no thanks.

New York's travail should not be a backdrop for a presidential photo on his way to his Asian tour. He already got what he needed from superstorm Sandy: photos with, and praise from one of Mitt Romney's biggest supporters, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, right before the election.

Obama should just let the people on the ground do their jobs. He already got what he wanted here.

Richard P. DeBragga, Bellport

It would be very helpful if the media informed Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo and other politicians that New Jersey had it right when Gov. Chris Christie did not hesitate to implement odd-even license plate gas-up procedures.

Long Island needs innovative and proactive decision making. I do not see it happening here with respect to the present political group in charge in this ongoing gas rat race.

Todd Hansen, Bellmore

Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo has had numerous press conferences praising every politician from Hempstead to Montauk for the great job they are doing regarding Sandy. At the same time, the governor threatens to replace LIPA management, or the utility itself, because it did not anticipate power being lost islandwide as a result of one of the worst storms in our history. Cuomo says their response was inadequate and unacceptable.

Does he think LIPA could have a crew stationed at every intersection in Nassau and Suffolk? Does he believe that hundreds of trucks and crews could magically appear to repair unimaginable numbers of downed wires, poles and blown transformers?

Also, it was difficult for LIPA to communicate with electronic outages. I am 80 years old and was without light or heat for seven days. The harassed management and hardworking, overworked crews of LIPA would be the last people I would criticize for an act of God.

Perhaps Cuomo should have the state pay for more personnel and equipment, so LIPA can be better prepared for the next hurricane.

Edward J. Kohout


I strongly believe that Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo has made a scapegoat out of his emergency chief, Steven Kuhr. Every time I look at the governor on television, he looks like he is ready to lash out at someone -- anyone!

Kuhr was not even home -- he was reportedly working at an emergency command center in Albany, hundreds of miles from East Northport -- when he asked to have a tree removed from his home.

Catherine Kropf Harris, Levittown

I am sympathetic to the people waiting in line for hours to purchase gasoline. Newsday suggested that many people were "topping off." I feel Gov. Cuomo should have invoked the odd-even system earlier to relieve the lines.

Robert Carciello, Medford

If superstorm Sandy and its aftermath wasn't so tragic, the ensuing drama would surely be laughable. First, we have the three blind mice -- LIPA, the government, and the people who are purposely kept blind by the first two for their own political expediency.

President Barack Obama comes to New Jersey, gets a bear hug from Christie, the photo op that he needed. Obama didn't even set foot on the Island, and the federal response has been more tepid and ineffectual than former President George W. Bush's Katrina response, but the liberal leftist media protects this president's interests by ignoring the truth.

Now Cumo wants to lay total blame on LIPA for the mess we are in, continually chanting, they will be held accountable. But who is holding him accountable? If it is true that LIPA was not prepared for a major storm, why was this not a priority on the governor's to-do list when he took office? Should not the state government also be held accountable?

Ted Oberg, Islip

As my lady friend and I drove through Wantagh and Freeport, we couldn't have imagined the magnitude of destruction we witnessed there.

Houseboats 200 yards up residential streets, coming to rest on some homeowner's lawn. Red Cross vans bringing sustenance to waiting residents on streets closest to the water's fury. Our favorite watering holes on Freeport's nautical mile burned up.

This is two major storms in 14 months on my beloved Long Island. We can't very well pave over the trees that knocked down power lines and plunged Long Island into darkness, and cost New York and the vicinity billions of dollars and hardship. But we should be able to bury the power lines underground.

Where would this money come from? Slash a third of the military budget and spend it on our electrical grid. The alternative is we could become another Holland.

Larry Vaughn, East Meadow

I would like to respond to our governor and local officials' criticism of LIPA. Where were you guys back in the 1980s, when you stuck the ratepayers on Long Island with a $6 billion pricetag for a plant we will never use?

I think it's ironic that the current governor is asking LIPA to upgrade the system, when it was his father as governor who forced the old utility to close Shoreham. We have some of the highest rates in the country. Can you imagine the utility requesting an increase to upgrade their system?

Bob Boccafola, St. James

So the governor blames LIPA for the poor response to Sandy, but who appoints the LIPA board? Why, it's the governor, the leader of the State Senate and the Assembly leader.

The board is comprised of 15 members, but only 10 of the seats are filled. They are mostly lawyers, bankers and accountants, not people with firsthand knowledge of how to run an electric company. Then the politicians complain that the board doesn't know what it is doing to handle an emergency. Who really is at fault?

Ed Rose, Seaford

LIPA has 10 members on the board, with five seats left empty. I have a few questions regarding these members holding positions of responsibility. How many of them have power in their own homes -- and since when? -- while many Long Islanders are still in the dark?

How many of them are on the ground making sure the restoration efforts are being implemented properly? While finding out this information, let's also find out when the president and at least 10 of the top officials of LIPA got their power back.

I would also like to know which politician appointed which board members, so if these board members are not doing their jobs properly, we can hold the politicians responsible in the next election cycle.

Answers to these questions, at the very least, will give us a clearer picture of how the utility is run. When things have settled down there should be a public hearing where all the questions and concerns from the community are addressed, and a future debacle like this could be avoided.

Siraj Begum, Searingtown

I haven't read one word in the media about any donations to devastated Sandy storm victims from our allies and other neutral countries from around the world. The United Kingdom, Ireland, Switzerland, Saudi Arabia, Japan, Australia, Israel and other well-to-do countries should be ashamed of their lack of response.

It's ironic that the United States always steps up to donate for tragedies of all kinds that take place throughout the world, but there is nothing donated to us.

Joe Giacoponello, Garden City

When President Barack Obama stepped to the microphone and pledged to cut through all the red tape and help those affected by superstorm Sandy, he and I both understood the same thing: He could sound presidential that day but no one could disprove his words until after everyone voted on Election Day.

It worked, and we, for the worse, have Obama for his second term. That he and his handlers knew that does not make him any more presidential. It does show off the skills that got him elected in the first place: a great sense of timing and abundant political expedience.

But, how does that help those devastated in the communities of Long Beach, Point Lookout, Atlantic Beach, East Rockaway, Oceanside, Seaford, Massapequa, Amityville, Lindenhurst and Fire Island, among many others? And those still without power in Garden City, Cold Spring Harbor, Huntington and Manhasset, and many others? It does not help them at all.

Rich LePetri, Rockville Centre

Whenever I turn on the news, I see New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie on the ground, keeping the residents of his state informed in the aftermath of superstorm Sandy. Why is New York Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo not doing the same thing?

Cuomo should be taking charge, and he should also ensure that there are an adequate amount electrical inspectors whereever they are needed.

Long Island is dealing with a lot of pain right now, and we require a strong hand to do what's needed. We expect the governor to be that person.

Isidore Lewin, Oceanside

Suffolk County was surely among the worst hit by this megastorm. So how does Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone respond? He mails out layoff letters to the union members working at our county nursing home, the John J. Foley Skilled Nursing & Rehabilitation Facility which through the civil service process will affect hundreds of county workers in various departments.

In the midst of post-hurricane power outages, waterfront homes washed into the ocean, families becoming immediately homeless and lacking the very basic necessities for their children, and deaths reported islandwide, Bellone felt it was the most opportune time to alert hundreds of county workers of their impending termination. As if our county residents hadn't experienced enough doom.

As president of the Suffolk County Association of Municipal Employees, and the union representation for the civilian portion of Bellone's government workforce, I reached out to those union members who received the heartless notification of impending unemployment. This news could have waited until power was restored and families were back safely in their homes.

Daniel P. Farrell, Bohemia