Post Sandy – Fighting LIPA, Pushing for West Shore Road Repair

Working Through the Aftermath

We all know that “Superstorm” Sandy, followed by the freezing Athena, have been a tremendous strain on Long Island. Homes have been destroyed. Families have been displaced. Entire communities have been ravaged. While Nassau residents have proven themselves to be strong and resilient, this has pushed many people to their limits.

Communities Coming Together

I need to humbly recognize all those who have worked so hard throughout this travail. I have been frequenting the shelters in my district, visiting with people at the Senior Center and hearing concerns from those at the warming centers. I also helped hand out food and water in Bayville to some of those who were the hardest hit. It was inspirational to work with so many caring people, and to spend time with so many brave residents. The lines were long for aid in Bayville. There were many coming to City Hall and the libraries to charge phones and get coffee. Many people sought refuge at shelters. It has been heartwarming to see communities coming together.

I was happy to see that after such a bad storm people would look out for each other, helping their neighbors.

It also has to be said Nassau and local DPW crews, along with first responders and all our local elected officials have been going above and beyond for many, many long days now.

 LIPA Needs Improvement

As far as the very trying power outages, my staff and I have been on calls for several hours each day with government contacts at LIPA. We have been filing and fielding all complaints and questions from residents of the 18th and fighting for clear information on what was going on in the field throughout the district.

It was frustrating that even as government officials – our direct number even stopped working and we weren’t getting good responses as the communities got fed up with LIPA and sought the help of their government representatives. Eventually I was forced to demand a neighborhood-by-neighborhood rundown on which areas were out, what the cause of the outage was, and what the ETA was for restoration. LIPA assigned me a rep and we are trying to work through the remaining issues in my district. Even as I write this, many homes are without power in the freezing cold. I will not relent until they are restored.

My office has been focused, since the start of my term, on emergency response. We have actively promoted “CERT” emergency training and I met with Nassau County’s Director of Office of Emergency Management. Part of what I discussed with OEM Director Craig Craft was how he believed LIPA restoration efforts were supposed to be improving after their failure responding to Irene last year.

I spoke with representatives from LIPA who not only assured me that things were better, but took an aggressive position against my office for looking into the issue. The head of Government Relations, Tracy Burgess-Levy, criticized my staff because I told local papers I was questioning LIPA’s emergency plans.

Unfortunately, as I feared, LIPA had too much left to be improved after Irene. We have learned this the hard way after Sandy. I am now pressing for a Nassau committee to offer New York State some local details and feedback on what went wrong and what we need next time. It only make sense that we have some insight into the performance of the only power provider available to Long Islanders.

Our state representatives from both parties have done a good job of pinpointing many shortcomings at LIPA since Irene and during Sandy. I would like to contribute to their efforts and see some real changes.

West Shore Road

As we feared, West Shore Road was destroyed by a storm.

As we were warned would happen eventually during a storm, West Shore Road has been destroyed.  On top of dealing with the stress of power outages and gas lines, residents in that area have lost their main artery.

I am glad that the county honored my request to close the road prior to the storm. I will continue to urge County Executive Mangano, and to fight our Legislative majority – who have been causing an unnecessary delay- to get repairs started.

I have been communicating with the mayors of Mill Neck and Bayville and Nassau DPW on detours and school bus issues. I hope that we can get a plan started right away.

I am also seeking some kind of greater aid from our state or federal government to help rebuild so much of Long Island after this devastation, including this important local road.

Advertisements

Tags: , ,

Categories: Columns & Blog, From the Desk of Delia DeRiggi-Whitton

Facebook Friend or RSS Feed

Friend Delia on Facebook or Follow RSS

One Comment on “Post Sandy – Fighting LIPA, Pushing for West Shore Road Repair”

  1. Bayville-Oyster Bay commuter
    November 13, 2012 at 7:45 am #

    Delia, your quote: “I am also seeking some kind of greater aid from our state or federal government to help rebuild so much of Long Island after this devastation, including this important local road.” West Shore Road is indeed important and traveled by close to 11,000 motorists a day!!!!!!!!! We need to get the written 1907 resolution to the then board of supervisors which describes the county’s road rights. Is this where a 7-foot westerly easement from pavement is mentioned?? A 7-foot easement west of road has been quoted by DPW. Delia, you need the DOCUMENTS!!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: