We think most Queens residents will agree that, with the exception of the service delays by Consolidated Edison and the Long Island Power Authority, the government’s response was remarkable. Compare that to the bumbling that occurred when Hurricane Katrina stuck the Gulf Coast in 2005.
The contrast is dramatic. President George W. Bush, former Louisiana Gov. Kathleen Blanc and former New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin took turns dropping the ball. They fought while residents waited to be rescued from roofs and while refugees from the storm endured miserable conditions in the Superdome.
Obama’s response and the actions of the Federal Emergency Management Agency drew praise from prominent Republicans including New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie. The cooperation between city, state and federal agencies has helped the people endure an extremely difficult time.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo and Mayor Michael Bloomberg deserve credit for their response to and preparation for this storm. They formed a team working closely with federal agencies.
The federal response has even given Forest Hills an unintended boost.
FEMA opened a federal disaster nerve center in a once-bustling Forest Hills office building that used to house airline company JetBlue. FEMA will use space on 10 floors for administrative offices for the foreseeable future. This means lots of new customers for shops and food marts.
There will be complaints about FEMA by frustrated business and home owners, but most people understand the agency was open for business within days after the storm and is doing its best.
Beyond government, we are in awe of the volunteers who have given their time to help those hardest hit by Sandy. On Thanksgiving, hundreds of volunteers served food to those left homeless by the storm rather than enjoying the day with their families.
Some of the help came in unexpected ways. The Father Ryan High School Band, from Nashville, Tenn., marched 33 blocks in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. They then hopped on their bus and headed for the Rockaways, where they marched again for residents.
©2012 Community News Group
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