National Guard, Nassau County police officers, auxiliary officers and even village trustees have been out on patrol in Cedarhurst as residents impatiently await the return of power to their homes.
“We’re being proactive about it,” Trustee Ari Brown said at a village hall meeting on Monday. “The men haven’t seen one sign of looting.”
Electricity and security were easily the most talked about issues at the packed meeting, which was in the dark except for a flood light plugged into a generator at village hall. Residents grilled village officials on LIPA, but they admitted to not having any answers.
“We’re having the same problem as you. I have no power or heat,” said Mayor Andrew Parise. “I wish I can tell you something good. We have the same problem as last Monday, with the same answers.”
Some good news may be coming, however, as Deputy Mayor Benjamin Weinstock said power may finally be restored on Wednesday to much of Long Island. He warned residents that there’s no guarantee, and even if power is restored, not everyone in the village will have power. Some streets may have damaged wires or infrastructure, he explained.
Meanwhile, Cedarhurst has declared a state of emergency that will give residents more flexibility in the wake of Hurricane Sandy. The resolution permits residents “to react to the situation creatively,” Weinstock said, citing yeshivas that have requested to do things that are usually against village law.
During the state of emergency, all village departments are instructed to place life and property as their top priority. Parking meters will also not be enforced.
The village will also look into a robo-call system and an email list for future situations.
“We’re going to be upgrading our communications,” Weinstock said. “This was the wake up call.”
Residents also interrogated Legislator Howard Kopel on why the county didn’t do more to prepare before the storm, what can be done about LIPA and a lack of visible police presence.
Kopel said that he, like many residents, does not trust LIPA’s numbers.
“At the county level, we’ll hold hearings to shine light on the problems,” he said. “You can’t prepare for this — a once in a lifetime event.”
The county is considering adopting a law that will require gas stations to have a generator on site to prevent the gas lines the current situation has created. He also said that more police will be patrolling, but in their personal vehicles. Still, he said, he felt fortunate.
“We’re lucky over here. Entire neighborhoods became part of the Atlantic Ocean,” he said. “But anyone who’s in trouble, don’t suffer silently. There are places to go that are better than a cold house.”
See Brown's letter on Cedarhurst's efforts here.