Although much of the attention has been focused on New York City, millions of Long Islanders were also caught in Hurricane Sandy’s path, with tens of thousands of them still without electricity or a regular supply of gasoline. In a statement sent out this afternoon by Nassau and Suffolk counties’ entire delegation in the State Senate, the local officials cried out for additional federal assistance. In doing so, they repeatedly raised the specter of Hurricane Katrina, the disaster that infamously marred former President George W. Bush’s administration.
“We are facing a massive, Katrina-style disaster here on Long Island that will only get worse unless all of the resources of the federal government are at our disposal. Incredibly, that hasn’t happened yet,” Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos declared in the release, the title of which warned of “More Death and Destruction.”
Words With Friends
One week ago, Governor Andrew Cuomo demanded the state’s utility companies step up their efforts in returning power to New Yorkers and threatened to revoke their business licenses if they failed to do so. At a press conference today, a reporter asked the governor how power companies reacted to the increasing pressure, specifically whether they were “pensive,” “mortified,” or “terrified.” Mr. Cuomo made it abundantly clear the utilities were indeed very concerned and described the uncertain terms he used to make them feel the urgency of the situation.
“All of the above,” he answered. “I think all of the above, because I’ve had the full range of conversations that you can have, so I think it’s all of the above; frightened, frustrated, embarrassed. Look, you can’t be any stronger or harsher than I have been on the utility companies. You can’t. You can’t use any language publicly, any other language that I’ve used, and I not have to worry about my daughters watching the broadcast, right? Privately, I have used language my daughters couldn’t hear, so they’ve gotten the message.”
Earlier this morning, President Barack Obama signed official directives naming the states of New York and New Jersey disaster zones, allowing for additional federal aid to assist recovery efforts in the wake of Hurricane Sandy’s destruction. In New York, Mr. Obama’s order only stands for the five boroughs and Long Island for now.
It’s still difficult to evaluate the exact costs of the storm. At least seven people have died in the state, millions are without electricity, and major transportation networks are flooded.
Governor Andrew Cuomo, on his whirlwind tour of New York State, touched down in Long Island this evening to announce a number of bridge closures, the National Guard being called up, and the continued danger of, as he put it, “Sandy’s Fury.” Notably, as of 7 p.m. tonight, the Verrazano-Narrows, George Washington, Henry Hudson, Bronx-Whitestone and Throgs Neck bridges will be closed, joining the Tappan Zee Bridge and Cross Bay Veterans Bridge, which shut down earlier today.
“We have another 1,000 National Guard who have been called up, and they, in so many ways provide the energy, the muscle if you will, to do many of these operations ,” the governor said. “The majority of those National Guard will be deployed on Long Island. As the issue becomes more and more the coastal surge, Long Island becomes more and more vulnerable.”
Mr. Cuomo also updated New Yorkers on the storm’s overall status.
HEMPSTEAD, N.Y. — Talking to reporters in “spin alley” after tonight’s debate, Mitt Romney’s senior adviser Eric Fehrnstrom conceded President Barack Obama was “more spirited” than he was in the first go-around. However, Mr. Fehrnstrom said the Romney campaign is still “confident” its candidate will win.
“I don’t think changing your style or changing your tone can change the facts of your record,” Mr. Fehrnstrom said. “We still have 23 million Americans struggling for work, 16 trillion in debt, 47 million Americans living on food stamps, one in six Americans living in poverty. No amount of histrionics on the president’s part can change those bad facts.”
HEMPSTEAD, N.Y. — At many points in tonight’s presidential debate, Mitt Romney seemed to be expending more energy sparring with the moderator, CNN’s Candy Crowley, than with President Barack Obama. The multiple moments where Mr. Romney argued with Ms. Crowley drew audible reactions in the audience and among the reporters in the media filing room. Mr. Romney’s squabbles with Ms. Crowley also made him seem shaken by the president’s attacks after a debate in which Mr. Romney was widely seen as the victor and the president was criticized as insufficiently aggressive.
Rocking the Suburbs
HEMPSTEAD, N.Y. — Some of the reporters covering tonight’s presidential debate at Hofstra University in Long Island may be F.W.I.–filing while intoxicated. Anheuser-Busch is apparently a sponsor of tonight’s rhetorical battle and the beer company has set up a “hospitality tent” outside the media filing center where reporters are being treated to free food, brews and souvenir glasses.
empire state of mind
One month ago, President Barack Obama took one of his more fashionable visits to New York. After an event at Waldorf-Astoria, Mr. Obama headed over to a second star-studded soirée hosted by Beyoncé Knowles and Jay-Z at the 40/40 Club in Midtown. There, a hundred guests who paid $40,000 for the privilege, lounged on sofas in a dark, glassy room to watch Mr. Obama pitch the importance of reelection. But Mr. Obama wasn’t there to ask for votes.
No, the president was in New York City, as is almost always the case when he visits, to fundraise among the city’s moneyed elite. And those individuals–the ones who sat at the 40/40 Club next to a tower of 350 bottles of $300-plus Jay-Z-endorsed Armand de Brignac champagne–represent the New Yorkers Mr. Obama cares about. His Republican adversary, Mitt Romney, is exactly the same.
But it’s not their fault that New York has been relegated to be the A.T.M. of the presidential race; nor is it anything new or special. Thanks to the winner-takes-all system by which the heavily Democratic state awards its presidential delegates, Mr. Obama is guaranteed to win the Empire State no matter how much time he or Mr. Romney campaign in Elmira or El Barrio.
the david segal show
David Segal, a former spokesman for Councilman Ydanis Rodríguez, has a new job after a now-infamous series of events a few weeks ago where Mr. Rodríguez fired Mr. Segal, rehired and re-fired him within a very short time frame after the New York Post discovered he spent six months in federal jail for an arson attack on an army recruiting station in 2005.
“Now I am the Communications Coordinator for the Long Island Progressive Coalition,” Mr. Segal told us earlier today.
Mayor Michael Bloomberg continued his push on behalf of Governor Andrew Cuomo’s pension reform plan by launching New York Leaders for Pension Reform, “a bipartisan coalition of mayors and county leaders from across the state” that will run television ads “advocating for sensible pension reform.” Mayor Bloomberg announced the group’s formation in a speech at the Long Island Association breakfast this morning where he warned that, without pension reform, this state will be forced to make drastic cuts that will return us to the “horror film” of the 1970′s.
“This week, our coalition will be urging New Yorkers around the state to make their voices heard. In fact, we will begin airing television ads statewide calling attention to the issue,” Mayor Bloomberg said.