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Anger Toward Mayor Misdirected, Resident Says

True problem is with JCP&L, Kathlyn Carter writes.

Dear Editor,

I have received many personal and mean-spirited attacks for defending Mayor Short. Some attackers assume that the Mayor’s supporters are family members or friends. I am neither. Some assume that we must have gotten our power back quicker. My power came back Sunday, 11/11/2012 at approx. 7:00 p.m. I don’t agree with Mayor Short on everything (uh Mayor, whatever happened to paving my street?). But not much can be accomplished if disagreeing about one issue = disagreeing about everything.

I understand the frustration experienced by many not knowing where and how to get information about what was going on. I remember the feeling very well from last year. With no home telephone lines, no web access, no television, no way to re-charge cell phones and sometimes no cell reception, the only connection to the outside world was through battery operated or car radio. Compared to last year, if you knew who to call and where to go to get information, the communication has significantly improved. The mayors and residents were in constant contact with local radio station WRNJ, who generously put aside regular programming to focus solely on the aftermath of Sandy. The continuous coverage of all that was happening locally was invaluable. But obviously not all of the residents knew where to get information and a better job needs to be done to make them aware of what is available.

Other personal attacks against me suggested that “if I know so much about Long Valley, then why don’t I become mayor”? I do not claim to know a lot about Long Valley politics, but I do know a heck of a lot about what our Mayor and committee have done and are doing about the JCP&L situation.  In this particular issue, I am very involved. First Energy of Ohio, the parent company of JCP&L, has proven over and over again that they are unable to service Chester, Mount Olive, and Washington Township. I want First Energy out of here! I had spoken several times to Mayor Short over the past 2 weeks and that is why I am aware of all that he has been doing. There is nothing else that he could have or needed to do at this time. However, if he is willing to continue to be our Mayor, he has a long battle ahead of him and anyone who is willing to help with the cause is welcome to join in. I had made several calls to JCP&L over the past 2 weeks and believe that I have obtained information that could be helpful to our cause. I assured Mayor Short that I would provide him with the information in writing.

By the way, being Mayor of Washington Twshp. was a paid position. It was Mayor Short’s decision not to accept a salary. I don’t understand why that set off such a spark. Perhaps the anger and frustration over what we went through over these past 2 weeks is being misdirected.

I hope that we will soon be back to normalcy; although we know that we cannot rest assured until something is done about JCP&L. There are many wonderful, caring, generous people in Long Valley. We still have an all volunteer Rescue Squad and an all volunteer Fire Department. For those of us who love living in a neighborhood where kindness and common decency prevail, let us hope that we will never lose that.

Sincerely,

Kathlyn Carter

Washington Township

Kathlyn Carter November 15, 2012 at 10:10 PM
Hi Kristina. Through my personal experiences, the problem is a lack of communication within the Power Company. A couple of days after the storm I saw a JCP&L truck assessing the damage on our street. A couple of days after that I called JCP&L and spoke to a representative to let them know that we still have downed wires and have to drive under uprooted trees being held up by wires. I was told not to drive over any wires. I told the rep that we had no choice if we needed to get out of here. Approximately one hour later someone did respond, jotted things down on a pad, moved all of the wires on the road over to the side and put up signs closing our road. However, to get out of here we still had to drive under trees being held up by the wires. Several days later I called again and someone responded and was jotting down notes. On the evening of 11/10, a tree company was here to start work on cutting the trees. They had to leave when it got dark. On 11/11 when the trucks rolled into town, I drove around until I found a couple of trucks. I asked what I could expect and was told that it was possible that we would not get our power back on that day because the damage was much worse than what they expected. The truck was from Duke Energy and they said that someone would be coming out to assess the damage in my area. Shortly later a truck drove up our street taking notes. By some miracle, we did finally get our power back that evening.
Jason Koestenblatt November 16, 2012 at 03:16 PM
To everyone who has commented on this article, First and foremost, thanks so much for weighing in on this topic. The two weeks that Washington Township endured during and after Sandy were historic, and nothing short of incredible. I decided to close the comments section on this post for numerous reasons. While some comments were still on topic, too many were going astray and attacking others. I've deleted a couple dozen of those comments, and I'm sure if I go back and look, can delete many more. Anyhow, thanks again to everyone for their participation and expressing their opinions. The next Washington Township Committee meeting is Monday, Nov. 19. I look forward to seeing you all there.

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