Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Information about the curfew

I spoke with Michael Zierler yesterday to get some answers about the curfew, since he was (maybe "is," I'm not certain) acting as public information officer.

The resolution's intent was twofold, he told me.

First was to prevent people from being out in potentially dangerous conditions because they were curious.  "You can stand outside your house," Michael told me, but "nobody should be out just to see what's going on outside."

The village and town wanted emergency services personnel to be able to focus on things like downed trees and flooding, instead of people "intentionally swimming in the river or accidentally driving through flood areas," Michael offered as examples.

Likewise, the curfew was to keep the streets clear for essential emergency vehicles.  "The entire personnel had been working for 16 hours already," Michael told me, and empty streets removed both a distraction and a potential delay in the form of vehicles.

Police advised downtown businesses to close, and rode up and down the streets announcing the curfew over their speakers.  Notifications were spread via social media, local access cable, municipal websites, and over the phone to anyone who called any town or village office.

There was also a countywide ban on driving, Michael said, although New Paltz police were not stopping people "just for driving."  No checkpoints were set up to stop drivers.

Another underlying concern was the fact that it was impossible to assess roads for damage.  West of the Wallkill, where they won't be checked until the bridge is passable again, there's still a travel ban to the best of my knowledge.


Martin McPhillips said...

It seems as though Head Nurse Bloomberg's fastidious micromanagement of his herd has seeped up the Hudson.

Your publicist's account, Terence, reiterating the deep reasons for keeping people in their houses hours after the storm had passed, will I'm sure reap you an extra Vienna sausage at the next get together of movers and shakers.

As for my honorable neighbor Michael Zierler's comment: "nobody should be out just to see what's going on outside." Well, he should stare at that for as long as it takes. The hypothetical "unnecessary rescue" and tired emergency worker is no reason to order people not to leave their homes. It is that simple. The storm was over and people gather to trade stories and have a bloody drink. We don't live at the whim of the government or follow its directives like sheep.

And the County, of course, can go straight to hell. I drove up to the Catskills on the Thruway and 28, early Monday a.m., had to take some back roads around a downed tree on 28 (took 28 all the way to the Thruway on the way back 45 minutes later; there was a shoulder open to get by the tree on that side), followed a detour on the way into Woodstock, slipped under some downed power lines on Cold Brook/Piney Point (the road was *not* closed, but a driver coming the other way took a moment to stop and warn me what was ahead--he had just come through it), and headed into Boiceville, which had had its business district flooded by the Esopus. No problem.

People know how to handle themselves. Using the drunk 18-year-old college freshman determined to swin in the flood waters as an excuse to restrict the rights of everyone else follows the notion of government and the governors that they are the center of everything. It isn't and they are not.

And particularly using the emergency workers as the excuse, and thereby encouraging them in a similar contempt for the public, is the stuff of dystopian fiction.

Terence said...

I'm glad you think my efforts to transmit the information are worthy of accolades in some quarters, Martin. At this point there's a lot of strong feelings (yours included) and a wide range of beliefs about what actually occurred. I am reserving judgment until I can sort the wheat from the chaff.

I hope you will come to the joint meeting tonight and express your views in person.

Martin McPhillips said...

I'm happy to say, Terence, that I have never submitted myself to a meeting at Town Hall and never will. Well, never say never.

MaryAnn said...

The point of the curfew was to keep people off the roads? How is taking them OUT of the business where they were hunkered down and sending them back out on the street and back home keeping them off the street?

Some of the roads were impassable and others undetermined? Again, aren't those the same exact roads they would be traveling when then left the establishments?

If "they" didn't want people down by the bridge then patrol that area, not the entire downtown area.

and thank you Mr McPhillips...
"People know how to handle themselves. Using the drunk 18-year-old college freshman ..." I could NOT agree MORE!!

I just don't see how it would be safer to rescue someone from their homes where emergency services would have to travel the same bad roads to reach any victims, how being in a flooded electricless house is safer then with a group of people in a safe shelter with food and water.

The lesson I took from this? Go home to your flooded lightless house and suffer alone and wait for us to come save you if you need it. Or you can walk 1000 feet away from the dangerously treacherous Main Steet and go to the SUNY gym because somehow that's safer than P&G's :( I don't get it :(