Tuesday, August 30, 2011

A Message from Mayor Jason West

Thank you everyone for your patience the past few days. The EMT's, police officers and firefighters all thanked us for yesterday's curfew; they said it made a huge difference. It meant they didn't have to respond to their daily number of calls on top of helping evacuate, rescuing stranded people, and dealing with downed trees and power lines, fires, and other emergencies caused by the hurricane. We've lifted our travel bans on most of the roads east of the Wallkill. We didn't know until later this morning which of our roads were safe to drive on. There is a list of closed roads posted on the New Paltz Police Dept. website. Please don't drive around the barricades: it's inconvenient, but they're there for a reason. Until the Wallkill recedes, we can't get crews and equipment west of the Wallkill to inspect those roads. DO NOT move the barricade blocking the bridge, even if the road looks clear. We will unblock the roads when we know they are safe to walk and drive on. So there is still a travel ban on roads west of the Wallkill. I understand how many people will ignore that unless we physically stand there on every street and stop people from driving. However, please help out by not risking your lives by driving down a street we have clearly told you is unsafe to drive on. The person who put up that barricade knows something you don't. They know what's down that road, and took the time to leave as clear a message as they can to anyone who may see it, that they should not go down there. Please respect that. I know a lot of people were inconvenienced yesterday, but it was necessary to free up enough of our very limited, exhausted people and resources to deal with this crisis. We were very lucky; it could have been much worse, and there will be lots of articles written about it. But be proud of your emergency workers. The police, firefighters, EMTs, Red Cross, community volunteers, Trustees and Town Councillors, the public works employees of the Town and Village, the Town and Village Clerks and others were mobilized coordinating our efforts. And everyone involved did a fantastic job.

1 comment:

Martin McPhillips said...

West: You're a foolish imbecile to think that you can restrict the freedom of movement of people of good will and the opening of businesses based on the supposed convenience of emergency service workers. There was no good reason to impose a curfew on adults or to focibly close businesses on Sunday after the storm. There was no good reason to close them during the storm. People are more than able to make decisions about where they will and will not go during a storm. This is not a kindergarten and you are not the teacher.

To the emergency workers: Thank you for your service. If you need help with your work in a tight spot like this past weekend you should have a way to call out for able-bodied volunteers. And you can of course ask business people and citizens at large to take special care during the period of a big storm.

But please do not condone cheesy political people who are off on miniscule power trips in restricting the rights of free citizens. It's unseemly and it is wrong.

For the record, I was in Manhattan on 9/11, downtown, and I saw hundreds of thousands of people conducting themselves with mature excellence. They were not impediments to the performance of police or emergency workers: they were not the enemy, or mere "civilians" as they are sometimes called by law enforcement. They were ready to help in an instant; ready to stay out of the way as needed. And that was an imponderable emergency that no one was warned about for days in advance.

The handful of vitally stupid people who are always among us will find a way to win themselves a Darwin Award no matter how many sensible people you restrict.

So please don't get caught up in this infantilization of the public, what the late Herman Kahn (author of such light fare as "On Thermonuclear War") called "health and safety fascism."