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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

Hookerman November 15, 2012 at 02:28 PM
Question Tracy; last year there was a special meeting held specifically to address the issues with the power outages after Irene and the snow storm (with reps from JCP&L). Do you anticipate having another one of those sessions, or will this be handled at the regulalry scheduled committee meeting? I'm sure there may be many residents who would like to express their opinions on the handling of the storm, but I wasn't sure whether the town council wanted to handle this at a regular committee meeting, or hold a special one just for that agenda.
Kathlyn Carter November 15, 2012 at 03:11 PM
Kevin Nedd, I am finding it very difficult to follow your thoughts. At one point you said that it was you who championed the cause to eliminate salary and benefits for the position of Mayor. Now you are saying that the Mayor and committeemen should be paid. Have you changed your stance on that issue? Please clarify.
jbrickey November 15, 2012 at 03:23 PM
I was under the impression that Ken Short was a republican. You wouldn't know it from his apparent allergy to actually do work, his refusal to take responsibility for his own actions (and lack of responsibility overall) and his love for property taxes. It looks like Long Valley has gotten themselves quite a democrat for mayor.
Thomas Lotito November 15, 2012 at 03:25 PM
Mary, I disagree with you but I hope you and your family and home are OK. You are saying Tracy was a poor choice. Your statment is political. Tracy Tobin said it rightly below. Having the Mayor here wouldn't have made First Energy get the power restored any faster. It's incumbent upon our selves to prepare for the storm by having generator and supplies on hand for at least a 1 week period. It's also out duty to check on our neighbors especially senior citizens who might need water and food and heat.
Woody November 15, 2012 at 03:27 PM
Mr. Mayor, I need a hug! LMAO. You people are utterly sad and pathetic. I feel extremely sad for the future of this Country.
HistorianWT November 15, 2012 at 03:30 PM
Thank you, Tracy. Class act. To summarize, the transition of responsibility, to the extent anything could still be done outside of JCPL, was made smoothly, professionally and with more than two weeks notice. Tracy and the other elected officials handled the remaining tasks with efficiency and there was no loss of service or leadership by the Township Committee. Someone wanted door-to-door hugs, which apparently would have been a good use of elected officials' time. Get a dog. The problem, and I think it rings very true spelled out above, seems to be two deposed bitter former officials who have done nothing but cause trouble since they were booted, Emory and Nedd. Calling them "jock sniffers" at this point is rather disgusting but clearly accurate. Tracy, I believe, is the most experienced Township Committeeman and a former mayor multiple times over, right Tracy?). Although, unfortunately, perhaps not the huggy type. Apparently we needed some politician in love with the camera who would walk down the beach for a photo op and fly off to a battleground state with Bruce Springsteen.
Kathlyn Carter November 15, 2012 at 03:40 PM
Yes, Kevin, that channel 9 clip is great publicity for our township. I'll bet it was one of those Short defenders that initiated that (sarc). I especially like the way Short's vacation was lumped in with the mayors who took generators for their personal use. It was so cool how they jumped from a picture of a big generator directly to the Long Valley Mayor who took a vacation. For the public that watched this, some of them might be wondering "The Mayor of Washington Township took a generator for his own use and then went on vacation?"
Kathlyn Carter November 15, 2012 at 04:11 PM
Thank you Tracy for all of the factual information. It won't make any difference to the complainers. They come from the school of "It is the government's responsibility to take care of me". I'd love to know if any of the complainers attended any of the meetings last year about JCP&L and/or if they have ever attended any of the monthly town meetings.
Liberty November 15, 2012 at 04:58 PM
Ok, Kathlyn, how is suggesting you be mayor a personal attack? And everyone in our town has the right to complain how the effects of Sandy were handled. You didn't get the littlest bit irritated when your power went out? I don't know why JCP&L took so long to fix this, I hope we learn this after the dust has settled. My power was out, I had no water (well with pump) and an enormous tree fell on my house. People actually stopped in front of my house to take pictures, but not one asked if we were ok or needed help. So we took care of ourselves, but that doesn't mean I wasn't angry every night we went to bed in a cold house with no water. Just like thousands of others in town. But then I heard what happened at Belle Harbor and Breezy Point and considered ourselves very lucky to still have a house at all and know that eventually there would be power and life would return to normal. Those people have a hard road ahead of them and their least concern is power. AND I don't think the mayor and his second should have left town. If they aren't together, they shouldn't have scheduled trips at the same time. And most people of even moderate intellect buy travel ins! It was poor judgment, blah, blah, what everybody else said. Why does no one get this--the mayor doesn't leave town in a crisis!
Kathlyn Carter November 15, 2012 at 06:56 PM
Dear Liberty, Everyone does have a right to complain. It is the manner in which some are doing the complaining that is disturbing. Is it necessary to use insults, threats, and mean-spirited comments for some to get their point across? Does it serve any purpose to say "most people of moderate intellect buy travel ins!" Maybe after working endless hours to make sure that anything humanly possible was done to fix the immediate crisis, the Mayor felt it would be OK to leave for the vacation that he and his wife looked forward to for 8 months. I guess that he is as clueless as I am as to how much this town has changed.
Jason Koestenblatt (Editor) November 15, 2012 at 07:01 PM
For Tom Lotito, I wanted to respond to your remark about me being a left-wing journalist. As you know and have been told numerous times in the past, Patch is an objective publication. We don't endorse candidates or lean one way or another. But the reason I want to address you is because you falsely stated that I am a "hardcore left wing journalist." As you can read in my biography, which is open for all to see here (http://longvalley.patch.com/users/jason-koestenblatt), that's a bit far from the truth, according to my political and religious beliefs. I'm not so sure where the "every day is beat up on Christians and conservatives day" came from or why it was stated, either. Doesn't really make sense in this context. Anyhow, I just wanted to clarify where I stood personally, but I do remain objective in my reporting, as that is Patch's top priority. Thanks so much for always reading Long Valley Patch and often commenting on the issues you find so important, Tom. Your support is greatly appreciated.
Liberty November 15, 2012 at 07:29 PM
Dear Kathlyn, My comment about buying travel ins was two-fold: I knew you would jump on it and, buying it IS a smart, inexpensive way to protect oneself. If you don't like the way people complain, too bad, don't read the Patch. Maybe some people are so distressed and annoyed that their complaints do come across less than "friendly." I don't know what the mayor was thinking, just the part where he thought it was ok to leave. Life's full of disappointments, we deal with them. I do agree with you that the mayor is clueless. Don't you think everybody else worked endless hours to take care of their families? A major natural disaster hits the town and you think because people, in their frustration, complain about it, means the town has changed? You're right there, too--you are clueless. And Jason--I think Tom's remark was way out of line and you have shown great restraint.
Kristina Cunningham November 15, 2012 at 07:31 PM
I have an opinion regarding the mayor and his vacation but..... Does anyone know how storm damage gets assessed by First Energy? Is there a storm damage assessment crew that comes out? Or do they make assumptions based on our calls to their outage line? From talking to the crews who were working on the lines in the area I heard the same thing over and over "no one was truly aware of the damage this area encountered". 2 separate crews - same statement made. Even the supervisor at the pole staging area mentioned the magnitude of repair was greater than what they were lead to believe. Who is responsible for reporting? Because first and foremost that issue needs to be addressed. Then let's trickle down to our out of town mayor.
Kathlyn Carter November 15, 2012 at 08:22 PM
Jason, thank you for providing an invaluable service to our community. The Patch is a major resource to obtain local information. It is sad that now some out there are shooting the messenger. Maybe I'm missing something, but I haven't seen anything that would give me a hint on where you stand on the current controversy. I always found you to be objective and responsive to the needs of this community (BTW, I am not a friend or relative of Jason). Thanks again and keep up the good work!
Sarah Beth November 15, 2012 at 08:28 PM
After reading all of the comments post-Sandy I have become discouraged by this community. I am a 21-year-old college student and yet I feel older than most of these "brave" commenters. That isn't to say there are some genuine good commenters as well, but the majority seem juvenile. Please Long Valley citizens, think of the glass half full. My friends home was washed away, people are homeless right now as we speak due to this storm. People died. Did you hear about that one poor mother in New York whose children were dragged from her in the storm and they died? And what did we have? We lost electricity. Was it frustrating? Of course! But we have our lives, our health, and our homes. It is discouraging to think that in a time where the community needs to unite, we instead play the blame game and whine continuously. And the anger towards JCP&L? My best friends dad hasn't been home in 2 weeks he has been working so hard for them. The workers haven't seen their families and are most likely working through Thanksgiving. Think of the extent of the damage Sandy had created. It isn't as simple as everyone is making it out to be. They got our power up and running in 2 weeks which was to be expected. Long Island's company, LIPA, failed so badly and most people still don't have power. JCP&L however got the job done. I just learned about the rationing that went on in WW2. It went on for 5 years in England and it united the people. Why can't we do that? Think about what we have guys
Sarah Beth November 15, 2012 at 08:31 PM
You're fine Jason. As a "hardcore" left wing liberal, I have not seen one article of yours that has pushed this view. I also commend you for always being kind to these kind of comments. Kudos.
Sarah Beth November 15, 2012 at 09:01 PM
Perhaps my comment would be better off in one of the various other threads, agreed. I just think we should sort of focus on the matters at hand rather than getting all riled up was my points. I have been following every article Patch has released and I was commenting on the people that keep bashing JCP&L (Which this article does seem to have) and the complainers. I used this thread to respond because it seems to be getting a lot of attention and I wanted people to put things into perspective. Thanks for the response though. I respect your opinion
Kathlyn Carter November 15, 2012 at 09:01 PM
Just can't stop with the name calling and twisting people's words, can you Liberty? I am impressed that I am so important that you made the comment about buying trip insurance just for me and whatever the other reason was. It is nice to see that we were able to agree about something...the fact that I am clueless. I really did not have any idea that so many people like you and in-the-dark and all of the other mean-spirited people had moved into Long Valley. Yes, people spent endless hours taking care of their family. Most people do that even when there is not a crisis. The Mayor had to do that as well as help his entire community. Did you read Tracy Tobin's comments? Are you willing to help us fight JCP&L and the Board of Public Utilities? If you were involved last year, then you know what a monumental task that is. If you weren't involved last year, would you be willing to help out this year. Whoever the Mayor will be, I'm sure they would welcome all of the help that they can get. You will, however, need to learn how to have discourse without getting nasty and resorting to name calling or you will do more harm than good.
Domino November 15, 2012 at 09:02 PM
Dear Jason: Please keep up the good work. You and the patch have been a tremendous asset to Washington Township. As far as the stupid comments directed at you are concerned, do what everyone else does: consider the source. Take it as a badge of honor.
12345678 November 15, 2012 at 09:07 PM
Your comment is in the correct thread and I totally agree!
12345678 November 15, 2012 at 09:18 PM
Kathlyn, I think most of Long Valley did what they had to do and appreciate that the only thing we had to endure was a couple of weeks without power. I can't imagine what those complaining would do in the event of a real catastrophe..
Thomas Lotito November 15, 2012 at 09:22 PM
Jason, You say you've been objective, however; you ignored reporting election results in the June primary concerning David Larsen. I have an email from you saying it wasn't your job. Moreover, any time there's an election you write more favorably about any challenger to Republicans. You say you're objective, but have you ever done an article on Dave Kennedy and the lies he's told as a committeeman? Don't you think it newsworthy that an elected official is claiming that enforcing the law is a conspiracy against him? Or how's about an article on former Committeeman and Democrat, Kevin Nedd for his conviction for harassing a local family on his website? Every day is bash the Christian day because every time I comment on an issue on the Patch and talk about my faith you allow childish taunting and bullying to be spewed directly at me with no restraint by posters hiding behind pseudonyms. Have you confronted or banned or taken down wtgodot's threatening remark to me today? " lotita needs protection" This is a threat Jason and you've allowed this to stand, not to mention the constant bashing of Mayor short on this thread. My remark that you're a left wing journalist stands until you or the Patch editors decide to clean up these comments sections and give fair and equal coverage to the Republicans. Maybe then the LV Patch will be worth contributing to. I hope to continue a journalistic relationship with you, but I'll leave that up to you. TL
Sarah Beth November 15, 2012 at 09:29 PM
Kevin, Read more comments then. There are a lot of people getting testy in this thread but I more so meant other threads where people were flipping out over the whole no power JCP&L situation. I also never meant "riled up" as in "death threats". I think we maybe have a different definition of the phrase. I agree the Mayor needs feedback, and I for one think maybe he did use some poor judgment and am not totally on his side. Like I said, perhaps my comment was best for another thread but I hoped someone would read it and put things into perspective. Again, my comment was for people throughout this ordeal who were extremely childish in behavior, not necessarily for everyone on here right now. Cheers
Kathlyn Carter November 15, 2012 at 09:36 PM
Very well said, Sarah Beth. It is uplifting to know that someone as young as you can rise above the bitterness and put things in perspective. I would like to clarify, however, that most of us who complained about JCP&L are referring to corporate headquarters, not the people out there doing the job. I feel as bad for them, and maybe even more, than I do for us the consumer. I said that every time that I spoke to a representative on the phone and the linemen in the field. We were out there giving the linemen coffee, water, soda, snacks. There were so many States represented on our one block alone. The JCP&L employees should not have to go through this time and time again. And the out of state crews should not have to be away from their families for weeks at a time bailing us out. Sandy was a horrible storm, but long power outages have a history in this area starting way before Sandy. The linemen from out of state will tell you how antiquated the power equipment in our area is. Some JCP&L employees have called radio stations anonymously to air their own grievances. For the most part, however, the employees cannot speak for themselves for fear of losing their jobs. To fight to fix or get rid of First Energy, the parent company, is not just for us, but for the JCP&L employees also. Half the staff was laid off when First Energy bought JCP&L. Thanks again for your intelligent and well spoken comments, Sarah Beth. I hope that you have a bright future (no pun intended).
In_the_dark November 15, 2012 at 09:37 PM
Sarah Beth, I believe there a 2 threads referenced here, both touching on what to consider so that "next time" is better. I believe it is clear that very few people believe that JCP&L's response to this issue was far below what many had hoped, and in that regard , the question is when can be done about it. Y The second thread focuses on leadership; was the mayor's decision to go on vacation appropriate or not, and if not, what can be done "to make it better for next time (where was /is Roehrich??)". Yes many were and are in a less fortunate situation, and from an actionable stand point those that are concerned can donate funds, goods, and their time. For Long Valley residents, the issue being discussed is whether the majority of voters believe Mayor Short's decision to go to Aruba was appropriate. I again have to thank Tracy Tobin, as he has stepped into the Mayor role well and is at least making an effort to factually share some of the information surrounding the missing mayor issue
Liberty November 15, 2012 at 09:37 PM
I only repeated what you said, that you were clueless. Don't be impressed, because you just don't get it--you're not important at all. You say the same stuff over and over, ad nauseum. And that last sentence of yours, you need to practice what you preach.
12345678 November 15, 2012 at 09:41 PM
Kevin, that's correct. I would not be looking to our small town mayor to lead me through a crisis.
Liberty November 15, 2012 at 09:43 PM
Don't want to mislead--the comment below is for Kathlyn. The one who doesn't like name-calling but says we're all mean-spirited.
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 (Editor) 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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