Thursday, September 23, 2010

Crowley, Addabbo Answer Critics over Storm Response

By Eric Yun

After Thursday night’s storm in Middle Village, some residents feel abandoned by their politicians. The home- owners of 84th Street in Middle Village signed a petition giving Councilwoman Elizabeth Crowley (D-Middle Village) and State Senator Joe Addabbo (D-Howard Beach) a vote of “No Confidence.”

The petition states, “We were there for you on Election Day. Where were you when we got hit?”

Dave Shapiro, who lives on 84th Street, believes his area was left in the dark by the politicians the neighborhood elected. “The night of the storm Councilwoman Crowley never bothered to show up. Senator Addabbo never bothered to show up,” Shapiro said.

Meanwhile, Shapiro said photographers flocked to the street to take photos of what he called “the hardest hit area in Queens.” The devastation was so great that 84th Street made the cover of the New York Daily News on September 17. Meanwhile, “Our elected officials never knocked on our doors to see if we were ok,” Shapiro said.

The biggest complaint from the homeowners of 84th Street was a lack of communication. “I don’t know what we’re supposed to be doing,” Shapiro said. “We don’t know what recourse to take.” He wondered why a circular was never distributed to assist residents with insurance claims and other issues.

In response, Crowley sent a letter to the 84th Street petitioners detailing the work she has done for the com- munity. “Shortly after the storm passed on Thursday evening, I walked from the 69th Street area of Middle Village east to Woodhaven Boulevard, assisting with the coordination of the City’s emergency response,” she wrote.

The accusation that Crowley did not visit 84th Street is not true, according to Crowley. “I was on 84th Street on September 16th, the night of the storm, and revisited the block on the 17th, 18th, 19th, 20th and 21st,” Crowley wrote.

Crowley applauded the help of residents, private cotractors and city agencies to clear most of the major roads by Friday evening. “Moving forward, I am focusing on the efforts by the Parks Department to quickly and thoroughly address trees with limbs caught in braches, trees that were severely damaged by the storm and destroyed sidewalks,” Crowley continued.

Addabbo said that he was doing everything in his power to help the residents of Middle Village. “I don’t run away from a situation,” he said. The Middle Village office was open late so people could charge cell phones, make an important call or use the bathroom. He also drove around Middle Village the night of the storm to help residents.

“Just because they don’t see me doesn’t mean I’m not working for them,” Addabbo said. He reiterated this point in a letter sent to the homeowners on 84th Street. In the letter, Addabbo sympathizes with residents who were disappointed they did not see the senator in person, but outlined the numerous ways he attempted to help the community.

According to the letter, Addabbo was in communication with NYC Parks Department, Con Edison, and other agencies to direct them to areas of need. “I am not about the photo op,” Addabbo wrote, “but working to get results for my residents.” He urged concerned constituents to call his office at any time if there were issues that needed to be resolved.

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