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LIMBA mtg recap & news

July 10, 2005 @ 12:00 am EDT


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Members and friends

This mornings meeting featured Dr Matt Cordaro from LIU as our speaker and the topic was Disaster Preparedness. We advertised this event as hurricane preparedness, but in fact we covered more ground than that. Terrorist attacks were also discussed.

Matt began by citing the inadequacy of the local and state officials in Louisiana. A bit unfair I thought, but their were certainly some bad responses to the emergency, and that is the greater point.


His point was that the local authorities have the real responsibility and FEMA is a source of money to get things done. Even as we can accept that the position, FEMA was stripped of its previous large funding that it had in the 90’s. Of course not having a take charge type of individual is a bigger problem (Michael Brown) was not helpful, nor was it discussed.


Cordaro explained how planning for disaster is a “what if” exercise. Where the participants throw out the most devastating set of circumstances and discuss, what do we do to mitigate the disaster. He pointed out that all that can go wrong is very often beyond the reach of our imagination. We do the best we can and hope we can deal with what we have imagined with the tools we put in place.


According to Matt, the biggest problem was having an alert system that people know about. The day of the disaster is not the time that you tell people what they have to do to save their lives and property. Matt alluded to a systemic approach being required. In other words larger plans than can be followed with very little knowledge of the intricacies of the planning on the part of the citizen, because until we are faced with an emergency we are not likely to pay much attention. The trick is not having “the best layed plans of mice and men” but having a ritual of survival we all can follow. The discussion that followed was useful in firming up Dr. Cordaro’s comments.


Follow-up on other LIMBA issues

    Rail freight– Fred Krebs, president of NY & Atlantic RR, has pointed out to me that Congressman Nadler was successful in getting $100,000,000 for the planning of the New Jersey to Brooklyn Tunnel. Fred contends that is a a waste of money because it simply is not going to address the problems we have, and the final tab on that boondoggle is more than $8 billion. Moreover, if it should be built it would not have economics to support itself. A better use of that $100,000,000 would be to make the bridge and track improvements on the existing rail system and we could increase rail freight by ten times our present loads, and take 300,000 truck off the road each year. Now that would help.


    Repowering-LIPA and Keyspan are talking seriously to each other on this topic. Now that we will have a little excess capacity after the newly approved cables are in place, we will have a window of opportunity to replace an existing power plant, and several others after that. I applaud the efforts of Bob Catell and Richie Kessel.


    Ferries -Homeland Security Access Ferries We have come up with a plan that makes perfect sense in terms of getting funding. Supplying Long Island with commodities, medical supplies, and equipment of all kinds requires a high speed ferry that is more than an economic benefit, it is a survival lifeline. The design of this plan is done and should be available on our website in two weeks.


Next week we will have Barry Greenspan from NY State Economic Dev.

 Thanks to all that attended today’s meeting. Have a nice weekend

Ernie Fazio