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Nov-02-2012 14:38printcomments

Sandy Leaves its Ugly Mark

Manpower is needed to search for victims and to provide for food and shelter for those left homeless.

Taxi cabs in Hoboken, New Jersey
Taxi cabs in Hoboken, New Jersey. Courtesy: CNN

(SOMERDALE, NJ) - We’re okay. Power never went out. The damage in New Jersey and New York is severe, especially along the coastline. We’re a good 40 miles west of the coast. Whole communities on and near the coast are destroyed. Railroad cars were washed-up on the NJ turnpike. Roads impassable (near the coast). Millions of homes without power. Not a nice picture.

I have no idea of the size of the New York and New Jersey National Guard. There are no reports of the entire Guard in either state was mobilized. Manpower is needed to search for victims. We can send our Guard to Afghanistan for tours of duty so why not mobilized the entire Guard in both states to search for survivors/victims, provide food, clothing and shelter to those in need?

Someone like retired U.S. Army Lt. Gen. Russel Honoré who directed the National Guard in New Orleans during Katrina and knows how to respond to an emergency like Sandy with military troops would be a welcomed sight to many.

Are politics preventing the full mobilization of the National Guard in both states? The Guard can prevent looting and free up local and state police from this duty. Is the Presidential election too close to mobilize the New York and New Jersey Guard?

Better yet, why not ask the Army to recall General Honoré to active duty to put together a task force of National Guard units from various states? General grade officers can be recalled to active duty at anytime. General Honoré has a highly successful record of responding to a natural emergency like Sandy.

The Jersey coastal towns, lower Manhattan, Long Island and Staten Island were hit hard by Sandy. For the most part, the New Jersey coastal towns are summer resorts, heavily populated during the summer months and less so during the rest of the year. That’s not true for cities like Hoboken, New Jersey. The surge really hit Hoboken hard.

Reuters reported that:


Four days after superstorm Sandy smashed into the U.S. Northeast, rescuers on Friday were still discovering the extent of the death and devastation in New York and the New Jersey shore, and anger mounted over gasoline shortages, power outages and waits for relief supplies.


The total killed in one of the biggest storms to hit the United States jumped by a third on Thursday, to 98. In New York City, 40 people have been found dead, half of them in Staten Island, which was overrun by a wall of water on Monday.


AAA estimates that 60 percent of the gas stations in New Jersey are shut along with up to 70 percent of the stations in Long Island. Read more:

Those residents in New Jersey who relied on natural gas to heat and cook are in trouble. Because of the risk of fires and explosion, Governor Christie ordered natural gas service shut off from Mantoloking to Island Beach State Park, a stretch of an Ocean County barrier island where several fires have burned, fueled by leaking gas. Water was pumped into the natural gas lines. This means that the gas can’t be turned back on until the natural gas pipeline is rebuilt.

Look at videos of the long lines of cars lined up for gasoline and those waiting for transport into New York. This is not Mississippi or Florida. The weather is getting cold and people are in danger of freezing and becoming ill from lack of heat and/or shelter. Gasoline is needed to run generators, too.

It looks like Staten Island, New York, is in serious trouble. Many people are without housing (and heat), food, and protective clothing. I’m about 100 miles south of the Staten Island but I’m running the heat now and can’t help but wonder about those on the island and along the Jersey coast without heat and fighting the elements. They can’t survive without massive support from others.

The idea of running a marathon in New York this weekend and starting it on Staten Island is crazy. There are better things for the state to do than sponsor a marathon. How about distributing MREs to those who are hungry? Again the National Guard has the resources and skills to do this.

The photo ops of President Obama and Governor Christie were nice, but those hit hard by Sandy need more than photo ops. Now is the time for a massive effort to support those in need for the basics in life. The federal and state governments are the key player to pull this off. Can they do it in time to save lives?

The following email from Richard Worst, retired FBI agent and friend, demonstrates the difficulty of getting in Ocean City, New Jersey:

DI became aware around 11:30am today that they were opening Ocean City to homeowners and those who own businesses. I got in the car and headed south.

The Atlantic City Expressway was great, Garden State Parkway great until I tried to get off. I was about 25th in line and by the time I went about 50 yards and 30 minutes later the line in back of me was about a mile long. I then went South and made an illegal u turn, (have pba plates) and headed North. I was then 10th in line and in 10 minutes I was heading into Ocean City. One special police officer was handling traffic at the bottom of the ramp and when I made a right there in the middle of the road were Ocean City Police Department, sheriff officers and the New Jersey State Police. Oh, I forgot while I was waiting in line 3 black Suv's with lights flashing went around me to the left and right. President Obama. I forgot he was in the area.

Anyway, I got to the house and to my surprise the water did not get into the house. There was a lot of sand, swamp grass and my brand new trash can holder was missing. I went around the neighborhood, and checked out the neighbors’ houses and then went to the beach. The beach lost about 10 ft. of sand but there was still a dune. However, no walk way and surprise the ramp was still there. However, from the ramp to Central Ave. was full with sand. The area above the firehouse seems to be more damaged then 44th St. On the way out, for some reason I went down Central and guess what I found at 42nd St. and the beach, my trash can holder. One of the neighbors helped me get in back home. It is about 8 feet long.

On the way out, I stopped to look at my neighbor’s (Somerdale, NJ) home in the Gardens. There was little or no damage there. I then went over the 9th St. Bridge and the police were checking each car for proof of residency. No check was being made coming in at 34th St. I finally felt okay and got onto the Garden State Parkway expecting to get on the Atlantic City Expressway and within 60 seconds the Expressway was closed in front of me.

I thought there was a big accident on the ramp so I continued north and made another illegal u turn now heading south. Well that was blocked off to. I had no idea why. So I stopped someone getting back in their car and you guessed it. Obama was going to the Atlantic City Airport so they closed the expressway for 10/15 minutes or more.

Well I took the Black Horse Pike home as did everyone else (5:00 p.m.) and my normal 45 minute ride took me 1 hr. and 45 minutes. What hadn’t the President every heard of a helicopter? He was in one going up and down the coast. The governor couldn't have just dropped him off at the airport? Ok...that’s my story and I’m sticking with it



Bob O’Dowd is a former U.S. Marine with thirty years of experience on the east coast as an auditor, accountant, and financial manager with the Federal government. Half of that time was spent with the Defense Logistics Agency in Philadelphia. Originally from Pennsylvania, he enlisted in the Marine Corps at age 19, served in the 1st, 3rd, and 4th Marine Aircraft Wings in 52 months of active duty in the 1960s. A graduate of Temple University, Bob has been married to Grace for 31 years. He is the father of two adult children and the grandfather of two boys. Bob has a blog site on former MCAS El Toro at This subject is where Bob intersected with Bob served in the exact same Marine Aviation Squadron that Salem-News founder Tim King served in, twenty years earlier. With their combined on-site knowledge and research ability, Bob and Tim and a handful of other ex-Marines, have put the contamination of MCAS El Toro on the map. The base is highly contaminated with TCE, trichloroethelyne

You can email Bob O’Dowd, Environmental and Military Reporter, at this address:



Comments Leave a comment on this story.

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Anonymous November 4, 2012 9:40 am (Pacific time)

Ralph climate change is a distraction. So, as per below story, it appears the union bosses could care less about everyday normal citizens, not just public school students. Time to do something real intense with these very dangerous animals. Start by making all states right to work states like here in Oregon. Prosecute union leaders who put people in harms way by doing acts like the below ones. This is insanity. You can’t go and help out after a disaster without paying union bribes? "Georgia power crew turned away from Sandy-stricken New York for refusing to join union... A business coordinator at a power company in western Georgia told The Daily Caller Friday afternoon that workers from his electric-utility employer were not permitted to help restore power to New York consumers because they would not join the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW). The revelation comes on the heels of similar stories TheDC has reported about power crews from Alabama and Florida who volunteered to fix downed power lines after Hurricane Sandy left millions in the Northeastern United States in the dark this week..." //

Ralph E. Stone November 4, 2012 6:58 am (Pacific time)

Bill, FEMA is a government agency under the President and by all accounts FEMA is doing an admirable job. Unlike Romney who before Sandy wanted to abolish FEMA and leave disaster relief to the states. He quickly changed his mind after Sandy.

Ralph E. Stone November 3, 2012 11:08 am (Pacific time)

Global warming probably cannot be blamed for any given storm. But Hurricane Sandy has injected climate change, which for months has completely been a non-issue with the Presidential candidates, into the campaign. Yesterday, New York City Mayor Mike Bloomberg cited climate change as a primary reason why he endorsed President Obama. And of course, the global warming deniers came out from hiding and again called global warming a lie.

Bill November 3, 2012 4:42 am (Pacific time)

Sandy is Obama's Katrina except that no one froze to death in the days following Katrina. People died during Katrina, but afterwards, the big problem was discomfort. Obama flew into New Jersey for a photo op, but he has accomplished nothing.

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