To the Editor:
Cranford’s emergency responders came up big in the early days after the storm as they usually do. Since Thursday however, town actions and communication have not been appropriate to the scale of the ongoing emergency needs of large numbers of citizens still without power and heat. As we approach next week, temperatures have begun to drop and there’s a Nor’easter in the forecast.
The Police Department has communicated effectively, the town has not. I understand that a large part of the issue stems from a lack of information from and coordination with PSE&G and higher government jurisdictions are addressing that issue. Many still lack phone and internet service. Nevertheless, the town can offer much more help with the resources available. We need to set up an emergency response desk with responsibility for ongoing coordination and to constantly update people on the changing situation with respect to blocked streets and down wires, where gas is available, access to emergency supplies, available generators, the status of schools and voting places. We should host townwide conference calls as Westfield has done for those without internet or TV and, yes, we should shamelessly steal such good ideas from other towns. We should provide a central point for volunteer and donation coordination. I have conveyed more specific proposals to the Township Committee and other officials. We need to act immediately.
Coming as this message does three days before an election some may dismiss its urgency as partisan. All I can say is that I act out of genuine concern and a sense of urgency that we are not doing enough within town government at this critical time. I wish everyone the best with respect to the storm aftermath and will continue to work for better service delivery.
Commissioner, Township of Cranford