Like magic, Red Cross

appears with warm food

Like so many others in New Jersey, my husband and I spent last Saturday helping a friend recover from Hurricane Sandy's devastating effects. Our friend, who lives in Mystic Islands, suffered considerable damage to her home and property and to her psyche as well.

We arrived with lunch, power tools and work gloves and were stunned to see firsthand the destruction Sandy had left behind on this island. After many hours of hard work, at the point when everyone was feeling worn out, a Red Cross truck magically appeared, stocked with warm food. I cannot tell you how that food lifted everyone's spirits.

I would like to thank both the Red Cross and the many people who contribute so generously after each disaster. I know I will never think twice again about contributing.

CHRISTINE DEL CONTE

Cape May

Kicking out swim club

a disservice to A.C. kids

The Atlantic City school board has done a great disservice to the city by making it impossible for the long-standing Atlantic City Aquatic Club to continue to use the Atlantic City High School pool.

Through the dedicated service of the coaches and volunteers, this team has given hundreds of kids the opportunity to learn to swim competitively and excel at it.

The team operated at no cost to the school district. I'm not sure if the board thought the team was a cash cow to be milked, or if it was just ego that led to the dispute. But the kids of Atlantic City have not been served by their actions.

DAVID R. ADAMS

Mays Landing

One lineman needs

a lesson in courtesy

After being without electricity from Monday through Friday after Hurricane Sandy, I became curious when an Atlantic City Electric Co. truck pulled up in front of my house on Nov. 13.

I was on the telephone with the Federal Emergency Management Agency, attempting to expedite my flood insurance claim, when the Atlantic City Electric worker got out of his truck, walked to the overhead power lines behind my house and terminated the power to my home and office.

I went outside with a dead telephone in my hand and complained to the worker, who cursed me out and told me to go back into my house.

I called Atlantic City Electric and complained and received a call back from a supervisor later that afternoon advising me that the ACE worker admitted to cursing me out, but it was because he has been under a lot of pressure.

I am a small-business owner who lost a week's worth of revenue due to the unreliable power delivery of Atlantic City Electric. Being cursed out by an Atlantic City Electric employee making thousands of dollars in extra overtime pay was the icing on the cake. I would like to suggest that Atlantic City Electric discontinue paying dividends to its stockholders, redirect that money toward the badly needed infrastructure improvements our power grid desperately needs, and give its workers in the field a crash course in customer service and courtesy.

DENNIS BRENNAN

Margate

Democrats give -

GOP wants to get

Why did the Republicans lose the presidential race? Simple. Democrats give the people what they want. Republicans expect people to give them what they want.

Oh, there may be another reason. How can you trust a party that does nothing except disparage the president and wage an ongoing war with him?

HOWARD ROSENFELD

Margate

Move out everyone,

let nature reclaim A.C.

Atlantic City now has the distinction of having been the landfall for one of the largest storms in history, along with having rampant poverty and a struggling casino industry.

What a venue it would be for a watershed state/federal initiative of relocating all residents off a vulnerable barrier island and returning large swaths of land back to their natural state.

Keep the casinos, the downtown and the Boardwalk - three places that weathered the storm well. But turn over the rest of the city to the National Park Service. No more numbered wards, City Council or mayor - just park rangers and a very safe island. It's a radical, but perfectly logical idea for the city.

GARY STEIN

Mullica Township

State-run utility

failed Long Island

We daily read about the huge problems facing the residents of Long Island as they endure weeks without power. Tragic as that is, there is a bit of history that led to this very situation.

There used to be a private company that provided power to Long Island known as Long Island Lighting Company. In 1973, it began construction of a nuclear power plant at Shoreham. The plant, which took 11 years to build at a cost of $6 billion, never went into service.

The political powers, after endorsing the plant initially for the jobs it would create, decided after it was completed that it was unsafe. It was never allowed to operate above very low levels of test output. In 1994, it was decommissioned, and the company that built the plant was put out of business. A government-run authority - the Long Island Power Authority - then took over and to this day is responsible for power to that area of Long Island.

Apparently that authority is as unable to manage a utility as were the decision makers who junked a $6 billion investment. LIPA had no disaster plan. Its plant was in very poor condition, and its customers, despite paying very high rates to write off the bills for the unused nuclear plant, were hung out to dry.

The lesson to be learned is that government does not do a very good job at running any business. I can't wait for the government to run health care.

RICHARD P. VOGL

Galloway Township

Don't let government

force you to leave home

When citizens give up any of our constitutional rights, as we have done under the Patriot Act and other measures, we should not expect to have them replaced, ever.

Now we have been faced with a "mandatory evacuation," which is not to be taken lightly. You don't tell American citizens to leave their homes under threat of the law. What you do is tell people the nature of the storm and that they should leave of their own accord. It isn't that there was no time to spread the word before Sandy hit. Government officials had seven days advance warning.

Meanwhile, while returning to Brigantine, we were stopped twice and had to show photo ID. Waiting in line to be checked the second time, I got the feeling that I was no longer in America. I felt like I was in East Berlin in 1960, which isn't a good feeling.

I do, however, give a huge hats off to the Brigantine Department of Public Works. What a monumental job. The damage was staggering, with sand everywhere. But now the town is coming back together. Well done.

STEVE KRUGER

Brigantine