Gov. Andrew Cuomo called last week for the creation of a backup system for electricity, communications and gasoline to avoid a repeat of the problems suffered in the wake of Hurricane Sandy.
“We really have to take a moment and learn the lessons,” Cuomo said at a 20th anniversary celebration of the Holocaust Memorial and Tolerance Center in Glen Cove that was held at Temple Israel of Great Neck.
At the same time, Cuomo said, he had proposed that the federal government give the state $30 billion in supplemental appropriation “to help us with the economic loss we suffered” and “to help build back this city.”
“This Hurricane Sandy is something different and it’s something we have to understand. And it is not to be taken lightly,” he added. “This was devastating in its impact because we’ve never seen anything like this before. He mentioned that the tragic consequences of the storm, including the 60 people who were killed and the estimated $50 billion in damages.
“I don’t believe that we can sustain anything worse than this,” Cuomo added.
He singled out the communities of Long Beach, Lindenhurst, Island Park and others on the South Shore that were hardest hit by the storm. “This is unlike anything we have seen.”
Cuomo mentioned that a lot can be learned positively from the storm.
“I believe there is a positive to this storm,” he said.
Cuomo, who is also the brother-in-law of the center’s chair Howard Maier, made his remarks following a keynote address in which he praised Holocaust Memorial and Tolerance Center’s mission and the efforts to keep the memory of the Holocaust alive.
“It is vitally important,” he said. “It was a reality. Eleven million people were put to their deaths. It happened… The center reminds us of that painful reality.”
The center also teaches young people “the dangers of anti-Semitism, racism, bullying and all other manifestations of intolerance,” a topic that Cuomo also touched on in his speech.
“It wasn’t just one day a monster was born. It was an incremental process. That’s why you have to fight the process every step of the way because hate breed hate and discrimination leads to more discrimination,” he said. “You have to fight it wherever you see it.”
Cuomo also commended the efforts of to get people to not be bystanders. “The center says it’s the responsibility of each and every individual. That’s what Elie Wiesel teaches use over and over again. It’s the not the other person’s issue, it’s the not the other person’s problem. It is yours. And indifference is complicity when it comes to this issue,” he said. “And if we don’t stand up who will?