The Town of Hempstead was useless. Nassau County was useless. New York State was useless. FEMA was useless. It then fell on the Oceanside diaspora, family and friends, to convey information. Myself and others not terribly impacted by the storm set up websites and Facebook pages to provide information to fellow residents, as Oceanside has no web resources of its own. It was old high school friends and acquaintances whom I counted on to get relief directly to Oceanside, because it seemed like our community was not one featured on the news like others (until Oceansiders turned a school press conference into a rally dedicated to venting frustrations with our unreachable power company, as well as our do-nothing Town of Hempstead, Nassau County and Congressional elected officials).
As for aid management, Oceanside is now relying on Oceanside Community Service, a small non-profit set up in 1949 to help poor members of the community. This organization is led by the same civic-minded folks who are also members of the school board, fire department, Rotary Club, Kiwanis, etc. Whereas the Long Beach ice rink is now filled to the brim with supplies and a never-ending flow of vehicles dropping off more needed items, Oceanside Community Service was overjoyed that a single tractor trailer recently arrived from Vestal, N.Y., bringing much-needed supplies.
My call to action is that Oceanside immediately incorporate as a village. In times of crisis, all areas need police departments, management professionals and full-time leaders. Unincorporated areas cannot and should not rely on incompetent bureaucrats at the county or township levels. Incidents like Sandy may not happen often, but when they do, citizens should know that they will be looked after, and that disaster management on the local level will never again be such a debacle because a hyperlocal government is not in place.