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Fort Lee Mayor Meets With PSE&G President, Curfew Changed [Updated]

With as many as 5,000 customers still without power in Fort Lee, Mayor Mark Sokolich delivered a list of all the areas in town needing to be restored. He also said the pedestrian curfew is now 8 p.m. so people can vote.

Editor's Note: This article was updated at 7:15 p.m. Monday.

Fort Lee Mayor Mark Sokolich met with the president of PSE&G Monday afternoon—a meeting he said was arranged by State Sen. Loretta Weinberg (D-37), who will also be present—to give him a list of all the areas in Fort Lee that remain without power.

Sokolich said earlier in the day that the meeting with PSE&G president and CEO Ralph LaRossa was “not going to be a pleasant one.”

“I don’t know how productive it was for Fort Lee, per se, but I’m appreciative of anyone that faces the music, so to speak,” Sokolich said after the meeting, adding that he confirmed that work orders are in for what he called “critical buildings” and circuit breakers that need to be fixed.

Although Sokolich said LaRossa couldn’t provide him with an update on a timeframe for restoring full power to the borough other than that he was told “it should be very shortly,” he also said, “I know it’s a full-court press to get it done.”

“I didn’t really get the answers that I wanted to hear,” Sokolich said, noting that he is still without power himself. “But I’m convinced [Fort Lee] is an absolute priority, and we’re doing everything we can.”

Earlier in the day, Sokolich said he planned to "personally" deliver a list "of every area" in Fort Lee that still didn't have power.

The mayor said Gov. Christie directed mayors to open schools, but that he can’t in Fort Lee until power is restored to all of them.

“Right now we’re looking at 50 percent of these public schools are down,” Sokolich said Monday before the meeting. “PSE&G has not, as far as I’m concerned, said anything yet. They’ve not confirmed that these downed wires are permanently off, so even if all the schools regain power, I have difficulty having these kids get back to school, knowing these wires are where they are.”

The mayor added, “We’re hopeful that will change within the next 24 hours.”

Fort Lee Superintendent of Schools Steven Engravalle emphasized Sunday that school officials were also “hopeful” they could open schools on Wednesday.

According to PSE&G’s online Outage Center, as many as 5,000 customers in Fort Lee remained in the dark as of Monday evening.

Sokolich also said Monday that effective immediately, the curfew he imposed on pedestrian travel in the borough as part of his state of emergency declaration has been moved from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m., especially in light of Election Day Tuesday.

“For those people that are abiding by it, I don’t want them not to be able to vote because they can’t get there before 6 p.m.,” Sokolich said, adding that the 8 p.m. curfew would remain in place until further notice.

Richard November 07, 2012 at 05:02 AM
Toni, talking about police department running on generator, not sure if you read the news that Fort Lee policeman called in tow truck to deal with frustrated person waiting in line for hours hoping to get some gas ... And eventually sent the poor guy to jail after some struggle. That's the capability of our police force in handling situation. Totally incompetent yet very arrogant and power hungry. We need Michael Bloomberg kind of real manager and entrepreneur to manage our city, not weak and lying politician. Again, use our votes / rights, and voice the truth and our miserable hopeless reality to news media. This is still the United States of America, by the people and for the people.
Quint November 07, 2012 at 03:31 PM
how can you say that the Mayor is responsible for all of this? Don't we have a police department, fire department and office of emergency management that has paid members who should be providing the mayor and council with information regarding emergencies??
BJ November 07, 2012 at 04:16 PM
Quint: On Tuesday the morning after the storm, I walked a good portion of the town to survey the damage. I saw (municipal) vehicle after vehicle after vehicle after vehicle driving throughout the entire town doing nothing more than wasting precious gas. Many vehicles had two occupants. How many times I wanted to run out into the street and ask just how many time they were going to drive by branches on the road and not move or pick them up. I noticed residents doing the work instead. I was appalled to say the least. On Friday morning I did the same, walked through the town. By now tempers were flaring. No electricity in so many places, no food, no gas. The shelves in 7-11 had practically been stripped bare. Everyone I spoke with was furious because they were left in the dark physically and metaphorically. Look at Hoboken and how brilliantly they handled their situation with massive flooding. The mayor held a meeting every single day to keep people up to date and informed. In a age where there is now instant information there was no excuse for the way this was handled or who is solely responsible for the inepitude.
Thomas A Bennett November 10, 2012 at 05:20 PM
On Monday before the election, I went to the Community center to see how folks were doing. Since I was a candidate, many complaints were about the center closing at 6PM. I called the Mayor's office and asked why the center would not be open after 6. I was told that the Mayor imposed a curfew. I suggested that since he imposed the curfew, he take it off so these poor folks could be warm and have light. I even suggested that the Mayor could get some good will by doing this. I was told the Mayor was in a "meeting", I left my number. I have yet to receive a call.
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