New York Blackout II

Published: 1977
Play Audio Archive Story - UPI

Tom Foty: July 13th, another blackout hits New York. A recap after this.

Tom Foty: It had happened once before 12 years earlier. The 1965 Northeast Blackout caused relatively little trouble. But given the stifling mid-July heat of 1977, Blackout II was a different story for New York, as Mayor Abe Beam explained in the middle of the night …

Mayor Abe Beam: "We've seen our citizens subjected to violence, vandalism, theft and discomfort. The Blackout has threatened our safety and has seriously impacted our economy. We've been needlessly subjected to a night of terror in many communities that have been wantonly looted and burned. The costs when finally tallied will be enormous."

Tom Foty: And indeed it was. The Carter Administration eventually granted the city more than $11 million to help over the losses. Officials blamed the area's utility company, Con Edison. The company originally objected, but later conceded that errors on its part in reacting to lightning strikes that knocked out crucial power lines were a major factor in New York's daylong loss of electricity.

This is Tom Foty for Recap '77.

Roger Giddens: 1977, a year for Presidential on-the-job training. A recap after this.

Roger Giddens: The education of Jimmy Carter to the ways of Washington began with energy. After building a huge nest egg of public support in the first months of his Administration, Mr. Carter invested some of it. The nation was warned to brace itself for sacrifice, and Congress heard a ringing speech that talked about a commitment to solving the energy problem that would be the moral equivalent of war. The program ran into immediate flak because, in the words of one aide, it included something that everybody could hate. No doubt the President expected a tussle, and what he got was a barroom brawl. All the weird Congressional quirks and perks, special-interest groups and political pork-barrelers surfaced.

The new Administration wasn't ready. Before it was, the program was watered down with many key provisions washed away. To save what was left, Mr. Carter began doing business with those same insiders he had decried during the campaign. At about the same time, the President's standing in the polls began to drop. Indeed, Mr. Carter bought a late education, with the political price as yet to be tallied up.

This is Roger Giddens at the White House for Recap '77.