James West

James West

Climate Desk Producer

James West is senior producer for the Climate Desk and a contributing producer for Mother Jones. He wrote Beijing Blur (Penguin 2008), a far-reaching account of modernizing China’s underground youth scene. James has a masters of journalism under his belt from NYU, and has produced a variety of award-winning shows in his native Australia, including the national affairs program Hack. He's been to Kyrgyzstan, and also invited himself to Thanksgiving dinner after wrongly receiving invites for years from the mysterious Tran family.

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WATCH: On Long Island, Sandy Victims Vote—Or Not

| Tue Nov. 6, 2012 8:20 PM EST

Oceanside High School in Oceanside, Long Island, has long played host to national elections. But this morning, it opened its doors to a whole new raft of voters: Those whose original polling places nearby had been disabled by Hurricane Sandy.

Even as intersections remained without traffic lights, and piles of water-destroyed household furnishings lined the streets, many in the steady stream of voters here made it clear that weighing in on our next president was still a priority. They were also adamant that in this traditionally Republican-leaning neighborhood, President Obama's efforts to address the storm wouldn't be enough to pull votes away from Mitt Romney.

Closer to the water's edge, where ocean debris still litters sidewalks and many remain without food or heat, the polling station seemed a lot further off. "I've been living in the cold," Kathleen Basler says. "There is no way, shape, or form that I could even get to a voting booth."

VIDEO: Weary New Jersey Residents Face Another Ordeal: Voting

| Mon Nov. 5, 2012 7:13 AM EST

Hurricane Sandy took away a lot of things: power, homes, even lives. For residents of Moonachie, New Jersey, a small town just across the Hudson River from New York City, the storm took a stab at their basic right to vote. After severe flooding here, much of the town remains without power, which led local election officials to decide over the weekend to close all the polling places and redirect residents to consolidated locations nearby.

It's the same story all across the state: Some 300 polling places shut down or moved, according to the governor's office, creating a logistical nightmare for election planners and a headache for voters (for what it's worth, Gov. Chris Christie announced plans to allow votes to be emailed or faxed in). And while New Jersey, a solidly blue state, has never seen less than 70 percent turnout for a presidential election, residents here say until the lights come back on, casting a vote is the last thing on their minds.      

VIDEO: With or Without FEMA, Staten Island Sifts Through the Rubble

| Fri Nov. 2, 2012 6:46 PM EDT

One of the first confirmed victims of Hurricane Sandy was Angela Dresch, 13, who was killed Monday night by a massive storm surge that swept through her home just behind the beach in Tottenville, Staten Island. All told, Staten Island saw more deaths than any other borough, and took some of the storm's worst beatings. With destroyed houses and a rising body count, residents here say they felt ignored by FEMA and the Red Cross, despite desperately wanting and needing their help.

By Friday morning, FEMA officials were in Tottenville, helping residents apply for disaster compensation. But they were already behind the Tottenville community itself, which had rolled out scores of volunteers armed with shovels and wheelbarrows (and a boatload of doughnuts) to help those who lost their homes sort through the rubble.

VIDEO: NYC Gas Crisis Is "Like Something You See in the Movies"

| Thu Nov. 1, 2012 5:07 PM EDT

"Our gas crisis should end shortly." Those words of reassurance, issued this morning from New York Senator Charles Schumer, might not be enough for swarms of drivers in Brooklyn.

Limited bus and subway service returned to New York City Thursday morning, but cars remained one of the only options for moving between boroughs. As a result, the streets of Brooklyn—which normally depends heavily on public transit—were overwhelmed with drivers, and they were all looking for one thing: gas. But the city's main artery for this staple, the Port of New York, was closed during Hurricane Sandy and only just re-opened, leading to massive shortages, closed stations, and excruciating—and tense—lines for the pump.

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