Obama Administration Looking To Divert Billions in Sandy Funds Away From New Jersey and New York

By Art Gallagher, artvg@aol.com

repost-us-image-10549927The Obama Administration is considering holding a contest for areas impacted by disasters other than Superstorm Sandy.  The “winners” would get between $1 billion and $2 billion of the remaining $3.6 billion is Sandy relief dollars being doled out by the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), according to a story first reported by the Wall Street Journal

The Record reports that New Jersey Congressmen Bill Pascrell Jr., D-Paterson; Albio Sires, D-West New York; and Frank Pallone, D-Long Branch, and Sen. Bob Menendez are urging HUD Secretary Shaun Donovan not to divert federal aid to projects in other parts of the country.  Members of the New York Congressional Delegation are making similar pleas.

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Bookerism of the Day

Where’s Senator Cory Booker?  He’s proselytizing on twitter. 

Sires told The Record that the entire New Jersey delegation could join together in opposition to a nationwide contest for the money.  That would be great!  Sires should lead the Democrats in the delegation in ending the partisanship that has been dominating the discourse over Sandy recovery and sign the letter to Donovan and Michael Boots, the Acting Chair of the White House Council on Environmental Quality that Congressman Chris Smith invited him, and all members of the delegation to sign requesting a meeting to hash out the multitude of issues New Jersey residents are having with the HUD relief process.

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Posted: April 24th, 2014 | Author: | Filed under: Chris Smith, Cory Booker, Hurricane Sandy, Superstorm Sandy | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

Beach Replenishment Project Completed In Belmar

Resident Engineer Paul Jalowski with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, New York District, discusses how the elevation of a wide beach berm reduces coastal risks to communities behind them at the site of the Belmar to Manasquan beach renourishment project with U.S. Representative Chris Smith and local officials in Manasquan, N.J. Nov 7, 2013

Resident Engineer Paul Jalowski with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, New York District, discusses how the elevation of a wide beach berm reduces coastal risks to communities behind them at the site of the Belmar to Manasquan beach renourishment project with U.S. Representative Chris Smith and local officials in Manasquan, N.J. Nov 7, 2013

Congressman Chris Smith announced this afternoon that the U.S. Army Corp of Engineers has completed a $25 million Southern Monmouth County beach replenishment project in Belmar.  The five mile stretch of beach including Manasquan, Spring Lake, Sea Girt and Belmar was severely eroded by Superstorm Sandy.  The project, which started in November 7, 2013 nourished the beaches to better conditions than existed pre-Sandy.

“I stood on what was left of the beaches in the days after Superstorm Sandy and the immense scope of the damage was a hard to take in,” said Smith, who worked to obtain Sandy recovery funding and hosted a groundbreaking in Manasquan Nov. 7. “The beaches and dunes which offered protection to the shore communities were washed away—leaving the towns vulnerable to future storms. Thankfully, the Army Corps of Engineers has now rebuilt the beaches in Belmar, Sea Girt, Spring Lake and Manasquan to continue the protections they provide for homes and lives.”

The project is funded 100 percent by the federal government through the Army Corps’ Flood Control and Coastal Emergencies (FCCE) account. The project pumped an estimated 1.3 million cubic yards of sand onto the shoreline.

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Posted: April 23rd, 2014 | Author: | Filed under: Army Corp of Engineers, Chris Smith, Monmouth County, Superstorm Sandy | Tags: , , , , , | 1 Comment »

Stronger than the storm?

New Jersey’s economy should be booming with reconstruction. It isn’t.

There should be hundreds of construction workers in Highlands, Union Beach, Sea Bright and other Sandy impacted communities every day.  They are not working and don’t look to be anytime soon.

Short changed by insurance companies/the National Flood Insurance Plan. Arduous applications for aid followed by red tape, bureaucratic incompetence and rules that halt rebuilding.  Expensive and time consuming zoning approvals to rebuild what was there before.  Pleas for help are answered with finger pointing between bureaucrats at different levels of government who are getting paid for their bullshit and going home every night.

“GO, GO, GO, REBUILD, you’ll get reimbursed,” we were told after the storm. We trusted our government. They lied.

Posted: April 23rd, 2014 | Author: | Filed under: #STTS, FEMA, National Flood Insurance Plan, Superstorm Sandy | Tags: , , , , , , , | 3 Comments »

Highlands Restaurant Gets $50K Stronger NJ Grant

IMG_0714Havana Tropical Café, a Cuban Restaurant which was destroyed by Superstorm Sandy, was awarded a $50,000 Stronger NJ Business Grant by the Christie Administration this week, according to a release by the NJ Economic Development Authority.

The Stronger NJ Business Grant program is funded through New Jersey’s Community Development Block Grant Disaster Recovery (CDBG-DR) allocation from the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD).  Similar to other Sandy relief grant programs, there are strict federal eligibility requirements to which the EDA and applicants must comply. To date, 374 grants have been approved totaling $18.1 million. An additional $24 million in loans have been approved by EDA through the program. This includes 11 grants in Highlands and 60 in all of Monmouth County.

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Posted: April 19th, 2014 | Author: | Filed under: EDA, Highlands, Superstorm Sandy | Tags: , , , , , , | No Comments »

NJ Sandy planning moves forward on local level; experts say regional approach needed

NJ Sandy planning moves forward on local level; experts say regional approach needed (via NJ.com)

While trudging through the ongoing rebuilding from Hurricane Sandy, coastal communities pounded by the devastating storm are trying to form long-term strategies for addressing a wide-range of recovery needs with a finite amount of money. At the same…

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Posted: April 18th, 2014 | Author: | Filed under: Superstorm Sandy | Tags: , , , | No Comments »

The Politics Of Disaster Relief

By Art Gallagher, artvg@aol.com

When disaster hits, natural or man made, Americans put aside their differences and come together to handle the emergency.

We saw it with 9-11. Most recently in New Jersey we saw it with Superstorm Sandy.

Once the emergency is over and the federal money is flowing, the politics…partisanship and patronage starts.  We saw it with 9-11. We’re living it with Sandy.

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Posted: April 13th, 2014 | Author: | Filed under: 2014 Congressional Races, 2014 Elections, 2014 U.S. Senate race, 2016 Presidential Politics, 2017 NJ Gubernatorial Politics, Bob Menendez, Chris Christie, Chris Smith, Christie Administration, Congress, Cory Booker, Democrats, Department of Community Affairs, Department of Homland Security, Frank Pallone, George W Bush, Housing, Hurricane Sandy, Jennifer Beck, Jersey Shore, NJ Democrats, NJ State Legislature, RREM, Superstorm Sandy | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 10 Comments »

Christie Administration Asks FEMA To Give New Jersey Residents And Businesses A 6-Month Extension To File Flood Claims Related To Superstorm Sandy

photo by Art Gallagher

photo by Art Gallagher

TRENTON –The Christie Administration today urged the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to grant New Jersey residents and businesses who suffered property damage or destruction in Superstorm Sandy an additional six-month extension to file a complete flood insurance claim, or proof of loss, in connection with the storm. The Administration is asking that the filing deadline be extended from April 28, 2014 to October 28, 2014.

“Superstorm Sandy was the worst natural disaster to strike New Jersey in a generation, and the process of rebuilding has been expensive and complicated. Homeowners and business owners simply need more time to file their final flood insurance claims,” said Governor Christie. “Many property owners have begun to rebuild only to find there was more damage than they originally thought. This extension would give New Jersey residents the vital extra time they need to successfully navigate the flood claims filing process and restore and rebuild their properties.”

A proof of loss is a form used by the policyholder to support the amount they are claiming under the policy, which must then be signed, sworn and submitted to the insurance company with proper supporting documentation. An extension of the filing deadline would give homeowners and business owners additional time to evaluate newly discovered damages and costs, obtain proper documentation, and submit detailed information in a supplemental proof of loss.

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Posted: April 8th, 2014 | Author: | Filed under: Chris Smith, Christie Administration, FEMA, National Flood Insurance Plan, Press Release, Superstorm Sandy | Tags: , , , , , , | No Comments »

Along Jersey Shore, towns build ‘sandcastle dunes’ as they wait for federal beach projects

Along Jersey Shore, towns build ‘sandcastle dunes’ as they wait for federal beach projects (via NJ.com)

The hills of sand are supposed to act as fortresses that protect Jersey Shore communities from the ravages of the sea. In the 18 months since Hurricane Sandy, coastline towns awaiting federal beach replenishment projects have dumped hundreds of thousands…

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Posted: April 6th, 2014 | Author: | Filed under: Jersey Shore, Superstorm Sandy | Tags: , , | No Comments »

Monmouth And Ocean Senators Ask Congressional Delegation For Sandy Help

Six state Senators representing Monmouth and Oceans Counties have written to New Jersey’s U.S. Senators and Members of Congress asking for help in correcting inequities and inefficiencies in the federal government’s response to Superstorm Sanday.

In a letter dated March 31, Senators Jennifer Beck and Joe Kyrillos of Monmouth County, Robert Singer, Christopher Connors and James Holzapfel of Ocean County and Sam Thompson of Middlesex raised six issues concerning Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP), the Small Business Administration (SBA), FEMA’s Hazard Mitigation Grant Program and the Rehabilitation, Reconstruction, Elevation and Mitigation(RREM) grant program.

With all those agencies and initials, how could anything be going wrong?

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Posted: April 3rd, 2014 | Author: | Filed under: FEMA, RREM, Superstorm Sandy | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

Menendez calls for hearings into post-Sandy flood insurance ‘low-balling’

Menendez calls for hearings into post-Sandy flood insurance ‘low-balling’ (via NJ.com)

MIDDLETOWN – Constituents have told Sen. Robert Menendez that the National Flood Insurance Program is feast or famine – high premiums feast on Jersey Shore residents, while low payouts force tough decisions on homeowners affected by Hurricane Sandy…

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Posted: March 28th, 2014 | Author: | Filed under: Bob Menendez, FEMA, Middletown, National Flood Insurance Plan, Superstorm Sandy | Tags: , , , , , , , | No Comments »