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.

Read the rest of this entry »

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: , , , , , , , , , , | 7 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?

Read the rest of this entry »

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

Sweeney Rejects Using COAH Funds For Sandy Rebuilding

Sweeney: RCAs “put poor white folk and poor black folk out of town”

Hornik: “No one in Trenton can honestly say that COAH is working”

IMG_9153 (640x391)Senate President Sweeney rejected out of hand an idea brought forth by Marlboro Mayor Jonathon Hornik this week that could potentially release $184 million in dormant funds for the benefit of Superstrom Sandy victims.

Hornik called for the reinstatement of Regional Contribution Agreements (RCA), in order to unlock $184 million in COAH funds to help residents impacted by Superstorm Sandy rebuild their homes in an OpEd piece published on MMM and PolitickerNJ.

RCAs were a practice that was in place to build affordable housing in New Jersey from 1985 through 2008 under the Fair Housing Act, whereby communities that had raised affordable housing funds through development could transfer those funds, and their obligation to build affordable housing within their own community, to other communities with an immediate need.  The legislature and Governor Corzine outlawed RCAs in 2008.

Assemblyman Declan O’Scanlon issued a statement commending Hornik  and said,”When the Democrat leadership in Trenton killed the RCA program it was bad, short sighted policy that many of us knew would come back to bite us. Its flaws are now magnified by the plight of Sandy victims as many towns struggle with the economic burdening of rebuilding.”

Read the rest of this entry »

Posted: March 21st, 2014 | Author: | Filed under: COAH, Declan O'Scanlon, Jon Hornik, Superstorm Sandy | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments »

Sweeney’s ‘Sandy Bill of Rights’ tour to continue in Keansburg

Sweeney’s ‘Sandy Bill of Rights’ tour to continue in Keansburg (via NJ.com)

TRENTON — As Hurricane Sandy victims continue to complain about New Jersey’s recovery efforts, state Senate President Stephen Sweeney will continue this week to push legislation he says is designed to help them. Sweeney (D-Gloucester) plans to make…

Read the rest of this entry »

Posted: March 17th, 2014 | Author: | Filed under: Keansburg, Stephen Sweeney, Superstorm Sandy | Tags: , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

Hurricane Sandy victims make do in trailers as they wait to rebuild

Hurricane Sandy victims make do in trailers as they wait to rebuild (via NJ.com)

Tina Napalo lived in a bungalow-style house on Fourth Street in Union Beach for more than 20 years. “I didn’t have everything,” said the 40-year-old mother of four, but, “it took me a long time to get what I had.” Then Hurricane Sandy hit.…

Read the rest of this entry »

Posted: March 16th, 2014 | Author: | Filed under: Chris Christie, Christie Administration, Highlands, Hurricane Sandy, Keansburg, Middletown, Monmouth County, Obama Administration, RREM, Sea Bright, Superstorm Sandy, Union Beach | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

Menendez Rebuts Christie Over Blame for Stalled Sandy Relief Aid

Menendez Rebuts Christie Over Blame for Stalled Sandy Relief Aid (via NJSpotlight)

Who is to blame for the slow pace of New Jersey’s recovery from superstorm Sandy? Gov. Chris Christie blames federal red tape and regulations for holding up the distribution of aid money to storm victims in New Jersey. But New Jersey’s senior U.S.…

Read the rest of this entry »

Posted: March 13th, 2014 | Author: | Filed under: Bob Menendez, Chris Christie, Christie Administration, Superstorm Sandy | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

A New Christie For A New Normal

IMG_6933If Governor Chris Christie’s presidential prospects have been damaged by the Bridgegate scandal and associated investigations, you wouldn’t know it by the amount of television cameras at the Town Hall Meeting in Port Monmouth this morning.  Middletown officials estimate the crowd was about 500 people. There was easily 50 members of the media including reporters, photographers and videographers.

There was no swagger from the Governor today.  No fist pumps, no snazzy introductory video, no in your face insults to hostile questioners.  Christie dodged the only hostile question he heard.  The Youtube moment came not from an idiot or thin skinned reporter, but from a three year old girl who said her house is still broken.

Bridgegate, the controversy over the September lane closures at the George Washington Bridge that has spurred investigations by the U.S. Attorney and a Special Legislative Committee never came up.  The people who came to today’s meeting would gladly trade places with the Bergen County residents who were inconvenienced by traffic jams for four days.  They been without their homes for 16 months.

Read the rest of this entry »

Posted: February 20th, 2014 | Author: | Filed under: 2016 Presidential Politics, Chris Christie, RREM, Superstorm Sandy | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | No Comments »

Welcome back to Monmouth County, Governor We’ve been waiting

“My message to the federal government, get the resources where they are needed as fast as possible, as hard as possible and for the duration. Because the recovery process, obviously in a place like New Jersey is going to take a significant amount of time….

I told the mayors and the governors, if they are getting no for an answer somewhere in the federal government, they can call me personally at the White House.”  ~ President Barack Obama, October 30, 2012

“On October 29 last year the job changed for me. It’s no longer a job, it’s a mission.

You see a mission is something that is different from a job. A mission is sacred.  It’s a sacred trust that was thrust on me, and you, on October 29 of last year.

And that mission is to make sure that everyone, everyone in New Jersey that was affected by Sandy to return to normalcy in their lives.

I will not let anyone, anything, any governmental entity, or any force get in between me and the completion of my mission.”  ~ Governor Chris Christie, November 5, 2013

Welcome back to Monmouth County, Governor Christie.  We’ve been waiting for you.

Posted: February 20th, 2014 | Author: | Filed under: Barack Obama, Chris Christie, RREM, Superstorm Sandy | Tags: , , , , | 3 Comments »

Christie Needs To Throw Down In Middletown

By Matt Rooney, Save Jersey.com

Christy-BarryWhen Speaker of the House John Boehner’s caucus didn’t immediately sign off on a massive, bloated Superstorm Sandy relief package in early 2013, Save Jerseyans, Chris Christie’s outrage could be heard at all ends of the earth.

“We respond as Americans,” Christie bellowed following a congressional adjournment which occurred without a vote, “at least we did until last night… it was disgusting to watch.”

A majority of conservatives were of a decidedly different opinion, ranging from disinterest to feelings of betrayal. Their disgust was reserved for an event that occurred approximately two months earlier, before the Mitt Train officially derailed, when the rockstar GOP Governor embraced President Obama on Garden State soil, a move which public exit polling suggested could’ve helped move the needle in the incumbent’s direction in key 2012 battleground states like Virginia and Ohio. Base political calculation at its worst? Or simply emotions getting the best of an emotional guy?

My take at the time was as balanced as anyone could expect from a conservative blogger: it was foolish to fault Christie for refusing to leave his storm-ravaged state for a political rally, or even for hosting the Commander-in-Chief upon the White House’s request, but I also argued that the Republican Governor’s overly-effusive praise of an as-of-yet-untested federal response was premature at best and would likely prove to be the real mistake with the passage of time.

Read the rest of this entry>>

Posted: February 20th, 2014 | Author: | Filed under: Chris Christie, Christie Administration, Obama, Obama Administration, RREM, Superstorm Sandy | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | No Comments »

Kyrillos Blasts HUD For Keeping Sandy Victims From Rebuidling

KyrillosState Senator Joe Kyrillos came out swinging this afternoon regarding the news that the Department of Housing and Urban Development denied the Christie Administration’s request to allow victims of Superstorm Sandy to continue to rebuild their homes while they are applying for Reconstruction, Rehabilitation, Elevation and Mitigation (RREM) grants.

Kyrillos implored HUD officials and New Jersey’s congressional delegation to do whatever is necessary to allow Sandy devastated residents to rebuild their lives.

“It’s ridiculous, to say the least, that the people of New Jersey are being denied access to grant money because they are trying to rebuild their lives after the worst storm ever,” Kyrillos said. “The people of my district and the surrounding areas were some of the hardest hit and their federal government should not be hindering their recovery. Our home owners should be able to rebuild as they apply for grant money and I urge our congressional delegation to get to work immediately”

Senator Kyrillos added that the people deserve a reasonable return on their federal tax dollars in the form of Sandy grants.

“A lot of good has come out of the $1.83 billion in initial aid to New Jerseyans, but the reality is that more resources are needed for this state to recover from nearly $37 billion in damages,” Kyrillos said. “New York has received about $4 billion more, so the time is now for HUD officials and our congressmen to turn their eyes to our state.”

The Associated Press reported today that HUD denied a Christie Administration request to waive a rule that all reconstruction work must stop when a property owner applies for RREM grants.   The federal government wants be sure that historical structures are protected and that the properties are rebuilt to the new elevation standards.  No work that is completed prior to a HUD approval of the plans will be reimbursed with RREM grants, even if the work complies with the standards.

Posted: February 19th, 2014 | Author: | Filed under: 13th Legislative District, Chris Christie, Joe Kyrillos, RREM, Superstorm Sandy | Tags: , , , , , | 5 Comments »