Hurricane Sandy- A Personal Note and Some Observations

First and foremost, let me state that I live along the New Jersey shore and have all my life save for my time at college. Currently, I live one and a half blocks from the back bay on one of those barrier islands we are reading and seeing that suffered so much damage. My home, in particular, took on two feet of water not to mention roof damage from the winds. Some are not calling this a hurricane, but it was. Trust me- when you walk your dog and can look up, see the moon and hear crickets chirping, you know you are in the eye of something, especially if an hour later the winds are whipping at 90 MPH.

Second, some of the imagery requires some mentioning. That part of the famed Atlantic City boardwalk that got destroyed comprises some six blocks total of the entire length of it. It had been scheduled for demolition and replacement. Mother Nature saved the city the cost of demolition. The area was so bad that one could not traverse that section anyway. The remainder of that boardwalk is just fine. It is fine because of a recent beach replenishment project and accompanying dunes restoration project.

There is a local radio personality who is a mainstay in the region who has been leading a public outcry over the construction of dunes in Atlantic City. His main concern? The view! Specifically, he says that the dunes in certain areas block one’s view of the ocean from the boardwalk. He needs to take a walk now and see how those dunes saved priceless property and mitigated what could have been a more costly and tragic loss of property and possibly lives. He also claims that the dunes are not natural although prior to the arrival of modern man and a wish for a view of the ocean, dunes were demolished.

In my particular town, you still need to navigate something akin to Checkpoint Charlie to enter. Their main fear is burglaries. For this, they are stopping cars at choke points and asking for ID to make sure you live there. This involves not only the local police, but also the county sherriff’s department using at least 8 of their vehicles and personnel. Instead of standing at these choke points and checking driver’s licenses, perhaps they should patrol the streets. That would seem a better use of limited resources. It is not a case of inconvenience to me; it is a case of stupidity by the city.

Speaking of images, Fox News has shown a photo of an old house with a flag still flying on it after being demolished amid a sea of water. Here is a little secret: that is an old shack- a landmark if you will- that has been long abandoned and that flag has been on it for years now. A little research, or asking a local, would have revealed that fact.

As I mentioned, my house suffered a lot of damage. Luckily, I heeded the calls of Governor Christie and evacuated. His last call, durin Hurricane Irene, was also heeded and that was a big bust. But, on Sunday morning with the storm 500 miles out to sea and bay water coming up my street, we rightfully decided not to stay. A few short miles away, Mayor Lankford of Atlantic City was trying to play hero and set up shelters in the high school and three other schools. Putting people up in the high school is like putting citizens of New Orleans up at the Super Dome. The high school is surrounded on three sides by water and on a road that floods in a thunderstorm. Atlantic City is known for corrupt mayors, but now they have a corrupt and stupid mayor.

Regarding those criticisms of Christie for his “bromance” with Obama, the many critics and detractors need to shut up and grow up. Christie is doing what any Governor would do in a similar situation. His leadership during this time has been second to none. So, whether he seeks the help of the Federal government is a given and as the President, Obama represents that government. Hence, Christie rightfully reached out to Obama and Obama rightfully responded. End of story. Would we criticize a Governor Brewer if half of Arizona was in flames for reaching out to Obama? Or a Republican governor of California if there was a major earthquake? Or a Republican governor if the Mississippi River had massive flooding? Or a Republican governor if there was a major oil spill fouling your shoreline? It is easy for those not experiencing his disaster to armchair quarterback and calling Christie a turncoat because he is doing his job. Should one of these detractors be unfortunate enough to find themselves a victim of a natural disaster, their rhetoric would most likely be assisted by a big piece of humble pie. To them, I have suggestion: Shut UP!

Some may argue that we should not be rebuilding along the shore, that those who suffered damage did so at their own risk and should have taken precautions to prevent the loss of property and that taxpayers should not have to help pay for the clean up and reconstruction. Well, like anyone else, I pay taxes that help with beach replenishment in Florida, farm assistance in response to droughts in the Midwest and earthquakes in California. I also pay a premium yearly for flood insurance. Contrary to popular belief, the national flood insurance program is not 100% financed by tax money. I, like others, pay a premium every year and I have for the past 23 years. Yes, it is only about $1,000 a year which may seem low for someone living so close to water, but this will be my first claim under the program and, God willing, the last. That, in addition to my first ever homeowner’s insurance claim ever and whatever else is available, is what insurance is for.

Another point to be made concerns these Michael Moore-Al Gore doomsday comments about global warming. Notice, they no longer say that, but “climate change.” This is the first hurricane to make a direct hit on the Jersey shore in some time. Even then, the chances of the storm coming up the coast then making a sharp left and beeline for Atlantic City are extremely slim. This was a once in a lifetime event, not the new norm according to these whack jobs in the media. Had the storm headed further north, New York would not have suffered as much damage either. As