Are There Any Grownups in the Room?
Gov. Christie Drunk On Springsteen and Snooki
Time to Form A Coastal Commission To Plan For A Climate Changed Shore
“This is too important a place in the fabric of New Jersey’s culture to not rebuild it. I’ve never had any doubt in my mind that we’re going to rebuild it,” Christie said. “I do not intend to be the governor who presides over the idea that this is going to be gone. I refuse to accept that.” (Asbury Park Press 11/10/12)
[Update: 2/25/13 – We told you so! Asbury Park Press reports today:
Seaside Heights plans seawall with MTV funds
SEASIDE HEIGHTS — Snooki, Pauly D and the rest of the cast of “Jersey Shore” drew crowds and controversy over four summers in the borough, but their final act could leave the greatest impression.
The cast of the MTV hit reality show helped raise $1 million during a benefit broadcast in November.
Now, Seaside Heights officials want to use that money for a seawall that could protect the boardwalk where the gang partied and played until summer 2012, shortly before superstorm Sandy crashed into the real Jersey Shore.
We also told the Gov. that sea walls don’t work – end update]
And the Star Ledger called that a “sobering message“. Sober? The Governor is drunk on nostalgia.
There’s a time and a place for cheerleading and inspiration and all the Springsteen and Snooki Jersey Shore Photo-Op cultural bullshit.
But now, when expectations for a global warming driven future of the shore are forming, it’s time to Get Real.
So, are there any adults in the room? It’s way past the Good Governor’s bedtime.
Perhaps the legislature might want to stand up and be counted?
Calling Sandy “our Katrina,” Christie said he would work to ensure New Jersey receives the same attention and federal support given to states along the Gulf Coast after the 2005 hurricane there. He said he planned to meet with his cabinet in the days ahead to map out a long-term strategy.
Do Senate President Sweeney and Assembly Speaker Oliver think that the Legislative branch and the people of the state have a seat at the table in developing a “long term strategy” for the shore?
Or are they going to sit back and defer to Christie’s Cabinet meetings?
The Asbury Park Press makes very clear the emotions and vision driving the Governor:
“There are certain iconic places that those of us who have lived here all our lives just know about and take for granted,” he said. “You look in here and you see the damage that’s done inside there. Does Madame Marie’s come back, or doesn’t it? And if it doesn’t, then it does affect the culture of the state. It’s a different thing. It affects our history and the way we look at ourselves. That’s why this rebuilding phase is going to have to be done really carefully and smartly and not in a rushed way.”
Do public policymakers and the people of the State think that science and responsible land use planning should play a role in shaping the future of the shore? Or how, as the Governor says, “we look at ourselves”?
Perhaps the Governor and Legislators and the public should ask DEP Commissioner Martin a few questions and read stuff like this, from DEP’s own “Coastal Community Vulnerability Assessment Protocol“
The scientific community has arrived at a strong consensus that global climate change is occurring and resulting in changes to shoreline dynamics1. Climate change threatens to accelerate sea level rise and increase the frequency and intensity of coastal storms. As a result, citizens, development, and ecosystems will become more vulnerable to the impacts of coastal hazards, making it imperative to identify areas where special needs communities, vital public facilities and roads, and sensitive natural resources overlap areas of potential inundation. These issues need to be considered as New Jersey’s coastal communities plan to become more resilient.
Now is the time to discuss strategic retreat from high hazard coastal areas, develop a plan for adaptation to climate change, and get serious about accelerating an emergency transition away from fossil fuels to renewable energy.
Perhaps the best way to do that is via a Coastal Commission (a Highlands or Pinelands for the shore) to finally realize the vision of the 1973 CAFRA statute, which called for a “comprehensive environmental design strategy” for the coast.
Madam Marie’s and the Silverball Museum Arcade may be at the top of Governor Christie’s Agenda, but – borrowing from Patti Smith – not mine.
I prefer something along these lines.
[Update – I don’t want this important point by my friend Bill Neil to get lost in the comment section:
But this is not happening in an ideological and political vacuum: the Governor of NJ at the moment is a fan, big time of austerity and cutting the entitlements he doesn’t like. So how do you pull that off – increasing entitlements at the riskiest of places – while going after Social Security and Medicaid – and you can fill in his NJ state favorites for me.
[Update #2: 11/11/12 – Let’s not forget this classic QOTD:
“I’m not afraid to listen to Bill Wolfe when he has a good idea,” [Senator] Smith said. Wolfe says he would like the Legislature to take a stronger stance with a bill to require action by the DEP. ~~~ Kirk Moore of the Asbury Park Press story on 9/27/10
FYI to readers: I initiated and wrote the bill that created the non-regulatory Coastal & Ocean Protection Council (since abandoned by Christie under Executive Order #40) and staffed Governor McGreevey’s Highlands Task Force and wrote the DEP and environmental provisions of the Highlands Act (both with Senator Smith, the prime sponsor).