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Of Dogs & Shore Ponies

 By Invitation Only Senate Sandy Hearings For the Cameras Only

Fear and Loathing On The NJ Shore

Cameras roll as NJ Senate Budget & Appropriations Committee meets in Toms River NJ to take testimony from invited guests on Superstorm Sandy

[Update below]

The quick and dirty answer to the question I posed yesterday is a resounding  “NO”.

Today’s Ocean County setting and opening hearing was transparently a partisan forum to promote and lionize the Governor, and allow – for the cameras – the Democrats to emulate the empathy and leadership of the Big Dog.

But it remains to be seen whether the Democrats are serious and keeping their powder dry,; or whether they support the Rebuild Now! (TM) camp; or whether they are clueless and simply have not developed a position yet and truly are in listening mode.

I’ll not write about the hearing and instead leave it to the press to fulfill their duty and role to report on today’s proceedings.

But, because I wrote a set up post and drove all the way out there, I feel obligated to post something.

The title of this post speaks for itself.

Although I am an animal lover, I  feel that I’ve slandered dogs and ponies.

I tweeted a few cogent points during the hearing – see this.

After the hearing, I asked SBA Committee Chairman Paul Sarlo (D- Bergen) two questions (these are verbatim):

1) Question:

“When will the public interest advocates and critics be given the opportunity to testify?”

Answer: “We’re working on that.”

2) Question:

“During the opening remarks, Senator O’Toole criticized the Assembly Speaker for criticizing NJ Transit’s actions, while suggesting that any criticism of State policy or the State response was an inappropriate partisan attack on Governor Christie, who O’Toole claimed did a spectacular job.

I am a critic and I deeply resent that.”


“You didn’t hear that from me.”

So, basically it all boils down to 1 issue:

Would you prefer the Shore to look more like this?:

Or like this:

(source: Asbury Park Press)


[Update – I left out an important issue:

I think it was the Mayor of Brick who recommended that CAFRA permitting be privatized, like the Licensed Site Professionals (LSP) program for toxic site cleanup.

Environmentalists should take this threat seriously.

Ocean County Republicans have great influence and have been strong supporters of Martin and Gov. Christie’s Barnegat Bay Plan.

DEP already got caught trying to privatize land use permitting in October 2010.

DEP Commissioner Martin already effectively deregulated rebuild permitting for public infrastructure.

It is not inconceivable that the next radical move could be privatization of CAFRA and other permitting.

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  1. Bill Neil
    November 26th, 2012 at 22:09 | #1

    Well Bill, it’s asking a lot, but in this case, as in other’s you’re the watch dog over the politics and the press…

    As you know, I am working to make this a national question, given the size and nature of requests that NY and NJ are going to make of the federal govt: around 50-60 billion…marching into the Austerity debates in Washington.

    As I have written before, it will be important to make the distinction between emergency relief and even making damaged property owners whole, from the issue of where and how they can rebuild. I see NY City has created $15.00 per hour public jobs to help with the clean-up – heaven knows NJ has the need for both as well, anyone talking about that?

  2. November 26th, 2012 at 22:17 | #2

    @Bill Neil

    Funny Bill – they only mention of work was about private contractors. One mayor even suggested that DEP allow privatization of CAFRA permitting by “Licensed Site Professionals”. Deregulation and Privatization – Shock doctrine Baby!

    When one Dem Senator asked a question of Brick Mayor – directly after the mayor admitted that he lacked the equipment to do the demolition and removal job and that he was paying $1 million per week in landfill debris disposal costs – about whether he would like state help in terms of uniform response (which I presumed would be things like lower cost state contractors and labor and negotiated rates for stuff like garbage disposal and demolition and debris removal – he replied basically that what he needed from the State was DEP waivers!

    This same Mayor is a Huge supporter of Christie’s Barnegat bay voluntary plan.

    Perhaps Christie’s 10 Point management Plan for the Bay has an 11th point – adaptation – written in invisible ink!

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