The following letter was sent to my by Jim Grenafege, Democratic Candidate for 13th Legislative State Assembly District.
An Asbury Park Press editorial, July 19, 2009, “Cut flood risk by fixing levees” focused on Assemblywomen Handlin’s ineffective letter writing effort to get federal and state government agencies to upgrade the levee protection system in the Bayshore area.
June 2008, FEMA held a public meeting for Bayshore residents. Congressman Pallone participated. Ms. Handlin failed to attend. She failed to fulfill her obligation to serve and listen to her constituents. She missed an opportunity to partner with Mr. Pallone — one of the “regions federal representatives” who could have supported her efforts to improve the levee.
June 2009, Handlin “fired off a letter” to FEMA, the Army Corps of Engineers and other officials in an attempt to “rattle some cages”. She waited over a year –just three months before the maps were to be implemented — before lamely pulling the trigger on her pen. Letters, even if wrapped around bricks, do not rattle bureaucratic cages.
Handlin says, “An insurance policy is a piece of paper. It doesn’t hold back a flood.” Nor will her letters hold back the September 25 flood of new and higher insurance premiums for municipalities and 4300 affected Bayshore area residents.
Upgrading the levees is critical. Requiring property owners to carry the full financial burden of the premiums associated with the revised flood zone maps is unreasonable and unfair, especially in these economic times.
Primary lien holders – usually banks or mortgage companies — benefit from insurance coverage; they should help pay. Legislation requiring primary lien holders to subsidize insurance premiums, without passing the cost on to the property owners, is needed. Insurance companies collecting the premiums should be required to dedicate a significant portion of the premiums toward flood control management.
NJ State Legislative District 13, Candidate