Participants’ expressed hopes for healing of the community. They wanted to get beyond the township’s priorities and look more broadly at the region. They were curious about the future. In contrast there were concerns about how the environment would impact the region and how we could learn to live with water. They were interested in participating in a process to achieve consensus with the group about direction. This was a strong deliberation where the participants were pretty much engaged. We had to manage one person in particular to make sure we could have other voices participate.
One of the issues this group felt strongly about is that accurate information is critical. It was strongly voiced that the only information that could be trusted came from local social media sources i.e., the Facebook pages of the local police, fire co, Avalon & Middle Township and the Jersey Hurricane Network. Another issue that came up was that things had not gotten back to “normal”. Many stories were shared of people that were still homeless or were still living with sewage in their basement because of issues with FEMA and/or their local insurance carriers.
The take home message was to “rebuild smarter.” The group seemed to agree that rebuilding the Shore as it was, was an unrealistic response. There was a need to balance the political/economic demands with the reality of effectively preparing for future natural disasters. They needed to be forward thinking/proactive rather than reactive. They called for:
Changes to building codes to improve outcomes of future natural disasters
Putting long-term needs before immediate individual needs/desires
Better communication and education
Live tweets from the forum
Concerned community members were drawn to the Middle Township High School in Cape May Court House on Tuesday evening to take part in the second public brainstorming session in a series hosted by WHYY and the Penn Project for Civic Engagement. Read more
Wailing Wall notes
Forum on storm preparedness July 30
Will the Jersey Shore be ready for the next big storm? WHYY/Newsworks and the Penn Project for Civic Engagement are hosting a series of free community forums, one of them planned in Middle Township on Tuesday, July 30.
People who live, vacation or make a living at the Jersey Shore are welcome to take part in discussion about what individuals, communities and governments can do to limit the harm done by the next storm. read more
WHYY post-Sandy forum: People who won’t evacuate are a problem
“The PR phrase ‘Stronger Than The Storm’ is unsettling. It should be honest: ‘Stone Harbor—luckier than $&%!.'” Tell us how you really feel, Cape May County. If the crowd gathered at Middle Township High School for Tuesday night’s WHYY forum on the future of the Jersey Shore after Sandy was of a modest size, the opinions people brought along were strong and clear. Read more