There was great emotional intensity in the ways that the participants expressed their personal stake in the forum. One after another they described property loss due to Hurricane Sandy, the anguish of displacement, frustration with their inability to receive adequate assistance to repair or rebuild, their dilemma over whether to stay or move.
The majority felt that homeowners “had gotten the short end of the stick.” They believed that the money that the state received short changed homeowners and was spent on repairing the piers and boardwalks which primarily benefited tourism. The group strongly felt that new buildings should not be allowed to be built on vacant sites. This rebuilding of damaged homes would be permitted.
Common hopes expressed by the group include preserving LBI as it was – both in terms of a natural beach and as a community, holding additional forums to generate more intelligent ideas about LBI’s future, respecting and adapting to climate change, and forming a political consensus that balances all interests, prevents bad or unwise building practices, and provides for short and long term successes. Most of the group’s fears were the flip-side of the above hopes, such as political paralysis impeding any real change, property owners not rebuilding safely, and the impracticality of preserving LBI as it was.
Live tweets from the forum
An Experiment in Democracy on the Jersey Shore
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Residents gather on LBI to talk about Sandy aid
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