As we introduced ourselves, a subset of participants expressed concerns about property damage during past storms and the community not being properly secured if/when future storms hit. An elder resident of Atlantic City felt that media attention did not focus on the damage accrued in her neighborhood in comparison to more affluent shore towns. Another common fear of the group was that mistakes made during Irene/Sandy would be repeated and that citizens and towns would not learn from the storms.
All of the participants were devastated by the damage and many are seeking to help or are already helping others impacted by the storm.
This group was very thoughtful and passionate in their responses. All were engaged in the dialogue. There were several people who tended to be more vocal than others, but everyone participated in the conversation. They listened to one another and responded to one another’s comments and questions. Many shifted in their thinking by the end of the session and expressed that they learned about approaches they had not considered as well as learned from others in the group.
This group was highly effective in seeing problems, threats and risks, but getting consensus on macro, big-picture principles that could guide change efforts was tricky. One story illustrated a tension between common sense responsibility and distrust/resistance to government directed/forced change that often was a barrier towards achieving consensus around change policy. One woman quoted her mother (the Ventnor resident who has lived in the community — her same home??? — since 1923), “Like my mom says, it’s a sandbar, why would you ever want to build on it!?!” But when the moderator asked this woman to consider a rephrasing of her common sense dictate with “It’s a sandbar, we (the government) aren’t going to allow you to build or live on it”, she didn’t like that one bit and thought that was going too far, even though to her, building and living on a sandbar was a very silly proposition.
Live tweets from the forum
Gaining momentum in its third installment, the “Ready for Next Time? Rethinking the Shore After Sandy” forum series continued with an evening of discussions in Mays Landing on Monday night. Opinionated citizens, business owners, and residents along the Jersey shore turned out to express their ideas about shaping the future of the shore. Read more
storm preparedness forum hosted by ACCC
‘Ready for next time?’ was the theme of a forum held at the Mays Landing campus of Atlantic Cape Community College on Monday, Aug. 5. The event, a collaboration of WHYY/NewsWorks and the Penn Project for Civic Engagement, was one in a series of five public forums on ‘Rethinking the Shore after Hurricane Sandy.’ The series of forums is funded by The New Jersey Recovery Fund at the Community Foundation of New Jersey. Read more
Post-Sandy forum stirs memories: Grab the cat and the diamonds
On Monday night, I attended the latest in WHYY’s ongoing series of forums on New Jersey’s post-Sandy recovery and what can be done to better prepare for future major storms. A good crowd that gathered at Atlantic Cape Community College in Mays Landing, diverse in many ways and rich with experience, eager to chew over the issues facing vulnerable coastal communities. Read more