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Sandy should make us re-think things

post #1 of 39
Thread Starter 

The barrier islands in my area were devastated. We must re-think our strategy to managing barrier islands and beachfront property, especially in light of impending sea level rise. It is unfair that all the rest of us have to pay in a variety of ways for a minority of (mainly wealthy) beachfront property owners. Oceanfront homeowners, some of the wealthiest folks on the planet, frequently receive disaster aid and payment for insured losses. The former is taxpayer funded, the latter is taxpayer subsidized. In other words welfare for the rich, so they can rebuild (w/upgrades) every few years. Then there is also beach replenishment, which is funded by federal and state taxes. I recall a few years ago when 3 or 4 multi-million dollar homes at Corson's inlet were encroached upon by the ocean after a couple winter storms, bulldozers and front loaders were out there lickety-split dumping huge amounts of sand onto the beach. I helped pay for that. Why? If a sink hole opened up on my front lawn, could I ask the state to come in and fill it for me? Of course the answer is NO. When two huge trees went down in my back yard, did those millionairs chip in to pay for the cleanup? I think that would have been be fair since I help pay for the maintenance of their properties.

 

But, I guess we have to keep giving welfare to the wealthy so that it can trickle down..

post #2 of 39

Be careful in your assumptions.  There is no place in the US that is safe from disaster.  Floods hit rivers too.  Tornadoes don't care where you live.  Forest fires, earthquakes, mudslides and volcanoes.  You think there are million dollar homes in Hoboken?  The whole city is underwater.  How about Joplin Missouri in 2010?  How about the drought this year in Texas?  How about the 9th Ward in New Orleans after Katrina?

 

My neighborhood was destroyed in the Blizzard of '78 by the ocean and my parents were definitely not rich.  Some of the water front properties were owned by wealthy folks, but most of us who lost homes were blue collar.  There was no tax payer funded bailout for my parents as you suggest.  My parents had to take out loans to rebuild and they paid far more into the flood insurance than they ever got back.  It set them back years.

 

The same will apply to almost all the people who have lost homes in this storm.  State and Federal dollars will rebuild infrastructure, but that is about it.  The insurance companies will nickle and dime their customers to nervous breakdowns.  I have lived it.

 

You have found isolated examples that do not apply to most all of the people affected.  

post #3 of 39
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by boogielicious View Post

Be careful in your assumptions.  There is no place in the US that is safe from disaster.

 

Yes, but there are places that are more prone to disaster, and our coastline arguably has the highest probability of all. It just doesn't make good sense to have small numbers of people build on ephemeral shifting bits of sand and have the rest of the population pay for them.

 

Regarding your example of New Orleans, when I first visited there and saw all the dikes and levies, my first thought was 'Why did they put this city here???'

 

Let's face it, the human race has a long history of establishing dwellings where they don't belong, and I think that over the next 10 - 100 years we will find many of those choices becoming critical.

post #4 of 39

Not sure I would agree that the coastline is in more danger.  There are plenty of places that have routine repeat disasters like earthquake zones and tornado alley.  The western US is constantly under threat for forest fires.

 

The coast and rivers have always been centers of population due to transport on the ocean.  All of our major cities started either with a great harbor or on a navigable river.  New Orleans is a prime example because they have access to both.  The Netherlands is below sea level in a majority of their land and they are also the number 1 port for Europe.  People live there because there are jobs and trade routes.

post #5 of 39
Quote:
Originally Posted by boogielicious View Post

The insurance companies will nickle and dime their customers to nervous breakdowns.

Truer words were never spoken. We had 2 major earthquakes over 2 years ago About 20,000 homes will be pulled down and thousands more need repair. Things are still a wreck and the insurance companies are still not talking to people. I fought for over a year to have my water main repaired and only this week have seen someone from the government about repairing my home.

Disasters can hit anyone at any time living anywhere.

post #6 of 39

there are tons of million dollar homes in hoboken...... not that it is very relevant. just saying as i live there.

post #7 of 39

Got one simple question for you dak4n6: Are all of the the workers the millionaires have to pay to rebuild their homes millionaires too?

post #8 of 39
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by iacas View Post

Got one simple question for you dak4n6: Are all of the the workers the millionaires have to pay to rebuild their homes millionaires too?

 

I would guess not, but what is the relevance?

post #9 of 39
Quote:
Originally Posted by dak4n6 View Post

I would guess not, but what is the relevance?

 

I thought the relevance was pretty obvious. Millionaires rarely build their homes themselves.

post #10 of 39
Quote:
Originally Posted by dak4n6 View Post

We must re-think our strategy to managing barrier islands and beachfront property, especially in light of impending sea level rise. It is unfair that all the rest of us have to pay in a variety of ways for a minority of (mainly wealthy) beachfront property owners. 

 

 

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by boogielicious View Post

Not sure I would agree that the coastline is in more danger.  There are plenty of places that have routine repeat disasters like earthquake zones and tornado alley.  The western US is constantly under threat for forest fires.

 

The coast and rivers have always been centers of population due to transport on the ocean.  All of our major cities started either with a great harbor or on a navigable river.  New Orleans is a prime example because they have access to both.  The Netherlands is below sea level in a majority of their land and they are also the number 1 port for Europe.  People live there because there are jobs and trade routes.

 

 

Quote:

Originally Posted by airguard View Post

Disasters can hit anyone at any time living anywhere.

 

 

 

Quote:

Originally Posted by dak4n6 View Post

 

Yes, but there are places that are more prone to disaster, and our coastline arguably has the highest probability of all. It just doesn't make good sense to have small numbers of people build on ephemeral shifting bits of sand and have the rest of the population pay for them.

 

Regarding your example of New Orleans, when I first visited there and saw all the dikes and levies, my first thought was 'Why did they put this city here???'

 

Let's face it, the human race has a long history of establishing dwellings where they don't belong, and I think that over the next 10 - 100 years we will find many of those choices becoming critical.

 

I think boogielicious hit the nail on the head as to why people originally settled in low lying ports areas like Amsterdam and New Orleans, but there are many people who live in ocean front areas (and canyons, mountains, etc) today because of scenic beauty.  While I don`t think it makes sense to make this a class warfare type argument, dak4n6 is bringing up a valid discussion that could become more and more of an issue as we go forward (especially if sea levels rise). 
 
While disaster can strike anyone at any time, and we should be sympathetic to our fellow citizens who have been struck by them, automatically rebuilding an area that is more disaster prone may not make sense, particularly if the original reason for settling the area is not as relevant anymore (i.e. while we still use ports, it is not as necessary to live walking distance to them as we now have other modes of transportation that did not exist in previous centuries).
 
Of course, people have reasons for wanting to stay/move/live in disaster prone areas.  I can understand this and would have less of an issue with it if insurance was 100% private (it is not, especially flood insurance that is backed by the government) and property owners paid taxes that more accurately reflected their average/expected use of public resources/services (like fire and police).
post #11 of 39
I don't think you are correct in your assumption that most people who live by the coast are wealthy. These are communities Near the water, not just vacation homes or retirement homes.
post #12 of 39

Exactly This!!! 

 

On Long Island, the majority of people that live close to the water are at best upper middle class, not wealthy.  Most of these people bought houses on the water long before it was the "wealthy" thing to do because they were fisherman or clammers and owning a home on the water was the most cost effective way to dock your boat.  

 

Go take a ride down on the south shore of Long Island, such as Bayshore, Lindenhurst and Amityville and see how many wealthy people you find sorting through what's left of their lives. 

 

Quote:

Originally Posted by dsc123 View Post

I don't think you are correct in your assumption that most people who live by the coast are wealthy. These are communities Near the water, not just vacation homes or retirement homes.
post #13 of 39
Lindenhurst was on the news a lot. It looked terrible, and like you said, it's not a wealthy place.

I have family in long beach, I imagine it's expensive to buy property there now, but it wasn't 45 years ago when they moved there. They found 2 feet of standing water when they got back, looks like it had gotten up to 4ft at the worst.
post #14 of 39
That's not to say that we should learn from this and protect these communities better or fundamentally change settlement patterns. I think Bloomberg said something along those lines. But I don't think this is an issue of the poor subsidizing the rich.
post #15 of 39

I grew up in Lindenhurst, most of my family still lives there.  My parents home in 1975 cost $13,000.  As you said most people that live there have lived there for most of their lives and very few would be classified as rich.  Long Beach was hit hard too, on top of the flooding and wind damage their water supply was contaminated. 

 

Lindenhurst was on the news a lot because it was hit so hard by flooding.  It's sad, this week I've seen houses burned down to the ground because water was so deep the fire trucks couldnt make it to the house, and contents of peoples houses washed across all the streets.  Now the flooded areas are without power and gas.  These people are forced to stay with their home in pretty cold tempertures so they can run their generators to keep the water out of their basements but they can't heat their house.  While many on Long Island expect power back by Monday, those close to the shore that had their power and gas lines shut down will be lucky if they get them back by Thanksgiving.       

Quote:
Originally Posted by dsc123 View Post

Lindenhurst was on the news a lot. It looked terrible, and like you said, it's not a wealthy place.
I have family in long beach, I imagine it's expensive to buy property there now, but it wasn't 45 years ago when they moved there.
post #16 of 39
Quote:
Originally Posted by dsc123 View Post

I don't think you are correct in your assumption that most people who live by the coast are wealthy. These are communities Near the water, not just vacation homes or retirement homes.

I have to say I agree with this, at least to a certain extent. I have two uncles that live on Long Island, one in Cutchogue, the other in Oakdale (they moved there, as newtogolf mentioned, because they own an old boat and have it docked along a canal right in their backyard). Neither family is wealthy at all, but the one in Oakdale's backyard is under water and his first floor is flooded, and the other's neighborhood flooded so bad that they couldn't drive out of it (the roads that lead out of it are bridged at some spots, and the bridges are under water). Those are just anecdotes, of course.
post #17 of 39
Thread Starter 

True, not ALL coastline dwellers are wealthy, but in my area on the barrier islands you see one million $$ house after another - LBI, Margate, Ventnor, OC, Avalon (OMG, Avalon is like a showroom of beautiful houses), etc. Brigantine is the only community that is semi working class. And I know from doing enough house hunting down here that island homes cost at least 2x (probably closer to 3x) what their counterparts on the mainland would, so you gotta have a lot of coin to buy one. I would love to live close to water, but I can't even come close to affording it.

 

But look, class warfare aside, my main point was that it is unfair for those of us who don't take on the liability of living on unstable land to subsidize those do.

post #18 of 39

alls i know is, George Bush doesnt care about black people...

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