For Sandy victims in the South Shore of Long Island, the National Flood Insurance Program is not the only recovery agency that may have cheated them out of millions of dollars. Homeowners also relied on a state program, also financed by the Federal Emergency Management Agency, to raise and recover their battered houses. But two and a half years later, the agency keeps changing the rules, the families are in debt, and the properties remain destroyed. [LINK]
A film by Arianne Alcorta. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED 2015.
No, Billy Crystal didn’t actually say that, but I’m sure he was thinking something similar when that photo was taken (From the City of Long Beach Facebook Page). Yes, the legendary Long Beach native Billy Crystal came to town yesterday with Senator Chuck Schumer asking FEMA to pay for tree replacement. 2.5 million big ones, to be exact. I really hope FEMA is listening because I really want my trees back!! But that’s the thing… Are going to get ANY trees this fall at all? I thought that was the plan all along. Or are Government-Issued seeds in our future? Just add water and wait 60 years….
From The City of Long Beach:
Senator Charles E. Schumer, with Long Beach Native Billy Crystal, joined members of the Long Beach City Council and City Manager Jack Schnirman to call on FEMA & HUD to provide approximately two-million five-hundred thousand dollars for tree removal & replacement throughout the City of Long Beach; Over two-thousand five-hundred trees in public areas, which are critical for flood & erosion prevention on the barrier island, were destroyed by Superstorm Sandy & must be replaced. [LINK]
So I introduce myself to the Newsday reporter. She asks me a few questions about the blog, but I tell her how I’m at the meeting as a resident and not a blogger – thus no pen, paper or laptop with me. Well, that didn’t last. Two minutes into the meeting I whip out my iphone and start typing on the tiny virtual keyboard as fast as I can – so sorry if I missed anything specific.
So without further ado, here are my minutes of the LONG BEACH LISTENS: EAST END EDITION
City Manager Jack Schnirman starts the meeting by talking about the current budget & fiscal crisis. He didn’t go into it too much and said how all the info was available on the city’s website. He skipped ahead and said how they’re looking for feedback from the rsidents on what the city can do to save money. Feedback forms are available at City Hall (So go there if you think you are Warren Buffett).
HERE COME THE QUESTIONS/CONCERNS: LADY: Wants Harding Avenue in the presidents section to be repaved. She also said that there is a car left in the same spot for a long time. Wants to know if it can be towed.
Michael Tangney, Police Commissioner: Responds – Cars left in same spot for two weeks can be towed. “We are here to help. That is our new motto”. (about 20 minutes later Mr. Tangney informed the lady that the car was indeed towed during the meeting. That was followed by lots of applause.”)
MAN: Spoke about the current City Council being great communicating with us residents. One person can make a difference. Quality of life / pride in community, etc.
LADY: Wants parking meters in business district and had questions about illegal housing (I couldn’t hear what her exact issue was).
City Manager Jack Schnirman announced The City was gonna get $1.1 million in FEMA reimbursements, but doesn’t know when we will receive the money. He said it should be sometime after July.
Then Jack said that he wants our feedback on parking meters; the city might explore that issue in the upcoming weeks.
Scott J. Mandel (City Council Member): Spoke about the illegal housing issue. Said “Everyone is entitled to due process.”
Michael Tangney, Police Commissioner: On illegal housing – Call the police department about the illegal apartments and it will go to the top of the list. They will investigate anonymous complaints.
LADY: on illegal housing – How do people know they are living in an illegal house? Renters might not know.
Len Torres (City Council Vice President): We have to depend in folks telling us they are illegal.
LADY: Wants parking meters. I mean, she really wants parking meters. “We have to stop subsidizing parking. Statistics
have shown that you will have better parking with meters.”
(The crowd goes wild) “I DON’T WANT SOMEBODY PARKING IN FRONT OF MY HOUSE” yelled some lady in the distance.
LADY: Concerned about no crosswalks on Monroe & Chester intersection, especially after the buses drop kids off. She was also concerned with the intersection of Park Ave and Long Beach Blvd. She said how she was told from a person at City Hall that the city doesn’t want people to cross there because it’s dangerous.
DIFFERENT LADY: The director of the Magnolia Senior Center retired and she was wondering when they are going to get a replacement.
City Manager Jack Schnirman responded: There will be a replacement and smooth transition.
LADY: Pissed about Decobikes. She said they poured cement on the median at Lafayette & Hudson for a bike Kiosk. “This is a residential area”.
(The crowd goes wild) “WHAT’S NEXT? A PIZZA PLACE AT MY HOUSE?” yelled some lady in the distance. (like our Taco Stand post).
Fran Adelson (City Council President) We stopped the work. We (current admin) never saw the locations of the kiosks. We were completely surprised by this too.
Fran added that the contract calls for 17 Bike Kiosk locations around the city, but the contract was signed on December 5th, 2011 for five years. They are locked into a contract. They did make a proposal to eliminate the kiosks in residential areas and that will be done. All kiosks will be in commercial areas.
James LaCarrubba (Commissioner of Public Works): “They [cement workers] didn’t ask where the utilities are. That was reason enough to stop the work. They could have hit a water main or gas line.”
(The crowd goes wild). “NOBODY KNEW ABOUT IT” yelled some lady in the distance.
Mr. Lacarrubba added: They put four slabs in around the city and they will be taken out.
LADY: Questioned Decobikes experience running a bike rental business. Said she did research and they [DecoBikes] are only a year old. “Are we getting billboards around our town like what they did in Miami?” Then she told us to express all our anger towards former City Manger Theofan and former Council-press Sofield, Jr. since it was their deal in the first place.
City Manager Jack Schnirman said he would love to know if a study was made as far as using this rental system, as well as the locations of bike kiosks.
Len Torres (City Council Vice President): Never saw a contract until after December. Said the damage to the property has to be restored. He said the city was looking into installing bike lanes last year. They knew they need 3 feet to accommodate room for the lanes – some blvds can accommodate this. The Bike Kiosks will be in locations such as the boardwalk, LIRR, Post office, etc- commercial areas.
Fran Adelson (City Council President) added: We will post info asap on website as to what the new plan will be.
LADY: asking about who is gonna pay for the cement removal and putting the grass back.
James LaCarrubba (Commissioner of Public Works): We are gonna make them [DecoBikes)] pay.
(The crowd goes wild.)
LADY: complained about sink holes that have been on her street for 8 years – Belmont to Cleveland on E. Walnut Street. She also said that the walkway at Pacific Blvd Beach needs to be repaired. And would love to see some benches at that beach too.
LADY: (many issues) wants recycling bins and said that there are cars going down one way streets. She also said she wants “resident only” parking stickers. Has issues with cars parking in front of her house. Said they are from businesses on Long Beach Blvd.
LADY: “Park Avenue needs bike racks.” She is tired of locking her bike up to a tree. She also said the city should allow food stands at the superblock. Said the city can make a lot of money from this during the summer.
LADY: Wants recycling bins for newspaper at the LIRR. People started getting angry telling her that it’s an MTA issue and she has to call them.
MAN: Reminding everyone about the Memorial Day Parade.
LADY: Dog waste and garbage is a big problem. Wants to know how to get those “Dog waste stations” like on Pacific blvd to be installed around town in more locations. She also wants more garbage cans too. Says she is embarrassed by how dirty this town is and she is constantly cleaning her property. She is also worried about this garbage going in ocean.
She also said that automobiles are going through stop signs and was asking the police commissioner if they can police the streets more or come up with a plan to stop these cars from speeding.
Michael Tangney, Police Commissioner City gives out 5000 tickets a year for moving violations. They will respond and are working to make the streets safer.
LADY: Said people shouldn’t ride bikes on the sidewalk over on National Blvd.
LADY/MAN/LADY/MAN: Issue over a grassy area that the city installed over at the canals. They said when the city redid the Bulkheads, the new grassy area is not maintained and turned into the neighborhood dog park. Lots of poop and it smells. They are looking for it to be cleaned up. “We want it restored to the way it was.”
The man made a comment how the chain link fence the city installed makes it look like the Bronx – at that point the place went nuts.
“DON’T TALK ABOUT THE BRONX LIKE THAT …. MORE LIKE QUEENS” yelled some lady in the distance.
—- THE END —-
That’s it. The meeting ended at 9pm. Kudos to our Police Commissioner, Public Works Commissioner, City Manager and City Council for coming out. Especially Council President Fran Adelson for creating LONG BEACH LISTENS. I really think it’s an absolutely brillant idea; one which I hope won’t go away.
FEMA showed up last week to survey the leftovers from Irene and a lot of you asked why were they coming now after so much time has passed, and so many repairs have already been made. That gave me the idea for this week’s installment of Friday Photography. I went around to a few spots that I know received a walloping and took a look at what was there now. This is by no means a survey of the entire City, just a quick snapshot (no pun intended). Also take a look at some photos I put together right after Hurricane Irene to remember just how intense it was.
I really appreciate all the feedback I received last week and if any of you have some good shoot ideas, let me know.
4.5 Months After Irene
On the beach between National and Edwards, an emergency lane marker stands over the remnants of the brick and cinder-block walls that failed to hold the sea back
The Lifeguard Shack: after being pushed off of its foundation, and then returned with the help of a crane, it’s in desperate need of a paint job. See how it looked hours after the storm here
Without a leg to stand on
One of the shack’s shutters swings ajar
After a much needed renovation, the new bathrooms at National Blvd were short-lived as they quickly became flooded and buried when Irene hit weeks later. Now they sit boarded up and more buried than ever.
At the beach entrance to the Allegria, the high water mark is still visible