728 The Question Is.... Federal responsibility.


Tom Garrett 2 years, 9 months ago

Hurricane Sandy did a number on New York City and New Jersey. No argument about that.

However, there appears to be a LOT of argument about an idea being proposed as part of the "Blue Dunes" proposal, which in turn is part of Rebuild By Design, a competition sponsored by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development to come up with ways to protect against the next big storm.

The idea is to build a banana shaped group of islands to protect New York and New Jersey. The estimated cost is a modest $10 to $12 billion, but you know what will happen to that number; it will become $50 billion or more before the project is completed, and we've already been hit by Congress with a $60 billion bill for "Sandy aid."

And some people don't like the idea of islands.

Sand for the project has to come from somewhere, you see, and no matter where that is U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service worries that something or other might live there.

And then there are historical preservationists. The coastline is littered with ships of every kind, all of which are "treasures."

And there are undersea cables, lines, pipes and whatnot.

And surfers don't like it. John Weber, a member of the Surfrider Foundation, says, "This would forever change the Jersey shore."

The Question Is....

We live a mile above sea level in Arizona; why should we pay for islands off New York City or New Jersey? Why don't New York and New Jersey pay for them? Are they willing to pay to have water brought up here?


Ron Paludan 2 years, 8 months ago

I have no idea about the merits and costs of the island proposal, but on the question of why should we pay to protect New York and New Jersey from hurricanes I would make a couple points. Citizens there could have asked why they should pay for Hoover Dam? or Lake Powell? Why help pay to fight forest fires? Why help tornado victims in the mid-west and south, earthquake victims in California, or hurricane victims in Florida. We're Americans. It's what we do and we're damn proud of it.


Tom Garrett 2 years, 9 months ago

How about it?

Do you think the federal government should be spending money building islands for what is unarguably the richest section of the nation?

I'll add something in that I didn't mention yesterday.

You know what i really think is behind all this? Parts of our coast are fairly low-lying, that is especially true for the Gulf Coast and some parts of the southeastern coast. I suspect that the global warming people are trying to use the unlikely possibility of another Sandy to start preparing the Northeast for a rise in ocean level, but don't want to admit that's what they are up to because they know full well that there are other places that would be in much greater danger if it happened.

Take Houston, for example. And Galveston Island. Thirty years ago when I was there parts of the coastline were already sinking due to oil pumping, which no one had ever imagined would happen. What kind of a mess it must be now I do not know, but if any area needs help, that's it, or perhaps New Orleans, not the relatively high and dry east coast around New York City.


Tom Garrett 2 years, 8 months ago

Folks, to see why I am posting when my last post is right above this one and is dated several days ago, read the post a little higher up by Ron Paludan.

Ron, I do not entirely disagree with you. I too believe that we should reach out and help those who need help. If you read through my posts over all these years you'll see that I consistently maintain that position. I do, however, always include the term "who need help," or sometimes I may say "who have stumbled." You won't find any sweeping condemnations of welfare, or similar programs, from me.

In this case though I have genuine doubts. To begin with, the greater New York area, where I was born and lived until I was a preteen is arguably the most wealthy part of the nation, so the question of need arises on that level. A city which can dig an 18 foot diameter water tunnel 100 miles long can probably afford to make its own islands if it needs to. For one thing, I suspect that if they took the mountain of garbage they dumped on Staten Island and used it they'd have a good start.

And then there is the question of what the actual need is; is it really necessary to create islands off the coast at that point? How often has such a storm occurred compared to other points of the nation? Are there other places where the money should be spent first? New Orleans, for example, which as far as I can see is in dire need of help. Or the Gulf Coast, where I lived for eight years with nothing but an artificial sea wall 18 feet high to protect my home, which was at times below sea level.

Also, I lived on Staten Island as I said, and from what I saw in the reports the damage was nowhere as extreme as it was made out to be in the news. In addition, when I read the proposal I frankly doubt that the creation of off-shore islands would actually do much to protect the coast from a storm surge, which is a matter of air pressure. I was in Japan when Typhoon Vera, the worst ever recorded, struck in 1959, with thousands of people killed by a storm surge. It was the third worst disaster of any kind to ever strike Japan, and the Japanese have looked at and discarded the same idea as ineffective.


"It's what we do and we're damn proud of it."

There's no way I can find fault with that statement, Ron. I feel the same way. It would be good if we all felt the same way. Sure, there are some abuses, but that's no reason to abandon our Christian principles.

PS: Welcome to the forum. Please feel free to straighten me out any time I stray.


Ron Paludan 2 years, 8 months ago

Thanks Tom. Not being the coastal type, I have never studied the problem very carefully.


Tom Garrett 2 years, 8 months ago


"Not being the coastal type, I have never studied the problem very carefully."

Maybe so, but you still had the right idea, didn't you? I congratulate you for having strong feelings about something we should all feel strongly about — caring for others no matter who, what, or where they may be.

It hearkens back to what someone said almost 400 years ago.

No man is an island,

Entire of itself.

Each is a piece of the continent,

A part of the main.

If a clod be washed away by the sea,

Europe is the less.

As well as if a promontory were.

As well as if a manor of thine own

Or of thine friend's were.

Each man's death diminishes me,

For I am involved in mankind.

Therefore, send not to know

For whom the bell tolls,

It tolls for thee.

John Donne, 1624

The man knew what he was talking about, didn't he?


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