This past Tuesday night, Brigantine residents gathered for another town meeting focused on the rebound of our island from Hurricane Sandy. Brigantiners, including Mayor Phil Guenther and Councilman Tony Pullella were first in line to react to the proposed changes to FEMA elevation maps. Yes, I said PROPOSED elevation maps.
FEMA representatives explained “these are advisory base flood elevations….they haven’t been adopted yet. There’s sure to be a lot of discussion. Typical advisory (changes) will be somewhere about two years in the future. This isn’t going to happen next week, next month or next year.”
Of course, if you read the cringe-worthy story in the The Press of Atlantic City, one might think these advisories and preliminary recommendations are a done deal and it’s time to pack up and haul ass to somewhere in Kansas.
Understandably, most daily newspapers are under extreme pressure to sell copies. Their readership is collapsing and advertisers are fleeing to the Web. Exaggerated stories of death and destruction are a sure thing for goosing circulation & sales, and the Press of Atlantic City is not shy about writing those types of stories.
Brigantiners are well aware of the insurance costs & risks associated with coastal living. Brigantine as a whole fared better than our battered neighbors to the north and south. Can you imagine what their FEMA advisory maps will do to their towns, their economies, and their families?
Steve Lemongello; the AC PRESS writer, is a master of taking our Mayor’s words out of context in order to have a more dramatic story to tell. Lemongello made Mayor Phil almost look like he was throwing in the towel. Watch Guenther & Pullello aggressively fight this issue through-out 2013.
If you’re a Brigantine homeowner looking to sell, think the heavy handed reporting by the Press of AC might dampen a buyer’s interest in your property? Maybe Brigantine real estate agents & business owners should think twice before placing an AD in the Press? We hope so. Locals should avoid any outside newspaper or media outlet that only covers the challenges of our incredible island. When was the last time The Philadelphia Inquirer or WMGM TV-40 covered our pristine beaches, amazing real estate value, excellent school & churches, superior fishing, proximity to the AC Casinos, etc?
While Mr. Lemongello piled on with negative Brigantine content, he glossed over Margate’s massive problems at the end of his article. We urge the Press of AC to spend more time on the Garden State Parkway and Route 9. Take a look at this Ocean City report about the incredible economic pain occurring in Ocean City. OC and Margate are experiencing economic catastrophes of the highest order….dramatically worse than Brigantine Beach.
Mayor Guenther has formed a committee to discuss the flood zone changes. One of the appointees on that committee is Councilman Tony Pullella; a city leader with experience in navigating the risks and rewards of living and doing business on a barrier island. Mr. Pullella has “serious concerns” about those proposed & preliminary maps. The concerns are focused on elevation and the coastal designation recommended for the entire island.
Guenther said city council will likely not take any action based on those preliminary maps. Mayor Phil smartly suggests that we wait to see what the final maps would be. Guenther can’t accept what’s being proposed. “Houses built to standards from 1981, had no damage at floor level. … those 1981 standards easily survived the storm of the century”.
Brigantine Beach is rebounding fast, is resilient, tough and ‘Jersey Strong’. It’s time for Brigantine to control our own narrative. It’s time for Brigantine to tell our own story. No need to rely on outsiders to do that for us any longer.