DEVASTATION: Destroyed Boardwalks, Burned Homes; State Officials See Them All

More than 30 members of the State General Assembly took a bus tour through Ocean County's barrier island towns.

The bed is still made. A wicker shelf stands in the corner of the room, its shelves covered with untouched knickknacks, shore memories. A framed print of a lighthouse and white-capped waves hangs on the wall, just a tad askew. The bedroom’s French doors open to the brisk air and an ocean view previously obstructed by the other half of the house that’s no longer there.

The devastation unleashed on the New Jersey shore a month ago by Hurricane Sandy has been captured in countless images and videos, spread throughout the world through news reports and social media, but it’s access, being able to see it first hand, the burned out husks of an entire block of summer cottages, the toppled boardwalk, the homes torn away from their foundations and flushed out to sea, that makes it real.

“You know that old adage, the one where they say to see is to believe,” State Assemblyman Jack Ciattarelli, R-16, asked, looking up at a Seaside Heights home cut in half by surging flood waters. “Well, I see it, but I still can’t believe it.”

On Thursday, more than 30 members of the State’s General Assembly participated in a bus tour of Sandy-ravaged shore towns. Organized by local officials and led by State Police Superintendent Col. Rick Fuentes, the first-hand look provided state officials with opportunity to see the damage and truly understand the long road to recovery that remains for the Jersey Shore.

Assembly members from districts as north as Essex County, south to Camden County, and areas in between, arrived in Seaside Heights and walked along decimated Casino Pier, watching their step over warped and splintered boards as they arrived at the site of one of Sandy’s most iconic images: a roller coaster collapsed into the ocean. The approximately four-hour tour of the barrier island included stops in neighborhoods like Ortley Beach and Mantoloking where damage is, in many instances, total.

With Gov. Chris Christie estimating the cost of damage incurred by Hurricane Sandy at nearly $37 billion, there’s a need for local officials to demonstrate need, assert themselves and represent their still-struggling constituents. The best way to inform, they decided, was to allow their peers to see it first hand.

“I think seeing it in person is a heck of a lot better than seeing it in pictures,” Assemblyman Greg McGuckin, R-10, said. “There are ideas floating around (the legislature) and we’re trying to get them categorized. One of the things we need to do is give people the tools so they can begin to rebuild and get government out of the way as much as possible.”

Also in attendance was Assembly Speaker Sheila Oliver. She said the state has taken an active role in helping restore New Jersey’s Sandy-affected residents. When it comes to delivering aid and providing support, she said she’s sure the effort will be a bipartisan one. Beyond enacting legislation, however, Oliver said the Assembly is taking on insurance companies, too.

Already, she said, reports have been trickling in through emails to state legislators that residents are struggling to get the support they need through the insurance they’ve paid for.

"We want to strongly communicate to the insurance companies that you’re not going to stiff our residents,” she said. “We’re putting them on notice.”

Thursday, however, was not the time for discussion of potential legislation that will eventually come out of Trenton, but rather a chance for those outside of Sandy-ravaged areas to gain some perspective.

The barrier island is still closed to the public. Property owners have been allowed back to assess the damage and begin cleaning up their homes, if there’s still a home to clean up, but there’s no electricity and no gas service along much of the island.

Piles of trash line every street. Warped furniture and wet mattresses join discarded toys and personal effects. In some piles are Halloween decorations, totems erected in defiance of a forthcoming storm that would tear them all down. 

Concrete barriers have been erected along roadways washed away by surging water and National Guardsmen, stationed at sporadic checkpoints, gather around flaming trashcans in an effort to keep warm during their 24-hour surveillance.

Assemblyman Angel Fuentes, D-5, whose district includes parts of Camden and Gloucester Counties, said there’s some muttering in the statehouse that those outside of significantly impacted areas don’t realize the gravity of the shore’s devastation and the effort it will take to bring it back.  

Standing in the middle of the road in Mantoloking between the first and second floor of the same beach home on either side, Fuentes said he and his fellow Assemblymen and women understand the devastation.

“Good people have lost their properties. They’ve lost their dreams and their memories,” he said. “(The residents of impacted areas) have not been abandoned. That’s why we’re here today, both parties. It affects New Jersey. It affects all of us.”

Dominick Palermo December 10, 2012 at 11:00 PM
Tim --Yes i voted for Mitt ------ Did i want to? NO cause he is just as bad a Obama ------------ BUT i figured Mitt would slow down the process of making the USA just another European debitor nation for 4 yrs -- We need a Ronald Regan -- but i dont see any in the near future
Tim O C December 10, 2012 at 11:06 PM
@ thats why I like about you republicons Dom voting for a party who wants to get rid of SS and Medicare which im sure you receive wow Ronald Reagan lol he raised tax you know that right and the debt ceiling 18 times ? Dom you do know it was Bush who invaded Iraq based on lies right? and you do know that the Bush tax cuts didnt create jobs right? and you do know about Medicare part D right? Afghan war ring a bell? go google which party has created the most jobs its not the party of NO
wookfish December 10, 2012 at 11:44 PM
And Tim , Obama is covertly sending arms to Syrian rebels through US friendly countries..they're all the same BOLD FACED LIERS...Dem or Repub...Sh1T in Sh1t out,,the job of government is to protest our right to life and liberty...not provide or dictate every facet of our daily lives..time to stand up and take back our country,one way or another
BN December 11, 2012 at 12:22 AM
11 Documents Americans Deserve to See... http://www.blacklistednews.com/11_Secret_Documents_Americans_Deserve_to_See/23011/0/0/0/Y/M.html
frank rizzo December 11, 2012 at 12:51 AM
barney once again youre as sharp as a cue ball. i wasnt mocking mc donalds workers i was mocking you. dom if reagan ran for president today the republicans and especially the teabaggers would run him out of town on a rail. reagan who raised the debt ceiling 18 times. reagan who supplied the taliban with weapons to fight the russians, reagan who said the wealthy should pay a little more and reagan who gave 4 million illegals amnesty . dom you and barney and bn would be pulling your hair out if reagan were around today. the only thing republicans would have liked him for was tapping the social security fund in 1985.wookfish who would rather see the muslim brotherhood take charge in syria instead of the rebels obama has funneled medical supplies to. the whole weapons nonsense is all hannity talking. perhaps you and khalid can take our country back. back to the 1950s that is. i love it when they say their constitutional freedoms are being taken away but ask them which ones and they change the subject.more often they just end up like bn here and his wacky conspiracy theories that make him more unhinged looking than a screen door after sandy.just ask him about "agenda 21" its out of a sci fi novel.
Barney December 11, 2012 at 12:57 AM
Hi Tim O C, How does it feel to be a liberal parasite? Do you ever jump on someone's leg at the beach and sink your little buck teeth to drink the delicous republican blood? How can we feed you for the rest of your life? Just because Democrats cannot make money unless they steal it from the Republicans doesn't necessarily mean they are that less intelligent. Some parasitic LIBs are known to be lawyers and doctors too. The rest are not as dumb as they think sometimes, although most LIBs have a below average IQ. That's why we need to feed and house them. They are an incapable bunch.
Barney December 11, 2012 at 01:01 AM
No more responses untill you sharpen your writing skills. I do not like back and forth commentary with iliterate LIBBIES. Tim O C is smarter than you.
BN December 11, 2012 at 01:08 AM
15 Signs That The Economy Is Rapidly Getting Worse As We Head Into 2013 http://theeconomiccollapseblog.com/archives/15-signs-that-the-economy-is-rapidly-getting-worse-as-we-head-into-2013/15-signs-that-the-economy-is-rapidly-getting-worse-as-we-head-into-2013
BN December 11, 2012 at 01:11 AM
UN warns of global collapse due to pesticides; Agenda 21 is pushed as solution http://www.naturalnews.com/036166_global_collapse_pesticides_Agenda_21.html#ixzz2EhYDHozx
wookfish December 11, 2012 at 01:28 AM
frank....Obama claimed that in Egypt they succeeded in a democratic election and they did ..THEY elected who they wanted....i don't like him, you don't like him but guess what...he was ELECTED.
frank rizzo December 11, 2012 at 01:43 AM
frank rizzo December 11, 2012 at 01:50 AM
wookfish you must want egypt a dictatorship we,ve been giving $3 billion a year to for decades to be all wrapped up neatly by a first election. right now the guy who wont give up control wants the muslim brotherhood in there which is not what the rebels want. the rebels are up against the full military might of a regime but you get ancy when weapons get supplied to certain factions so there is no easy answer. right now that regime is squashing its people by putting sky high prices on everything from food to utilities. there are no easy answers when dealing with a 3rd century culture.just ask barney he came from the town of bedrock which was another very old culture. yabba dabba doo
frank rizzo December 11, 2012 at 01:52 AM
bn as far as pesticides go yes there is far too much pesticide being used today. its polluting rivers , killing bees and doing who knows what to humans. but it has nothing to do with the mad max beyond thunderdome wacky theory known as agenda 21.
BN December 11, 2012 at 02:11 AM
Will The Peak Of The Solar Cycle In 2013 Produce Technology Crippling Solar Super Storms? http://endoftheamericandream.com/archives/will-the-peak-of-the-solar-cycle-in-2013-produce-technology-crippling-solar-super-storms
BN December 11, 2012 at 02:12 AM
Online sales tax to be added to defense authorization bill http://dailycaller.com/2012/12/04/online-sales-tax-to-be-added-to-defense-authorization-bill/
BN December 11, 2012 at 02:15 AM
Public Buses Across Country Quietly Adding Microphones to Record Passenger Conversations http://www.wired.com/threatlevel/2012/12/public-bus-audio-surveillance/
BN December 11, 2012 at 02:16 AM
Tech Companies are Developing TV’s that Watch You http://vigilantcitizen.com/latestnews/tech-companies-are-developping-tvs-that-watch-you/
BN December 11, 2012 at 02:18 AM
UN Agenda 21 - Coming to a Neighborhood near You http://www.americanthinker.com/2009/10/un_agenda_21_coming_to_a_neigh.html
BN December 11, 2012 at 02:22 AM
Obama conducts atomic test amid global urge for nuclear disarmament http://www.presstv.ir/detail/2012/12/07/276639/us-conducts-nuclear-test-in-nevada/
frank rizzo December 11, 2012 at 02:32 AM
most of this tin foil hat stuff can be easily explained. buses have security cameras on them for the protection of all on board.there are already laptops that had cameras in them. one school was sued over it because these kids were being watched at innapproiate times.solar flare cycle? what are the lenght of these cycles? obama blew up an atomic bomb and somehow kept it a secret? sounds like real roswell area 51 type stuff.
Barney December 11, 2012 at 02:39 AM
Tim O C, You are much smarter than Frank Rizzo. Where are you? Barneylicous
BN December 11, 2012 at 02:42 AM
Obamacare architect leaves White House for pharmaceutical industry job http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2012/dec/05/obamacare-fowler-lobbyist-industry1
frank rizzo December 11, 2012 at 03:10 AM
you can almost see the smoke come from the back of barney's head as he thinks up these comedy gems.
frank rizzo December 11, 2012 at 03:12 AM
its kinda hard to compete with someone like barney when he is giving you the " nah nah na na nah i know you are but what am i ?' kind of cutting wit.
Tim O C December 11, 2012 at 03:31 AM
yeah Barney pull your head out of your ass and look at a map the most uneducated states are red states
wookfish December 11, 2012 at 05:38 AM
"sky high prices on utilies and food" you forgot GAS..sounds real close to home to me.
Mrgrumpass December 11, 2012 at 08:28 PM
Barney and BN This Rizzo corrector is still babbling on and on and on what Moronic behavior, you are right not to respond with this Obama Zealot, he drank the COOL AID he is lost to the dark side.
BN December 11, 2012 at 08:40 PM
I think he's got "Rules for Radicals" memorized.
Paul Michaelis December 12, 2012 at 08:08 PM
The comments that I've heard from people who lost most everything is that the statement " I'm from the government and I'm here to help you" is the biggest lie since "open and transparent" government was uttered. People with houses being totaled have been "given" pittances as help. In one case, known to me personally, the person was told by FEMA that since their credit rating was so high, they could get a repair loan on their own and didn't need FEMA support. Class warfare has dribbled down to government agencies from the political leaders. He was told that if he were poor and on food stamps the decision would have been different........taxpayers be damned.
Paul Michaelis December 12, 2012 at 08:11 PM
The solar cycle is 11 years +/- and try looking it up on Google.


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