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Sandy Recovery Funds In Manahawkin, Elsewhere Not Enough, Christie Says

Governor took no questions at event held in Stafford Township firehouse

by Patricia A. Miller

The $37 billion in federal funds allocated for New Jersey, New York, and Connecticut are not enough to cover the cost of recovery, Gov. Chris Christie said today.

"We asked for a lot more than we got," Christie said at an appearance at the Stafford Volunteer Company firehouse in Manahawkin late this morning.

"None of us need to be a math wizard to figure out it's not going to be enough money to cover everything," Christie said.

The governor made several oblique references to the "Bridgegate" scandal, noting the large phalanx of photographers and reporters present at the firehouse event.

"There are all kinds of challenges, as you know, that come everyday to test you," he said.

He introduced a woman identified only as "Amy," a Sandy victim whose home was destroyed in the storm. She spoke in a trembling voice.

"I've been so blessed," she said. "I could not be where I am today without the help I received to get back home. It's just such an honor to be here with the governor."

Christie told the crowd of about 300 his office and the members of the state Department of Community Affairs devote 50 percent of their time each day to Sandy recovery.

The state was able to funnel some of Sandy business recovery funds into the Reconstruction, Rehabilitation, Elevation and Mitigation (RREM) and Homeowner's Resettlement Program, the governor said.

State officials and the state Department of Community Affairs have focused first on getting money to low and middle-income residents, he said.

"We help people who need help the most, then move on down the line," Christie said.

The governor said he understands residents' impatience with receiving funding to repair or elevate their homes.

"Is it as fast as I'd like?" he said. "No. "

There were many funding abuses after Hurricane Katrina back in 2005 and more proof of need is now required," Christie said.

"We need proof of income, assets...," he said. "Every time we ask for more paperwork, it's more time. I get that."

Christie was accompanied by DCA director Richard J. Constable III, Stafford Mayor John Spodofora, Township Administrator James Moran and several members of the Township Council.

The governor stuck to his predication made after the October 29, 2012 that recovery would take at least two years.

"Recovery from Sandy is going to take a long time," Christie said. "At least two years before most people in the state. Things don't happen overnight.  We've never done this before."

Roughly 340,000 homes in New Jersey were significantly damaged or destroyed by Sandy and shore businesses were hurt, he said.

"I can tell you I was thinking we are not to have any summer (2013)," he said. "I was scared to deal with the devastation...what that would do to the shore."

Christie pledged to keep pushing for more funding and continuing recovery efforts.

"We won't rest until every Sandy-impacted homeowner or renter is back in their homes," he said.

The governor took no questions and left the event quickly after it was over.


Sean Conneamhe January 16, 2014 at 01:25 PM
"The bigger they are, the harder they fall..."
ken January 16, 2014 at 02:52 PM
Wouldn't it be nice if, while it's not much, if we could get back the $25,000,000 (25 million) in taxpayers money, mostly at the municipal level, that was spent on a special senatorial election (Booker v Lonegan) in October to allow Chirsti to "run up the score" in the gubernatorial election that was held a month later. But we all can see now just how far Christi will go to run up his score (the election was HIS decision) rather than use those state taxpayers dollars for something he has demonstrated is lower on his priority list, Sandy relief. As the proverb goes, you prove who you are through what you do, not through what you say."
Sue Stillwell January 16, 2014 at 04:31 PM
Did he get to hear from any of the victims not yet in their homes?
John Eric Mangino January 16, 2014 at 05:44 PM
Awarded is the word here . I Know for a Fact from a RREM housing advisor Not mine but someone I Know going through this same process that infact as far as RREM building process or restoration Process not one home has been started or given a payment . Earmarked sure . But when it comes to RREM Hud Approved Granted Homeowners our of the first Batch of homes Not one has been even started .
Mac January 16, 2014 at 06:00 PM
is that a happy face on the front of the podium?
Mike Mazzucca January 17, 2014 at 08:28 AM
This was a sad event. More seating for media then the people of Stafford. The Mayor should be ashamed that he made his own people stand, those who are mostly elderly and without homes to begin with, stand in the cold and then have to stand inside and listen to the malarkey. There was absolutely no substance to this meeting. IMO it was simply to get positive media face time. The governor made references to businesses and hotels etc. How many hotels in Stafford? 1....How much business is driven by summer rentals here in Stafford? Not as much as Seaside, no where near it. According to our governor, we are to celebrate the successes and be more patient. You know what would be a success? Getting the money that was promised. As for Mayor and Town Admin. You folks are just puppets and it's sad. Grow some will you and fight for your community. So tired of watching our elected officials sell us out for face time and self gratification and promotion to get their photo opps with the Governor. Folks, you know why the Mayor is getting praises, because FEMA had him right where they wanted, as a yes man. FEMA loves the mayor because he yesed them and look what it got us? Nothing. Not only were we left standing out in the cold yesterday physically, but now figuratively too...
Mike Mazzucca January 17, 2014 at 08:30 AM
Sue, no. There was not an option for Q&A. The Governor slinked out the back door. Glad to see he is so concerned with us that he cares nothing about what the community has to say. A total and utter let down.
John B Taxpayer January 17, 2014 at 10:07 AM
Sorry that man can't "slink" anywhere!
Walter Hawkes January 17, 2014 at 10:08 AM
I did not take time off work to go, and I am so damn glad I did not....seems it would have been a waste of time, except for the rotten fruit I wanted to throw..... And we want this puts as the next president? Oh please.... Can America be that stupid? The process should be simple... You cheat or lie once... And you loose your elected post.... Plain and simple, makes no difference if you are mayor or president..... We depend on you, and you should be above reproach!!!
Lincoln Osiris January 17, 2014 at 04:08 PM
As long as mayor Spdofora and his council cashed in on a photo-op with the governor all is well in Stafford. After all that is what's really important isn't it? www.johnspodofora.com
John Eric Mangino January 17, 2014 at 04:11 PM
I remember when they announced that 25 Million Plus campaign. For the Shore as I had said then . We were not ready for it nor should the money come from Sandy relief. Instead we had a hand full on a bandwagon to supporting it Guess what the same people are saying now . Why would you have something this important in such a small building first , Really in the Fire house truck Bays . / Second the Press secretary a total prick wana be if he had any balls would had a press mix zone before or after the Public event . I didnt go because I knew it would be full of Main Stream Media first And second that it was a Puff show and tell . I dont care what happened in Katrina we are homeowners we have property to secure these grants . The Bullshit they have set up with this RREM program is worse than Obama Care . Why is it if you hire a custom your choice contractor of local economy you dont have to put money in escrow and acully they will give you the money back in cash you have spend to date . To begin , But if you choice to use State contractors most likely from out of state most likely shoddy building practices HUD builders would we have to ecrow money to the state ,. Is our land going somewhere? These are our homes . Hers the best answer I got being a ex local contraters I build some the first ever modular homes on LBI . We went threw the par hud codes and doubled the standards on them .. When I asked my home advisor how they could come up with the number on my house knowing alone the cost of Hurriacnne window me being in the V zone . The Answer was . Well your home will be built to Hud standards . Well in my town Stafford that means my hoe would fail its CO . I said so whats Hud standards . Heres the example I got . Well lets say your bathroom used to hve tile . Well under Hud rules it now will me anywhere from peel to stick tile to Linoleum . Thats the example . If you had a 25 year roof , again they will probly put 15 years three tap . Hud building codes are substandard to ours here in the area and for this The expect up to front the down payments to substandard building practices. I had a private estimate done for my stucture this was just to repair it it came in at 82000 ... with out raising it The states Kids right out college that swarmed my home came up with 57000 to raise my house and around 42000 to repair it that bathroom heat windows roof steps siding flooring electric . What are these people smoking ?
foggyworld January 17, 2014 at 08:37 PM
A big part of what seems to be wrong is that the Governor quickly gave all of his responsibility and power to FEMA which is knocking its socks off making it close to impossible for so many to return to a reasonably compliant home. The Governor wanted to do photo ops and get re-elected and move on up rather than help the people. Last week FEMA announced that if you paint sheet rock or sand the tape on the slab level, your house will be out of compliance. They are presuming that paint indicates that someone is living down there. The fact is that in our house where no one would dream of living on the slab level, the sheetrock was painted with anti mold chemicals added to the paint when the house was built in an effort to keep mold problems away. It worked. And if you don't paint that tape the moisture in the air will just speed along the process of its lifting itself off the sheetrock. FEMA is determined to push the middle class out of the Shore and Bay areas and it is our Governor who put them in that position. There is no reasonable approach to anything when one deals with FEMA which is famous for being one big screwed up federal agency. Thanks Governor and yes, it is your fault.
Patricia A. Miller (Editor) January 18, 2014 at 01:15 PM
Hi Sue, We were told the governor had a private meeting with Amy - the woman who spoke during the event - and family members, which no one was granted access to. Then he came out into the firehouse bay, talked, left swiftly. There was no chance for anyone in the audience to ask him a question. The press was told no questions would be taken.
John Eric Mangino January 18, 2014 at 01:37 PM
Who says Amy represents Us in this Town
Mac January 18, 2014 at 01:52 PM
the look on the Governor's face in this article's sister article
Sean Conneamhe January 19, 2014 at 05:17 AM
"Impeach Christie..."


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