As a 69-year-old lifelong resident of Rockaway, I wish to extend a big Thank You to Rockaway Times Publisher Kevin Boyle for his coverage of our community's concerns regarding Superstorm Sandy, which hit our shores five years ago. Kevin published an article by me, "My Concerns with the Army Corps Plan for the Rockaway's" on September 18, 2016, and another one on September 28, 2017 entitled "Hurricane Sandy Beach Resiliency and Recovery 5 Years Later." This week’s edition of the RT on October 26, 2017 was entitled "Been a Long Road Back: 5 Years Later the Fight Continues." I believe it was his most outstanding issue to date. There were editorials, articles from both the staff and guest writers, photos and remembrances of the physical, emotional, spiritual and financial impact of the most devastating storm to hit our shores in my generation. We need to continue to ask… Is there permanent protection for Rockaway five years after Sandy? The 1,000-page Army Corp report is an ongoing rehash of studies going back to the 1960's. The Rockaway Peninsula has not yet been mitigated as is necessary.
Special thanks to Hank Iori, President of the Belle Harbor Property Owners Association. He has been spearheading the effort to get results from our elected officials. He has formed the Rockaway Protection Committee with locals to get answers and put pressure on government officials. Currently, they have gotten more than 2,000 signatures on petitions requesting Permanent Storm Protection. Their demands include: Permanent Berms, Rock Jetties, Storm Walls, Bulkhead Construction, Reefs and Sand Replenishment. Petitions will be forwarded to NYS senators, Schumer and Gillibrand.
Hank and his committee organized a rally on Saturday, October 28, 2017 on the beach at 129th Street to bring attention to the issue. There were elected officials, clergy, civic leaders, community activists and advocates, the press and hundreds of community residents who attended. Speeches were made, demands were vocalized and the petition gained names. However, we cannot stop here. Everyone is needed to join the fight by supporting our civic association's storm protection initiatives; attend civic meetings and be a part of the solution; contact our elected officials on a regular basis; and provide support that Climate Change is not a hoax. It is real and is affecting people all over our community, the hemisphere and the world.
The government cannot continue to be reactive when it comes to naturally occurring storms. We must demand that they become proactive and get the necessary funds to protect our community. Everyone needs to do their part. Let's keep up the pressure!
John W. Roberts
More Work Ahead
On behalf of the Rockaway Storm Protection Group, thank you everyone who joined the rally on Beach 129th Street last Saturday and the nearly 2,000 Rockaway residents who signed the petition. These actions have sent a clear message to our city, state and federal politicians that we will not stop urging them to provide storm protection from one side of the peninsula to the other. On Sunday, Mayor de Blasio announced 145 million dollars for specific Rockaway resiliency projects. Those projects will help a few areas get parks and playgrounds that could withstand another major storm and address flooding problems in the surrounding communities, but these projects will not protect Rockaway from the impact of another major storm. We need to put pressure on our political leaders to get the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to start the work on dunes, jetties, reefs and bayside protection.
Here’s how you can help:
1. Go to every event like the rally last Saturday.
2. Get information about next steps, especially organized efforts to contact your political leaders, by showing up at your community civic association meetings.
3. Learn what you can do about climate change. It’s important, it’s your Rockaway.
We are also asking all religious institutions and civic associations across the peninsula to join our efforts.
As part of a group representing Rockaway Women for Progress, I had the opportunity to meet with the State Director at U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand’s office last Friday. We spoke for 45 minutes about local concerns and about larger federal initiatives that the Senator is addressing. We presented our concerns about gun violence in NYC and in the country, and we will be partnering with established gun control advocacy groups in the near future. We also spoke about the influence of money on elected officials and the lack of transparency in government.
From the State Director, we heard some of the Senator’s current initiatives. Repairing and rebuilding from the devastation of this year’s active hurricane season is the first priority. A $36.5 billion relief package that includes money for a federal flood insurance program was passed in the Senate on Tuesday afternoon. The Senator has also sponsored the FAMILY (Family and Medical Insurance Leave) Act, which has been referred to the Senate Committee on Finance. The FAMILY Act would establish an employer and employee-financed benefit fund, much like Social Security, so that employees can receive pay when caring for a baby or an ill family member.
The most important information we took away is that Senator Gillibrand’s Manhattan Office is specifically for Constituent Services. Whether you voted for her or not, if you are a resident of NY State, she represents you in the U.S. Senate.
Rockaway Women for Progress
On Friday, October 27th I went to the 100th Precinct haunted station house and I just wanted to let them know what a great job those guys did! I wasn’t really expecting to be scared but the people I was with and I definitely were!!! It was a great event for the community.
A Great Treat
A very special thank you to the men and women of the 100th Precinct for an absolutely outstanding job with their Haunted House 2017! The time, effort and dedication that went into the event was apparent and appreciated. I've walked through my share of haunted houses, but this NYPD presentation was by far the most spectacular. A big thank you to all of you for your dedication to the community!
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