Belle of Liberty

Letting Freedom Ring

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Hurricane Fedzilla

Journalists are fond of castigating politicians for all sorts of grammatical and geographic bungles.  But throughout the coverage of Hurricane Irene in New Jersey, the journalists have bombed the geography test.  Among other goofs, they reported that:

·         The collapse of Rt. 287 Northbound was in Parsippany.  It’s in Boonton.
·         The collapse of Rt. 23 occurred in Pompton Lakes.  The road was stripped away in Pompton Plains.
·         A photo caption of a shopping mall on Rt. 23 stated it was in Riverdale; it’s in Pompton Plains, where the highway collapsed.
·         Then yesterday, at a conference in Wayne, Gov. Christie spoke about a house blowing up Wayne; the house was in Pompton Lakes.

The newspapers really need to start paying their reporters more money.  The average salary is $35,000 a year.  Young journalists might also want to start studying maps of the areas they’re assigned to cover.  News12 NJ has been doing the best job; their meteorologist only missed one of the tributary rivers into the Pompton River, which begins in Riverdale – the Wanaque.  An A-minus for NJ 12’s weather dude.

Some citizen had the temerity to ask Gov. Christie a question, to which he replied, “I only talk to reporters.”  Evidently.  There he was patting the back of the despicable Congressman Pascrell.  Wouldn’t it be nice if the reporters talked to someone besides politicians about the building of the Pompton Dam.  Gov. Christie blamed the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.  He should have spoken to the guy whose back he was patting in bipartisan solidarity, evidently as a sneer at Tea Partiers and Town Hallers.  A note to Tea Partiers:  he’s never been our friend and has never said that he’s a Conservative, for all his sometimes humorous plain speaking.  Yesterday, he resorted to outright, decidedly unfunny insults, particularly towards some hapless reporter named “Lisa.”

To anyone who understands New Jersey’s shore, rivers, and roads, ordering the evacuation was the right thing to do.  Anyone who’s ever been stuck on the Garden State Parkway – a limited access road beyond the Cape May border, northward – knows just how bad the traffic can be.  Although the original forecasts turned out to be wrong, forecasters had the eye of the hurricane roaring right up the Garden State Parkway.

The storm shifted eastward towards the coastline, but only at the last minute.  The authorities couldn’t take the chance, with a forecast like that, that maybe the storm would shift and not sweep the traffic jam of cars right off the highway.  Don’t think that because some clowns were laughing and dancing around on the beaches that everything was beachy.  Take a look at Wildwood365’s Facebook pages.  The boardwalk in Point Pleasant upon which the clowns were dancing one day, were torn apart the next.

Some of those surfers, or surfers like them, that you saw on television out in the waves died.  We were lucky the storm shifted track towards the shoreline beaches and barrier islands, rather than farther inland, where permanent homeowners live.

As for the lack of wind – well excuse us.  The pundits and critics are making up for it.  The politicians may be overhyping the flooding.  This is neither the first nor the last time the mighty Passaic will overflow its banks.  It overflowed in 1968, 1984, 1999, just a few years ago, and this spring.  This isn’t global warming.  This is the glacier that cut its way through northern New Jersey some ten thousand years ago, leaving myriad lakes of melted glacier water, and rivers to drain them off when they became too full.

If journalists do want to find a scapegoat, start investing the real reasons for the creation of the Pompton Dam.  Follow the money trail.  Find out who would benefit by preventing flooding in Oakland along the Ramapo River.  Find out who would benefit by assisting such people involved.

Geographically challenged?  Follow the Hamburg Turnpike to the Pompton Dam.  Turn onto Route 202.  The sign says Terhune Drive.  Drive along Rt. 202 (you’re in Wayne at that point) and go as far as Doty Road.  Just the past the lake on the left (Pompton Lake) is the border between Pompton Lakes, Wayne and Oakland.  It’s that land in Oakland that was in dispute.  That’s the land, according to the locals, that the dam was built to protect.  Not the properties below the dam, the properties above. 

Since all 85 to 90 percent of all journalists are registered Democrats, and our Congressional representative is of that party, you can be sure absolutely no one is going to investigate and will happily lay the blame at the feet of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.  Anyone who does investigate is sure to come back with a report that is politically correct and favorable.  The Media will blame its meteorological faction.  The politicians will blame the engineers.  Democrat voters will happily accept federal money for throwing away everything in sight.

Then the flooding will continue.  Our friends in southern Pompton Lakes, going through their third or fourth flood in almost as many years, meanwhile, really are devastated.  “Sick to their stomachs” to quote them exactly.  They bought the house, which had never flooded before the dam was built, from a relative.  They’d lived here most of their lives and were certain of the area’s history when they bought the house (prior to the building of Pompton Dam) from her. 

The house was no sooner fixed from one flood than another flood came along.  The family only just recently returned to the house earlier this spring or summer, when Hurricane Irene came along.  In the meantime, our company was downsizing and they were about to sell the house and relocate to another area.  They couldn’t wait, they had said, just a week or so prior to the storm.

Not only is this mess devastating to all the flood victims, but billions of our taxpayer dollars are bailing out this political mess.  No blame to the neighbors in Pompton Lakes who bought safe homes.  This is Hurricane Fedzilla’s fault.  Like the red spot on Jupiter, it’s permanent and self-perpetuating.

For distraught homeowner, no doubt it’s so comforting, seeing Gov. Christie and Congressman Pascrell sympathizing with them.  For those of us who know the truth, it’s infuriating.  The governor and the Congressman talk tough.  They are tough, among other things.  But we northern New Jerseyans are tougher.  Whether they like it or not.

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