Stop the delay in paying
Sandy insurance claims
I suspect that everyone waiting for insurance claims to be paid on damages incurred from Hurricane Sandy is the potential victim of some kind of racket. Why can't insurance companies just pay the claims submitted, based on their own inspectors and adjusters? Sandy was bad enough, but now insult is being added to injury. My house had considerable wind damage for which I was insured. Now, whenever it is windy, there is additional damage, and water is coming in through areas needing repair.
The racket now seems to be scalpers offering loans at exorbitant rates to property owners affected by Sandy. My phone now rings off the hook constantly offering loans. I wonder how widespread this is with others who have placed insurance claims. Everyone who pays for insurance should be able to rely on the timely payment of claims, based on the damage that is incurred. Instead, insurance companies seem to be sharing the names, addresses and telephone numbers of their policyholders.
There are many choices to make regarding storm damage, but none of those choices seem to be in the hands of property owners.
New FEMA flood maps
pose serious problems
The Feb. 3 editorial, "Post-Sandy rebuilding rules/Bitter medicine," correctly highlighted the tremendous hardship that the new state-adopted, Federal Emergency Management Agency flood maps will impose on homeowners in newly declared velocity zones. Homeowners who have had their properties more than 50 percent destroyed by Hurricane Sandy now face the dilemma of either raising their homes, razing their homes or, if they cannot afford options one or two, walking away from their homes if their mortgages exceed the value of their properties.
For the first time, the FEMA maps place large portions of the Jersey shore on the ocean and on the bay in the so-called V zone, where three-foot waves could occur and where rebuilt homes require higher elevations, piling and breakaway walls. Almost none of the homes that have been placed in a V zone for the first time can comply unless they are raised or demolished and rebuilt. Serious questions also have been raised about the accuracy of the FEMA maps and the proposed elevations.
The impact of the FEMA maps on real estate values and shore town budgets will be devastating. Prospective purchasers of nonconforming homes will think twice, worried that they will have to reconstruct if their home is destroyed by a storm in the future or face high flood-insurance premiums when the FEMA maps are finalized. Lenders will become even more stringent when being asked to finance a home that does not comply with current flood elevation requirements. The effect on property values will have a corresponding impact on tax bases for shore communities.
Like most serious problems, there are no easy answers. To ignore the threat of future storms would be irresponsible. On the other hand, such a drastic change should be made with as much care as possible. Before such drastic action is taken, we should take care to make sure we are doing the right thing.
Sal Perillo, an attorney, served as mayor of Ocean City from 2006 to 2010.
U.S. Senate must
It's high time for the U.S. Senate to do away with the frivolous filibuster. Never before has one minority party gummed up the legislative works so effectively as today's GOP. Wielding what has become a most potent tool, the elephant party's not-so-secret ace in the hole during President Barack Obama's first term in office was to just say no to anything and everything initiated by Democrats.
It wasn't always like this. Once upon a time, actually just prior to Obama's first term, stalling legislation with a filibuster was used sparingly by either political party. Even further back, senators actually had to continue bloviating, reading the phone book and so forth in front of a yawning or perhaps empty chamber, in order to perpetuate a filibuster. The filibuster, when abused and so easily accepted as it is today, thwarts the democratic process. We deserve better than that.
Grossman will have
my vote for governor
What a wonderful surprise to see that local attorney Seth Grossman has dipped his toes into the water toward a run for governor.
I had the pleasure of meeting Grossman a few years ago when I needed legal advice. He took the time to see me on his day off, and his calm demeanor and excellent advice struck me instantly. He spent more than an hour explaining, without all the legal jargon, exactly the course of action I should take, and while I was prepared to pay much more for his time, he insisted on only a nominal fee. A month later, he assisted me yet again. This time my attempt at payment was refused.
Grossman is a knowledgeable, down-to-earth, compassionate man. Despite never voting the Republican ticket in my entire life, I will be proud to place a check by his name on the ballot should he choose to run for governor.