This week, representatives from the Army Corps of Engineers and the state Department of Environmental Protection held a meeting with Margate residents to discuss the "Absecon Island Shore Protection Project."
This project would be 100 percent federally funded, costing approximately $20 million. It includes beach nourishment (more sand, wider beaches) and the creation of dunes to hold sand in place. Future replenishment, if needed - there is no obligation - will be funded 65 percent with federal funds and 35 percent with nonfederal funds. The nourishment cycles are typically every three years. The 35 percent in nonfederal funds would consist of 75 percent state funding and 25 percent municipal funding, which is roughly 9 cents on the dollar for Margate.
As a member of the Board of Commissioners, I take very seriously my responsibility for looking after Margate and its residents. Hurricane Sandy really shook me, and I'm concerned about the safety of everyone's property. I remember how helpless I felt, surveying all the damage.
Some beach blocks already flood at some high tides, and this project will help eliminate this problem. Bay flooding is also an issue, and the city is taking action to mitigate it with higher bulkhead codes.
For now, the federal government has committed $20 million to help us with ocean flooding, and its experts believe this project will significantly protect our shoreline from storms. This is a single step, but a big one to ensure the enjoyment of Margate for future generations.
Margate beach project
must be fully vetted
Regarding the Aug. 13 story, "Margate meeting to discuss dune plan":
During our administration, the commissioners frequently disagreed, but we unanimously rejected the Army Corps of Engineers beach project. The previous administration also unanimously rejected it, and passed an ordinance compelling future administrations to fully vet any such proposal and vote to sign a contract before authorizing a divisive binding referendum.
This project is complicated and requires intense scrutiny. The ordinance helps ensure Margate won't be lured into a program that permanently alters our beautiful beaches without knowing all details.
Unfortunately, statements by city officials seem to advocate for the project, for which there is little information, no contract and only vague plans.
Mayor Mike Becker suggested a nonbinding referendum. This seems harmless, assuming the administration doesn't subject the city to a referendum until it has done its homework, addressed all citizen concerns and at least two commissioners have voted to sign the Army Corps contract.
A citizens group is forming to educate the public about the pros and cons of this project. Residents should review its research and resist emotional decisions.
Our beach is a big reason why we are here, and the commissioners would do citizens a service by impartially pursuing all concerns.
VAUGHAN M. REALE
Vaughan M. Reale is a former mayor of Margate.
Why hasn't the U.S.
had a military coup?
Recently, I was having a conversation with a young man who wondered why our military has never attempted a coup to take over our government, as has been done in numerous other countries around the world.
I told him that there are no internal forces sufficient to stop such a coup. What prevents it are the military's own value system and respect for civilian rule. Our military leaders recognize and submit to civilian authority. That is ingrained in every recruit, in every officer and in the conscience of the nation.
The adherence to our laws and the Constitution by our armed forces is very evident. Every four or eight years the armed forces receive a different commander in chief, yet never has there been a military uprising because of these changes.
When he was leaving, the young man said, "A piece of paper, some laws and age-old traditions and submission to civilian rule are the only things that keep our armed forces from making mincemeat of us?"
"Pretty much," I said, and we both laughed and went our separate ways.
JIMMIE L. HOLLIS