Consider alternatives

to FEMA's approach

Margate, like so many other towns up and down the Jersey coast, is grappling with the specter of real estate values dropping significantly due to the Federal Emergency Management Agency's re-mapping of flood zones. Real estate prices could depreciate by 25 percent, according to some estimates, as flood insurance premiums go from, say, $1,000 per year to more than $20,000.

Town hall meetings are filled with citizens demanding their elected officials act pre-emptively, rather than be at the mercy of the federal government's broad-brush flood rules. Margate's officials are indeed leading the charge to introduce some sense to the discussions with the federal government. If the worst of what is being discussed is truly enacted, it is not unreasonable to expect that many homeowners would literally have to walk away from their homes, priced out because flood insurance has risen astronomically.

I have two suggestions.

First, FEMA should consider offering homeowners the option of a much higher deductible. For instance, offer a $20,000 deductible option. Seem high? Not really when considering the alternative. If we are to believe Sandy was a 100-year storm, then I like my chances of agreeing to a high deductible. Otherwise, I might be faced with a $10,000 or more flood-insurance premium. I'd rather pay $1,000 a year and take my chances.

Second, pursue a public/private option. FEMA might consider limiting its flood-insurance liability to $150,000 per claim (it is currently $250,000). Charge the homeowner the existing premium for less coverage. The banks who hold the mortgages may be upset with this. But the private sector's role in the solution is to incur a small piece of the risk. Banks could demand more equity or even charge a higher mortgage rate to compensate for their additional risk.

It's not too late to consider a change in policy that is not based on draconian re-drawn and potentially inaccurate flood maps. The coastal towns' representatives need to speak with one voice on this matter as time is running out.

STEVE MARCHEL

Margate

Ignore the rhetoric

over coming cuts

Regarding the sequestration plan:

What's all this fear mongering over a mere 2 percent reduction in federal spending? Each and every working man and woman just took a 2 percent reduction in our spending money on Jan. 1. Our sequestration leaves us facing rising expenses for food, fuel and insurance, further eroding our shrunken paycheck.

Making matters worse, we didn't get a 30 percent increase in our net income four years ago. We were just happy if we didn't lose our jobs, savings and homes in the financial meltdown in 2008, orchestrated and set in motion by the federal government's actions in the 1990s. And as the Affordable Care Act picks up steam, this will be another meltdown in the making.

The rhetoric that the economy will suffer from a 2 percent decline in federal spending is only a smokescreen to distract us from the real damage the current administration and Senate are inflicting on us.

I guess it's just the price we pay for pitting a moderate against Santa, but we still have the upcoming House and Senate races and a chance to make a stand against having our freedoms nullified by the "shadow government" created by the ACA.

KEN ELLIS

Ocean City

Christie better veto

Dems' gun proposals

Gov. Chris Christie has remained frustratingly silent while the gun grabbers in New Jersey have pushed more than 20 bills infringing on our right to bear arms through the Assembly. These bills are sure to pass the Democrat-controlled Legislature. This means the only thing that can stop them is Christie's veto. It's unclear if he intends to do so.

Among other things, the proposals being referred to as "common sense" in Trenton require a police officer to search your home as a condition of owning a firearm, including the location where the weapon will be stored. Since when does common sense dictate that if you want your wife to keep a pistol in her nightstand, then a cop must first rummage through her underwear and deem it appropriate?

I would like to remind the governor that liberal gun-grabbers don't vote Republican in state or national elections. They are not the people who put him in office, and they certainly are not the sort who will vote in a 2016 primary in the fly-over states.

Governor, your support and leadership on preserving our Second Amendment rights is both needed and expected. Abandon law-abiding firearm owners, and they will abandon you. Veto these bills, or you can kiss your re-election and the 2016 campaign goodbye.

JACK GAMBLE

Manahawkin