FEMA and A.C. make
it difficult to rebuild
My home, like many others along the barrier islands, suffered damage from Hurricane Sandy.
As soon as I was able to return home, I removed the damaged furnishings and contacted a well-regarded local contractor to remove the damaged walls and floors to prepare my house for cleaning, drying and mold remediation.
Much to my surprise and dismay, my contractor has been unable to secure the permits from the city because, according to the Federal Emergency Management Agency and the city, the cost of the repairs would be more than 50 percent of the value of my home.
On the one hand, FEMA has been working diligently to provide housing and expenses for those displaced, but the agency is making it difficult for those same people to repair and return to their homes.
And I thought that the city, suffering from a greatly eroded tax base due to tax appeals and lower property values, would be doing more to help people return to their homes that cannot be raised or moved,
I understand now why many homeowners are throwing up their hands in frustration and despair and walking away from their longtime homes or having the work done outside the system.
MITCHELL R. RUSSAKOW
Getting free stuff
I am sure that most people have heard the phrase "freedom is not free." It is used to remind everyone that sacrifice is necessary to protect and defend our nation and our way of life. Given all that has happened with our government over the past few years, I believe a rearrangement of those words is in order - free is not freedom.
We have been subject to one giveaway after another from our government. Towns are given free money to hire police, firefighters and teachers. Citizens are given free stuff in the form of new windows and insulation for their homes. The government will even remove that old oil tank from the yard. Payments are made to the unemployed, and free health care is provided to many.
All of this sounds great if you choose to ignore reality.
The grants to the towns all have time limits, after which the local taxpayers pick up the bill.
The free stuff for individuals is also well-intentioned but poorly thought out. Someone else must actually pay those bills, and at some point, those payers will either go broke or will find a way to get out from under the burden.
The American public must be educated to a basic principle - that there is no free lunch. When you take from the government you are handing over a part of your freedom. The more you take, the less free you are. In the final state, you will only receive that which the government decides to give you.
Please remember free is not freedom. Truly free people have gotten their freedom the old-fashioned way - by earning it.
RICHARD P. VOGL
Hooked on Ventnor
has done a great job
I want to thank the Hooked On Ventnor group for everything it provided for people before and after Hurricane Sandy.
The group provided water, food, clothing and other essentials for many people who had to start over again. For example, I lost my residence due to 4 feet of water. I had to relocate because of all the damage that I received. I lost furniture, clothes, food and many sentimental items, just as so many others did.
But Hooked On Ventnor worked endless hours at the Ventnor Community Building helping whoever was in need. What a great group of people. I am so proud of my community. Many people are happier now, thanks to this wonderful group of people. May God bless all of you, and I count my blessings for everything you did for my family and me.
We respect firefighters,
but we don't feel safe
Regarding the March 7 letter, "Volunteer firefighters deserve more respect," about the Ocean View Fire Company:
We do respect our firefighters. We know they put their lives on the line for us. But we have seen things with the fire company that made us feel unsafe. When you are at the scene of a fire and you leave feeling this way, then as a taxpayer you have every right to do what you feel you need to do to feel safe again.
As for the fire-district budget being rejected, there were more than 180 people who voted that day. This tells me the people have spoken.
It makes me feel sick that people think this is over what they call a little bit of bickering.