step up on flood rules
Regarding the March 12 story, "Congress deaf to Sandy-aid pleas":
If suffering the largest disaster since Hurricane Katrina wasn't enough, New Jersey now faces two man-made disasters - and all U.S. Rep. Frank LoBiondo, R-2nd, can do is make excuses.
The first man-made disaster, which LoBiondo helped create with his favorable vote, is the Biggert-Waters Flood Insurance Reform Act, which will increase flood insurance premiums yearly by up to 25 percent. These devastating increases will have far-reaching impacts. Yet LoBiondo says, "No one saw this coming."
Seriously, congressman, you're telling your constituents that you voted in favor of the Biggert-Waters law but had no idea what you were voting for? It is beyond comprehension that you represent a coastal community but didn't understand a proposal that has a tremendous impact on your district.
The new Federal Emergency Management Agency advisory base flood elevations are the second man-made disaster.
Homeowners cannot bear the cost to comply with the new base flood elevations, nor afford the increased cost of coverage for non-compliance. At the end of five years, flood insurance premiums will be thousands of dollars per year, if not tens of thousands.
Congressman, here is what you need to do: Help New Jersey appeal the new flood maps and get the Biggert-Waters law reformed or repealed.
Without a resolution to these two looming problems, real estate values, sales and tax ratables will plummet; people will leave the barrier islands, and tourism will disappear.
The future of the Jersey coast is in jeopardy. Step up to the plate and stop making pitiful excuses.
Giving Egypt millions
is arguably criminal
Many Americans are out of work or underemployed, and those who are fortunate enough to have a job find themselves working harder than ever while their taxes and bills go up and their take-home pay goes down.
Yet incredibly, our leaders in Washington somehow feel that sending $250 million in foreign aid to Egypt is a great idea. According to Secretary of State John Kerry, this aid is a "good-faith effort to spur reform and help the Egyptian people at this difficult time."
Really? And just who is going to monitor Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi and his government to ensure that this money is spent as intended? Morsi has called for the release of the mastermind of the 1993 World Trade Center bombing and calls Jews "the descendants of apes and pigs." His Muslim Brotherhood party is well known for being against women's rights and freedom of the press. But we are supposed to trust this group of radicals with our tax dollars and believe that sending this aid is in our best interests?
It is mind-boggling and arguably criminal that a nation that is more than $16 trillion in debt can continue to carelessly send money overseas in this manner. That $250 million could certainly have been used to fix a lot of crumbling American roads, enhance safety at hundreds of American schools or provide additional services to thousands of brave American veterans.
Of course, I am only dreaming if I think our morally bankrupt leadership would actually have used this money for something that would truly benefit the American people.
JOSEPH J. PICARDI