Margate, do homework

before any beach project

Margate previously built its own dunes. They reduced damage from storms, depending on variables such as surge strength and wind speed. The city should consider exploring the possibility of creating its own dunes and avoiding a permanent beach-fill program.

Some things that require scrutiny before entering into a beach-replenishment project are the potential for marring our beach, the possibility that the city would have to assume the federal government's cost if Congress cuts funding and the problem of redirecting virtually all beach-block storm drainage.

In evacuations, beach fill doesn't protect life, only property. So it requires a strong financial justification. Fills are replenished roughly every four years, or 12.5 fills over 50 years. If Margate's cost today is $900,000 per fill, it will exceed $13 million over 50 years. What is Margate's financial loss from uninsured damage caused by Hurricane Sandy and what detailed financial cost-benefit analysis has been done regarding fill?

Historically, the Army Corps of Engineers contract required Margate to pay for a fill, even if Congress canceled funding. We couldn't reject an unwanted fill and could be liable for the federal government's 65 percent, which would skyrocket Margate's cost to more than $7.4 million per fill.

White, powder-fine sand is a wonder of our island's beaches. It is largely why we're here. It's not my place, but I feel sad for Ventnor. Its fill is yellowish and the texture seems coarse compared to what the city had. I'm told the surface will sun bleach over time. But when it erodes, it will likely uncover more yellow sand.

Margate should have a balanced community education program and a referendum, even if it is nonbinding, prior to committing to a beach-fill project. Hiring expert sand samplers now may also be prudent, given suits over alleged diminished property value.

VAUGHAN M. REALE

Margate

Thanks to everyone

who helped after fire

On Feb. 28, I lost my home in Petersburg, Upper Township, to fire. My son, Charlie, 6, and I barely escaped. Unfortunately, we lost our sweet animals and everything else we owned. I was the keeper of our family treasures, and everything burned. I lost every childhood picture, letters from friends, my mother's books, my great grandparents' country plates, Charlie's first tooth.

To say there was a hole in my heart is an understatement. But that hole has been filled by the outpouring of love and support from my community, my friends and my colleagues. Had it not been for the tragedy, I would have thought I could count my good friends on one hand. I know in large part it has to do with my brilliant star, Charlie, a little boy who has brittle-bones disease, who has suffered countless broken bones but who sits large in his wheelchair. He is a daily example of guts and character and humor.

I would like to thank everyone who has come to our rescue.

JANET L. FAYTER

Marmora

IRS shows favoritism

toward liberal groups

Regarding the May 17 letter, "Does the tea party pay its taxes":

I might ask, do the Democrats or Republicans? The tea party, other conservative groups and Christian groups have been subjected to burdensome delays and questions in applying for nonprofit status. Some have been waiting for three years.

Meanwhile, a purported charity run by the president's half-brother was given tax-exempt status within a month. And that status was applied retroactively for two years - the time period during which he collected "tax-exempt" donations illegally.

Obama is angry, but only that they didn't get away with it. He has more buffers than Michael Corleone and Tony Soprano combined.

JIM COYLE

Brigantine

Obama uses distractions

to fool his audience

The key to being a good magician is the ability to distract the viewer from the hand that is doing the trick. It seems our president is a good magician.

While he was running for re-election, he hid a terrorist attack in full view of the nation. He also arranged to limit his political opposition by keeping them distracted with paperwork as they sought tax-exempt status. And then to keep any voice of dissent quiet, he went after the people who report the news.

Nothing to see here folks. Just move along. Pay no attention to this hand. It's the other one I want you to watch.

A small May 17 story, "Government issues new drilling rule," says gas companies drilling on federal land will have to disclose the chemicals used in fracking. In one simple stroke, the government has killed fracking. Why would any company give away its trade secrets? Why would the government not want us to be energy independent?

So the magic show goes on. For his next trick, the president will show us just how good health care can be.

RICHARD VOGL

Galloway Township

We need natural areas

more than another mall

On Route 322 West near Hamilton Commons, a huge sign advertises a property for sale - "See your business here."

If you look closely, most of that property is wetlands. Recently I drove by and there was a beautiful great egret on an old dead tree there. I've often seen mallards in there and heard spring peepers as well.

It is befuddling to me that anyone would be allowed to fill in that wetlands area and build more stores. This area has been in this condition for more than 15 years, and it is a wildlife habitat. Do we really need more stores? What about the higher good for the community rather than the almighty dollar? I smile when I drive by that area. A nice area of green in between the conglomerate of stores and cars and bright lights.

I find it sad and a poor example of how our society views things that this area can't be preserved. Don't we realize nature is important to our well-being too?

SUSAN LAZARCHICK

Mays Landing

Life-jacket remark

callous, insensitive

Regarding the May 3 story, "Life jacket might have saved lost Sea Tow captain":

I have followed the tragic mishap involving Capt. David C. McAuliffe with concern and interest. I want to express my condolences to his family and others who were close to him and touched by his presence. I myself spent a lot of my younger years working on the water and trying to raise a family doing the thing I loved the most, running a boat.

I think it is safe to assume that McAuliffe had a lot of things happen in a short period of time. Anyone who has ever managed a dangerous inlet has had to focus complete attention on the handling of the vessel, and I believe this was the case here.

What I am most upset about are the very insensitive comments made by a Coast Guard Auxiliary member who seems to be intent on blaming the captain for not wearing a life jacket at the time. A lot of captains don't feel the need for a personal floatation device, especially on a short trip where no passengers or crew were involved.

I feel this person owes the family an apology for his callous and unwarranted remark.

RAYMOND HENDERSON

Newport

Raising smoking age

would infringe freedoms

Regarding the May 17 Associated Press story, "Bill would make cigarette-buying age 21":

The story called it a "spirit of alliance" when state Sen. Richard Codey, D-Essex, Morris, and Assemblyman Ruben Ramos, D-Hudson, proposed to raise the cigarette purchasing age to 21.

At least Sen. Jeff Van Drew, D-Cape May, Cumberland, Atlantic, has the common sense to avoid jumping on this bandwagon. Like Van Drew, I would prefer that no one smoke. But if we have young men at the age of 18 going to fight our wars for us, then they ought to be able to light up a cigarette if they want to. The government is slowly taking away our rights to make our own decisions. Whether they be right or wrong, it is for us to decide.

JEFFREY SCHWARTZ

Seaville