Friday, April 18, 2014
By Cristabelle Tumola
Thursday, April 17th, 2014
Mayor Bill de Blasio announced a major overhaul to speed upSandy recovery Thursday, along with the release of a detailed report on the city’s response to the storm.
The report includes recommendations that are expected to provide financial relief to businesses and homeowners, and revamp current recovery programs, the mayor said, as well as details on the city’s infrastructure rebuilding and storm mitigation efforts.
“We can’t stand idly by as red tape and bureaucratic bottlenecks prevent far too many New Yorkers from getting the relief they need. That’s why, from day one, we prioritized more efficient recovery,” de Blasio said. “And now, we’ve laid out a blueprint to provide critical financial relief to homeowners and directly engage communities in the rebuilding process—all while continuing our work to ensure a stronger and more resilient New York.”
Part of the engagement process will involve appointing borough directors in Queens, Brooklyn and Staten Island, who will have the authority to direct city agencies to increase community engagement and coordination, and bringing Build It Back staff directly into affected communities, according to the mayor’s administration.
“These latest announcements from the administration have brought new hope to many of our residents who have been displaced and are fighting to put their lives back together and move forward,” Borough President Melinda Katz said. “My office will continue to focus resources on the issues and challenges still outstanding for these residents, so we may collectively find solutions.”
The report additionally highlights other improvements the mayor announced last month to Build It Back, a federally-funded program to assist those whose homes, offices and other properties were damaged by Sandy.
Comptroller Scott Stringer also just announced the formation of a Sandy oversight unit and an audit of the Build It Back program.
“It is critical to have an accounting of how government has responded to this event, and what we can do to better prepare for the future,” he said.
Stringer also said that he will be holding town hall meetings in affected neighborhoods during the upcoming months to get community input on what his office should be examining as it comes up with an audit plan of issues on the city’s Sandy response.
The meetings will include the following locations in Queens, with future town halls to be announced for June:
April 30, 6-8 p.m., Bay House, 500 Bayside Dr., Breezy Point
May 20, 6-8 p.m., Mt. Carmel Baptist Church, 348 Beach 71st St., Arverne
For updates on town halls, click here.
Thursday, April 17, 2014
After only six homes have been rebuilt with 20,000 Hurricane Sandy victims on the program’s waiting list, Stringer plans on putting the Build it Back program under the microscope.
Recent reform of the federal flood insurance program was essential, but more changes are needed, U.S. Senate candidate Bill Cassidy said Wednesday in Alexandria.
Cassidy, the Republican congressman from Louisiana's 6th District, is challenging longtime Democratic Sen. Mary Landrieu in the fall election. He visited the corporate office of Martin Companies in Alexandria on Wednesday.
The Homeowner Flood Insurance Affordability Act was "a great first step, but not the final step," he said.
Cassidy and Rep. Michael Grimm, R-NY, crafted the amended House version of the bill that became law in March.
The legislation was a reaction to the Biggert-Waters Act of 2012, which was passed as a way to bring stability to the National Flood Insurance Program but surprised even many of its backers with the way it caused insurance premiums to skyrocket.
The Homeowner Flood Insurance Affordability Act repealed some of the more onerous provisions of Biggert-Waters by reinstating grandfathering, capping premium increases at a lower rate and eliminating the trigger that raised premiums immediately to actuarial levels when a property was sold.
Surcharges of $25 on primary residences and $250 on businesses and secondary residences are expected to pay for the changes in Biggert-Waters, but NFIP is still more than $20 billion in debt.
To reduce that debt, Cassidy suggests streamlining the program so less money is spent on expenses related to overhead, leaving savings that can be used to return to financial solvency. He also suggests getting the private sector involved in flood insurance, which he believes will foster competition and lower premiums.
"We have to make this program more effective, more accountable and more efficient," he said.
Asked about other issues on the federal level that will affect Louisiana, Cassidy drew a line between himself and Landrieu by sharply criticizing the policies of President Barack Obama.
He called the Affordable Care Act "one of the most anti-growth pieces of legislation to come out of Washington in some time." By encouraging businesses to cut their employees' hours and keep expansion to a limit, he said, the law hurts the people it's supposed to help.
He also criticized Obama for discouraging oil and gas production.
"This is why I'm running for Senate — this president's agenda," Cassidy said. "I disagree with that agenda."
Wednesday, April 16, 2014
UPDATE! On Our Guest For The 100th. Precinct
Community Council Meeting
The 100th. Precinct Community
Council Next Meeting
Wednesday April 23rd 2014
Knights of Columbus Hall
333 Beach 90th Street
Rockaway Beach, NY 11693
Cop of the Month Awards Will Be Presented To
The 100th Precinct & Transit District 23
Commanding Officer of Patrol Borough Queens South
Assistant Chief David Barrere
New York City Fire Department
Chris Hogan, N.Y.F.D.
President 100th Precinct Community Council
Danny Ruscillo Jr.
Tuesday, April 15, 2014
JACKSON, Mississippi -- Mississippi's lawsuit against the Federal Flood Insurance Program will be withdrawn pending the Federal Emergency Management Agency's implementation of a new law passed by Congress meant to alleviate some of the dramatic rate increases facing Mississippi homeowners, Commissioner of Insurance Mike Chaney said today.
Chaney and the Mississippi Insurance Department filed suit on September 26, 2013, seeking to delay or stop the increases and were supported by several other states and entities, including Alabama, Louisiana, Florida, South Carolina and Massachusetts.
Partially in response to the Mississippi suit and a rising number of other complaints, Congress changed the law.
Lawyers for the Mississippi Insurance Department filed papers Monday that caused the lawsuit to be dismissed "without prejudice," meaning it can be refiled at any time should the provisions of the new law or the manner in which FEMA implements it is deemed unsatisfactory.
Meanwhile, MID lawyers will monitor FEMAs' implementation of the Homeowner Flood Insurance Affordability Act of 2014, passed as H.R. 3370, to ensure the new law does what is necessary to ease the financial burden on homeowners.
"I am very happy that Congress has acted to protect homeowners," Chaney said. "However, we will have to watch FEMA's implementation of it to be sure it actually fixes the problem. If it does, fine. If it doesn't, we are free to refile the lawsuit."
In 2012, Congress passed the Biggert-Waters Flood Insurance Reform Act seeking to address some of the shortfalls in the NFIP. The law drastically changed the way premiums were calculated, resulting in premium increases in some cases costing thousands of dollars
and making the insurance unaffordable for many Mississippians.
Chaney said his staff will be monitoring FEMA's implementation of the law over the next several months.
Hazardous Weather Outlook
NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE NEW YORK NY 447 PM EDT MON APR 14 2014 THIS HAZARDOUS WEATHER OUTLOOK IS FOR SOUTHERN CONNECTICUT...NORTHEAST NEW JERSEY AND SOUTHEAST NEW YORK. THERE IS A CHANCE FOR A NARROW LINE OF THUNDERSTORMS TO DEVELOP AHEAD OF AN APPROACHING STRONG COLD FRONT TUESDAY AFTERNOON INTO TUESDAY EVENING. THIS ACTIVITY COULD PRODUCE DAMAGING WINDS GUSTS
OF 50 TO 55 MPH. LOW TEMPERATURES TUESDAY NIGHT AND WEDNESDAY
NIGHT ARE FORECAST TO BE NEAR FREEZING.