Monday, September 14, 2009

Beach Alliance: I can't believe I forgot this!

I went back and deleted the stuff I had previously written about Sen. Bruce Tarr slapping me down, which was meant as hyperbole - but while taking a shower I realized that people would think I (and he) was being serious.

He was joking around (although I used to annoy my former boyfriend endlessly by saying, "Many a true word is spoken in jest"all the time) ... although after making the comment about the media reporting sometimes too much detail of what is said at the meetings, he did throw the bone to the Daily News about what a good job they are doing reporting on the projects.

Reflecting back, I'm not sure he even knew my name although I'm sure he's aware I'm there for the Current and seeing as how we all have to introduce ourselves at the start of the meeting ... but then he came in late, after the introductions.

Anyway ... It appears to me just as a person watching these meetings that it's not so much DCR that's muddled, it's the presence of the Plum Island Foundation, with the blessing of DCR, as one more entity with its hands on the pie that is the problem.

It was the Foundation that was holding meetings with property owners at the home of one of its members, and since Bob Connors (said member) nodded affirmation when they were talking two meetings ago about the date the easement docs were mailed out and the DCR counsel looked at him to confirm ... well, I'd say that group is playing a pretty large role.

The other group of affected property owners - the ones who appear not to be well off financially - seem to have been disenfranchised. And the DCR counsel Gary Davis said he thought it was okay for non-governmental entities to be present at the two scheduled meetings with property owners this week.

Russo, for example, said he planned to be there. Ron Barrett, president of PITA, said after the meeting that PITA and the Foundation should not be there. No one from PITA attended the meetings held at Connors' house.

It would be very interesting to me to find out how many of the 26 owners belong to the Plum Island Foundation and how many do not.

One other interesting note:

All of the public officials usually sit in a row on either side of Tarr at one table (the tables are arranged in a big rectangle).On Friday, Vincent Russo (Newbury selectman), Joe Storey (chairman of the Selectman) and our own Mayor Moak sat along the side where the DCR people usually sit. Until Tarr got there, that left Salisbury Selectman Jerry Klima sitting there by himself at one end of the main table, with Barrett.

The DCR people took their places opposite, sitting with the Army Corps people.

I don't know what this was all about - yet - but I'm sure it meant something.


Cowboy Bubba said...

HOUSTON—Texas announced Monday that it was embarking on the biggest coastal protection effort in state history to fight beach erosion and defend against future hurricanes.

The $135.4 million plan comes just a year after Hurricane Ike's powerful storm surge damaged thousands of homes in Galveston, the neighboring Bolivar Peninsula and other communities across southeast Texas. The Sept. 13, 2008 hurricane also scoured away beaches, submerged marshes in seawater and ruined thousands of acres of vegetation.

"We've been trying to do large scale projects like this for quite some time but (Hurricane) Ike has accelerated our efforts and created a greater sense of urgency," Texas Land Commissioner Jerry Patterson said in a telephone interview shortly after announcing the plan in Galveston. "It's the largest commitment to coastal protection in the history of Texas."

Work will begin immediately on 26 projects from South Padre Island in South Texas to McFaddin National Wildlife Refuge on the upper Texas Coast, Patterson said. The projects have different timelines for being completed.

The biggest project will be a more than $46 million beach renourishment that will replace sand over a stretch of six miles from the west end of Galveston's famed seawall.

Another stretch of Galveston's beaches, which are a big tourist attraction but also fortify the seawall, were replenished earlier this year after being eroded by Ike. The 10-mile long seawall has protected the island city since it was built after the Great Storm of 1900, which killed 6,000 people.

Other projects include:

-- a $32 million project that will restore dunes along 20 miles of beaches that protect the McFaddin National Wildlife Refuge. The 55,000 acre refuge protects one of the largest remaining freshwater marshes on the Texas Coast.

-- an $18.3 million project to rebuild dunes on Bolivar Peninsula. Ike's storm surge overwhelmed this thin strip of land along the Gulf of Mexico, washing away or damaging 3,600 homes and other structures.

-- a $1 million test project in South Padre Island that will place low profile stabilizers, or concrete filled tubes, underwater in beaches on the north end. The stabilizers will slow down erosion by retaining sand usually lost to waves and currents.

Patterson said these projects will protect not just the state's physical assets but also the economy.

"It's going to protect the dollars that are generated in the coast," he said. "Without a beach in front of the seawall in Galveston, there are no tourists. Without tourists, no hotel motel taxes, no sales taxes generated."

Patterson said the state is allocating $25 million for the effort. Matching funds from local communities and the federal government is increasing the total to more than $135 million.

A telephone message left Monday with the Gulf Restoration Network was not immediately returned.

Gillian Swart said...

Wow. Thanks, Cowboy Bubba. No riding your horse in city parks.

Bubba said...

There's really no point in riding my horse in the park if I can't bring my gun along - besides, my horse is reserved for Plover hunts.

Gillian Swart said...

I'm sure that somewhere it is written down that you can't ride your horse on the beach, either. But nice try.

Anonymous said...

That's it, I'm riding my Plover Pony across the Basin on the next low tide.