Tag Archives: Broad Channel Civic Association

Residents protest flood insurance hikes

| mhayes@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photos by Maggie Hayes

Skyrocketing flood insurance rates could “do more to destroy the community than any storm has ever done,” say hundreds of residents who came out to protest the looming costs.

In July 2012, Congress passed the Biggert-Waters Flood Insurance Reform Act, which called on agencies such as FEMA to change the way the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) is run.

Through the act, the NFIP will be required to raise flood rates to reflect “true flood risk” for a policyholder, according to FEMA.

“They say it’s going to be $400 this year, and $12,000 next year,” said Dorothy McClusky, a 33-year Howard Beach resident. “If the insurance rates go up that high, we’ll have to move.”

Residents said that over time, their rates could get as high as $30,000 a year.

Rallies protesting the price hikes were held nationwide on September 28. In the borough, people from Breezy Point, Rockaway Beach, Belle Harbor, Hamilton Beach, Howard Beach and Broad Channel packed tightly into Broad Channel’s American Legion to participate.

“We’re brought together by a common thread of this outrageous legislation,” said Dan Mundy, Jr., president of the Broad Channel Civic Association. “[This act] basically will decimate your biggest savings.”

“FEMA is the agency that is going to enact this. FEMA also couldn’t find this island for two weeks [after Sandy],” Mundy said, met by resounding cheers.

The act will over time eliminate all subsidized flood insurance rates for those in participating areas and can increase those rates by two to 10 times their current cost over a five-year period, according to Councilmember Eric Ulrich’s office.

New FEMA flood maps additionally place many more residents into Zone A and Zone AE – Biggert-Waters designated areas.

“Areas that have never flooded will now be required to carry flood insurance,” said Roger Gendron, president of the Hamilton Beach Civic Association. “Homes would become virtually unsellable.”

Last week, the City Council passed a resolution calling upon Congress to amend the legislation.

“Sandy was a 700-year storm event,” Mundy said. “Nature took its best shot at us, but we were able to stay here.”

“We didn’t survive the 700-year storm to be destroyed by FEMA,” he said.

FEMA did not wish to comment.



Community voices post-Sandy frustrations at FEMA meeting

By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

Gina Borrello used to live in a one-story home in Hamilton Beach.

But since Sandy hit almost six months ago and submerged her house underwater, it has been infested with toxic mold, leaving her and her six children displaced.

“I need help,” she said.

Her daughter, Donna Sirota spoke about how they have been getting by.

“First we were staying at family friends’ houses but their landlords would complain because they don’t want people in their house. The electric bill goes up, the water bill goes up. Now we’re getting an apartment. We have to pay for the apartment and we have to pay for the mortgage, still. It’s really crazy.”

At a town hall meeting hosted by FEMA and State Senator Joseph Addabbo, members of the community voiced frustration and anger at the agency’s recently-released flood maps, which would require home owners to purchase flood insurance that would cost each household anywhere from $10,000 to $31,000 in addition to their existing mortgages and home insurance premiums, depending on their zoning.

“The problem is that you’re changing the rules in the middle of the game,” said Dan Mundy, president of the Broad Channel Civic Association. “Middle class people were encouraged to settle here and I don’t think any objective person no matter where you live would agree with the idea that someone who’s on a structured budget trying to cover all their bases could ever handle somewhere close to $1,000-$2,000 a month or more.”

In a packed auditorium in P.S. 146, the atmosphere quickly revealed the continuing devastation felt by the neighborhood’s residents even after almost half a year has passed since the storm.

When asked if he felt the meeting addressed the community’s concerns, resident Peter Passalacqua said much wasn’t relayed.

“I think there is a lot more information that is buried that is just not coming out on flood elevations and zones and stuff,” he said. “We’re not hearing the big picture.”

His story, one including uphill battles with insurance companies who are offering only a fraction of the cost to repair damages, is hardly unique in this middle-class neighborhood that saw unprecedented devastation from the superstorm.

Residents urged each other to “keep showing up” and “push for more action.”

One stood up to say that this is about rebuilding more than just their homes.

“[We’re fighting] to stay in a neighborhood that we love and where we raise our kids. We need to fight in an educated manner.”

Mundy said affected residents all across the east coast are mobilizing through the “Stop FEMA Now” movement to get the aid they need to rebuild and push back against a proposal they believe is unjust.

“What we’re looking to do is to seek relief legislation because there is no way we could accept it the way it is.”




Queens’ Morning Roundup

| ctumola@queenscourier.com


Wednesday: Clear. High of 48. Breezy. Winds from the WNW at 15 to 20 mph. Wednesday night: Clear in the evening, then partly cloudy. Low of 36. Winds from the NNW at 5 to 15 mph

EVENT of the DAY: Queens Young Professionals Holiday Party

Recently, the Queens Young Professionals group formed to provide resources and networking opportunities to cultivate the borough’s future business leaders and encourage the next generation to become invested in borough wide issues. QYP, which is free to join, hosts its first ever holiday party with an unlimited buffet and specially priced drinks plus the chance to network. $10. Click here for more info or to submit an event of your own

M.T.A. chief will resign as he looks at mayoral bid

Joseph J. Lhota, the chairman of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority, has informed the Cuomo administration that he is stepping down from his position, according to four people with direct knowledge of his plans. Read more: New York Times

MTA to vote on fare, toll hike proposal Wednesday

The Metropolitan Transportation Authority is scheduled to vote on its latest fare and toll hike proposal Wednesday morning. Read more: NY1

Little-known program can help flood-prone homeowners stave off future damage

Broad Channel homeowner Joan Delahunt, still reeling from the impact of Hurricane Irene, was working on a plan to raise the level of her flood-prone home when Superstorm Sandy struck. Read more: New York Daily News

NRA breaks silence, comments on Newtown tragedy

After four days of self-imposed silence on the shooting that killed 26 people inside a Newtown, Conn., elementary school, the nation’s largest gun rights lobby emerged Tuesday and promised “to offer meaningful contributions to help make sure this never happens again.” ABC New York

Obama to call for gun policy changes

President Barack Obama is launching an administration-wide effort to curb gun violence, underscoring the growing political consensus over tightening gun restrictions following the horrific massacre at a Connecticut elementary school. Read more: Fox New York

Instagram takes step back, says ‘It is not our intention to sell your photos

Instagram, the popular mobile photo-sharing service now owned by Facebook, has backpedaled on some of its planned changes that led to concerns that it would use its members’ photos in advertisements. Read more: CBS New York

Time 2012 Person of the Year: Barack Obama

Twenty-seven years after driving from New York City to Chicago in a $2,000 Honda Civic for a job that probably wouldn’t amount to much, Barack Obama, in better shape but with grayer hair, stood in the presidential suite on the top floor of the Fairmont Millennium Park hotel as flat screens announced his re-election as President of the United States. Read more: Time magazine



Congressmember Turner briefs Broad Channel

By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

Photo Courtesy Congresmember Turner

Congressmember Bob Turner attended the Broad Channel Civic Association meeting on Thursday, January 26 to update residents on his first five months in office, and to assure them that he is addressing their local concerns.  Turner spoke before a packed room at the Shad Creek VFW in Broad Channel.

“The Broad Channel Civic Association has done an outstanding job highlighting the challenges facing the community and I am committed to working closely with them as their congressmember. All the areas I am honored to represent should know that their unique and local issues will be priorities of my office,” Turner said.

Specifically, he noted the successful effort to include a resident toll discount for the Cross Bay Veterans Memorial Bridge for Broad Channel in the governors’ proposed budget. Turner, who contacted Governor Andrew Cuomo and MTA Chairman Joe Lhota about the unfairness of the toll on Broad Channel residents stated, “I was proud to stand shoulder to shoulder with Assemblymember Phil Goldfeder and Broad Channnel on this issue, and am pleased that Governor Cuomo has recognized that local residents should not have to pay a toll to conduct basic daily activities.”

In addition, the congressmember mentioned his meeting with representatives of National Grid and emphasized the importance of bringing natural gas to Broad Channel, the only area of New York City still without access to natural gas.

Turner also gave an overview of his first five months in office, including his committee appointments, trips to Afghanistan and Israel, and focus on creating jobs and preventing Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon.

Turner praised the efforts of Broad Channel Civic Association and its president, Dan Mundy Jr., and his father, past president, Dan Mundy, Sr., for their hard work and dedication.

“The Mundys know the issues inside and out and have been enormously helpful to me and my office in addressing important Broad Channel and Rockaway issues.”