Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Committee action is symptom of a larger problem

In Middletown last night, the governing body adopted a resolution supporting Rep. Frank Pallone's legislation in Washington D.C. to place a moratorium on FEMA issuing new flood maps. The resolution had to contain the name of 13th District Assemblywoman Amy Handlin, though, or it would not have passed. It had to acknowledge her petition drive.

Assemblywoman Handlin turned the whole FEMA flood map issue into a partisan matter by coming out of the gate a few months ago swinging for Pallone in her early community meetings, obstensibly organized to address the flood maps. However, nearly from the beginning of this controversy, Rep. Pallone crafted a bill to stop the issuance of the new flood maps, giving some time for the agency's methodology to be addressed before finalization.

Perhaps trying to eye her next office, Mrs. Handlin has been preoccupied with the politics of it all. Far from endorsing Mr. Pallone's bill, she just doesn't address it. Instead, she gathers signatures on a petition that asks FEMA not to issue the maps (a delay -- same thing Pallone is trying to do) and for action from Pallone (which he has already done).

FEMA's representatives have made it clear they aren't going to change a darn thing about what they are doing as a consequence of Mrs. Handlin's petition. However, her energies could have been useful in informing area residents about Pallone's bill. But that would be too bipartisan for an office holder that places party above common sense or effective service. One of the least effective legislators in Trenton, perhaps a less egocentric view of government service might assist in getting something accomplished in office (other than PR campaigns for strictly public digestion without any other effect).

Mr. Pallone's bill will, if adopted, give the Bayshore another shot at getting these maps amended. But FEMA said it will do nothing at all as a consequence of the petition because FEMA is governed by Congress, and so the bill is the only thing that will work.

In Middletown, in line with the party above common sense war cry, the Republican majority on the committee acted as if they had never heard of Pallone's bill, or his efforts in Washington D.C. aimed to getting this important measure approved. Rather, they were cognizant of the Handlin petition, which accomplishes nothing and makes a lot of noise while doing it.

If Middletown's Republican majority cannot summon enough common sense to understand the ability of this bill to assist this area directly, nor have the wherewithall to work cooperatively with other office holders, even if they are of another party, then they should not hold office. Last night, it was made clear the Republican majority on the committee were not even aware of the actions of their congressman to remediate this matter, and at that point this ignorance surrounding party nonsense has gone too far.

This bill needs to be supported by this area. It needs to be adopted in Congress. And, Middletown needs a new majority.

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