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    Posted March 24, 2013 by
    New York City, New York

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    Rockaway Residents Demand Say in Sandy Recovery Plans


    CNN PRODUCER NOTE     beachtar says residents of New York's Rockaway area, which was devastated by Superstorm Sandy last year, went to New York's City Hall to demand to have a say in the recovery process.

    He says the residents are voicing many concerns, but a common thread seems to be the desire to be heard. 'Whether it's rock jetties, replenishment of sand, or the decision to rebuild the boardwalk using wood or concrete, the neighborhood simply wants its voice to be heard,' he said.

    He said there was no immediate response from the city's government after the protesters that he is aware of. 'For any number of reasons, I don't think there's been much progress in either getting the mayor's attention or emotional engagement or with implementing the plans envisioned for the Rockaways,' he said.
    - Jareen, CNN iReport producer


    They came by bus, they came by car, and they could have come by subway had the line serving the Rockaways not been knocked out by Hurricane Sandy. The destination for Rockaway residents was New York’s City Hall. As so many groups before them, wholly unsatisfied by the treatment they received by city government, this large, vocal group stood on the steps of the 200-year-old building demanding in no uncertain terms that the city include them in any recovery efforts planned for their community.

    The purpose of the event was also to call attention to the fact that, more than four months after Hurricane Sandy, and despite the recent announcement from Senator Chuck Schumer’s office of a $1 billion relief bill, which has been passed for coastal protection projects, the residents of the Rockaway Peninsula continue to wait for sand replenishment and other protective measures against further devastation from super storms and rising tides.

    Together with State Senator Joe Addabbo, Jr. and City Council member Eric Ulrich, three of New York’s mayoral hopefuls were on hand to show their support. They included former Giuliani administration member Joe Lhota, former City Council member Sal Albanese and current New York Comptroller John Liu.

    “This is a very critical time for the people of Rockaway and the surrounding areas,” said John Cori, Friends of Rockaway Beach co-founder. “The announcement that there is funding for major projects is good news. However, we need to remind our government that our town is in immediate danger, and measures still need to be taken to protect our community until the permanent barriers are put in place.”

    “It’s also very important that there is transparency when it comes to how this money is spent and appropriated,” added Eddy Pastore, the organization’s other co-founder. “We’re talking about the future of Rockaway, and this is not the time for outside agencies to be dictating what’s best for us. This is our town and we want a seat at the table when it’s time to plan out our future.”

    According to a press release from the Friends of Rockaway Beach, the process of making the homes and businesses of Rockaway safe again from the will of the ocean can best be described as somewhere between slow and non-existent and that presently an actual timeline for permanent protective measures has not been set.

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