10/26/13

Recchia to Grimm: "You're Not Listening to People"

Democratic City Council Member Dominic Recchia, who will challenge Conservative Republican Congressional Representative Michael Grimm in 2014, slammed Grimm for telling the Staten Island Advance that only Oakwood Beach and Ocean Breeze -- where buyouts and teardowns have already begun -- should be eligible for the state's "Recreate New York Smart Home Buyout Program."

Two Staten Island civic leaders have now joined Recchia in calling on Grimm to rethink his buyout strategy.

According to the Crescent Beach Buyout Committee's Alexander Dubrovsky, nearly 100 homeowners in areas other than Oakwood Beach and Ocean Breeze want to join the state program. Most are city workers or retirees who either don't want to elevate their homes and pay much-higher post-Sandy flood insurance premiums, or can't afford to. These people are ready to leave, Dobrovsky said, and they want the buyout.

Joe McAllister, president of the South Beach Civic Association, agreed with Dubrovsky, calling it "unhelpful" for Grimm to tell people who own still-vacant homes in riparian Sunnymeade Village or Quincy Street that they don't need buyouts.

According to Grimm, South Beach, New Dorp Beach and Midland Beach are "vibrant" communities where "people want to stay." It would be "virtually impossible", Grimm said, for these areas to return to nature.

Recchia disagreed, saying that Grimm should respect the wishes of those homeowners in New Dorp Beach, Midland Beach, South Beach, and Great Kills who want to join the program. If these homeowners don't get bought out, Recchia said, they will end up getting stuck with construction and insurance costs that they can't afford.

Grimm, said Recchia, doesn't have a mandate to choose which neighborhoods will be allowed into the state buyout program.

Grimm countered that Recchia didn't understand how the buyout program was supposed to work, saying that it's only for big tracts of land, not individual homes, and hinted that Recchia should mind his own business.

But if the state buyout is only for big tracts of land, as Grimm asserts, then why is it called the "Smart Home Buyout Program"?

The article from Staten Island Live.

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