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Superstorm Sandy: A Live Town Hall

Public broadcasting stations, including NJTV, THIRTEEN, WLIW21, and WHYY, teamed up with media outlets to broadcast a two-hour, multi-platform live town hall event. Hosted by Mike Schneider, managing editor of the NJTV’s news program NJ Today with Mike Schneider, expert panelists field questions before live studio audiences in New York and New Jersey.

Aired May 16, 2013, 8-10 p.m.
About the Program

Superstorm Sandy: A Live Town Hall
What worked. What didn’t. What’s next.

Also see a post-broadcast online conversation on THIRTEEN’s Google+ page with Live Town Hall panelist John Boulé, Vice President, Parsons Brinckerhoff, and Retired Colonel, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

More than six months after Superstorm Sandy caused $50 billion in damage, questions still remain regarding the region’s infrastructure, its disaster response capabilities, and what the future holds.

Seeking answers and conversation about the storm and recovery efforts, New Jersey and New York public broadcasting stations teamed up to broadcast a special multi-platform live Town Hall event. Hosted by Mike Schneider, managing editor of the NJTV’s news program NJ Today with Mike Schneider, expert panelists fielded questions before live studio audiences at Monmouth University’s Pollak Theatre in West Long Branch, NJ and the Tisch WNET Studios at Lincoln Center in New York City.

Superstorm Sandy: A Live Town Hall aired and streamed live on Thursday, May 16 at 8:00 p.m. on NJTV, New Jersey’s public television network, THIRTEEN in New York City, WLIW21 on Long Island, WHYY TV in Philadelphia, and their websites, in collaboration with media outlets WNYC at 93.9FM and AM820, New Jersey Public Radio, The Star-Ledger and NJ.com, NJ Spotlight, NJ News Commons and The New York Times.

Topics of discussion included: infrastructure: maintenance, parameters for the future and how New York and New Jersey’s infrastructure compares to other regions; building codes in the post-Sandy era; the storm’s environmental consequences: what can we fix, what may not be reparable; storm response: the effectiveness of Sandy response by FEMA, the government, the utility companies and the region overall; economic ramifications: who is paying the debt the storm left behind, government funds versus constituent responsibilities, and looking to the future: the region’s ability to plan ahead for extreme weather.

Guest panelists included experts in an array of fields, from infrastructure and engineering to climatology and charities. The live program featured reporting from various locations across New Jersey, New York City, and Long Island. Lauren Wanko from NJ Today with Mike Schneider, MetroFocus’ Rafael Pi Roman, and Long Island Business Report’s Jim Paymar revisited communities and individuals that they covered when the storm hit in November, continuing their in-depth reporting from the worst hit towns and cities. Other special reports came from WHYY, The Star-Ledger and WNYC.

Panelists at Monmouth University in West Long Branch, New Jersey
• Richard Constable, Commissioner, New Jersey Department of Community Affairs
• Nicole Gelinas, Searle Freedom Trust Fellow, Manhattan Institute
• Vivien Gornitz, Special Research Scientist, Columbia University
• Ralph LaRossa, President & COO, PSE&G
• Mayor Matt Doherty, Belmar, NJ
• Patrick Murray, Director, Monmouth University Polling Institute
• Peter Reinhart, Director, Kislak Real Estate Institute, Monmouth University
• Bill Ulfelder, Executive Director, The Nature Conservancy of New York
• Mayor Dawn Zimmer, Hoboken, NJ

Panelists at the Tisch WNET Studios at Lincoln Center in Manhattan
• John Boulé, VP, Parsons Brinckerhoff, Ret. Col. U.S. Army Corps of Engineers
• John Cameron, Chair, Long Island Regional Planning Council
• Bud Griffis, Professor of Civil Engineering and Construction, Polytechnic Institute of New York University
• Joe Nocera, Op-Ed Columnist, The New York Times
• Richard Ravitch, Former Lieutenant Governor, New York
• Sheena Wright, President & CEO, United Way of New York City

Questions for the panelists were gathered from the public prior and during the program in the comments field of station web sites, and via Twitter #sandytownhall.

See the Storify feed below for questions, comments and images posted with the hashtag #SandyTownHall on Twitter.

Superstorm Sandy: A Live Town Hall is made possible by the New Jersey Recovery Fund at the Community Foundation of New Jersey, The General Contractors Association of New York, New York Building Congress and New York Building Foundation, Bernard and Irene Schwartz, AECOM, New Jersey Manufacturers, Parsons Brinckerhoff, STV, Tishman – an AECOM Company and the American Council of Engineering Companies of New York.

  • Missy Faul

    How will you help those who have saved their whole life to purchase a modest vacation home and are not eligible for FEMA or any other relief and are now going to lose their homes because their flood insurance is not enough to rebuild in compliance with new flood height elevation requirements?

  • Regina Herz

    7 months and still out of my house – please address flood insurance. Brigantine

  • NJ Rich

    When will Congress realize the hardships imposed on everyone with a home in a flood zone — elevation mandates and exorbitant insurance rates — because the Biggert-Waters Act bails out FEMA from its Katrina debt with our money? When will Congress change the Act’s 4-year rise in premiums to the 20-year phase-in recommended by FEMA itself?

  • Disappointed at the Shore

    Follow up to the Belmar Mayor’s comments…the gov’t didn’t come through with funding for replenishment. But local gov’t didn’t come through either when it came to enforcing the ordinance that’s on the books that require beachfront property owners to maintain the dunes and terrain in front of their homes. The beachfront property owners who did take the responsibility seriously and have diligently maintained the dunes over time successfully mitigated the damage to their own homes as well as those behind, further inland. If the property owners had been held accountable to the law locally, there would have been much less damage and perhaps less need to argue about the easements that are needed to permit the Army Corp on the beaches.

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