One thing everyone agrees on in the wake of Sandy – Montauk's business district is doomed. It's a miracle it hasn't happened already, but the signs are there – basically the intense erosion that is escalating at an alarming rate.
Ironically it's because of Sandy that we are graced with a once in a lifetime opportunity to address the problem in Montauk, using federal funds made available to address some of the damage caused by the Superstorm.
The Army Corps of Engineers has discussed several possible ways to shore up downtown Montauk, and opinions vary widely on what to do next. Yes, the Corps has a spotty record around these parts – but this one seems like a no-brainer.
It would be best for all concerned if Main Street was sited farther away from the ocean. But it's not. Moving a few hotels, or moving anything for that matter, isn't practical. For one thing, there isn't enough money. For another, there's no place to go.
At the Concerned Citizens Of Montauk meeting Saturday two experts concluded that the "sand only" option was the best way to go. There are going to be lots of so-called experts weighing in – these two came courtesy of the CCOM -- but the window of opportunity won't stay open to accommodate them all.
Replenishing the beach with sand would be welcome, but would offer only a temporary solution. The sand will eventually wash away – whether it takes one giant Nor'easter or a series of storms, the net result is inevitable – it's a case of throwing good money after bad because the annual cost of replenishing the sand would be crippling. The plan that makes the most sense from where we sit would be to build a "reinforced dune," a layer of rocks covered with sand. That would provide an immoveable base and keep sand replenishment costs down.
The window to get this done is now, or the money will be used elsewhere – there isn't much time to hem and haw.
Already battle lines are being drawn, and that's unfortunate. This isn't political, and it's not an environmental issue per se. It's about throwing Montauk, and the huge tourist business that comes with it, a lifeline before the business district literally and figuratively goes under.
Let's not let a disagreement over what to do next dissolve into a situation where we do nothing.
Ever blind, Congressman Tim Bishop sent out an email blast Thursday urging uninsured Long Islanders to enroll for "affordable, high quality" health care. Apparently to Tim, paying 40 percent of our medical bills out of pocket – as opposed to say, a $15 co-pay, means "high quality." We've been calling the number he gave us (855-355-5777) all week. A recording says "Due to overwhelming volume we are experiencing log-in issues on our website. Call at a later date." Thanks for nothing, Tim. Next time you might want to try dialing the number first to make sure it works, but of course, you're too busy doing the bidding of the wealthy money men who own you, to actually spend five minutes on behalf of your constituency.
By the way, a lot of lawmakers, including Sen. Charles Schumer, are refusing to accept paychecks during the shutdown. Are you Tim? Are you?