End policy of sending almost all homeless placements to Seaside Heights, New Jersey and instead send Seaside Heights only a percentage of homeless based on Seaside Heights' population as compared to the rest of Ocean County.
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SEASIDE HEIGHTS: 50 MILLION DOLLAR BABY OR HOMELESS HAVEN?
50 Million Dollars. That’s a staggering sum of money. That is at least what the Federal Government of the United States has paid towards the rebuilding and recovery of Seaside Heights following the devastation of Seaside Heights by Hurricane Sandy in October 2012. The U.S. government paid nearly $20 million to fix the boardwalk, will pay nearly that much for the revetment project, namely the 18 1/2 fool dune structure to be built to protect the town in the not-so-distant future, plus other costs that are innumerable. Name another town that got that kind of money. You can’t, right? Why would a tiny Borough like Seaside Heights, 3/4 x 1/2 mile wide, get so many Federal dollars to recoup? The answer is two-fold.
Number one, Seaside Heights is more than just a place on the map, it’s a place in people’s hearts. After its near-destruction, the morale was very low in the tri-state area with its loss. Everybody it seemed went to Seaside Heights. Chris Christie spent his teenage years in Seaside Heights. The powers that be, not just the popular will of the people, but clearly even up to President Obama, the highest level, wanted Seaside Heights to come back to being what it was so future generations could enjoy our resort community, our boardwalk, our beach, our businesses and nightlife.
Secondly, Seaside Heights tourism is a revenue maker and a big taxpayer to Ocean County’s economy, and then to the State of New Jersey and then to the Federal Government. Seaside Heights is the center of activity for all the towns that surround it. Remove Seaside Heights from the picture and what have you got? There’s a reason that all the roads are built leading to and from Seaside Heights. Seaside Heights is the mecca. Seaside Heights is the place. Seaside Heights is where everybody wants to go when they come here for the summer no matter where they stay: Toms River, Lavallette, Seaside Park, wherever. The economies of those towns depend in large part to Seaside Heights. Those other towns can say whatever they want, but its the truth. Take away Seaside Heights, and you take away visitors who won’t visit Ocean County like they used to. IT’S ALREADY HAPPENING. Why is it already happening? Because visitors think Seaside Heights is filled with homeless people and THEY ARE RIGHT. Seaside Heights has been exploited by the Ocean County Board of Chosen Freeholders as a dumping ground for their homeless problem for 30 long years. It may have happened for the 30 past years, but its not going to go on for 30 more years. Everybody in Ocean County must work together to END THIS EXPLOITATION NOW. If the Freeholders would change their policy, and stop sending their homeless clients nearly exclusively to Seaside Heights, and indeed staggered them around the 33 municipalities of Ocean County based on population or built a proper homeless shelter in a centralized area, THE PROBLEM IN SEASIDE HEIGHTS WOULD END.
By continuing to do what they are doing, sending all the homeless to greedy motel owners in Seaside Heights whose sole purpose in being is to operate to house homeless clients, the Board of Chosen Freeholders is doing a disservice not only to every resident and business owner of Seaside Heights, but to every resident and business in Ocean County. They are also wasting the $50 million invested to boost the local economy. Seaside Heights should be packed with tourists every day of the summer, with traffic jams backed-up into Toms River so far that every business on Route 37 would do a banner business day every day, like is USED TO BE. People stay away from Seaside Heights because of its image problem, and as far a I see, the motels are the most damaging factor in our image. Most people who want to come spend the night in a hotel go to the website tripadvisor.com. If you have a little extra time, go and look up some of the reviews of the Seaside Heights motels. The ratings are dismal, and to say that the comments are negative would be overly kind. The visitors rip the motels to shreds. There was something in the Asbury Park Press recently about how some of the Seaside Heights motel owners were proud that they had “gone national” and had fixed up their places a little and changed signage and became part of national chain. The only reason these places change names is to get away from these horrendous internet reviews if you ask me. Putting some national budget chain sign outside your crummy motel, when you haven’t made one change as far as customer service or given one thought to the person who should really count, the tourist who visits Seaside Heights, is nothing of which to be proud.
Again, it falls back to our esteemed Ocean County Board of Chosen Freeholders: Joe Vicari, Gerry Little, John Bartlett, John Kelly, Jim Lacey. Why don’t these men do anything about the problem they created? Why don’t they end it? They don’t see the quality of life issues it creates in Seaside Heights. They live in their ivory towers somewhere where they don’t place social services clients. I think its high time we offered a chartered bus and free lunch to any and all homeless from Seaside Heights who wished to go on a day trip where our destination would be the neighborhoods of the Freeholders. We’d hang out there for a while, and see how they liked it. The Freeholders would freak out. Why is that? The reason is that the homeless clientele are considered undesirables and the Freeholders don’t want them in their “better” communities. I mean let’s call it what it is. This is a flat-out abuse of power, bad government, segregation, and exploitation. Everyone should be completely outraged and insist that the Board of Chosen Freeholders change this policy immediately. If this Board can deliberately ruin the quality of life for the residents of Seaside Heights, making their once wonderful and thriving community a ghetto, and shamelessly hold it hostage for 30 years, what could they decide to do to another community tomorrow? These people have been in power too long and think they can just get away with it like they’ve been getting away with a lot abuse for a long time. If they continue, these men will go down in history as ignorant, short-sighted, and foolish people who ruined the most valuable asset Ocean County has. Whatever they got away with in the past, that’s the past. They are not going to get away with it now. The core residents of Seaside Heights are never going to stop fighting this issue and talking about it and being active about it until the Freeholders are forced to stop.
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