Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Overflow Crowd Looks to Christie for Some Help

Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Overflow Crowd Looks to Christie for Some Help

Article excerpt

STAFFORD -- A Beach Haven West woman says her insurance company is shortchanging her. A real estate agent wants to know when the state will set standards for rebuilding. A Little Egg Harbor woman needs to replace a broken bulkhead but says she can't afford it.

On Wednesday, they joined more than 1,000 residents and business owners who waited on line in the rain in hope of getting a chance to personally ask Governor Christie for help.

Christie said he held his 100th town-hall-style event at St. Mary of the Pines Parish Center here because Stafford Township represents the heart of the rebuilding effort in the state.

The Jersey Shore will not look the same on July 4 this year as it did last year, Christie stressed, but he said he hoped to have it back to its former glory by 2014.

"I don't want there to be unrealistic expectations," Christie said. "I'm certainly not going to make promises to you that I know I can't keep."

Wednesday's event was designed to serve as a reminder of the governor's first three years in office, with banners on display touting different campaigns Christie pursued as he traveled the state. But the two-hour event focused almost exclusively on Sandy, with questions about the recovery effort dominating the meeting just as Sandy is expected to dominate Christie's reelection campaign this year.

The governor detailed plans for how federal aid would be distributed once it becomes available; he said he planned to release new statewide standards for rebuilding next week; and he pledged to fight private property owners from blocking the installation of sand dunes.

He also announced that the actor Alec Baldwin is donating $250,000 to help rebuild the Mill Creek community center in the Manahawkin section of Stafford.

So many people showed up to see Christie that the fire marshal closed the gymnasium. The governor's staff estimated 800 people were in the room and 250 more were in an overflow room where they could watch the event live, but didn't get a chance to pose questions. Even more people were turned away at the door when both spaces filled up.

Residents wanted to tell Christie their stories of loss, of fighting insurance companies and of not having enough money to rebuild. …

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