Chris Christie Doesn’t Have the Facts on Margate Dunes

Who needs facts when you’ve got a bully pulpit.


A real live battle of David and Goliath is taking place at the Jersey shore.

Residents of Maragte City have voiced their overwhelming opposition to the Absecon Island Dune Project in a Nov. 5th non-binding referendum. They would be the David in this story.

The big bully Goliath would be Governor Chris Christie, who has stated publicly that it is his intention to build a dune the entire length of the Jersey shore — despite the opposition of any individuals from whom the state would need easements and municipalities that have said no to the project.

He said those in opposition are “knuckleheads” and that their opposition is “bullshit.”

Hmm. Sounds like mindless bullying to me, so let’s take a look at some facts:

Margate is an incorporated municipality that has ordinances and laws that cover the ability of its three commissioners to enter into a binding contract; a contract that will obligate the taxpayers of that city.

Those would be duly and democratically elected commissioners. So, if an overwhelming majority of a community — a majority that far exceeds the number of beach block owners that Governor Christie thinks are selfish knuckleheads concerned only with view — don’t want their elected officials to enter into a binding 40-year contract with the state, then how is Chrisite going to force them to do that?

Shouldn’t a guy who just won a landslide victory — and by the same margin as the Margate vote by the way — understand how the democratic process works? Perhaps his ability to comprehend the job of elected officials is trumped by his ability to bully.

One might hope that Christie would educate himself better before name-calling generalizations are made.

Margate is a unique community with an effective contiguous bulkhead and outfall system that not only worked during Sandy but worked well. Of the more than 900 work permits granted after the storm, only 2 were for homeowners on the beach block. The damage from Sandy in Margate was, in essence, entirely from bay flooding.

You’d hope a guy smart enough to be a governor would take the time to get the facts straight before spouting off inaccuracies. But the Bully in Chief, instead, has decreed that he intends to ignore the voice of a community, expressed through a legal and democratic vote to its elected officials, thereby forcing those officials to sign a contract to which their constituents have voiced resounding opposition.

Chris Chrisite may have forgotten how the democratic process works for the moment, but my guess is that, come 2015, he’ll be reminded of his lapse in memory in New Hampshire, Iowa and South Carolina.

In the meantime, he better watch out for the little guy with the slingshot.

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  • Concerned

    Beth. Please get your own facts correct to avoid future embarrassment. One reason why there was so little damage on the beach block was BECAUSE Margate had existing dunes, dunes that were damaged or destroyed during Sandy and should now be repaired or replaced. Those dunes, by the way, were opposed by this same crowd in 2001 when they were first built. It’s just the same old tired anti-dune nonsense.

    • glennk

      Maybe, you should have gotten your facts straight before slamming Beth. The dunes in Margate in question cover about 20 % of our beaches and were constructed the summer after the 1992 Xmas super Nor’easter. Margate in 1992 and 1993 decided to try and construct a citywide dune system after two yrs. of these strong Nor-easters. The great majority of those dunes washed out to sea over the course of the following two winters. What remained was what Sandy found on our beaches last year. No dunes were built in Margate in 2001. The Army Beach Project north of Margate in AC and Ventnor wasn’t built till fall / winter/spring 2003-2004. Over the course of the next 8 yrs. not one grain of new sand was put on AC or Ventnor’s beaches and large sections of the Project berm washed away in those yrs. Of course the Army/NJDEP were nowhere to be found as this was happening. ( They’re only interested in protecting you when big Federal $$ is available.) The truth is Margate without any dunes has had a complete bulk heading system since summer 1963 and this system has withstood the brunt of hundreds of large , med. and small coastal storms of every variety. Today, largely because of this system Margate has the lowest Nat’l flood Ins. rates available on the NJ Coast.

      • Concerned

        Glenn, you are at least partially correct — there were not dunes on all of the Margate beaches pre-Sandy. You can see where they were in old aerial photos. As to when they were built, I can’t say for sure, but I was referring to the dune opposition movement in the 2001 era, which I imagine you were a part of. The Margate citizens group also refers to this on their facebook page. You are also correct that I should have been a little more careful with my own facts. We all should be.