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.