Christie Administration Hosts Mobile Cabinet at PTAK Towers in Highlands

I received the following email from the town, and to be quite honest, struggled on whether to post it or not.. Partly, because I’m getting jaded with the Sandy aftermath and offers to provide help that don’t actually provide help. i.e. like going to Lowes to talk to the FEMA reps about Flood mitigation and within 2 minutes of speaking with them realize they don’t really have a clue about flood mitigation, and they are just there to hand out brochures. (And we’re paying for that..)  Like going to the DRC in Leonardo where it takes multiple visits to accomplish anything because they just want to show they spoke to “x” number of people. (Although, the last and final time I was there, the one guy was helpful and refused to let me leave until I finished the SBA paperwork).  Like going to the Solution Center (drink) and having the ladies there not make eye contact until you ‘sign in’. – There is a big difference between being empathic, helpful and courteous when someone comes in and after helping them, saying ‘ hey do you mind signing the book on your way out, we’re trying to keep a record of what types of questions people are having’ and refusing to make eye contact or answer questions until the person signs in.

I digress.. so here’s the email with my sarcastic side showing:

Christie Administration Hosts Mobile Cabinet in Highlands.  – Maybe he felt guilty about not stopping here after landing in Kavookjian field when he went to visit Mayor Long in Sea Bright..
Officials Will Help Residents Resolve Sandy-Related Issues ANY Sandy related issue or just specific Sandy Related issues?
On Monday, March 18th, the Christie Administration will host a Mobile Cabinet in Highlands to help residents rebuild and recover following Superstorm Sandy. Are they going to make the town waive the permit fees and send someone to my house to lift it?

All day long between the hours of 9:00am to 5:00pm, residents affected by Sandy will have access to representatives from the Departments of Banking and Insurance, Community Affairs, Environmental Protection, the Business Action Center, SBA, and FEMA to answer their questions and help resolve any issues they have. (This seems great except for the fact that most people work between 9 – 5 on Mondays and most are not even living in town, if the powers that be decide to do this again please consider on a Saturday afternoon. So it would kind of seem like Murphys law if this *is* going to be really helpful, that the people who really need it couldn’t actually be there.)

Monday, March 18, 2013
9:00am– 5:00pm
PTAK Towers Community Room
215 Shore Drive
Highlands, NJ

Street parking is available.


Carolyn Cummins
Borough Clerk


And if you can’t make it there is always the Town Hall Meeting Monday night at the Elementary School at 8 pm.


  1. If they were smart they would take opportunity to invite Christie himself to have a meal at restaurant in town and to help show that we are (somewhat) back in business and have a town hall with Highlands residents. Its all good for Jersey both business and residents. I do believe he loves his state regardless of local politics. Perfect example is Mayor Long. All of our elected officials need to step it up and come up with realistic solutions (not backlfilling only)and get out there and fight for all of our best interests. I just can’t comprehend how bad this is locally being handled. I know this stuff has gone on but should really be put aside in face of a storm of such devastation…very disappointing. I know maybe pipe dream but hey… what the hell:)


  2. Whatever has gone on or not gone on since the storm it is obvious that Monday is an important juncture. Anyone who doesn’t take the time to get their questions organized and commit to positive and focused listening is their own worse enemy. As to questions if you can’t get them answered on the spot, and to your satisfaction, then don’t give up the floor until you are okay that you have the specifics to follow up with who, when and where. We all need to get out from under our shells and develop some pride in ourselves and the questions we want answered. We may not like the answer or the outcomes but that’ life, you win some and lose some and some get rained out. Remember on Monday there are no more rain out’s allowed in the recovery game.


    • Yes unfortunately like HB said most of us at work or not living in town so not easy to make these meetings.Weekends would be more helpful!


    • It’s all about relationships. They may be incapable of forging relationships with the right people. Mayor Long seemed to be able to do it maybe she could give them some pointers:)


    • The Highlands mayor works 60+ miles away from home, when does he have time to develop relationships with politicians when he can’t get his finger on the pulse of what’s going on in town? He means well but nobody can be truly effective as a leader when the amount of time you have “left” after work and home life is severely limited.


  3. My sentiment exactly “getting jaded with the Sandy aftermath and offers to provide help that don’t actually provide help”! I don’t know about anyone else, but to me “help” is show me how to get through the red tape and help me financially (grants and/or loans) to get the homes back to being habitable. There are numerous organizations out there and while they may have great intentions, to have someone “help” you by asking, Did you apply to FEMA? Did you apply for SBA? Did you file a claim with your insurance carrier? Here’s a list of other organizations that may be able to help you. Then you call that organization and they ask you the same questions and give you the same list and insert the referring agency in their spot! And around and around we go. It’s very frustrating.


    • Wow. That was a colossal waste of time and taxpayer money. And the same ol’ runaround as everyone else mentioned.

      The two things I did learn:

      1. Right from the FEMA guy: “No, flood insurance does NOT pay for permits.” Which we knew anyway, but still…

      2. There’s a deadline of March 31 for the town to apply for FEMA grants for house-lifting. REALLY? That would be quite nice to know.

      I wonder when they were going to mention that, or why they haven’t sent out an email or a phone call or something to spread the word. Maybe they’re hoping that, if nobody knows, then the same people who got all the Hope for Highlands money can also get all the house-lifting money too.


    • Don’t even get me started about the Hope for Highlands money! I submitted the form and requested documentation. I sent an email 10 days later and was told they gave away over $100,000 and my mom would be on the wait list. I asked what happened to the other $150,000 since I was under the impression, per the Robin Hood Foundation website that Hope for Highlands received $250,000. I was told this $100,000 given directly to the residents and businesses was from the concert proceeds. The $250,000 from the Robin Hood Foundation would be a new program and they will not be allowed to cut checks to residents directly. Wouldn’t it make sense to let those on the wait list to know this? To see what can be done for them for up to $1,000 since they missed out on the first program? Or, will the money go to the same people who benefitted from the $100,000?


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