Highlands is in Disaster Stage #4: Disillusionment

care continuumI was reading about the different disaster stages & the continued care continuum. It was actually in reference to Sea Bright and how Mayor Long only half jokingly, said she’s abandoned  her “DO” mantra and replaced it with “I feel like my head’s going to explode.”

I’m sure most of Highlands (at least the ones that have had homes that flooded) can relate.

According to the chart, which is disseminated by the Federal Emergency Management Agency,  ‘disillusionment’ is the feeling that comes from understanding on just how far the road to recovery actually is, and just how alone you’ll be when you traverse it.

According to New Jersey Hope and Healing, what people like the Highlands flood survivors need, is information about what they’re going through and assurances that their feelings of doubt and fear and frustration are not only warranted, they’re to be expected.

The biggest component is the acknowledgement, that you have seemingly lost control. Think about it, flood insurance payments have been overly delayed and or lacking in substance. Local zoning, construction and town officials are delaying reconstruction by lack of information and jumping through numerous cumbersome hoops. Contractors are engaging in price gouging, juggling multiple projects and requiring micromanaging.  You’re not even allowed to walk in the ‘distribution center’ aka the old firehouse because god forbid you see something you might need or want an extra tube of toothpaste. Then add trying to work a 40+ hour a week  job to the mix and its amazing we all haven’t, what my brother would call, ‘had a nutty.”

Part of the healing process is knowing that you’re not alone.  This in a weird way is normal. The good news is that the disillusionment will eventually level out.

20 thoughts on “Highlands is in Disaster Stage #4: Disillusionment

  1. Duncan McCleod

    Please see my comments under the , “never walk alone”

    At least someone now, after all the “feel good” ………. “we will recover better than ever” talk, someone has the balls to acknowledge exactly what the situation is. And that is that the whole situation is a gigantic clusterf*ck of massively epic proportions!!!!

    Even the most expert, smartest, capable, leadership, in a time of the most economic prosperity, with milk and honey flowing from the hills, streets paved with gold bricks etc etc etc. would have the most impossible time trying to deal with the aftermath of Sandy.

    The sad truth is that it would have much better if Sandy had completely destroyed the shore off of the map. Starting over from scratch would have presented a much easier problem. Instead, all the storm did was further complicate an already complicated problem. Namely, bad or no code enforcement, bad planning, bad leadership, deteriorating infrastrucure, and list goes on and on.

    Meanwhile people are looking to the “leadership” local, state etc. to tell them what they should be doing and make their efforts to recover easier. Well from what I have seen, people need to forget about all that noise, and rely on themselves.

    No one really needs to know what is going on, what people will be required to do, and depending what organization you ask, and answer to a question can get mutliple and conflicting answers.

    in the end people will have to put their heads down, muddle through, and survive and recover the best they can. My prediction is that the government will just end up making things worse and getting in the way. It already is.

    My sympathies go out to everyone tying to pick up after Sandy, and the storm of red tape and beaurocrisy that has ensued!!!


    1. RockemSockem

      Duncan… I read your remarks under “Never Walk Alone”and I would say everybody on this blog except for maybe one who will remain nameless feels that you are totally on the money. With the Seastreak the town of Highlands is an affordable oasis and if it wasn’t for the BS,broken promises and business as usual there really is no reason that it’s not a booming town of artists and young families. Nobody will invest particularly after Sandy unless the powers that be listen and respect the opinions of their constituents and friggin get to it already! The fact that the Mayor has a town meetings and chooses what questions to answer and not have an open exchange of concerns is example of people who are just unwilling to change for the good of all. At least the Governor’s town hall meetings he comes prepared and has enough guts to have people raise their hands and ask any question they have whether he likes the question or not. Whats the point of having town hall meeting if you cherry pick the easy questions. Pointless and useless and unacceptable! I’m not just frustrated but angry that even in the face of tragedy they all choose to do the wrong thing again. I say enough with these group of clowns who can’t find their way out of a paper bag! Carolyn for Mayor:)


    2. Carolyn

      Duncan, I concur with Rockem & HB. We need to breathe some life into this town. We may be in the “Disillusionment” stage now, but I’m telling you, this blog is like therapy to me after the last few months. Just knowing that there are so many other Highlanders who see the madness of how things get [or not get] done in town has been a relief. Us townies are getting more information from each other than the council.

      Everyone lays the blame on the next ring up: Mayor blames Country; County blame State, State blames Feds then you know that NOTHING happens on a Federal level….

      If you feel that we can’t affect change, let me tell you a true story: Back in 2009 there was a storm in Hawaii that wiped out a road to a state park needed by businesses and locals. The powers that be told them that it would take 2 years and cost $4 million. Local businesses and residents pulled together and fixed it themselves in EIGHT DAYS. Full article here: http://www.cnn.com/2009/US/04/09/hawaii.volunteers.repair/index.html

      While I’m not saying we can fix Highlands in a week, we can do great things if we stay motivated.


  2. Broadway Bill

    Have no fear – the Clam Hut will be open for the summer and so will dozens of other restaurants. The boardwalks are being rebuilt and the shore is “Open for Business!” Everything will be back to normal by Memorial Day assuming you own a business or only live in Highlands a few months out of the year. See you all at Clam Fiasco!


  3. katie kay

    Thank you for validating what I am feeling. Not having control over this situation is pushing me over the edge.


  4. AnchorsAway

    Until I found this blog, I was feeling alone. Kudos to HB for your time to keep this blog going and keep us from feeling not so alone!


  5. Jen

    Thanks to HB and everyone else here. I’ve learned more from this group than from pretty much anyone else in town. The meetings are useful only to see and talk to other people and learn from them, not from the mayor.

    Would it be possible to, somewhere on here, have a Fact vs. Fiction page or post, so that we can (try) to have a reference document?


  6. Voice Of Reason

    For this town to boom the first thing we need to do is get rid of the Claddagh and Driftwood. Those 2 places are eye soars and major contributors to our white trash image. They will continue to hold us back…


    1. Alex

      I am not a big fan of the Claddagh but those people you called (wt) are people that have lived in this town for years and they do put money into the town businesses. When I first moved into Highlands I did notice most people in town are just normal folks who are trying to make a living and have wonderful families. This town has grown on me big time as I have been here almost half my life and I feel as I am part of it. I was lucky I am very high up and I do not have problems with water getting into my house. But I do feel for the people in town and I don’t think none has the right to call people (wt) when they may even have a better heart than a lot of us.


    2. highlandsblog Post author

      hmmm first thing we need to do, decisions, decisions, get rid of Claddagh & Driftwood OR, OR maybe get people back in their homes so that we don’t have a bunch of abandoned homes..


    3. janice

      I can’t speak for the Claddagh but the Driftwood is not a eye soar or a major contribution to as you say” white trash image”. The place is kept very clean and the owner has lived in Highlands for many years and has always lent a helping hand when needed to town . The Driftwood will not hold this town back, it is people like you who will hold this town back.


    4. ACFG

      I am curious to know how long “Voice of Reason” has lived in Highlands. These people that you call “white trash” are the people that contribute to this community, people who have been in this town most of their lives.


    5. highlandsblog Post author

      I’m willing to bet the @VOR either does not live in town or hasn’t lived here long & isn’t from the area. How does anyone with an ounce of common sense or business acumen think that DW & C has anything to do with not attracting new businesses to Highlands? Did they miss the fact that we had this little storm called Sandy that destroyed all the businesses downtown? How are any new businesses supposed to afford flood insurance and why would they purposefully *choose* to start a business only to have to shut down after the next storm? Besides the fact, why would you start a business in a town that is 75% empty? And they *think* its the *FIRST* thing that needs to be addressed?


    6. RockemSockem

      Hey they are Highlands dive bars and dive bars are part of the charm of any town or city. The most down to earth people hang out in dive bars. No pretentious people just good old fashioned down and dirty fun without judgement. My fav places in places I have travelled are places like Driftwood and Claddagh where you meet the real locals. Its not about shutting any business down but making it a safe and attractive place to add more:)


  7. Duncan McCleod

    Although techincally the dregs of Highlands that have inhabited this town for decades do indeed contribute to the local economy, its sad that their contribution is solely to the local drinking establishments. The sad fact is that the large percentage of rentals, combined with the fact that many of them are section 8 disasters, dont exactly attract residents of the most, shall we say, desireable sort. So they move in, drink, keep the cops busy, stop paying their rent, or get arrested, or any number of things.

    So, while they are giving the cops a reason for their existence and their 100 k salaries, and keeping the local bars afloat., their contribution is postive……….. because…………????


    1. Mule 1

      Because……. they are people. Real people who populate real communities. Without them there would be nobody to look down upon or complain about. Stage 4 Dissolutionment does not affect just those who can type, have a computer and an opinion. It is counter productive to complain about the difficulties of rebuilding your own lives and at the same time look to “cleanse” your community. Why did you wind up in Highlands in the first place, affordable shore property because the town was and still is devalued because the entire universe of individuals in the world are able to live here. I consider that a plus and was a plus for my coming here 18 years ago. Life is not a sanitized and controlled environment. Variety is the spice of life and a community. We are lucky to have a Driftwood.


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