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Superstorm Sandy: A Live Town Hall

Public broadcasting stations, including NJTV, THIRTEEN, WLIW21, and WHYY, teamed up with media outlets to broadcast a two-hour, multi-platform live town hall event. Hosted by Mike Schneider, managing editor of the NJTV’s news program NJ Today with Mike Schneider, expert panelists field questions before live studio audiences in New York and New Jersey.

Aired May 16, 2013, 8-10 p.m.
About the Program

Superstorm Sandy: A Live Town Hall
What worked. What didn’t. What’s next.

Also see a post-broadcast online conversation on THIRTEEN’s Google+ page with Live Town Hall panelist John Boulé, Vice President, Parsons Brinckerhoff, and Retired Colonel, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

More than six months after Superstorm Sandy caused $50 billion in damage, questions still remain regarding the region’s infrastructure, its disaster response capabilities, and what the future holds.

Seeking answers and conversation about the storm and recovery efforts, New Jersey and New York public broadcasting stations teamed up to broadcast a special multi-platform live Town Hall event. Hosted by Mike Schneider, managing editor of the NJTV’s news program NJ Today with Mike Schneider, expert panelists fielded questions before live studio audiences at Monmouth University’s Pollak Theatre in West Long Branch, NJ and the Tisch WNET Studios at Lincoln Center in New York City.

Superstorm Sandy: A Live Town Hall aired and streamed live on Thursday, May 16 at 8:00 p.m. on NJTV, New Jersey’s public television network, THIRTEEN in New York City, WLIW21 on Long Island, WHYY TV in Philadelphia, and their websites, in collaboration with media outlets WNYC at 93.9FM and AM820, New Jersey Public Radio, The Star-Ledger and NJ.com, NJ Spotlight, NJ News Commons and The New York Times.

Topics of discussion included: infrastructure: maintenance, parameters for the future and how New York and New Jersey’s infrastructure compares to other regions; building codes in the post-Sandy era; the storm’s environmental consequences: what can we fix, what may not be reparable; storm response: the effectiveness of Sandy response by FEMA, the government, the utility companies and the region overall; economic ramifications: who is paying the debt the storm left behind, government funds versus constituent responsibilities, and looking to the future: the region’s ability to plan ahead for extreme weather.

Guest panelists included experts in an array of fields, from infrastructure and engineering to climatology and charities. The live program featured reporting from various locations across New Jersey, New York City, and Long Island. Lauren Wanko from NJ Today with Mike Schneider, MetroFocus’ Rafael Pi Roman, and Long Island Business Report’s Jim Paymar revisited communities and individuals that they covered when the storm hit in November, continuing their in-depth reporting from the worst hit towns and cities. Other special reports came from WHYY, The Star-Ledger and WNYC.

Panelists at Monmouth University in West Long Branch, New Jersey
• Richard Constable, Commissioner, New Jersey Department of Community Affairs
• Nicole Gelinas, Searle Freedom Trust Fellow, Manhattan Institute
• Vivien Gornitz, Special Research Scientist, Columbia University
• Ralph LaRossa, President & COO, PSE&G
• Mayor Matt Doherty, Belmar, NJ
• Patrick Murray, Director, Monmouth University Polling Institute
• Peter Reinhart, Director, Kislak Real Estate Institute, Monmouth University
• Bill Ulfelder, Executive Director, The Nature Conservancy of New York
• Mayor Dawn Zimmer, Hoboken, NJ

Panelists at the Tisch WNET Studios at Lincoln Center in Manhattan
• John Boulé, VP, Parsons Brinckerhoff, Ret. Col. U.S. Army Corps of Engineers
• John Cameron, Chair, Long Island Regional Planning Council
• Bud Griffis, Professor of Civil Engineering and Construction, Polytechnic Institute of New York University
• Joe Nocera, Op-Ed Columnist, The New York Times
• Richard Ravitch, Former Lieutenant Governor, New York
• Sheena Wright, President & CEO, United Way of New York City

Questions for the panelists were gathered from the public prior and during the program in the comments field of station web sites, and via Twitter #sandytownhall.

See the Storify feed below for questions, comments and images posted with the hashtag #SandyTownHall on Twitter.

Superstorm Sandy: A Live Town Hall is made possible by the New Jersey Recovery Fund at the Community Foundation of New Jersey, The General Contractors Association of New York, New York Building Congress and New York Building Foundation, Bernard and Irene Schwartz, AECOM, New Jersey Manufacturers, Parsons Brinckerhoff, STV, Tishman – an AECOM Company and the American Council of Engineering Companies of New York.

  • John T. from Monmouth Beach

    What is the status of the Hazard Mitigation Grant program? Thank you.

  • Peter Katzenbach

    After the storm passed I found getting local information difficult. No power, so no TV, internet, cellular service – no contract. Battery radio was the only source. However, there was no arrangement for local communities to know which station to use. Some local stations just played music. How can this breakdown be resolved.

  • On the waterfront

    After the storm local community organizations told me to call new York states Empire State Development. I got the run around around the state and my calls went to every dept. Called the Small Business Division since my home and small business was effective by the storm. Still no response or help. Offices seemed like they were dealing with crises management and staff seemed extremely unaware of what to do. What I did figure out is that non of the state agencies in NY work together – as they say, one hand didn’t know what the other hand was doing.

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About Superstorm Sandy: A Live Town Hall

Public broadcasting stations are teaming up to broadcast a special multi-platform live Town Hall event. Hosted by Mike Schneider, managing editor of the NJTV’s news program NJ Today with Mike Schneider, expert panelists will field questions before live studio audiences in New York City and New Jersey.
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#SandyTownHall on Twitter


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