The traditional type of thinking that brought us to this point of social, environmental and economic collapse at the bayshore will not serve to bring us out of it. Radically different strategies and leadership are needed for the coming decades.
While most of the country is in a period of economic growth, the NJ bayshore has been in decline for decades. Real estate values have dropped since a peak in 2006, some appraisals showing as much as a 95% decline. Some neighborhoods are not served by internet, public water or sanitation wastewater systems. Education and income levels trail behind other regions. Life expectancy is lower; substance abuse is higher; and access to basic services like medical care and banking is lacking within a half hour drive. Despite private sector efforts to develop businesses, state regulators impede most job growth.
Tony Novak CPA is available to speak with community and business groups on strategies for stabilization and recovery from our long period of decline. Novak is the primary subject of the soon-to-be-released book “The Drowning of Money Island” that shows how mismanagement of our bayshore resources led to the demolition of local communities. The documentary by New York nonprofit publisher Beacon House follows the path of Novak and others in the years after Sandy as they battled “the disaster after the disaster”. He makes a compelling argument that it is not natural conditions and disasters that are killing our communities but government mismanagement, poorly conceived strategies, corruption and sometimes even more shocking criminal behavior that compound the problem. Novak talks about the impact of the coming wave of strategic retreat in South Jersey in terms of environmental justice and the disproportionate burden on poor communities. Novak talks about new strategies being tested by his nonprofit organization Baysave that include ways to reduce the detrimental role of government in efforts to save our bayshore resources.