Saturday, April 30, 2005
In my last blog was I a bit harsh on some long standing residents of town and their spirited efforts to oppose the three DOT concepts submitted for review to the Borough Council? Yes. Is their opposition to the concepts wrong? No, not in my opinion, debate is always healthy. Should they have formed an ad hoc committee and published a list of objections in their official capacities without first presenting it to the rest of the Commission? No. They should have followed a better protocol.
As a history buff the phrase the Old Guard conjures images of the bearded Grizzled Veterans of Napoleon’s Old Guard charging Wellington’s Center at Waterloo and failing to break the “Thin Red Line.” The Old Guard in AH is equally valiant (though not all bearded) and committed to preserving the Atlantic Highlands that they grew up in. Can they? Should they? Can you stop progress? Is there a halfway point?
I have accused the Old Guard of being self-interested, and I believe they are. Mind you not in a pecuniary sort of way these are clearly dedicated and honorable people by most accounts (hearsay perhaps but their actions and commitment are legendary and in some cases self-evident). Their self interest lies in the form of not wanting to see too much change. They are self-interested to the extent that they see that which they have wrought, through personal diligence sweat and labor, as the best possible outcome.
Not all progress is good. The insatiable hounds of Development are baying at the gates of the borough. Developers are greedily eyeing our waterfront. Does the Old Guard think they can save the day? I hope they can. Does the Young Guard think that they have all the answers? That only they can chart a safe course through the shoals and rocks that crowd the uncharted waters of future development without the advice and wise council of those that have been there before? I hope they are not so foolish. Old and New need each other.
I think the one thing Old and New should agree on is that standing still is not an option. Further it is fair to assume that both old and new do not want the Developers to build luxury dwelling boxes on the Bay Shore and rob our children and residents of the bay views. Where the conflict occurs is what to do with the existing Harbor.
In Defense of the Old Guard the Harbor is well run and magnificent in many respects. The members of the ad hoc committee should be proud of their accomplishments in bringing the Harbor to where it is today. The Harbor contributes revenue to the town and does a great service to boaters, fisherman and commuters alike.
I will close with this. Is the Harbor doing all it can do for the residents of the town in terms of sharing the waterfront?
Wednesday, April 27, 2005
So the debate begins anew.
The last election cycle pitted the Reforming Crusader Democrats against the Old Guard Republicans. One of the Democratic Slogans was "No Harbor Expansion Without a Referendum" Now some of the Old Guard are crying foul! Is this justified? Well lets look at the chronology of what has happened so far and you can decide for yourself.
Last year there were several meetings of the Harbor Advisory Committee at which they discussed the Harbor and the results of a town wide survey. They came up with a laundry list of suggestions.
Earlier this year, on several occasions, the Mayor affirmed his commitment to a referendum.
On April 13th the State's DOT engineers, after consulting with the Town presented three "Concepts" for the town to consider for future Harbor development. As I understand it, these are "concepts" that will be used to initiate discussion and not final plans. These concepts will be shared with the public for comments at a public hearing to be held in May.
On April 15th some of "the Old Guard" published their critique of the Concepts. The sum and substance of their critique: "None of the concepts work. Just to add some parking and leave everything else unchanged." It is important to note that these were individuals acting as a private citizens though they claimed "color of authority" by including their Harbor related titles and stating they held a formal meeting. They are apparently not a formal committee of the Harbor Commission as they might have one believe. No such committee exists. I trust the town will accord this document no more importance than it would my own letter of protest based on my review of the concepts. These are merely the ramblings of concerned (self-interested) citizens, but nothing more. That they chose to act as individuals is a breach of proper procedure by these Commission Members. This letter should have been discussed at the next Commission Meeting and made a part of the Official Record of the Harbor Commission. The Harbor Commission as a whole could review and comment on the critique and forward it as agreed onto the Harbor Development Committee and the Town Council for formal consideration. If the Harbor Commission consensus was to table the letter, it it should not have never seen the light of day. This letter speaks volumes about the personal agenda of these four individuals. They do not take their roles as public servants seriously enough to follow the correct procedures. Choosing to follow the rules when it suits them and discard them when they do not like them. There is a multi-member, politically appointed, commission for a reason, it has something to do with the democratic (small "d") process.
Where do we go from here? Presumably after the May public meeting a concept will be selected (or not) and perhaps modified based on public comment, including, perhaps, the aforementioned letter. At this point there will be further review by the Harbor Advisory Committee and Town Council. The comments of the Entire Harbor Commission, the Planning Board and the Environmental Commission as well should be sought at this stage to ensure that nothing was overlooked. These final comments should be sent to DOT and a formal proposal should follow. Once the Proposal is formalized there should be a final Public Hearing and ultimately a Town-Wide Referendum.
So have the Democrats lived up to their pledge. Time will tell.
Monday, April 25, 2005
My first opinions of the Atlantic Highlands Municipal Harbor were arrived at from the perspective of a commuter and not a resident. Those opinions have evolved. Now I look at the Harbor from the perspective of a taxpaying resident and someone that is anxious to see our quality of life continues to improve and that our stature as a community in Northern Monmouth County continues to elevate. Here is my opinion on where the debate starts:
What does the average commuter want from Atlantic Highlands Municipal Harbor? Convenient well marked parking, shelter from the weather while waiting for the boats to arrive, and rapid access to/egress from the parking area and the town of Atlantic Highlands in general. Maybe some commuters would like a place to get a paper or a cup of coffee and a roll on the way to the harbor or at the harbor itself.
What does a boater want? Inexpensive docking/storage, a place to get last minute needs such as bait and fishing tackle, beverages and snacks and fuel. They also want convenient parking and waste receptacles and perhaps a place to grab some food and drink after a day on the water while they wait out the weekend traffic. They, like the commuter, want rapid access to/egress from the parking area and the town of Atlantic Highlands in general when the time comes.
What does a resident want? A place where they can walk/cycle/jog and enjoy the bay front without dodging speeding visitors cars. A place where a family can grab an affordable meal along the water? Many residents want the ability for residents to shop and walk downtown without worrying about speeders on First Avenue. Many residents want a Municipal Harbor that contributes more generously to the town economy. Many want a harbor that accommodates a little kid that wants to crab or fish without having to walk across a snarl of hoses or electrical cords. Is it too much to ask for a harbor where the green space is closest to the water and the parking is set back? A common wish I hear expressed is some parking reserved for residents.
Can we accommodate all these interests? Are the interests that divergent that no compromise is possible? Did I miss something?
Sunday, April 24, 2005
Something new: this week's guest host Ed Kelley.
Something borrowed: this phrase
Something blue: the San Diego sky
The AH Muse editor and the family unit touched down in sunny San Diego yesterday for some R and R with a little R (rest, relaxation and running around from zoos to parks to beaches to family).
By Ed Kelley
I hail from the Atlantic Highlands. My family and I have lived here 19 months. One of the reasons we chose this lovely little town was the High Speed ferry to Wall Street, another was the 1896 Victorian home that we just had to have. Real Estate prices on the East Coast are essentially unreal, but at the time AH was more affordable than anything we saw in Northern Jersey and more commutable than just about anywhere in the entire state. I walk a half of a mile to the boat which takes 35 minutes or less to reach Wall Street and then walk another quarter of a mile to the Office.
My wife and I are active in the town. She is a Girl Scout leader, actively involved in the PTO and a member of the School Board. I am active in two scouting units, and have submitted a resume' to sit on the local Planning Board.
We enjoy the Coast, and find Sandy Hook an irresistible draw year round, time and weather permitting. Before living here we lived in Overland Park, Kansas for nine years, prior to that we lived in Glen Rock, New Jersey. My wife was born in Jersey and I was born in New York. We have three children in the Atlantic Highlands Schools. In short we love it here and we are settling in for the long haul.
Our little town of 4800 people is at a crossroads. My Blogs this week will mainly talk about a "Newbies" perspectives on what he sees now and what he feels could be done to face and embrace the change that is coming. There are those that may agree and those that may disagree. Discussion is a good way to test the validity of your theories. If you have a suggestion I would love to hear it.
Thanks to Jacquie Jones for the research and re-keying of this article.
"Speech Given By Earl Snyder At Log Cabin Inn"
as published in the Red Bank Register, November 2, 1939
Mr. Toastmaster, Honored Guests, Friends:
I am very deeply appreciative of the many kind remarks that have been made about me this evening. I feel this is one occasion which has made all the effort which I have expended for this great public improvement - our breakwater and harbor in Sandy Hook Bay - well worth the while, and I will continue to put forth my best efforts to make this one of the most important improvements to New Jersey waterways while I am able to do so.
It would be highly improper for me to leave any impression that I am the most important factor in this improvement. I am well aware that the chairmanship of the Harbor Control board carries with it many responsibilities but I have been very fortunate in having on this board as associates a group of capable men, whose names you know, who have worked with me in complete harmony and without whose aid accomplishment would have been difficult if not impossible. Our board has also been favored by the assistance of many friends in high places in the political life of our borough, county and state. To make mention of a few would be to leave out many. To name only men would be to leave out many women who have been unstinting in their help and encouragement, (I hope before this dinner closes some personal mention and recognition can be given to those who have assisted, excusing any omissions as purely unintentional), I wish to express to all my personal gratitude and thanks as well as that of my committee. Without such widespread co-operation there would have been no cause for a Victory celebration tonight.
It might be interesting to those here tonight to listen to a brief review of the kaleidoscopic events marking the history of the harbor. To be accurate it is necessary to refer to this paper I hold. I will try to be quick and ask you to bear with me. I read from the Atlantic Highlands Journal an item appearing ten years ago in September.
"The yacht harbor project was revied at a meeting of the Atlantic Highlands Lions club. Mr. William Friedlaender, a guest, told members of his plan which was to provide the needed breakwater by sinking a row of obsolete ships. After some discussion, Lions Snyder, Tumen, McVey, Orth, Sculthorp and Dender were appointed by President Frank Baldwin as a special committee to push the enterprise along."
The ships mentioned were wartime abandoned boats of the Merchant Marine anchored up the Hudson river, which could have been bought cheaply - if we knew where to getthe money. The meeting was in this very Log Cabin Inn, I believe. If you remember October, 1929, the financial world began to crumble. This committee had a poor startbut, never the less, by the fall of 1931 plans were ready for a wooden piling breakwater 2,400 feet long, crescent shaped, commencing in much the same location as at present, to cost $70,000. Legislators were dined at Trenton and a bill appropriating $35,000 bythe state was introduced February, 1932 (A120) by Assemblyman Howard Height. Thereon McCampbell was his colleague and Donald Sterner was state senator. This wasa good bill and it ought to have passed - but it didn't.
Election that year brought in the New Deal and eventually the big money - PWA. By December of 1933, with the splendid support of local and county newspapers, enthusiasm ran high for a PWA project; mass meetings were held, straw ballots indicted better than 95% were favorable and Mayor John R. Snedeker and his council endorsed harbor plans and the project application was ordered filed after considerable oppositionin debate. This time two Islands were to be pumped up in the bay, protected by steelpilling. A pier for boats was to extend from near First avenue. The project was self-sustaining and cost $250,000, of which the government would give $75,000 or 30% and would loan $175,000 - 70%. The War Department engineers had granted a permit for such an improvement, and have several times since renewed permits to construct a harbor or refuge the last of which permits expires December 31, this year. Not familiarwith PWA routine then - and still not familiar with it - we permitted the application towind its way through local directors, regional directors, state directors and a number ofnational directors or executives until we almost lost track of it. Eventually we found that it had received every consideration but that the project was too large financially for a municipality of our finances to undertake. Then PWA had its first ending. Meantime we learned of the National Rivers and Harbors congress - a national body with headquarters at the national capitol. actively supporting worthwhile projects. We placed our needs before them and received wonderful support. An organization like that for New Jersey will help put New Jersey on the waterway maps. We were the first year classed "meritorious," next year "recommended for survey" the following session "approved forimmediate construction." This body had its grasp on national, worth-while waterway affairs. We were fortunate and thankful to have their aid.
By 1935 a preliminary survey of sites in Sandy Hook bay for a harbor of refuge were begun by the Second New York District Army Engineers, resulting in the selection of the present site. Congress that year included $15,000 in the Rivers and Harbors appropriation bill for a survey of the site and a complete report. On January 15, 1936,was the memorable hearing of the War Department engineers in our borough hall - and the commencement in a very real way of the present outcome, with the many thrills, narrow escapes and exciting episodes to maintain interest at top speed.
Our second attempt with PWA when again revived earlier in the previous year, 1935, resulted as before in a declination, this time on the grounds that the engineering revealedthat the life of the project was estimated to be less than the period of financing, henceimpractical. It was as good an excuse as could be made - we still didn't know our wayaround - so we were very glad, indeed, to eventually have the Army Engineers Corpsrealize that we really had something - and there was no fooling from that point on.
I, and the others of my board, have never met or planned affairs with any men so courteous and agreeable to associate with as the officers and civilian personnel of the New York district office of the Army engineers - and the division office in New York and the Army Board at Washington have also at all times been most obliging. We submitted to them our harbor plans, now slightly enlarged to cost $325,000, with steelpiling breakwater and suitable piers for shore facilities. Asked what local co-operationwe could offer we met another delicate financial situation by stating that we believed itpossible to contribute 25% or $81,250 in cash and later as the harbor developed to undertake another $68,750 concurrently over a period of time for inshore facilities and landing piers to make the local total at least $150,000.
We trembled lest this would not be acceptable, as in most rivers and harbor improvements the local share required is at least 50%. When this proportion was found acceptable we really had some trembling to do to round up the $150,000. We wasted notime. Frank Durand, senator in 1936, offered senate bill No. 87 in February of that year, asking for $150,000. The bill died in committee. In 1937 while Frank Durand was president of the senate, Senator Loizeaux introduced for him senate bill No. 132 authorizing the Board of Commerce and Navigation to cnstruct the harbor and approved the expenditure of $150,000 for that purpose to become available when the Federal government had appropriated not less than $243,750 to make a breakwater to cost$325,000 - and when the state included this appropriation in any appropriation bill. That was the joker - an authorization bill with no actual appropriation included.
It passed the senate and was sponsored in the assembly by Assemblymen Irwin and Proctor. Proctor now state senator from Monmouth, Session after session we tramped to Trenton to move the bill on the calendar for action but without success because ofassembly bills in the senate being held up, causing a jam in both branches which it seemed could not be broken.
Finally, on the last day before adjournment, and as the last bill considered by the assembly the bill was brought to roll call - failed of the required votes, was recalled before a brief recess during which there was much activity seeking the necessary votes, particularly so on the part of Assemblyman Morris Cohen, our Hudson county neighborfrom Leonardo, and when the session reconvened the assembly considered only this one bill and the bill was passed with much jubilation in the closing minutes of the legislative year.
There was real celebration that night in the Stacey Trent. The bill became Chapter 91, Laws of 1937, the district engineers and Army Board were deciding that $325,000 wouldnot be adequate for a harbor. The district office recommended $423,750, the division office recommended $792,000, and the Army Board finally approved $850,000 forbreakwater and dredging with $6,000 additional annually for maintenance, provided local interests would contribute $81,250 of the $850,00 and $68,750 additional for shoreand landing facilities to make local cooperation total $150,000 - a total with the first annual maintenance included of nearly $925,000. And that is the way the harbor is beingbuilt today - a 4,000-foot continuous rubble mound stone breakwater, 2,000 feet from shore, with dredging in the area to a minimum depth of eight feet at low tide near the shore (almost 14 feet near the breakwater), with piers and bulkheads, parking and othershore facilities that will make the harbor one of the finest and most useful anywhere to befound.
This approved harbor item was added to the House River and Harbors authorization bill through the senate commerce committee, as the bill had already left the house and with the aid and assistance at various times of United States Senator W. Warren Barbour earlier, then later Governor Moore, at that time a United States senator, and Congressman Sutphin, the item was kept in the bill to be appropriated in regular routine in 1938 in the bill which President Roosevelt signed into law - and the money became ready for use July 1, 1938, on deposit in New York.
It was while returning from a national Rivers and Harbors congress which members of our board attended in Washington in January, 19-- that Victor Gelineau, director of the Board of Commerce and Navigation, suddenly died. He was a very helpful and good friend to us all and to this project. He is very much missed by everyone.
To raise the $150,000 Senator Durand in 1938 offered Senate Bill No. 415 after a sudden economy move, stripped all appropriations other than for pure governmental purposes from the state appropriation bill, even though the committee had earlier approved the inclusion of $150,000 by a majority vote. The special bill failed when the assembly caucus refused to consider any special appropriations however meritorious. This left us rather glum. The Federal money was ready in July, 1938, and we were forced to wait for the next legislature.
Without waiting we applied again to PWA for a loan and grant in August, 1938, totaling over $154,000. The present Mayor Reed and councilmen approved the application and the new state agency, the local government board recognized the emergency, but by December the PWA Funds were exhausted again and our application was denied on the grounds that one Federal agency could not financially implement another Federal agency on the same or overlapping projects. Just one more discouragement but not enough to beat us.
The late County Clerk Raymond Wyckoff, the director of the board of freeholders, another warrior in the cause who has since passed on, was successful with County attorney Howard Roberts, our toastmaster this evening, in having the county make available to Atlantic Highlands $25,000 to go with the $44,000 which the borough agreed to bond itself to raise making $69,000 of the required $150,000 and we again turned to our legislators in Trenton for the balance of $81,250.
With state assistance in view the War Department engineers released their requirement to have the local assistance ready by September 30, 1938, and extended the limit to January 31, 1939 - seven months past the date their appropriation was ready. The state legislature again convened in January, 1939 - less than 30 days before the limit expired. Our Hon. Harold McDermott, assemblyman from Monmouth with us tonight, ably assisted by his colleague, the Hon. Stanley Herbert, also here, immediately introduced assembly bill No. 99 appropriating $81,250 to the harbor.
As the time was short we appealed to the Army Board through Senator W. Warren Barbour and Congressman D. Lane Power for a further 90-day extension of the limit and through their courtesy and valuable aid received a final extension to March 31, 1939. There was no time to waste. Delay after delay of the appropriation committee through sickness and change of hearing dates postponed their approval which we did eventually get by a record majority vote. Where the money was coming from, with relief matters from 1938 and for 1939, pending legislative action and a pledge for no new taxes or any bond issues left our supporters in a quandary.
Pressure was brought for a vote on the bill. The assembly caucus would consider no appropriations before the regular appropriation bill in June, they said. By insistence, however, our assemblymen broke the caucus rule and were allowed to bring the bill to avote provided the money could come from the State Highway fund. This was a fat one designed to knock the bill into a cocked hat and cut out further appropriation demands. Our project well advertised, however was too well known by now, too important to the state to lose and our former Monmouth legislator, the present State Highway commissioner, the Hon. E. Donald Sterner, stood out like a Minute Man and acceded the funds from his department for the appropriation.
The bill on the floor was the subject of lively debate, but passed the assembly by a large majority. Once again the followers from Monmouth had cause to celebrate. The following week Senator Proctor received the bill in the senate and it was voted under a suspension rules without being referred to committee, passing on roll call after a lively debate. The votes were no more than enough - but enough to make history and the bill was signed into law by Governor Moore March 29, 1939 - just two days before the expiration of the deadline. No project could have had a more exciting career - and that there were any objections locally among property owners bordering the project in giving their waivers to riparian right is regrettable and largely due to being not fully aware of the magnitude and benefits of the harbor project.
I am sorry that I have taken so much of your time but the harbor is the one thing closest to myself and I hope my relating of the history will in some way add to the pleasure and enjoyment you will derive from this great public improvement.
I again for myself and for the members of the Harbor Control board want to thank you all for your splendid all-around support which has made this occasion possible and I wish to assure you that I will do everything within my power to insure the future successful operation of the harbor.
Tuesday, April 19, 2005
And act annoying on their cell phones. Searches for Seastreak are up, uP, UP.
And to the person who searched for "capt giggles + atlantic highlands," you can email me here.
Enough fun and games. There's some serious business to attend to folks. The New Jersey Department of Transportation (NJDOT) presented some findings and proposals last Wednesday at a workshop meeting at Borough Hall. The presentation and history of the project can be downloaded here: ftp://NJDOT-AH:Atlantic@ftp.mccormicktaylor.com. Note: I had some problems downloading a few of the PDFs so you might want to save yourself the aggravation and just go to Borough Hall where they're on display.
I haven't had a chance to study the recommendations myself but apparently they must be controversial as a rebel band of current and former Harbor Commissioners (three in all I'm told) seem to be involved in a coup d’état. These Commissioners have not so secretly written the NJDOT claiming that our harbor ain't broke so don't try to fix it. This wannabe junta, comprised of the current Chairperson, a former Chairperson and a former Vice Chairperson, did not discuss the presentation (or their intent to write the NJDOT) with the balance of the Harbor Commission until after the letters had been submitted.
So what we have here is yet another example of some people on the Harbor Commission acting as if the town's harbor is their own little fiefdom. Fine. Prepare my steed, get me a dozen stout men and please procure my war paint cause I'm done gonna get all Braveheart on dem coup da dottin commission @%%&*#!%.
THEY MAY TAKE OUR LIVES BUT THEY'LL NEVER TAKE OUR FREEDOM!!!
Ok. I feel better now. That was a combination of complete frustration with idiots and excited anticipation of an upcoming week's vacation. It's like drinking tequila at a dive bar in Scranton, Pennsylvania.
Anyway...These renegades are wrong about their harbor not being broken and the Chairperson was wrong to write these letters without discussing the NJDOT presentation with the Harbor Commission first. Let's all share the harbor and let's all share in the tax benefits (among many others) that can come with stronger vision, better management and overall less wrongness. As the story continues to develop I'll continue to update you on how wrong these folks are for the harbor and our town.
Thursday, April 14, 2005
Let's start with some additions to your right. Some new blogs/websites have been added to the list. Check them out at your leisure:
- Wikipedia/New Jersey: A fascinating new trend in online information. Updated by citizens like you and me, Wikipedia is an ever evolving encyclopedia on just about anything you can think of.
- Jon Corzine campaign blog: They pay you to look at this blog. I've made thousands already.
- Shamrocketship: Local blogger from Red Bank with a potpourri of posts and topics.
- Red Bank Journal: Shamrocketship on a local scale.
- Musings on Malt: Atlantic Highlands' very own Beerman serves up tasty tidbits blogging on brewskis.
Man can Red Bank be a buzzkill. And I'm not talking about some Eurotrash wannabe cutting you off at the bar at Red. Now that spring has arrived you must cease all activities of the fun variety or beware of Jonny Law.
- No jaywalking or walking outside of the crosswalk.
- Rollerblading and skateboarding are prohibited in "the downtown area, all major thoroughfares, parks, parking lots and any public or quasi-public place."
- A curfew will also be in effect from 10:30 p.m. to 6 a.m. Sunday through Thursday, and from midnight to 6 a.m. on Fridays and Saturdays, for all persons under the age of 18.
- No wearing of loafers without socks.
- Hey, that's a good one.
- Steve Noonan was appointed to the Borough Council as the replacement for Councilman Charlie Niles and Councilman Carl Nolan was elected Council President
- This guy must have been freezing his #$&* off at Gunnison Beach before driving home on the GSP
- The Breeder's Cup is coming to Monmouth Park Racetrack
- A few area Masters of the Universe may be mastering the art of license plate making after getting caught in a major NYSE scandal.
- Not to be outdone by the Jets, the Giants negotiated their own sweetheart deal for a new stadium. Wouldn't it be funny if the Giants deal ultimately goes through while the Jets' West Side Stadium gets held up in legal battles and then the Jets come back to the new and improved Giants Stadium. HA! [via Enlighten New Jersey]
I've said it before and I'll say at least a dozen more times - get down to Asbury Park Lanes and get your bowling groove on to the stylings of Highland's folk legend DJ Hotdog. Every Thursday night DJ Hotdog spins the Technics and gets you doing the African Anteater dance to the long forgotten gems of the 1980's. (Anyone catch that Anteater reference?)
Tuesday, April 12, 2005
Atlantic Highlands isn't the only bayshore town with its own poem. Check out On the Pier at Keansburg by Maureen McVeigh-Berzok.
If you haven't noticed, the official town website got quite a makeover. Instead of wishing me "happy holidays" the homepage now announces a "special planning board meeting." On April 6th. The 2004 concert series was also yanked in favor of the 2005 concert series. Anyone heard of the band Concert Schedule TBD? I hear they can rock with the best of 'em, even the Bob Paddock Orchestra. Speaking of the Bob Paddock Orchestra, did anyone catch his cover of Happy Birthday last summer? Classic.
I got a sneak peak at the next issue of the Atlantic Highlands Beacon over the weekend. Interestingly, there was no "Main Street" article by Fred Rast. I was hoping he'd offer some advice on security preparations for the arrival of the carny folk during this summer's fireman's fair. But alas, the issue was not without some giggles, make sure you turn to "Who Are the People in Your Neighborhood" and check out the Chamber of Commerce insert. In the Chamber insert you'll find quite possibly the most ridiculous name for a store ever in the history of retail, O'synchronicities - a new boutique selling belts, bags, scarves and jewelry.
Get this - you can shop online at Jaspan Brothers. What's better than Jaspan Brothers? Nothing.
Forget Million Dollar Baby, Sideways and The Aviator, the best movie from 2004 was so obviously Napoleon Dynamite. If you haven't seen it go rent it. I can't believe it wasn't at least nominated for best script.
Speaking of renting movies - has anyone else given up on renting DVDs? We cancelled NetFlix because practically every movie we rented would skip or my DVD player would simply inform me that the "disc is dirty." We've gone back to renting VHS from Eastpointe because the same thing happened with their discs. (No, it's not our DVD player - it works fine for my CDs) Perhaps most annoying about DVDs are the "selection indicators" (for lack of a better term) when navigating the menu. It usually takes me five minutes to figure out what sign I should be looking for to know what selection I'm about to make. Guess I'm just getting old and cranky. I miss the days of guys riding the subways with boomboxes on their shoulders. Now everyone walks around with those fancy white wires running out of their heads.
Actually, I love my iPod. It may be the singular greatest human achievement in the past 25 years. Or more.
Former Marlboro Mayor Matthew Scannapieco pleaded guilty today to accepting $245,000 in cash bribes from 1997 - 2003. At least this guy went for some serious dough - not like the knucklehead mayors recently arrested for bribes of under $10,000. Here's the press release from U.S. District Attorney Christopher J. Christie, aka Mr. Jonny Law.
Friday, April 08, 2005
We all know that there is no such thing as an Amish person who would ever provide a home to a horse that is not of any use. The Amish have no regard for animals and use them only as vehicles, food or trade. This is a well-known fact.
The Independent got a hold of one of the emails that began circulating around the area regarding the fate of Buddy and Butch, the two Belgian horses that work at the Longstreet Farm. From what I've read about the Longstreet Farm, Buddy and Butch were used for plowing and hay-rides. WHAT!? That sounds suspiciously like they used them for vehicles and trade. Somebody get the militia ready - we got some Amish in Holmdel that need to learn a lesson.
Laura Kirkpatrick, a public information representative for the Monmouth County Park System (MCPS) said "that the whole thing has spun out of control, and all started when one fallacy led to another, and then another." So, it looks like the MCSP is trying to find a good home for the horses and if any proceeds come from their sale will it would be considered a donation.
Oceanchild, calls me
So I sing a song of love
Seashell eyes, windy smile, calls me so I sing a song of love
Julia's opens this weekend in Atlantic Highlands.
Not to get
1. Wednesday, May 18th/ U2 @ Continental Arena
2. Thursday, May 19th/ Bruce Springsteen @ Continental Arena
= HOLY EFFING SCHNIKIES!
The Boss has the 18th off after a gig in Philly on the 17th - are you telling me he's not going to head home to Rumson, chill and then jump on stage the next night for an encore performance of I Haven't Still Found What I'm Looking For? Are you telling me Bono's not going to take a Lincoln town car over the river and through the swamp to jump on stage the next night as he's got a few days to kill before a 5/21 MSG show? You'd be nuts to tell me that cause I'll beat you with a rubber hose and sell your limp body to the Amish.
Wednesday, April 06, 2005
Here's a satellite image of Atlantic Highlands on Google Maps. Aren't satellite images the coolest? [via Sluggo Needs a Nap]
I found Councilman
Holy flip-flop Batman said the Boy Wonder. Throughout the article Archibald questions if the ordinances were necessary and how effective they can ultimately be. So why vote for them? As a gesture of good faith? Well, that's nice and all, but show some freakin' backbone. Or, don't vote for them and then go write an article questioning what you just supported. Stand by your vote or speak up when it counts (i.e. vote no if you have such strong concerns). Perhaps Archibald was scared that the Democrats would use the" no" vote in their future campaign literature to accuse him of being anti-pay-to-play and pro-corruption? Paranoia will destroy ya dude.
Last week, the Atlantic Highlands Borough Council joined the growing number of towns supporting a ban on “Pay to Play” By a unanimous vote, including my own, the governing body passed a series of ordinances that deal with the “Pay to Play” issue. While the measures passed with bi-partisan support, one is left to wonder what effect the ordinances will have on our small town.
There's a saga unfolding at the Longstreet Farm in Holmdel. Buddy and Butch, two Belgian horses who work at the farm plowing and pulling wagons, are getting old and the farm needs to replace them. Rumors have been circulating via email and phone that the horses were going to be sold at auction to be slaughtered or sold to the Amish as workhorses. Joy Gamache, a horse lover and former Special People United to Ride (SPUR) board member is working to ensure that the horses find a good home. She was quoted in the Two River Times saying, "after years of loyal service to the community it would be criminal not to see that they go to a good home." She also commented that the Amish "treat their horses the same way other farmers use machines." I think that has to be the first recorded instance where someone has gone on record as being anti-Amish. I do hope the horses find a good home but why take a dig at the Amish? Of course they use horses like other farmers use machines. That's the whole idea.
The sun decided to grace us with its presence the past few days which can only mean that it's going to take a few days off. The weekend is looking nice though.
Want to know the best local park to view amphibians?
It looks like the Atlantic Highlands Elementary School needs to get students brushed up on their math skills. 24.3% and 34.5% of 3rd and 4th graders, respectively, are considered not proficient in math. We're also behind the state average for students with advanced math skills. As someone who always avoided rigorous math study I can't stress how important it is to get kids on the right track with these skills early. I haven't heard anyone in town talking about these score cards but the issue needs to be addressed. If anyone has any information on the reaction of the school board to the published reports please send it along. A quick comparison to Highlands, Rumson, Fair Haven and Middletown shows AH is well behind other area towns. As stated, I'm no statistician and I briefly looked at the percentages, but the situation does not look good.
I'm happy to announce we have a guest host lined up for the week of 4/23 - 4/30. I'll introduce him later this month.
Saturday, April 02, 2005
First, AH passed the pay-to-play reform ordinances introduced at the Council meeting last Wednesday despite accusations that the ordinances had "overtones of racial discrimination" and arguments that the ordinances weren't necessary and even unconstitutional. I think the approval of the ordinances is a good thing and while they can't prevent crooked people from doing crooked things (what can?), at least the town and its elected officials have made progress to restore faith in our campaign and election process at the local level. The town ordinances also address the issue of "wheeling" and funneling money from district to district, which the pay-to-play reforms on the state level were lacking.
This was a bi-partisan effort that took over a year of work on the part of council members Stephanie Ladiana (D), Lou Fligor (R) and Planning Board member Benson Chiles, along with guidance from the Borough Attorney, Janice Miller. I think all involved should be proud, as well as residents of the town, as AH recognized long before the recent investigations into County politics that change needed to be implemented. AH did not jump on any "politically correct bandwagon" or cling to recent buzzwords surrounding County politics as mentioned at last week's Council meeting. We were proactive and the fact that there are ongoing investigations throughout town and county governments show how wise our Council and residents were to initiate and support these ordinances. Way to Fligor it out team!
The conspiracy theorists will be dreaming up plot lines again. Councilman Charles Niles (D) resigned his position on the Council due to increasing travel demands from his job. I'm sure our very own Fox and Mulder are on the case now. In accordance with the State law on these matters, three residents have been nominated to fill Niles' vacancy - Stephen D. Noonan, Robert J. Sutton and Ellen Sheehan Duda. All are former Democratic council members. The Council has 30 days to fill the seat.
State Senator Joseph Kyrillos, R-Monmouth/Middlesex has proposed a study to determine the viability of merging some New Jersey municipalities (first item). For example, Middletown and Keansburg would merge into one town. The fact that New Jersey has so many municipalities has been cited as a reason why the state has so much corruption. I suppose the argument is that the more chance for corruption the more corruption happens. I'll need to dig deeper into this argument but
As we live in a major media market perhaps our scandals get more press? CT had its governor scandal around the time of ours last year don't forget. Am I too jaded and cynical that I think this kind of stuff goes on in every state? Of course we need to address problems of corruption, but I'm not sure if cutting down the number of local governments will help alleviate the problem. Perhaps I'm just being selfish - I do not want to be part of Middletown lest the McMansion Monsters start swallowing up our town. Mmmmm....old homes, nice views, thriving downtown. Yummmy.
- Quick, somebody get
Magnum PIFred Rast on the case here in town.
- Middletown still hasn't gotten over its charming downtown envy. Aren't there supplements and prescriptions for this kind of thing?
- PSA: A state wide mock terror attack will take place the week of April 4.
- The Asbury Park Press website doesn't have a great archive tool so I can't link to the article, but it reported on 3/24/05 that results from a traffic study in town were presented to the Borough Council and some plans and concepts may be presented to residents in early April. Stay tuned.
- Keep an eye out for the next issue of The Atlantic Highlands Beacon and read all about what I do in my spare time besides bloggin'.