Today is a vacation day for me and I have about an hour to kill so I figured I’d pick apart Walter Murray’s letter that appeared in yesterdays Coast Star. Mr. Murray, by the way, is Jennifer Nicolay’s next door neighbor.
Here we go:
LET OUR TOWN COUNCIL AND MAYOR DO THE JOB THEY WERE ELECTED TO DO
Submitted by WALTER MURRAY
On Oct. 29, 2012 Hurricane Sandy devastated Belmar. (True) Half of our town was flooded and our boardwalk along with all the pavilions was completely destroyed. (I heard that Taylor could have been salvaged) For almost three years, Mayor Doherty and our current town council have worked tirelessly to rebuild what we lost. (Did we lose rooftop golf, bath houses and a two story banquet hall?) Within a year, the Mayor, with the cooperation and assistance of the majority of Belmar residents, was able to have the debris caused by Sandy removed. He then had a beautiful new boardwalk built. (The original companies hired to do the clean up were both fired just days after they were hired and replaced by companies with ties to the mayor’s wife. They both sued Belmar for breach of contract, costing the borough thousands of dollars in legal fees. One of the suits is still in litigation so the cost is still going up. The company that won the bid for the boardwalk is also connected to the mayor’s wife and stuck us with an illegal $2 million change order.) Our boardwalk, benches, water fountains and beachfront playgrounds and showers are praised by everyone — residents and visitors alike. (The palm trees have to go.)
The town was able to accomplish this with no increase to real estate taxes (Debt more than doubled) and despite the negative actions and negative comments of a small group of citizens. (That’s true. We were unable to stop all that.) This group, in my opinion, has worked against the wishes and the best interests of the majority of Belmar residents. (I’m sure the Star made him add the “in my opinion”. When I write to them they make me add “in my opinion” to every sentence.) Unfortunately for Belmar this same group has now turned its attention to the rebuilding of the Taylor Pavilion. (No, the Taylor pavilion plan was rejected by the voters in last year’s special election. We thought the issue was settled but the mayor has now brought the same bad plan back. This is why our merry band has had to re-mobilize and fight another day.) This group professes to want the Taylor Pavilion rebuilt. (Some of us do and some of us don’t. But none of us want a $4 million bond in our name.) However, at the council meetings I have attended, they raise objection after objection that seem to me to be designed to stall the rebuilding. (Sit down and shut up!) I have never heard them offer any constructive ideas on to how to get the job done. (We have been saying to build a simple building for seasonal use at a reasonable cost. Not a grand year round facility with a full kitchen, heating, air conditioning and the look of a Super 8 motel.) This group has consistently challenged the cost of replacing the Taylor Pavilion, but to my knowledge they have never presented a viable FEMA approved plan. (Give us the kind of money the mayor spent developing his plan and we will present a very good FEMA-approved plan. Does Mr. Murray expect the proposed plan’s critics to spend hundreds of thousands of dollars of their own money to create a plan for the mayor to reject without even looking at it?) FEMA is important to this project. By building to FEMA codes and standards it ensures that Belmar will have a Pavilion built with the best construction materials available and that if another storm results in the need to rebuild we will be eligible for FEMA assistance in the rebuilding process. (Nobody has ever suggested that we not follow FEMA standards or any other building codes. This is a lie being pushed by the mayor and his friends. When some of us say to replace what was there, we obviously mean to build it to modern standards.) Building to FEMA standards is expensive, but the town did put the project out to bid and we took the lowest bid. (FEMA doesn’t require all the extravagances in the proposed building, only that it be strong and elevated. And the mayor tried to rig the bidding rules to favor his friends but our “small group” was able to put the kibosh on that.) By using approved FEMA funds, insurance money, private donations and approved Beach Utility money the cost to Belmar residents is at worst $15.77 yearly and at best $0! (OK, everybody together now: MOST OF THAT MONEY BELONGS TO THE BEACH UTILITY, NOT THE MUNICIPALITY. WHEN THE JUDGE IN THE LAWSUIT RULES AS SUCH, BELMAR TAXPAYERS WILL BE STUCK HOLDING THE BAG.)
Why does this group continue to stand in the way? Let’s move on. (We would love to move on. Please ask the mayor to drop his bad plan so we can move on.) The Taylor Pavilion, which hosted over 200 events in the year before the storm, should have been rebuilt already. (If the mayor wanted to simply replace what was there, built to modern codes, we’d be done already.) The majority of Belmar residents elected Mayor Doherty, Councilmen Brian Magovern and Thomas Brennan and Councilwomen Jennifer Nicolay and Janis Keown-Blackburn because we believe in their vision for a better Belmar. (Mr. Murray is selective about when the will of the people should be respected and when it shouldn’t. Has he forgotten that a majority of Belmar residents voted against this pavilion plan?) Our mayor and each council person support the rebuilding of Taylor Pavilion. Let them do the job we elected them to do! (So why does New Jersey bond law allow for referendum petitions? And in 42 states, towns are not even allowed to bond without voter approval. This is because we do not elect kings. We own the government and we are supposed to tell it what to do and not do.)
Fourth Avenue, Belmar Manasquan Tourism
*********Extra bonus! Tim McCorry’s letter too!
STILL NO TAYLOR PAVILION FOR BELMAR WHILE OTHER TOWNS ENJOY NEW FACILITIES
Submitted by TIM McCORRY
As I understand it, there is a bipartisan agreement that guarantees a 4.1 million cap for the reconstruction of Taylor Pavilion. We should proceed. (There was no “bipartisan agreement”. One petitioner, WHO VERY CLEARLY SAID HE WAS SPEAKING ONLY FOR HIMSELF, said he might be able to reconcile himself to the $4.1 million. The mayor immediately jumped on that and pretended to have some sort of agreement.)
The expeditious rebuilding of the boardwalk after Sandy was a source of civic pride. The continued existing of the hole in the ground at Fifth Avenue (I guess he’s speaking metaphorically) that once was Taylor Pavilion, while other towns enjoy their new facilities, is now a source of embarrassment. (What other town borrowed money and built a $4 million community center on their boardwalk?)
Our elected leaders have staked themselves to this proposal. Let’s move on and hold them accountable for their performance at the voting booth. I believe that’s how it’s supposed to work. (No, that’s not how it’s supposed to work. We need to control our elect leaders so they do what we want them to do. Simply voting them out after they screw up is not a plan. They might be gone but their expensive screw-ups still have to be paid for.)
12th Avenue, Belmar
Both letters reprinted with the permission of the Coast Star