(For some reason the resolutions and ordinances aren’t attached.)
Electronic billboard advertises Fran Hines’ retirement dinner:
Hines is president of Belmar First Aid, was the head of the water company, and is very active in the autism awareness community, bringing the Surfers Healing event to Belmar every year and raising tons of money for the cause. A solid oak of a man, he spent his entire career serving the people here and is one of the most loved people in Belmar. Not only that, he’s even better looking in person than he appears in those pictures. Anyone out there know why he’s leaving?
Here’s the thing, though. Look what’s happening the very same evening:
This is a real slap to Hines, the Keefe and Sperber families, Pat Roddy and Danny White but especially to Hines who has done so much for this town. Really both events deserve to have the mayor there the whole time and I’m certain that there are many people who would have attended both of them if they weren’t being held on the same night . And it’s definitely going to cut into revenues at both events, which is a real shame.
Bradley Beach is the only town aside from Belmar that uses the “strong mayor” small municipality plan….but with an important difference from Belmar: Bradley Beach is non-partisan.
Former New Jersey Gov. Tom Kean used to like to brag about his constitutional powers to his fellow state chief executives. This is what governors do for fun. As he reeled off his ability to appoint thousands of loyal supporters to juicy political jobs, to interpret how laws would be implemented and to virtually shut down key sectors of the Garden State economy to get his way, other governors, some of whom lacked even the simplest veto power, would shake their heads in wonder. “They couldn’t believe it,” recalled Kean, a Republican who ran the state from 1982 to 1990. “They nicknamed me the `Ayatollah.'”
That’s from a 2001 Chicago Tribune story about a UNC political professor who named New Jersey one of the three states with the most powerful governorships. So to me it’s little wonder that so many of our governors end up running into trouble. And while Kean used to joke about having the powers of a dictator he was, to my recollection, a fairly benign dictator. Christie, on the other hand, acts like an ayatollah. Just ask Dawn Zimmer. Or Mark Sokolich. Or Ben Barlyn. Or even, ironically, Tom Kean Jr.
Belmar has an ayatollah problem too. For not only does the mayor of Belmar have all the powers of a chief executive, including the power to appoint all public officials and all members of all boards and committees except the school board, he or she also acts as the de facto municipal version of a senate president and assembly speaker. Currently all law in Belmar comes from the Mayor and is rubber stamped by the Council. No other borough in the area and very few in the state have such a powerful mayor, indeed in most the mayor doesn’t even have a council vote. Add to that the fact that the present mayor wishes to put the entire downtown under redevelopment law, with all the extraordinary powers that redevelopment law puts in the hands of a government that he completely controls, and it looks like we may have a real problem. We’ll be taking a closer look at this situation and how we got here in future postings but in the meantime all comments, suggestions and attacks are welcome.
Also, the other day I looked at the “analytics” page of my Youtube account for the first time. Here are screenshots of the “overview” section.
First, lifetime, which would be since I started the Youtube channel on Aug 5, 2012:
Please click on the image.
(If your computer re-sizes it to fit your screen, undo the re-size to make it more readable.)
Not surprisingly, the two most popular videos of all time are the two that are not of meetings.
And here are the stats for the last 30 days:
Patrick Byrne and the kid with the needle still are in the top ten. Also worth noting is that 60% of views are directly of the embedded version I put up on the blog’s front page the day after a meeting and 40% are from the Youtube page.
Comments, Concerns and Recommendations Regarding the Mayor’s “ Redevelopment Committee Report 2015″
By Ted Ehmann, Belmar, NJ
After the release of the report there are critical questions that must be answered by the Mayor and Council:
Was the committee charged with creating new redevelopment areas in Belmar and not just review the existing area as charged?
Was the committee led to believe that the current Belmar Redevelopment Authority could make recommendations for redevelopment outside of the parcels designated for the Seaport Redevelopment Area?
Why is redevelopment being used in an area already legally designated as a rehabilitation area two years ago?
NJ Redevelopment Law, 40A:12A-6. states NO area of a municipality SHALL be determined a redevelopment area unless the governing body of the municipality, by resolution, authorizes the planning board to overtake the preliminary investigation…. It further states that “ such determination SHALL be made after public notice and public hearings.” Section 5 of PL1992c.79.
There were NO public notices of the 12 meetings open to the public, time and date memorialized in the committee report.
Therefore, under NJ Law, this is a nice visionary proposal, a “ what if “ look at possible redevelopment lacking any authority, proper investigation and referencing to the existing master plan.
Therefore, if the mayor and council wish to move in this direction, they MUST pass an resolution to request that the planning board (without prejudice) investigate specific areas for redevelopment using the legal designations and not the aesthetic wishes of a few with little experience and no law background and on a strictly advisory committee.
Historically, Belmar government and the planning board have fallen into liberal definitions of redevelopment needs under the advice of our planner and redevelopment attorney. It costed the taxpayers in court on appeals plenty. The most recent was the Beachfront Redevelopment decision just 9 month ago. If much of what is in this committee study is to be used to redevelop, there would be untold lawsuits and the continued waste of money on PLANNERS, ENGINEERS, ARCHITECTS AND ATTORNEYS. But judging from experience, I believe that is what this is truly all about. The courts are growing weary of attempts to redefine urban blight to apply to “redeveloping” properties that are properly maintained, occupied or rented and paying their taxes.
In 2002, I retired from teaching and rented a large victorian in downtown Jamesburg, Middlesex County, NJ. It was a quaint victorian town with a dying downtown, I invested in starting a gallery and custom picturing framing business. The entire surrounding area was being developed into rich retirement communities.
The town of Jamesburg had the railroad literally dividing the downtown business district. Working with the elected and appointed officials and key upscale business, I started the Jamesburg Revitalization Coalition in 2006. Without spending a single dime, we enlisted the help of the NJ Dept. of Community Affairs, Main Street NJ division. DCA helped us get The Rutgers Blaustein School of Public Policy and Planning to have a complete rehabilitation study done of our downtown.
When I applied to Belmar Mayor Doherty to serve on the Belmar Committee, he knew this and my other credentials. My assessment is not sour grapes. But should the Borough of Belmar proceed to spend money for architects, planners , engineers and attorneys to make real what is legally impossible, I will be an ardent opponent.
Sources: Google: Jamesburg Redevelopment Coalition, History
Exceeding their mandate?
“for the purpose of discussing ideas regarding the Belmar Seaport Redevelopment Plan”