Letters-Oct. 28, 2004

Byram colony

will survive
To the editor:
   On behalf of the Byram colony in Kingwood Township, I would like to express heartfelt appreciation for all the help and support our community has received during and after the recent devastating flooding of the Delaware River.
   Kingwood Township officials, notably emergency coordinators Steve Zdepski and Mary MacConnell and Mayor Sal DeSapio, were invaluable in rallying services and critical facilities.
   The New Jersey State Police, American Red Cross, Hunterdon County Emergency management, FEMA, New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection, state parks were on the scene from evacuation to follow-up on essential care.
   Volunteer fire companies, both Kingwood and Stockton, worked incredibly, almost around the clock, to pump out homes and basements and other emergency procedures. At the evacuation center at the Kingwood Fire Company, housing, food and other essential services were graciously provided with assistance from the Kingwood First Aid and Rescue Squad. Thank you to all of you and your families.
   We can only begin to recognize the numerous organizations and individuals who came by, actually pitched in to help clean up and to offer services, housing, food and much-needed emotional support. This included area churches, Scout troops, other neighbors, strangers and friends.
   In our beautiful riverfront community, we know the possibility of flooding exists, and most carry flood insurance. However, this unusual flash flood did take most us by complete surprise as Byram is relatively high above the Delaware, most homes more than 20 feet above the river.
   Insurance can only begin to cover losses, and cleanup and restoration takes time, money and just a lot of dirty, hard work.
   In spite of some terrible damages of homes and property, loss of personal effects and family treasures, the Byram community is strong and will survive!
   Thank you again to all who have helped. We are all so grateful for all the wonderful help and community support!

Rich Desvernine
Byram Colony Association

Open spaces,

not open wallets
To the editor:
   I want to take a quick moment and to Mr. Korzun for responding to my editorial about the referendum to purchase the hill behind Lambertville Public School and Ely Field.
   It was the best case I have heard so far. Of course, it is the only case I have heard so far since the City Council has made no effort to disseminate any information.
   I feel the greatest flaw in Mr. Korzun’s comments and the council’s approach to this purchase is the city is exercising eminent domain. In effect, we are condemning the property and, therefore, must pay a fair price, which is determined by its fully developed value.
   My question is why we need to condemn it. If the owner put the property on the market privately, would it be worth that much? Given the boom housing market in this area over the past 10 years, it is hard to believe someone has not been able to make a go of this piece of property.
   As I have stated in a previous letter to this newspaper and at the City Council meeting last week, I favor Green Acres and open space, but I do not favor opening my wallet for an overpriced and difficult to develop piece of land.

David Shafer

Illusion or

To the editor:
   I am responding to recent newspaper articles, which referred to West Amwell Mayor Gary Bleacher’s support of a transfer of development rights (TDR) plan in West Amwell Township.
   Bad idea, Mr. Mayor!
   What Mayor Bleacher is not saying about his support for TDR may be more important than what he is saying.
   To better clarify this, I refer readers to a State of New Jersey planning report at www.nj.gov/dca/osg/docs/parcelclustering120197.pdf.
   Under TDR, the township will need to designate receiving areas and sending areas for development rights. In other words, the development rights must be transferred somewhere.
   To quote from the above report, "To be realistic and attract density transfers, a receiving area will typically require certain infrastructure to support compact, higher-density development."
   Access to public water and sewers or other large scale wastewater treatment facilities are among the things the report indicates may be required to make a receiving area feasible. The report goes on to state municipalities may need to authorize and finance wastewater collection and treatment systems to make infrastructure readily available in the designated receiving areas.
   Mayor Bleacher has not defined where he believes the receiving areas should be located in West Amwell Township. But it appears Mr. Bleacher has made every effort to establish a potential receiving area in the northwest portion of the township. This was evidenced by the township’s prior failure to act on the removal of the potential sewer service area I described in recent letters to the editor in The Beacon.
   I’d like to thank West Amwell Township Committee member Nancy Palladino for fighting to resubmit an application to the state to remove the potential sewer area.
   Wittingly or unwittingly, the Open Space Committee, under the chairmanship of Hal Shute, has created potential receiving areas by preserving much of the ground around his home and other township officials while preserving minimal ground in the area I described in my previous letter.
   Mayor Bleacher and Mr. Shute have also opposed West Amwell being designated a special resource area (SRA) on State Plan maps. Coincidentally, all of West Amwell would qualify for this designation.
   Entering the SRA would limit development and the expansion of sewage facilities into the township and provide priority fund for preservation activities. All of the eligible surrounding areas have already made applications to enter the SRA. West Amwell is the last holdout.
   It appears Mayor Bleacher has resorted to procedural efforts to stall a decision on joining an SRA until the application timeline has closed, thus closing the door on the township’s ability to join the SRA for at least another three years. Some of this decision may be based on Hal Shute’s expressed opposition to the township becoming an SRA as well as his tacit support of TDR.
   Coincidentally, Mayor Bleacher has endorsed Hal Shute’s candidacy for Township Committee.
   Mr. Bleacher’s art of illusion and manipulation was described in a letter to the editor in the Oct. 21 issue of The Beacon with his manipulation of Tom Molnar’s candidacy. Why would anyone who has stated his commitment to preserving West Amwell Township’s rural character do so many things to encourage building and development and discourage so many things that would preserve the township’s ecology and rural setting?
   One can only guess at the true motivations of Bleacher and Shute. Is this illusion or manipulation?
   Public comments and written statements with regard to the State Plan should be encouraged at Hunterdon County cross-acceptance meetings Oct. 28. This will be the public’s last opportunity for comment prior to the state publishing the draft copy of the new State Plan.

E. Weston Pfeiffer
West Amwell

Bleacher didn’t

endorse Molnar
To the editor:
   I am writing in response to a letter from Robert and Linda Wilson that was published in the Oct. 21 edition of this paper.
   First, I would comment on what is true in their letter. Tom is a friendly guy, who is a hardworking, dedicated family man. This opinion is not based on hearsay or second-hand information, but on first-hand knowledge, having worked closely with him on the parks and recreation and country fair committees for the past several years.
   What is not true is I gave Tom any enticements, suggestions or promises about his endeavors to run for the vacant seat on the Township Committee; those all emanated from the Hunterdon County Republican Committee via their spokesperson.
   Several months ago, when the various candidates were going door-to-door seeking signatures for their petitions, I had a very open and honest conversation with Tom in my backyard. We discussed my feelings and convictions about the upcoming election, and when the conversation was over, we shook hands and wished each other "good luck" and no "hard feelings."
   I believe this discussion occurred long before any campaigning began and before campaign signs were ordered. When I noticed campaign signs with my name on them were being placed along the roads without my knowledge or permission, I immediately called the Republican Committee in an effort to prevent any more signs from being posted.
   I called the Republican Committee because that is who the signs say paid for them, and I asked the committee to modify the signs because I believe the signs implied an untruth; that untruth being Tom and I are running as a team.
   At the municipal level, at least, voters should not rely on an endorsement from an individual or party when selecting a candidate to support; they should determine their choice based on their own good judgment and on familiarity with each candidates’ record, accomplishments and stated goals.
   I also feel candidates for elected office should not expect endorsements from anyone, unless asked for by the candidate and/or freely given by the endorser. Such is not the case in this instance.
   I congratulate all candidates running for office this election regardless of their particular affiliation or philosophy as it is difficult to find people who are willing to give their time and effort to a necessary, but oft times, thankless and frustrating position.
   I also hope the citizens of our town will cast their vote for the person they feel can best serve the township and its residents and not fall prey to any influence stemming from rigid political ideology.

Gary W. Bleacher
West Amwell

Wilson letter

‘typical attack’
To the editor:
   The Wilson letter last week’s paper is typical attack politics, and you can expect to hear more as Election Day approaches.
   They will tell you that I will split the party vote and allow the other party to gain the seat, that a vote for me will be wasted since I cannot win, etc. Don’t believe it.
   I have the written support of eight former mayors, Republicans and Democrats alike, former state Sen. Bill Schluter and broad support from many current community leaders and residents of both parties.
   Their support is not based on some arbitrary ideology espoused by a political party, but in their belief in me as the most qualified candidate.
   As to my history of political affiliation, I was a registered Republican only due to the fact I have voted in recent primaries.
   Since many people don’t know what a Libertarian is, I’ll be glad to explain. They believe in a limited, constitutional federal government and generally minimal practical government interference in peoples lives. It is the philosophy of many of our founding fathers.
   Famous contemporary Libertarians include Clint Eastwood, William Safire, Dean Koontz and Alan Greenspan. In any event, I am now a registered Independent and no longer active in any political party.
   There are more unaffiliated and independent voters in West Amwell than there are registered Republicans and Democrats combined. I’m confident you will stand with me on Election Day.
   Assert your independence by voting independent for me Nov. 2. You won’t regret it.

Hal Shute
West Amwell

Daul understands

To the editor:
   I attended Candidates Night, held at Delaware Township School to hear Chris Daul and Jim McCue views on issues affecting Delaware Township.
   I was impressed by the civility displayed by both candidates and by the earnestness with which they both made their points. Both are good men, and Delaware Township is lucky to have them as residents.
   One question that sticks out in my mind, though, had nothing to do with how to solve the problems facing Delaware Township. Ken Novak stated he had tried to find out information on Mr. Daul’s employment and could not find who he worked for. He asked Chris who his employer was.
   I found that question interesting since Mr. Novak penned two letters last week to this newspaper and to another that serves Hunterdon County, stating he had researched Mr. Daul and then listed his employer in the letter. His implication was Chris, because of his employer, would open up Delaware Township to development.
   This is quite disingenuous since it is Mr. Novak himself who has subdivided and developed his land in Delaware Township. Whatever the reason behind Mr. Novak’s question, Chris responded it helps to have someone who knows the process working for you.
   He then explained how, with one phone call, he helped a group of township residents of a newly paved road preserve some of their rural character by having a yellow stripe, which had been placed in error, removed. It is precisely this kind of action we look for in our leaders!
   By contrast, it took the current Township Committee more than six months just to establish a local roads commission.
   I have no doubt this attempt at deception is going on without the knowledge or support of Chris’s opponent. We would be hard-pressed to find anyone in town who could not vouch for Mr. McCue’s integrity.
   What’s ironic is, in last night’s debate, Chris showed he understands the frustrations encountered by people who want to preserve, and he recognizes some people will choose not — and should not be forced — to preserve their land.
   Chris has a fair, balanced, common-sense approach to leadership that is backed up by a wealth of understanding and experience. I have taken the time to listen to and look into Mr. Daul’s record of service, and I feel confident, if elected to the Township Committee, he will put in the time, work and research necessary as the issues our township faces become increasingly complicated.
   We should all work together to support him after we elect Chris Daul Nov. 2.

Carina Sayles
Delaware Township

Open space tax

not affordable
To the editor:
   I have read the article in this newspaper about Mr. Stegman’s and Mr. Kramer’s stances for the upcoming election.
   I have to question how they will hold the line on taxes when they both support the public question to the voters of Lambertville.
   This is a tax! A tax we, the taxpayers, can see increase with every reassessment our property gets. With my home’s current assessed value, my open space tax will be $52.03 this year.
   I know my assessment will not decrease so this amount will only go up every year that assessments do along with my other taxes. This tax of $52.03 doesn’t sound like that much money to some, but for people on a fixed income that money can be better spent on food or even medicine.
   At a recent council meeting, the mayor stated there were no plans for this land and no grant money currently available to offset the cost. So if the tax passes, we will buy these 11-plus acres and let it sit, but this land still will have to be cared for, insured for everyone’s safety and policed to be sure no one uses it as a dump all at more cost to the city.
   With regard to another issue Mr. Kramer mentioned, the LOSAP program for our firefighters, this program would have to come from our fire commission, not the mayor and council.
   I know I was not able to speak with everyone I would have liked during my campaign, but I do believe I understand the issues we face here in Lambertville, and I believe I am the best person to represent you the citizen’s of Lambertville.

Dorothy Anthes

Does media

trivialize election?
To the editor:
   I am in no doubt that this election is the most important of my lifetime.
   Wouldn’t it be nice if the news organizations felt it their bounden duty to deliver to we citizens impartial in-depth coverage of the candidates and their platforms? They seem, rather, to be intentionally trivializing the entire affair.
   Is that because the issues we face are too big to be stuffed into a one-minute "story"? I don’t think that the presidency of the United States of America ought to be a popularity contest nor should it be defined by sound bites. We can handle more complexity than that. Honest.
   If you want to read, there is plenty — more than plenty — to be found on the Web and in the bookstores. But for the busy lives most of us juggle, news is what we see on the TV, hear on the car radio or — worst of all — get bombarded by in devious and deceptive and nasty ads.
   Ads are ads; they are meant to get you to buy something. They are, at best, a pale shade of some partial truth, whether it’s a candidate or a detergent.
   So, that said, it is actually understandable to me that there are some voters that declare themselves undecided. To those folks, I would say this: It has probably not escaped your attention that we have been enjoying a one-party rule these past three and a half years.
   The Republican White House and the Republican-dominated Congress rubberstamp each other, do not look too hard at each other’s peccadilloes and are basically doing what they can to steam roll over the half of this country that did not vote for G.W. Bush.
   When you vote to put Sen. Kerry in the White House, remember you are doing the best thing for our country and our Constitution. You are doing your part to restore the two-party system and the system of checks and balances established by the founding fathers. They knew how crucial that is to maintaining a democracy.
   At the close of the Constitutional Convention, a Philadelphia matron demanded of Benjamin Franklin what he and the other delegates had produced. His answer was, "A republic, if you can keep it."
   Vote for Kerry. Help keep our republic.

Mair LaTouche