Group deserves courtesy at rail meetings

On March 22 a Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS) meeting (regarding passenger rail service in Monmouth, Ocean and Middlesex counties) was convened by NJ Transit at the Freehold Gardens Hotel in Freehold Township.

A letter sent to various Community Liaison Committee (CLC) members dated March 1, signed by Tom Clark, regional manager, in part stated: “The meeting is scheduled at 7 p.m. with a presentation that will introduce the preliminary findings of the DEIS including ridership cost and environmental impacts.

“The presentation will be followed by a group dialogue, at which point CLC members will be given the opportunity to address the project team with any questions and concerns. In addition, the project team will discuss the project schedule and decision to extend the DEIS phase through 2005.”

The CLC is an important link between the project and communities in the study area. The role of the CLC is to share project information and solicit input on local issues and concerns.

The CLC members representing Ocean County, along with others, listened to the state’s program attentively. We also sat and listened attentively to comments made by elected officials and people from several other towns.

When it came time for Ocean County CLC members to make comments, they were shouted down in an attempt to stop them from speaking.

[Those people shouting] were told several times and asked to stop by Mr. Clark. They did not stop. Mr. Clark went on asking them to let the others speak at least 10 times. Many who were shouting were not even CLC members.

It would seem to me that after being admonished three or four times to no avail, the offenders should have been escorted from the meeting room. They were not.

I feel that my rights and the rights of several others were violated. The question as I see it now is, what steps will be taken for any future meetings to rectify the situation?

Bernard Gindoff