Category Archives: Letters to the Editor

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Thanks, From Jersey Shore Heart Walk

Dear Editor,

I would like to thank the Jersey Shore businesses, organizations, families and community groups who stepped up to the plate to help hit heart disease and stroke out of the park at the American Heart Association and American Stroke Association’s 2016 Shoreline Heart Walk.  The fundraising and wellness event, which was held on Saturday, October 29 at FirstEnergy Park, home of the Lakewood BlueClaws in Lakewood, NJ, was a huge success.

I’m happy to announce that the event raised over $128,000 for the American Heart Association and American Stroke Association’s mission of building healthier lives, free of cardiovascular diseases and stroke.  Donations to the Heart Walk support such life-saving efforts as funding research and education, advocating for better health, improving patient care and reaching at-risk populations. As President of Jersey Shore University Medical Center, I see how these efforts directly improve the lives of our patients.

Nationally sponsored by Subway and locally sponsored by Hackensack Meridian Health, New Jersey Natural Gas, RWJBarnabas, CentraState, Food Circus Supermarkets, Inc., Mid-Atlantic Surgical Associates, WBJB 90.5, 105.7 The Hawk, WOBM AM, 92.7 WOBM and 94.3 The Point, the Shoreline Heart Walk encouraged participants to learn more about heart disease and stroke risks and to take steps to help prevent these diseases in our community.

Heart disease and stroke are the No. 1 and No. 5 killers of Americans.  The American Heart Association is committed to helping individuals and businesses foster a culture of health, and to providing science-based treatment guidelines to healthcare professionals, policymakers and the public.

For more information about the American Heart Association and American Stroke Association, please visit www.heart.org.

Respectfully,

Kenneth N. Sable, M.D. MBA, FACEP

Co-Chair, Shoreline Heart Walk

President, Jersey Shore University Medical Center and K. Hovnanian Children’s Hospital

Neptune, NJ

 

NJ Greens Opposes South Jersey Gas Pipeline

The Green Party of New Jersey stands in strong opposition to the new gas pipeline project proposed by South Jersey Gas. This pipeline would run 22 miles through protected areas of the Pinelands National Reserve, in sensitive forest areas in Cumberland, Atlantic, and Cape May Counties. The risk the pipeline poses to the environment and human water supplies greatly outweighs any benefit that may come from its construction.

This pipeline would cut through protected forests and wetlands which are home to numerous plant and animal species, some of which are found nowhere else on the planet. The process of constructing the pipeline requires destruction of these environments along the pipeline route and, in itself, poses a major threat to these species. Furthermore, spills across the country provide evidence that pipelines are not a safe way to transport gas; it is only a matter of time before this pipeline would leak, potentially devastating entire ecosystems. The aquifers in this region supply fresh drinking water to over 1 million people, and that water supply is under threat.

This pipeline would deliver gas through fracking, which has high risk for releasing even more methane, a potent greenhouse gas, into our atmosphere. The Pinelands Comprehensive Management Plan restricts development to projects serving only the needs of those residing in the Pinelands.  The proposed pipeline exceeds that warrant. Any unmet needs of Pinelands residents can be taken care of by less intrusive and destructive provisions. Do not allow South Jersey Gas to degrade our irreplaceable resource for the sake of burning more fossil fuels!

The Green Party of New Jersey calls on the Pinelands Commission to do the job it was tasked with and protect the pinelands from damaging and unnecessary development. The Pinelands Commission has begun the public comment portion of the approval process, which will close on January 24th. The Green Party of New Jersey will be hand delivering a petition opposing this pipeline to the Pinelands Commission with signatures and comments we have collected. We urge everyone to add their voices to ours. Tell the Pinelands Commission you oppose this pipeline! http://bit.ly/2hLTRpT

Jim Brash
The Green Party of New Jersey

Don’t Be Rushed Through the Holiday Season

I’m sure this has been said over and over again, but I feel deeply that it should be said again. Don’t rush through the holiday season. Enjoy the season as it only comes once a year. Spend time with family and friends and reflect on how blessed we are to be alive and free!

Shopping over the weekend made me feel this way, as holiday displays have already been packed up, to make room for the artificial daffodils, and other spring décor. Don’t let “retail” rush you through what should be a joyous and reflective time of the year!

Amy Sarrinikolaou
Ocean, NJ

 

New Jersey Should Repatriate Lenape Tribe

Dear Editor,

Households around New Jersey recently celebrated Thanksgiving, but the story was missing one critical part: The Native Americans.

The Lenape tribe (NJ’s native people) have no federally-recognized tribal reservation within their historic national borders (NJ and parts of NY, PA, DE). The Lenape who survived colonial genocide were almost entirely forcibly relocated to Oklahoma, Wisconsin, and the Canadian province of Ontario.

There are a number of small tribal groupings existing in New Jersey with state-only recognition, but these very small groups have no reservations and must solicit donations to conduct basic organizational activities.

Lands must be set aside, trust funds created, and housing developments must be built by the State of New Jersey, to enable the relocation of the Lenape people back to their lands in New Jersey. The entire Lenape population is only 16,000 so this would be very possible to do.

Eric Hafner
Toms River, NJ

Patients Should Be Able to Grow Their Own Medical Marijuana

Dear Editor,

Governor Chris Christie is completely wrong in opposing the legalization of cannabis in the Garden State.

The medical marijuana system is an utter failure, with most patients unable to access the system because either their illness isn’t on the list, or they can’t afford the excessive fees charged by the State of New Jersey, and the dispensaries.

New Jersey should have a system where people can grow their own, or form clubs to grow together on a non-profit basis, without needing any complicated license.

Until then, I will continue obtaining my medical cannabis from outside of the regulated system, and distributing it to other sick people in New Jersey.

 

Eric Hafner
Toms River

 

Be an EMS Volunteer

To the Editor,

As we embark on another season of giving thanks, I ask New Jerseyans to count volunteer EMS responders among their blessings. Often “invisible,” this army of unsung heroes answers thousands of calls daily throughout the Garden State.

Then there are the large-scale events:  Immediately after the Sept. 29 Hoboken train crash, members of the Hoboken Volunteer Ambulance Corps were on scene.  In October, when Hurricane Matthew threatened to impact our area, thousands of men and women all over New Jersey – volunteers — stood at the ready. These are some of the same volunteers who four years ago trudged on foot through deep flood waters to rescue trapped residents, including an ailing cardiac patient, during Hurricane Sandy, and spent weeks helping at Ground Zero after 9/11.

And yes, if called, these same volunteers again will leave their families and dinner tables during the upcoming holidays to help neighbors and strangers alike.  Please take time to honor and thank these dedicated men and women, especially during the holidays. Better still, consider joining our ranks.

Some people spend their whole lives wondering, “Did I make a difference?”  Others don’t have to wonder; they are EMS volunteers.

Joseph G. Walsh, Jr., President
EMS Council of New Jersey

AH Harbor Should Eliminate Political Component

Atlantic Highlands has been run into the ground by our previous mayor and town council. Fred Rast clearly pulled the strings on the last mayoral election (see the letter he circulated to all voters) and is in the process of trying to do it again by having democratic candidates for council running as independents.  

Our harbor is one of the largest on the east coast and yet due to mismanagement by a harbor commission that has been in place and run via cronyism fails to provide our town with an appropriate revenue stream. The Atlantic Highlands Harbor commission should be revamped to eliminate the political component that is using its revenues and influences for political gain.

Its time to clean house, I cannot sit still as our property taxes spiral beyond our means while we have no control.  I’m a registered democrat voting the republican ticket on Nov 8. I implore you to do the same so we can take our town back.

Best Regards,

Stephen Mackin
Atlantic Highlands NJ

A Novel System of Police Reform

Dear Editor,

After the recent horrifyingly jingoistic and tone deaf pro-police rally held at a Middletown High School South (Monmouth County) football game, conducted for the purpose of sending a chillingly threatening and racist message in opposition of NFL football players exercising free speech rights to protest police misconduct by refusing to stand for the Star-Spangled banner (due to the song’s racist history), it is clear our current system of policing is broken beyond repair.

New Jersey (called Lenapehoking by the Lenape people) should work to create a new style of policing: Culturally-aware Civilian Representative Policing or CCRP.

Under my concept, New Jersey would create a single state-wide police force with five main divisions: traffic safety, crime reduction, ombudsman, community relations, and victim support. The demographics of officers hired (i.e. race, gender, religion, sexual orientation, etc.) would be required to be consistent with the demographics of the state.

The new agency would be called the Nutiket Witschindin, the Lenape words for watchperson and one who assists, embracing our state’s native cultural heritage and a community caretaker role. Officers would be given the title of Witawematpanni, the Lenape word for Assistant. Most would not carry a gun.

In order to fight corruption, officers would be regularly relocated to different local areas and conduct operations with officers they never previously met. This would remove the cozy relationship that bolsters the blue wall of silence, which can be compared only with the Italian mafia concept of “omerta”.

Gone would be the days of the gas guzzling Ford Crown Victoria as the standard patrol vehicle (Ford Motor Company used forced slave labor in Nazi Germany).  Horse, Segway, Smart Car, or Toyota Prius would be the new Eco-friendly standard method of police movement, with prisoner transport vans available on-call.

Social workers and psychologists would also be given hiring preference and put into management roles, to help reduce crime and build stronger communities. Assistance to people would be prioritized above arrests made. Civil rights and social justice organizations, like the NAACP, ACLU, Garden State Equality, and the American Friends Service Committee, as well as a committee made up of representatives from a variety of communities of faith and labor unions who do not represent police officers would be in charge of oversight and have the power to hire or fire management.

PBA and FOP union member cards given to friends and family of police officers as a “get out-of-jail free card” would be considered illegally bribery of a public official and corruption. Display of union shields in a window of a car would be considered impersonation of a police officer, and require the car be impounded.

Persons found to be using hard drugs or engaging in street prostitution would not face a criminal arrest, but could be invited to the station to meet with a social worker who would offer an addiction assessment, rehabilitation referrals, a hot meal, clean needles, a shower, clean clothes, rapid HIV/AIDS testing and condoms.

Police salaries would be limited to the average median income in the state, and the broken police disability system would be scrapped, to prevent abuses. Any items seized as proceeds of crime would be required to be donated to charity, instead of being added to departmental budgets.

Our current system of unfair policing has failed poor, minority, and even middle class communities. Because of this, myself and many other people do not view them as having any legitimacy and thus refuse to cooperate with them, as well as actively resist their presence. The police act as a militarized force, occupying our communities without consent of the governed, and the taxpayer is spending a hefty sum to keep them on payroll.

Native American tribal organizations (the few who managed to avoid genocide or exile), which are currently struggling economically and lacking appropriate recognition, should be hired to provide native healing and rehabilitation services to incarcerated persons, and teach Lenape language as well as culture to inmates. Bringing peyote ceremonies into prisons could help reduce recidivism and addiction through shamanism.

As a minister of religion, I have provided spiritual counseling to many harmed by police abuse and misconduct. People are scared and unhappy with the status quo. We need these radical changes I have proposed to make policing equitable, effective, accountable, and respectable in the Garden State.

Eric Hafner
Toms River, NJ

False Accusations Exemplifies Need for Change in AH

Hi Everyone,

I am Steve Boracchia and I felt compelled to respond after Fred’s letter yesterday.

Sadly, the latest round of false accusations and make-believe issues put forth by our opponents exemplifies the need for a change. In addition to false statements, the sense of entitlement underlying yesterday’s letter demonstrates why entrenched politicians are never good for our town. It seems they feel the qualifications for holding any elected office in town is living in the community 30 years or more. Based on that qualification, 90% of our townspeople should never dare to enter public service.

Why do they feel entitled to libel two of the only newcomers to the process in years, whom they don’t really know well? Such actions show us how out they feel about newer residents and how out of touch they are. The emotions are running high.

Fortunately, the facts can dispel the emotional mis-statements. In the last six years Lou and Jake have voted to raise your property taxes 83% and 100% of the time respectively. In fact, at the last budget meeting I witnessed their eagerness to vote for a property tax increase. Neither man asked a question about the budget, nor why we needed to raise taxes, or what could be cut? Neither asked about the families or seniors who were struggling to pay them. No, instead they chose to argue with those who were questioning the need to raise taxes and then summarily voted to increase them. This is to say nothing about the high water and sewer bills we all get to see quarterly.

This weekend was the Halloween parade. We saw lots of happy kids having a great time. We also saw kids who have a slim chance of affording to move back to the town they grew up in once they finish high school or college. We have to stop the constant escalation in property tax especially when county republicans lowered them this year. We won’t see the benefit though as ours are going up again. You will get your new tax bill in the spring, after the election.

One has to wonder why they would make up an issue like selling the marina. For the record, no one has ever suggested selling the marina. It is a stupid idea. It was however brought up at Council by one of the Democrats a few years ago and since Lou and Jake are now aligned with the Democrats you have to wonder if this is something they secretly planned to do. Or perhaps it’s an attempt to take our minds off of the terrible job they have done with the marina, where revenues have been decreasing and boat slips have gone empty.

The crew at the marina does a good job running it, but Lou’s leadership on the Council is missing when it comes to managing it. Leadership requires vision and the ability to carry out your vision. Why has the marina never been actively marketed? I lived in a small town in Florida (Fernandina Beach) that could be a sister town to Atlantic Highlands. It had a small downtown with lots of restaurants and businesses on the main street. At the end of the street was a marina very similar to ours. They promoted their town and held many events that offset taxes. For example, a yearly shrimp festival brought thousands of people to the town in one weekend. They also hosted large fishing tournaments that brought people in from several states. A boat show was planned when I left as well. The money spent there helped the businesses downtown and also helped defray taxes. Our marina is probably making half of what it should make. This is not my opinion, but that of many others who understand how to manage a marina.

Our opponent’s motto is “hands off our harbor” and that is the problem – their hands have been off the harbor too long and they need to be replaced. If they were doing their job the marina revenue would not be underperforming and they would not have had to raise your property taxes so many times in the past six years.

What is really sad to me is I like Fred. I would see him at our American Legion meetings and often in town during the 11 years I have lived here. He lives down the street from me. Fred knows who I am and even said hello to me Saturday morning. He could have easily walked up and asked me “Do you guys really intend to sell the harbor?” He would’ve had his answer instantly: “NO”.

There is no one to blame for creating the mess we currently have in our politics but our opponents. They put their personal egos and dislike for other members on the Council above their town last year when they sent out that tasteless letter and now moved to eliminate the democratic slate so democrat voters have no democrats to pick from Tuesday in order to ensure their success.

Our opponents simply don’t have the vision to see what their reckless actions are doing to our community.

Lastly, we are all neighbors and should treat each other accordingly, with respect. The Naval Academy reinforced the importance of telling the truth. I wish others did so when running for office.

Sue and I are committed to stopping the ever increasing taxes and righting this ship November 8th. We need balance on the council. If you agree that we are right for Atlantic Highlands, please vote for us. 

Sincerely,

 

Steve Boracchia
Atlantic Highlands

 

Former AH Mayor Endorses Fligor / Hoffmann

My friends and neighbors of Atlantic Highlands, Election Day is November 8,2016.This is an extremely important election, which will affect our nation as a whole, and I hope that everyone exercises their obligation to vote. As your former Mayor I am very concerned about this election and what has occurred within our little community. As you know Lou Fligor and Jake Hoffmann, are running to maintain their seats on the Borough council. Both Lou and Jake have been strong supporters of the Borough of Atlantic Highlands and its people most of their lives. Both men were registered Republicans who always voted for the benefit of the town, regardless of politics. They always worked with Democrats and Independents to resolve any differences. In this election, both men were forced to change their party affiliation from Republican to Independent, because Jane Frotton, Republican Chairwoman refused to run them as Republicans.

This is my sixth version of this letter. I have had a very hard time cutting five full pages of information into one or two pages. Every time the Republican campaign sends out information I have more lies to counter. The two Republican candidates Steve and Sue are being treated like mushrooms, “kept in the dark and fed BS” by a self serving Republican Chairwoman, Jane Frotton and a bitter councilman who lost his bid twice for Mayor.

My first thoughts for Steve and Sue are to learn who the residents of town are. Steve, at least know the wives and children of the candidates you are running against while you campaign during the Halloween parade. YES their wives and children do live in town!

Sue, I suggest you do not say on social media or on flyers, that you are not planning to get rid of our police dispatchers or sell our Municipal Harbor, then tell attendees at your recent fund raiser, that you are interested in “selling our Harbor” because “we need changes in town.”

To both of you, I suggest you check history of our town. Mayor Helen “Mount” Marchetti, was the Mayor who created the Atlantic Highlands/Highlands Regional Sewer Authority because we had our own Sewer treatment plant in the Hollie Tree Lot that needed 1Y2 to 2 million dollars of renovations about 30 years ago. At that time the Regional Sewer Authority was the best choice for our town. It became an expensive, bloated, abusive, entity over the years. Especially when the Republican Chairwoman worked there and her relative became the administrator at an $80,000.00 plus salary. Jake, Lou, Roy Dellosso, Bob Sutton and I dissolved it with Highlands Representatives. Jack Archibald and Pete Doyle tried to stop the dissolution. Further, Helen’s family was one of the families that created our town; did you ever hear of “Mount” Avenue?

Dick Stryker helped shape our town and greatly enhanced our business district, he started Bayshore Pharmacy, which still exists, and was a great Mayor supporting the town he grew up in. He is responsible for many things we enjoy today.

I had accomplished tasks that were greatly needed, a new Borough Hall and library, a skateboard park, Henry Hudson Trail, local soccer field, repaired and upgraded our fresh water supply system and rebuilt the Harbor after it was destroyed by Sandy. I was very lucky I had the support of Jake, Lou, Bob, Roy and until about 2013, Jack and Pete. Jack and Pete’s support stopped when Jane Frotton promised them things that she could not do. Since Jack lost the Mayoral election in 2015 he has been a non- productive, bitter member, of the council. Attend any meeting and see for yourself.

As to Helen, Dick and I being the “old guard” not worthy of throwing our support to Jake and Lou, I am very proud to be included as an equal to Helen and Dick, two people I have respected my entire life!

Paid for by friends of Fligor and for “Old guard”? Jane Frotton has been involved in Politics since 1970’s and Jack Archibald has been on council for 21years.

As to tax and spend, Sue and Steve get your facts straight, come into the sunlight, find out the facts don’t let a self-serving Chairwoman and a disgruntle councilman, give you wrong information.

Facts: Jake has never been part of the Finance Committee; Lou served on finance about 13 years ago, never since! However, Jack and Pete have been on, or chair, of the Finance Committee every year since at least 2008. Jack and Pete have created our town’s budget each year since 2008 and usually vote against the budget so they can show a “phony pattern” that they were not responsible for increases. “Create and often chair the committee,” which consists of 3 people, normally 2 Republicans and 1Democrat most years, submit it, then vote “no” to adopt it, “Phony”!

As to our town’s real financial condition. Fact: our operating budget has been reduced over the past 10 years and has saved hundreds of thousands of dollars to our taxpayers. We are running very well with our reduced number of employees. Tax increases over the past 10 years are due to “fixed costs”. Increased costs of health benefits, utilities, supplies, contracts with unions and services. Recently Sandy related costs added to our increase. No one can reduce fixed costs except for firing our dispatchers, selling our Harbor, firing our sanitation department. All of which have been suggested by the Republican campaign. As a lifelong resident, I do not want to see dozens of our residents fired, when they are doing such a good job for us all.

As to further lies, Facebook from Sue and Steve, recently: Fact – the rent control, I would not be affected by it, you need 4 plus housing units, I only have 2, my rentals are commercial not residential. However any of you who have worked hard to get 4 housing rentals would adversely be affected. Fact- the only thousands of dollars in reference to me repairing my 40-year-old wall on Highland Avenue would have been if Jack Archibald was successful in charging me thousands of dollars for 6″ X 67 Feet wider than the 18″ wall that has been beyond my property line for 40 years. Jack is bitter he lost the Mayor election.

Jake and Lou are the best choice for our town; they always act for the best interest of our town and its people. They will ensure that our quality of life in the town we all love, remains a place we all want to live in and raise our families.

Vote on November 8th for Lou Fligor and Jake Hoffmann, bottom right on the ballot.

Fred Rast
Former Mayor
Atlantic Highlands