your opinion


By Mark Woodward

The New Jersey Department of Environmental (the "NJ DEP") hearing held 1:00 p.m. on March 1, 1999 was an interesting affair. The room at Town Hall was packed with frightened people. What were they afraid of? They were afraid of losing their jobs. Could it be that entire municipal payroll was told to attend the meeting and speak in favor of approval of Phase I of the Roseland Development or lose their job? And you, the taxpayer, paid for approximately 100 town employees to take 4 hours out of their busy day to act as Mayor Turner’s personal cheerleaders. This amusing groundswell of support for the so-called "Brownstones" was actually embarrassing. None of the town employees that spoke in support of the development have ever been to any of the planning board meetings, nor to any WEC or FWW meetings. Some even admitted that they had never seen the Phase I plans before. Nothing of substance was said in favor of NJ DEP approval of the Waterfront Development Permit for Phase I. Sue Lawson of the NJ DEP, who presided over the meeting, meticulously pointed out that the decision on the permit would be based exclusively on facts, not which side had the most cheerleaders. So you, the taxpayer, paid for the town employees to participate in a feel-good rally for Carl Goldberg.

While we are on the subject of wasting taxpayers’ money; what would you think of a town attorney who doesn’t know enough about Weehawken’s municipal code to shepherd the planning board through the approval process. Sounds like the taxpayers are paying the salary of an attorney who is incompetent. That’s not an effective way to use tax dollars.

And finally, if Mayor Turner were doing his job effectively he would have worked to bring this town together around a wonderful development that we all had a say in shaping and that we could all be proud of. The expensive pep rally, the law suit, the flyers and newsletters would not have been necessary if Mayor Turner had worked to bring the town together. Wouldn’t you prefer to have the money and effort that has been wasted on trying to make things easy for Carl Goldberg spent on enforcing the litter laws, the dog waste laws and removing the drug dealers from Park Avenue? It’s your money.