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Initial Thoughts on the Open Space Vote

Questions for the Keep It Green Coalition

With no debate, the Assembly just approved the Resolution SCR84, by overwhelming majority votes. So much for Speaker Prieto’s claims about “The People’s House” and all views getting a fair hearing.

We will be opposing the measure from now till November, but we’re up against tons of conservation community and Foundation money, and there is little indication right now that the KIG coalition members will break ranks or that the less self interested groups like Sierra Club or NJEF will speak out honestly in opposition to what they did not create and know is a very bad plan.

For now, KIG members should be asked the following questions by the press and their members and Foundation backers:

1) what are your plans for replacing the $32 million diverted from parks funding? Will you fight for that money to be restored in next year’s budget?

2) now that you’ve not opposed Gov. Christie $1 billion plus in diversions and actively supported diversion of environmental funds for reasons not approved BY THE VOTERS (which is far worse than a diversion of legislatively appropriated money), how can you ever credibly oppose any future diversions of environmental funds?

3) now that you’ve accepted Gov. Christie’s austerity policy (no new revenues, no taxes, and no new debt) and refused to fight, to educate the public, and to conduct an open public campaign for the need for new revenues, how are you ever going to support funds for things like putting a price on carbon, gas tax, water tax, renewable energy, or financing multi-billion dollar water infrastructure deficits?

4) How can you look a kid from Newark, Jersey City, Paterson, Camden, et al in the eye while you skim off 20% of that money for “Stewardship” schemes that include commercial logging of state lands, and maybe 10% more for your own salaries?

Today is a day that lives in infamy – I am ashamed to be even remotely associated with any of this.

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