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“This bill is an abomination”

 The Future Of Liberty State Park Is In Gov. Christie’s Hands

My sources tell me that the LSP amendment was put in the bill at the request of the Governor’s Office. Prieto cut the deal instead of jeopardizing a Gov. veto of his bill.

That seems consistent with Gov. Christie’s parks privatization policy. ~~~ Wolfenotes 12/29/14

[Update: 1/3/15 – The Record followed their great story today with a similarly strong Op-Ed, see:

We understand that our good friend at the Star Ledger editorial board – who we sometimes slam – is loathe to concur with or give credibility or credit to our analysis.

But today’s Star Ledger editorial is too good to let our petty ego get in the way.

But we also must note that we gave both Star Ledger reporters and the editorial board this story at the same time the Bergen Record got it -but they failed to report it (similar pattern). As Rodney said, despite being consistently right and vindicated, we get no respect.

And it only became fair game and credible for the editors after the Bergen Record reported it.

And to mask the fact that we gave them the story, they even ignored our quote, which provided a much better perspective on the historical meaning than the lame quote the Ledger relied on:

“Keep, ancient lands, your storied pomp!” cries she
With silent lips. “Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”  

~~~ The New Colossus

So, in light of fair use doctrine, because it was such a home run, I reproduce it here without permission:

Gov. Christie’s agenda threatens Liberty State Park:


If you enjoy the glorious, unspoiled vistas of Liberty State Park – easily the most popular public space in the northern half of our state – you may want to prepare yourself for the possibility that someone wants to carve a neon noisemaker right into the heart of its 600 pristine acres.

A bill is currently on the governor’s desk that would remove the park from under the control of the Department of Environmental Protection, which is charged with protecting our state’s resources, and hand it over to the Meadowlands Regional Commission, a new entity that is all about business development and gaming.

Remarkably, this provision was added to the bill very quietly, a week before Christmas, without legislative debate or public discussion. There is only one reason these guys pull that stunt: They cannot defend the measure on the merits.

So you can see why skeptics believe that the backdrop for our most universal symbol of freedom, the Statue of Liberty, is one signature away from being transformed into, say, a polystyrene monument to glitzy showgirls and Fat Elvises and roulette wheels.

Jersey City mayor Steve Fulop calls the bill a “formal step to attempt to privatize” that would be “a black eye for the state of New Jersey.”

It certainly is a black eye for democracy. Not only was passed in the legislative shadows, its language is beyond vague, apparently so no one would notice that it could sharply curtain the influence of the DEP – the same DEP that prevented the construction of a water park and golf course inside the park after, you guessed it, public hearings.

And neither the chief sponsor, Assembly speaker Vincent Prieto (D-Hudson), nor the governor’s office will provide a cogent defense of this move, in writing or verbally. We are supposed to trust them.

This bill is an abomination. A state park is public space, and this one is hallowed ground – not only for New Jerseyans, but for any of the five million people who pass through annually.

“A black eye for the State of New Jersey” — Jersey City Mayor Steve Fulop

This was the place that Hudson sailed past on his way up from the Lower Bay. This place provided the port-side tableau venerated by Emma Lazarus as she penned the phrase, “The air-bridged harbor that twin cities frame” (and don’t bother suggesting she meant Brooklyn – you go to your church, we’ll go to ours.)

This is the home of Ellis Island, and the Romanesque wonder that is the Central Railroad Terminal, and the superb Empty Sky memorial – three iconic symbols of this nation’s history.

Of course, some would assert that nothing says “hallowed ground” better than a few dozen banks of slot machines and some craps tables.

There is nothing wrong with controlled, periodic, and reasonable privatization – summer concerts, wedding ceremonies and the like.

But the rest of us have a right to discuss it, before the matter is turned over to a development commission with sweeping authority to “evaluate, approve, and implement any plans. . . .for development, enhancement, or improvement of Liberty State Park.”

The governor will settle this issue alone, however. And it will say much about those we entrust with stewardship of our most precious resources, and the judgment they show when their agenda is hidden from those they are charged to serve.

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  1. tedotnob
    January 4th, 2015 at 10:54 | #1

    As further insurance that Christie will get what he wants, namely , privatization of anything he can, remember that the head of the
    state Environmental Protection Department is Bob Martin, who was a consultant
    to the Christie campaign in 2009. Christie appointed him to head that Department so he
    would have control of it, as he did by appointing Bill Baroni, David Sampson, and David
    Wildstein to the Port Authority.

  2. February 11th, 2015 at 16:36 | #2


    yes, you are correct about Martin and Christie’s privatization policy.

    Before Martin was installed at DEP, he was a private business consultant for the firm Accenture, itself a spinoff of the corrupt crimes of Arthur Andersen. He worked on privatization schemes in Thatcher’s UK.

    Martin has no training or experience in environmental science policy or law – or management of large institutions in the private or public sector.

  1. April 28th, 2015 at 01:03 | #1
  2. June 12th, 2015 at 16:03 | #2
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