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All I Can Say Is: HECKOFAJOB Keep It Green!

With “Leadership” like this …..

I just read Tom Johnson’s NJ Spotlight story on Open Space – before I had a chance to read the bill or supporting documents distributed during yesterday’s Senate Environment Committee hearing – and was captured by this remarkable set of facts, which I was aware of but had not seen assembled quite like this before:

The proposed allocations reflect a deep cut in money set aside for the programs from a 2009 bond issue.

Green Acres funding is down from $218 million; Blue Acres is down from $246 million; farmland preservation is dropping from $146 million; and protection of historic structures is falling from the $12 million allocation from the 2009 bond issue, according to material prepared by the committee.

Does that seem like a celebration of accomplishment to you?

[* and Tom went very easy on Keep It Green by failing to note that their attempt to steal State Parks capital and lease/concession money was thwarted – but to do that, Tom would have had to give us credit.]

I was so taken aback by seeing that in one tight paragraph that it occurred to me to post this comment on that story, which I share here:

So, let’s see if I have this right:

The Keep It Green Coalition spent $1 million on an a PR campaign to convince voters of what they had approved previously many times by large majorities more than a dozen times on ballot measures over a 50 year period – the epitome of motherhood and apple pie – but with a remarkable new wrinkle:

1) deep cuts in open space, farmland preservation, historic preservation, and blue acres funding;

2) deep cuts in core DEP programs, including water resources, NJ Geological Survey, water monitoring, and toxic site cleanup;

3) diversion of $51 million, over the next 4 years, from State Parks maintenance (the difference between $15 million cut that was restored and the $32 million that would have been provided in 2016 – 2020);

4) no new badly need urban funding for things like urban parks, community gardens, and farmers markets in food deserts;

5) no inclusion of climate change or urban forestry or programs to reduce GHG emissions or to mitigate the impacts of climate change;

6) creation of an undefined “stewardship” program that could include publicly funded commercial logging on State lands;

7) opposition to and a missed opportunity to dedicate hundreds of millions of dollars in revenues from State pollution settlement agreements, like the Passaic River $190 million settlement; toxic site cost recovery; Natural resource Damage settlements, and other enforcement actions.

8) destruction of individual’s and organization’s credibility, creating bad blood and poisoning community relations by creating competition over existing funding instead of fighting for new funding.

Do I have that all right? Did I get it all?


[oops, I forgot at least 2:

9) failure to reform longstanding policy flaws (e.g. linking acquisitions to a land use plan or regulations) and known abuses (land appraisals, political influence in decision making, failure to capture speculative rents, public subsidies for land speculation,  and outright criminal corruption, (i.e. Assemblyman Ferriero went down on a Green Acres grant) et al)

10) Potentially well over 100 layoffs  at DEP

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