Archive

Archive for April, 2015

Fundraising Analysis – Is This Site Viable?

April 29th, 2015 5 comments

On April 17, I posted what I felt was a desperate and personally humiliating fundraising appeal (see this post).

I left that post up for exactly one week.

Over that period of time, according to Google analytics, the fundraising post was visited by about 2000 unique viewers who spent an average of almost 4 minutes on the page.

I also got a couple of cryptic calls from folks suggesting job offers – none of which seem to have been realistic. The appeal was shared on Facebook or Twitter by 160 people, assumedly to countless other people.

Since then, I’ve raised $2,570 from 38 supporters. I received support via US mail from a few other individuals for maybe $150. So lets round that to a $2,700 total thus far from 40 people.

That amounts to support from about 2% of blog viewers ,or about $1.50 per page viewed. More favorably, that amounts to about $2,700 per week.

In my view, both are incredibly impressive figures.

But, are they real, in terms of sustaining my work?

Or were they just one shot handouts from friends that had nothing whatsoever to do with this blog?

I initially was overwhelmed by the support, because my initial fundraising goal was $1,000, designed merely to pay immediate expenses for a year of my blog server and internet service.

My goal shifted, to see if I could raise additional funds and possibly make the blog sustainable. That would take at least $45,000 per year.

Now, upon reflection, I honestly don’t know whether this is a good response or a disaster.

I note that I personally knew and had longstanding relationships with virtually every single contributor.

At the same time, there were issues and communities that I’ve spent a lot of time with and supported on this blog that contributed absolutely nothing.

I interpret that as evidence that this blog has generated zero support from readers.

Absolutely Zero.

That is not a model that is sustainable.

But, just to examine the possibilities, I went back and queried Google analytics for data on the blog’s readership over the last year.

Over the prior year, since April 29, 2014, this blog has been visited by 35,000 unique viewers, who had 70,000 sessions and read 105,000 pages, spending over 2 minutes per session.

If each visitor contributed just $2 per year, this thing could be viable.

One reader and supporter suggested that I charge subscriptions.

Previously, I’ve rejected both subscriptions and advertising  as commercialization.

But, given that I am broke and unemployed, if I want to continue, something has got to give.

Would readers be willing to pay a $10 per year subscription?

I think this blog has had a valuable impact – in terms of providing good information and informed analysis to communities and activists; in shaping news coverage; and in influencing elite opinion in Trenton political and policy circles.

Don’t get me wrong: I am incredibly grateful to those who have helped out.

But, I’m thinking of packing it in. If readers find no value, why write?

Thoughts?

Categories: Uncategorized Tags:

The Weak Link In the D&R Canal Linear State Park

April 28th, 2015 No comments

Industrial Sites In Trenton Damage and Pollute Canal

seep from Scarpati Recycling cross canal path

what appears to be a leachate seep from Scarpati Recycling crosses canal path and discharges into canal

[Important Update below]

I’ve ridden the segment from Milford to Trenton along the Delaware, but there are two segments of the D&R Canal State Park system I have not ridden yet on my bike.

So, the other day I took the trip along the Canal from Princeton to Trenton.

I would not recommend it.

The trail quality is lousy in stretches from Princeton to Lawrence (rocky, single track) and the adjacent industrial land uses below the pedestrian bridge across Rt. 1 really negatively impact the experience.

Coming south, just as you enter Trenton, you ride a thin strip of land between an active industrial site on your right (air emissions and hazardous waste drums and all) and heavily traveled Route 1 on your left.

As I hit Scarpati Recyling facility, I saw a broken storm water or discharge pipe had washed out a portion of the trail and the canal bank, creating a physical trail hazard and likely storm water industrial discharge to the canal (see photos):

broken pipe washes out trail and canal bank

broken pipe washes out trail and canal bank

broken old industrial discharge or storm water pipe

broken old industrial discharge or storm water pipe

Just a 100 feet of so south of that point, the trail was being washed out with what appeared to be a leachate seep, which also was discharging to the Canal (see photos)

leachate seep (right) crosses canal path and discharges to canal

leachate seep (right) crosses canal path and discharges to canal

rusty metallic leachate discharges into canal

rusty metallic leachate discharges into canal

I contacted the D&R Canal Park Superintendent, who has been professional and very responsive in the past.

The Superintendent responded the next day to advise that NJ Water Supply Authority was aware of the situation and planned to repair one of the problems (not sure which one) this summer.

Still, I suggested that she contact DEP industrial storm water permitting and solid waste enforcement to determine compliance with DEP permits.

In addition to the physical washout of the canal path and bank, the pollution discharge likely coming from Scarpati Recycling probably contains nasty pollutants like oil, grease, anti-freeze glycols, gasoline, and toxic heavy metals.

The trail ends at Perry Street, where the Canal goes underground through Trenton. But, just a few hundred feet north of Perry Street, I came across an illegal dumping scene:

garbage dumped illegally just north of Perry Street trailhead

garbage dumped illegally just north of Perry Street trailhead

We’ll keep you posted and see if the Park Superintendent refers this to enforcement – if not, we’ll contact the DEP Hot Line tomorrow.

urban art under bridge near Perry Street terminus

urban art under bridge near Perry Street terminus

[Update – 5/6/15 – The D&R Canal Park Superintendent immediately responded and then followed up with NJ Water Supply Authority.

Here is the NJWSA response:

* NJWSA staff observed the broken clay pipe entering the Canal behind Scarpati. NJWSA was aware of the situation and already has the materials to repair it. By July 2015, the repair should be complete and the area of the embankment that is eroded will be stabilized and re-seeded. It appears that the pipe is a City of Trenton stormwater pipe that passes under Scarpati’s facility rather than originating from it. This is based on observation of the location of the pipe and catch basins and manholes on New York Ave. NJWSA has no agreement for this pipe with the City of Trenton or Scarpati.

* NJWSA staff observed the wet areas of the towpath in the vicinity of Scarpati Recycling. It should be noted that NJWSA staff have also observed that this type of towpath wetness is not uncommon in this stretch of the Canal. It appears that the runoff is coming from the direction of the Scarpati facility but visual observation was not conclusive as to the origin or makeup of the runoff. NJWSA forwarded a report of the runoff to NJDEP on April 30, 2015.

The other reported concern was the presence of garbage and graffiti within the Park. Parks maintenance staff will respond to these items directly.  By the weeks end the trash should be gone, I’ll see if we can find a local volunteer/scout group for the painting.  That’s something the kids enjoy doing and can see a tangible result from their efforts.

Just to be clear, I have no problem with the “graffiti” and think it should remain. That’s why I called it urban art.

I’ll try to followup on how DEP responds to the NJWSA runoff report and see what this means – it sounds like an illegal discharge:

NJWSA has no agreement for this pipe with the City of Trenton or Scarpati.

Categories: Uncategorized Tags:

Christie DEP Hammered By Assembly Budget Committee

April 28th, 2015 No comments

Assemblyman McKeon Drills Down on Exxon deal

Martin Spins and Hides Under the AG’s Skirt

Martin Falsely Attacks Rutgers Barnegat Bay Study

Just a few quick points on yesterday’s Assembly Budget Committee hearing on the Christie DEP’s FY’16 proposed budget (listen here 10 am).

First of all, the focus of the Committee was sharper and the questions were more substantive and critical than the Senate’s last week.

  • Climate Change, Adaptation, and Renewable Energy Failures Ignored

The Senate did a better job criticizing the Christie Administration’s across the board abdication on dealing with climate change, adaptation, and renewable energy.

Given the importance of the issues and the miserable performance by the Christie Administration, that is really shocking and unacceptable.

  • McKeon is all over Exxon and Lax Enforcement
Assemblyman John McKeon (D-Essex)

Assemblyman John McKeon (D-Essex)

Assemblyman McKeon, in particular, did a fine job and led the charge.

He began by pinning Martin down on the Christie’s failure to aggressively enforce the NRD program – just 1 NRD claim filed in 6 years, compared with 161 filed in the prior 6 years.

McKeon asked detailed questions about the Exxon NRD deal and lax inspection and enforcement statistics. He came prepared, at times reading excerpts from the Exxon settlement and DEP’s own enforcement statistics. Bravo McKeon!

Martin refused to answer most of McKeon’s questions based on a sham legal excuse that litigation was still pending and he needed the AG by his side.

Martin’s performance was embarrassing. As McKeon and others have noted, the proposed settlement is now open for public comment (until June 5 – you can comment to:  ExxonMobilBaywaySettlement@DEP.NJ.Gov ). Of course Martin can talk about the proposed settlement – he already issued  a totally inappropriate press release with the AG praising it!

Martin was totally evasive about the 16 additional Exxon sites and 900 gas stations included in the agreement. McKeon also, for the first time, probed the DEP’s concessions to Exxon on any future surface water NRD recovery (I’ve written about that and the full agreement here).

Martin arrogantly dismissed public opposition, saying that most of the over 5,000 comments submitted thus far were a “form letter”.

McKeon also criticized steep 30 – 60% reductions in DEP inspections and fines since 2010. Martin had no real response to that, claiming that DEP was working to promote compliance

Read the PolitickerNJ  story for some of the details.

  • Privatized Toxic Site Cleanup Program Provided $9 million Subsidy to Polluters

Adding insult to injury, we learned that, thus far, the privatized toxic site cleanup program created under the 2009 Site Remediation Reform Act has provided over $9 million in subsidies to polluters via special appropriations to DEP’s budget. Oversight fees paid by polluters have not paid the full cost of the DEP program.

DEP Commissioner Martin said that DEP oversight costs were not being paid – either because the LSRP’s failure to pay oversight costs or because there has been a reduction in oversight fees. That shifts the burden from polluters to the taxpayers.

  • Democrats carry water for big corporate polluters – want DEP permit fees cut

Every year, Assembly Democrats, historically led by Lou Greenwald, read from the script handed to them by the lobbyists for the big polluters and complain about high DEP permit fees.

They do this every year and are never criticized by press or environmental groups and held accountable for it.

Yesterday, repeating that pattern, Assemblyman Burzichelli (D-Oil) and Chairman Schaer strongly criticized DEP for allegedly high pollution permit fees.

Both were carrying the water of polluters – Both legislators were taking an anti-environmental position that is championed by the Chamber of Commerce, NJ BIA, Chemistry Council, Petroleum Council et al.

The corporations want to reduce their permit fees for two reasons: 1) pure greed: increased profits; and 2) to weaken DEP and reduce DEP oversight of their operations.

Lower DEP permit fees results in fewer DEP staff and that means less regulation, weaker permits, and less monitoring, inspection and enforcement.

  • DEP policy and performance criticized across the board

Commissioner Martin got specific critical questions about several DEP programs, including failure to update the Water Supply Plan, efforts to privatize and commercialize Liberty State Park, failure to adopt drinking water standards, and extensive delays in the cleanup of Barnegat Bay.

In an outrageous deception, Martin completely misrepresented scientific peer review findings of Rutgers’ Barnegat Bay study. Martin claimed that peer reviewers claimed that Rutgers’ findings “not in line with data”. That is false (read peer review comments here).

Q: Are the written conclusions in line with data presented? Should there be any concerns regarding poor statistical correlations?

Summary of Peer Reviewer Responses: The Nutrient Assessment report authors’ conclusions were considered a legitimate interpretation of the data presented in most cases – poor statistical correlations are expected with ecological data. However, data gaps, asynchronous data, and poorly correlated data required that the Nutrient Assessment report authors make a number of assumptions in their analyses, and therefore the conclusions presented may not be the only possible interpretation. While the Nutrient Assessment report authors’ overall conclusion that BB-LEH is a eutrophic estuary is likely valid, a number of the statements made and trends presented are not sufficiently justified in the report.

With respect to special urban issues, legislators complained that those needs were neglected by DEP, including funding for brownfields cleanup, parks, and water infrastructure.

In response, Martin made it obvious that the Christie DEP has no overall vision or plan for urban NJ, and instead is diverting funds from urban environmental programs.

  • Restoration of Parks & Water Resource Programs Cut By Open Space

I don’t want to beat a dead horse here, but, based on questions, it is obvious that the Keep It Green Coalition continues to lie, spin, and mislead legislators.

NJ Spotlight also continues to follow the company (Foundation funded) line, this time, pouncing on and crafting a false narrative around Assemblyman Singleton’s slogan, calling the restoration of funds a “bait and switch”.

I am a severe Christie/Martin critic – but there was no “bait and switch”.

The Christie Administration OPPOSED the Open Space ballot question, so how could they be accused of “baiting” the voters? To be a true “bait and switch” the Christie Adminisration would have had to support the open space ballot Q. They didn’t. So there can’t be a “bait and switch”.

If Spotlight wants to use commonplace analogies, there was a “Rob Peter to pay Paul” – and it was created by the deceptive Keep It Green Coalition million dollar PR campaign that misled voters.

It is wrong to compare the restoration of $20 million in parks and water resource funds that were diverted by the open space ballot with prior HUGE $1 billion diversions of Clean Energy, landfill closure, recycling et al funds.

The prior diversions took funds earmarked for environmental programs away – the current restoration resorts funds to environmental programs that were diverted by the Open Space ballot.

Shame on Keep It Green for continued spin and lies to Legislators who don’t understand environmental programs.

Categories: Uncategorized Tags:

Pinelands Developments – Black Run Watershed, MOA Reform, New Sewer Plans, and More

April 25th, 2015 No comments

The Pinelands Commission’s Policy and Implementation Committee met on Friday to discuss several matters (agenda and packet). [You can watch hearing here].

After the meeting, the new Ad Hoc Committee to reform the MOA process met for the first time. Here’s a quick summary of what went on.

1. Black Run Watershed Plan

This plan is important beyond the Black Run watershed because it will define and serve as the Commission’s model for sub-regional planning. The Commission is calling this a “pilot project”.

[What this sub-regional planning model boils down to is this: in order for the Commission to redesignate lands in a way that reduces development potential, new growth must be provided to compensate property owners, regardless of whether the development potential was “realistic” and “investment backed” and regardless of whether the new growth area is appropriate (why else waive T&E survey requirements in the new growth area? Why ignore restrictions on wastewater infrastructure in forest areas?). In this case, the existing rural development area land that would be redesignated as new forest area is environmentally constrained and would only support 70 clustered units (max.)  Yet, the new 150 acre growth area would allow 325 units! An almost 5 -1  ratio!]

Conceptually, the plan is seriously flawed because it is a trading scheme and is not driven by the Pinelands Act mandate to preserve Pinelands resources and only allow “compatible development” based upon scientific criteria and resource protection standards.

Serious flaws in the plan include:

  • fails to apply environmental constraints and thereby greatly overestimates development potential of the lands targeted for preservation;
  • fails to consider environmental constraints on lands targeted for development;
  • waives T&E survey requirements and PDC’s for lands targeted for development;
  • fails to consider water supply and wastewater infrastructure capacity or impacts;
  • fails to consider impacts of development on Pinelands periphery – e.g. new growth area located adjacent to preserved forest.

Given the significance of this plan as a model and the serious flaws, I can’t understand why I am the only one who has even commented on it.

I wrote about the plan previously (see this for details).

It is a complicated plan, but it basically involves re-designation of about 4,000 acres of forest from rural development area to forest area, reducing allowable density and development potential, and creating a new 175 acre regional growth area to build some 325 units. The new growth area is designed to compensate landowners for the development potential that would be reduced by the forest area re-designation.

Last time, the plan was tabled and staff was asked to provide an additional briefing on the development of and elements of the plan.

Keep in mind that at the prior meeting, staff found that

  • the current rural development designation “does not reflect the ecological value of the area”
  • the current rural development designation ”continues to create unrealistic development expectations
  • a Forest Area resignation would reflect the current CMP standards for Forest Area

Yesterday, staff provided an historical overview of how the Evesham – Medford plan – which is the basis for the current plan proposed by staff – originated.

The 2006 Evesham-Medford plan was subsequently adopted by Evesham in its Master Plan and approved by the Commission via Resolution,  but it was never implemented in Evesham zoning ordinances or CMP changes. There was a brief discussion of the lack of progress in implementing the plan.

It was obvious that the Evesham- Medford plan was a response to development proposals at the time that threatened to fragment forests and degrade water quality.

Given that development pressure at the time (AKA “investment  backed expectations”), the Commission was forced to compromise and come up with a plan that allowed property owners to profit from the allowable development potential.

But that hot real estate market does not exist right now and there are no pending development applications before the Commission. The Commission is not under pressure to compromise and therefor should base any new plan on existing criteria and science, not development expectations that drove the 10 year old Evesham-Medford plan.

Commissioner Ashmum supported the plan. Commissioner Prickett noted the plan was funded by the ‘prestigious” Wm. Penn Foundation. Commissioner Galletta raised several concerns and opposed inclusion of the on-site wastewater system option to serve new development in the new designated growth area.

After a brief discussion and without public comment, the Committee approved staff’s recommended “Option 3″, but without the option for an on-site community wastewater system with about a 90,000 GPD capacity (according to Larry L, I could not find that number in the plan itself) (see staff’s presentation). That plan also would waive T&E survey requirements and Pinelands PDC credits in the new growth area.

The only wastewater option would be via a pipeline connection to Voorhees or Evesham sewer treatment plant – both not very likely and not cost effective.

Both wastewater options would be inconsistent with restrictions on wastewater infrastructure in Forest Areas. So the plan is inconsistent with the CMP! 

My sense is that the Commission thinks that there are so many barriers to development of 325 units in the newly designated growth area that it will not happen, meanwhile the forest re-designation will.

This is a dishonest game.

The plan is flawed and a lousy deal – I support option 2, which is to correct an historical error and re-designate the land as Forest area.

There is no need to “balance” this re-designation with new growth because the forested lands should never have been designated rural growth area to begin with. There is no need to “compensate” landowners because development expectations are not reasonable as a result of environmental and regulatory constraints on this land.

Those forested lands should never have originally been designated rural development area. Based on current Pinelands criteria, they meet Forest Preservation area standards.

The land development potential in the currently designated rural development area was overestimated as 325 units. However, environmental and regulatory constraints  – wetlands, stream buffers, and T&E habitat – would not allow anywhere near that amount of development. 

I criticized the plan “horse trading” not planning, because the primary objective is to create a development trading scheme to compensate landowners, not preserve Pinelands resources and allow compatible development based on existing scientific criteria of ecological value.

The next step appears to be a CMP amendment authorizing this plan as a pilot program. We’ll keep you posted.

2. Independent review of T & E surveys

There was a good discussion of flaws in existing T&S survey requirements with respect to the role of consultant’s for developers. Under current requirements, those surveys are prepared by consultants who work for the developers, raising conflict of interest and scientific bias concerns.

PPA and NJ Audubon and others are seeking to have independent experts, who report to the Commission not the developer, prepare or review T&E surveys, and have the applicant pay for those services, much like the current practice of local development reviews where developers pay into an escrow fund to support independent reviews.

Staff was criticized for working to find ways to block these reforms instead of working to make them happen. No decisions were made or commitments to future action.

3. MOA reforms – just don’t mention “South Jersey Gas pipeline”

The new Ad Hoc MOA reform Committee met for the first time.

The good news is that Chairwoman Ashmum reversed her prior prohibition on public comment.

The bad news is that Chairwoman Ashmum seems to think that these reforms can be accomplished without rule making. Here’s what transpired:

Staff provided a briefing on the origin and purpose of the MOA mechanisms. The MOA was included in a package of 1994 rule amendments. The objective was to make it easier to obtain approval for projects that conflicted with the CMP but served a public purpose. Historically, those kind of projects were not able to meet the waiver of strict compliance standards, which require demonstration of a “compelling public need” and that there be “no alternatives”.

Several members outlined their concerns and there seemed to be a consensus that the focus of reforms be on:

  • provide the Commission with early involvement
  • limit eligibility to public entities;
  • establish better definition and restriction of “public purpose” to the Pinelands;
  • extending the public comment period; and
  • developing science based standards to enforce the current “equivalent protection” standard.

There was no agreement on whether “public utilities” or State entities like BPU representing a private for profit like South Jersey Gas, could be eligible for a MOA.

Commissioner Avery objected to any rule making.

Commissioner Lloyd suggested that there may be legal problems in trying to implement any new MOA scheme without adopting them procedure as a regulation.

I spoke and supported the overall objectives, but added that

1) the Commission should impose a moratorium on any consideration of any MOA’s pending adoption of new rules to strengthen current MOA regulations, like the DRBC moratorium on review of fracking applications; and

2) strongly disagreed with Chairwoman Ashum’s intent to avoid regulations – the MOA is a regulatory review procedure, so new rules are required (as Lloyd suggested).

3) I objected to the Committee’s plan to meet in closed session with Pinelands Commission staff.

The Committee seems to be bending over backwards to avoid admitting that mistakes were made during the SJG MOA and to block the public from criticizing that process or ED Wittenberg & Counselor Roth’s actions – or opening Pandora’s Box by discussing interactions with the Governor’s Office.

4. DEP addition of 13,000 acres in new sewer service areas

Fred Akers spoke during the public comment period and raised concerns about DEP’s proposed approval of County Water Quality Management Plans that would add 13,000 acres of new sewer service areas (SSA) in the Pinelands (see the DEP public notice).

Fred said he had reviewed portions of the Atlantic County maps and found cases where the DEP would allow sewers in forest and other protected areas.

Staff immediately interjected and contradicted Fred’s claims – staff said they had done detailed reviews and that all new SSA are limited to designated growth areas that allow sewers under the CMP.

Fred disagreed and urged the Commission to loook closely at the SSA maps with respect to CMP requirements.

The DEP will hold a public hearing on May 13 at the Pinelands Commission building.

I was blown away by this and the fact that  Fred had to bring the issue to light during a public comment period.

The staff never, to my knowledge, discussed this or even mentioned it as a heads up to Commissioners.

Unreal.

I spoke briefly to say that I was blindsided by this and although did not have the opportunity to look at the SSSA maps, I raised concerns about the Christie DEP’s statewide policy to increase the size of sewer service areas to promote development, including revising SSA maps to include environmentally sensitive lands that previous DEP administration’s had eliminated from SSA’s.

More to follow.

Categories: Uncategorized Tags:

Did You Ever Think Life Would Turn Out Like This?

April 17th, 2015 No comments

 A Different Kind of Emergency Fundraising Appeal

life

[Update – 4/19/15 – I am absolutely blown away by the tremendous outpouring of support! Just over the weekend, my $1,000 goal has almost been met. THANK YOU!!! Check status or contribute here.

That goal was based upon an immediate need to generate cash to renew my blog server host, plus 1 year’s internet service. As I noted, I am in a financial hole and lacked the money to do that.

I discovered this fundraising tool on Friday from a group of University of Virginia students that were fundraising for an anti-fracking bike tour (see: Atlantic Coast Pipeline Resistance Ride), and after reading that appeal, in my financial desperation, I thought I’d try a Hail Mary.

So, given the incredible support, I am going to expand my fundraising objectives – until I find paid work, perhaps fundraising can help dig me out of the hole I’m in.

I filed 6 month extensions for my state and federal taxes, which I estimate at about $4,000 and I am about $11,000 in arrears on my mortgage, which my bank just began foreclosure on.

So, my next goal will be $15,000 over the next 6 months with the objective to pay my taxes and mortgage arrears.

This goal might be more realistic if I ask for smaller contributions from more people – perhaps just $5 – $10 instead of the big checks people are writing.

I can understand if people are not comfortable with this – because instead of Keep WolfeNotes alive, it’s turning into Keep Wolfe Alive.

But if this works out, perhaps it can be the means of replacing a salary and I can do Wolfenotes as a full time gig. ~~~ end update.]

Look, I’m not going to write some perky upbeat Foundation formulated bullshit about seeking support for an informed, highly credible, expert, and independent voice that holds the powerful accountable, supports grassroots activism, shapes media and policy narratives, and tells the truth as he sees it (while being effective and influential at the same time).

My experience suggests a darker perspective.

Regular readers here know what I try to do. Hopefully, I’ve provided something of value to you. I think its unique and something that no other source provides.

If so, I am now asking that you give back a little to help me over a rough spot. Given the traffic at this site, a small contribution from just 25% of readers could provide funding to support my efforts.

So, readers have three choices at this point: 1) hit the delete button now; 2) go directly to my fundraising site and make a contribution; or 3) read on and decide how to proceed.

My current situation reminds me of a crushing scene from the 1978 movie “Deer Hunter” – a film I both love and hate for reasons too complex to discuss here – between Meryl Streep and Robert De Niro where Streep’s character says (watch the whole scene):

Did you ever think life would turn out like this?

And, as he pulls off in his old Cadillac, De Niro tersely responds:

No

Well neither did I.

That’s about where I’m at right now.

I never  thought that at 58 years old, I’d be broke and on the verge of homelessness.

I never thought –  in what should be the height of my professional career –  that after an Ivy League graduate school education, followed by a 13 year career in State government and 17 years in the non-profit sector as an environmental advocate, that I’d be unemployed – perhaps unemployable – and facing foreclosure and homelessness.

Guess you could say that I’m at my George Bailey moment.

This is the precarious position of many men of my age, skill set, and ideological disposition. The news calls it long term unemployment.

I call it expendable.

After being a whistleblower and working for PEER for a decade and mashing everyone’s toes, there’s not exactly a huge demand for my professional services – in the private or public sectors.

Whether I’m a victim of the modern age, whether I’m just a total failure as a human being and professional, or whether this is an opportunity to experience what Allan Watts called “the wisdom of insecurity” – remains to be seen.

So, that’s all a round about way to begin a very awkward and humiliating form of internet begging.

For many years, I’ve kept this website free of advertising and fund raising.

Since 2005, in my capacity as NJ PEER Director and blogger here, I’ve focused on the work and freely gave my time and expertise to numerous citizen groups – never asking for or expecting anything in return.

But now I am desperate. Here’s whats going on.

PEER is in financial crisis and they laid me off back in October 2014. I was unknowingly reclassified as an independent contractor and was denied unemployment benefits, a decision I am currently appealing.

I’m flat out broke, have not paid the mortgage, and am facing foreclosure.

Those that are be interested in financially supporting my work can make a contribution at this fundraising site.

I would love to be financially secure enough to write what I’d like to, whatever the consequences,  as I have done on this blog.

But that kind of truth telling gets many people pissed off.

As my friend Scott Olson recently tweeted, speaking truth to power is not free.

I formed the NJ Chapter of PEER in 2005. Since then, I’ve tried to support citizens across the state in their efforts to promote public health and protection of the environment.

I think I’ve provided information and analysis that has assisted grass roots activists and the professionals in well funded environmental groups.

I wish I could say that those NJ groups and the NJ based environmental grant making foundations supported my work.

But, over time, that support has withered from little to none – all while totally ineffective groups and campaigns have been well funded.

So, if you appreciate a different point of view that tries to support arguments with facts and distributes relevant information widely, then share the love – make a contribution.

If I can make this work, I’ll expand the Wolfenotes efforts and do this full time, providing more information and reporting on more issues.

Sorry to have to humiliate myself and grovel like this. Believe me, I do this as a last resort.

Categories: Uncategorized Tags: