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The Light Of Reality Briefly Emerged, But Foundation Funded Corporate “Greens” Moved Quickly To Shut It Down

Warehouse Guidance “doomed”

Just another toothless wish list of wonderful things for towns to do”

Truth About The State Plan:Furthering the public good was not enough.”

[Update below]

In a very rare moment of truth-telling, last week, NJ Spotlight reported an extended confessional quote by Jim Gilbert, an author of the 1986 State Planning Act and longtime State Plan Commissioner.

Gilbert not only told the truth about the toothless State Plan and the recently released toothless Warehouse Guidance document, he fingered former Gov. Tom Kean for gutting the State Planning Act, thereby killing the State Plan in its crib (or more accurately, in the womb).

Because it was so rare, let me repeat that truth here (NJ Spotlight, emphases mine):

As an author of the 1986 State Planning Act, Gilbert said he and other drafters were told by the administration at the time to remove language that would dilute home-rule power while building up regional or statewide authority over the planning process.

“The reason given to us for this weakening of the proposed act was that the individual towns, represented by among others the League of Municipalities, would never give up the immense monopoly power they had over growth in the state,” he said. “The governor and legislative leaders knew that to convince the collective towns and cities to give up this power, they would have to offer something in return. Furthering the public good was not enough.”

The latest attempt to establish statewide or regional planning policy is doomed to fail for the same reason, Gilbert argued.

“Hope springs eternal among planners,” he said. “But we don’t seem to be willing to learn from our mistakes. So here we have again another toothless wish list of wonderful things for towns to do.”

One would think such a stunning rare and honest quote that revealed such massive policy failure and political betrayal would set off a firestorm of demands that the Legislature and Gov. Murphy immediately act to put teeth in the State Plan and set right Gov. Kean’s historical wrong.

(I’ve been trying to the expose that truth for many years, most recently see:

So, what did the corporate oriented and Foundation funded land use (e.g. NJ Future) and “green” groups who still do tangential land use work related to the State Plan do in response to Mr. Gilbert’s explosive revelations?

Did they hold a protest or march on Trenton?

A Statehouse press conference?

At least write a scathing Op-Ed?

Nope. They did none of that. They did just the opposite.

They brought in NJ Future to divert attention from Gilbert’s truth telling and quickly circle the wagons and join ranks to shut down any criticism or further truth telling about the State Plan.

Specifically, I just got an email from the Lower Delaware Wild & Scenic River Management Council.

They put the Warehouse Guidance that Jim Gilbert just called a “doomed” “toothless wish list” on their September 29, 2022 meeting agenda. I can assure you, it was not put on the agenda to expose the Guidance and the State Plan as frauds, as Mr. Gilbert had just done.

The Lower Delaware Wild & Scenic River Management Council works with many NJ conservation and land use groups and their major campaigns, like Wm. Penn Foundation’s Delaware Watershed Initiative.

These groups have shared Board members (AKA inter-locking boards). They are funded by the same Foundations and corporate donors. They have revolving and sometimes shared staff. They have personal relationships. And they work on the same issues and feed from the same government troughs.

In other words, they are in bred, self serving, selfish elitists. I’ve called them NJ’s “Green Mafia”.

So, exactly what did the Lower Delaware Wild & Scenic River Management Council do that gives the game away and sparked my hostile criticism?

Did they bring in Jim Gilbert himself or some other expert critic to discuss the Warehouse Guidance?

Did they even solicit critical viewports, in light of Gilbert’s explosive revelations and criticisms?


Here’s what they did: they provided a platform for the Office of State Planning Advocacy “(i.e  home of the Business Action Center) to spin the Warehouse Guidance to well meaning but poorly informed citizens.

Worse, they quoted, linked to, and repeated the position of the corporate planning group NJ Future, NOT THE REVEALING NJ SPOTLIGHT ARTICLE!

NJ Future has long misled the public about exactly the fatal flaws Mr. Gilbert just exposed!

Here is the Lower Delaware W&S Management Council’s meeting announcement:

Our guest speaker is Matthew Blake, PP, AICP, Senior Planner at NJ’s Office of Planning Advocacy.  He will speak about the recently published NJ warehouse guidance.  The guidance can be found on the Office of Planning Advocacy’s website (under the Reference Materials section).
“In recent years, New Jersey has seen an increase in warehouse development. This increase is putting pressure on communities that are already overburdened with pollution, communities soon to be negatively affected by new truck traffic that did not exist before, and on our state’s remaining open spaces. It is critical that the state plan for this new demand in its logistics sector. Critical to this planning is the inclusion of community voices from our urban communities that have been fighting for better air quality and less truck traffic for years.” (Peter KasabachJune 10, 2022, New Jersey, https://www.njfuture.org/2022/06/10/state-guidance-for-locating-warehouses-is-here/)

They take care of their own. They don’t bite the hands that feed them or jeopardize any future funding.

Truth be damned.

I sent their new Director this email:

Hi Cindy – please see below. Please distribute it to your members, who deserve competing viewpoints.

Folks – I thought you might be interested in a very different view than from NJ Future – from Jim Gilbert, one of the authors of the the State Planning Act and a former longtime State Planning Commissioner member about the warehouse Guidance, as reported by NJ Spotlight news on September 12, 2022:

I doubt I’ll get a reply.

It’s virtually impossible to penetrate the Foundation funded “Green Mafia” bubble, even when the truth emerges from the most credible sources.

[End Note: In the interests of fairness and accuracy, its not just foundation and corporate money that corrupts here on the State Plan.

Because to adopt and advocate Mr. Gilbert’s critique of the State Plan as toothless and doomed to failure would completely destroy their entire ideology and approach to policy, across the spectrum. That approach relies on voluntary local initiative, not State leadership and regulatory mandates.

Additionally, it would also greatly besmirch the legacy of their leaders and the credibility of their organizations, including an entire crowd of longtime State Plan supporters, powerful people like Candy Ashmum, Sally Dudley, Mike Catania, Dave Moore, Chris Daggett, Michele Byers, Ted Stiles, Jim Shissias, and Joe Maraziti and an inter-locking set of organizations like ANJEC, NJCF, NJ Future, NJ LCV, PPA, Sustainable NJ, all the local watershed groups and Land Trusts, and elite Foundations (Dodge, Duke, et al). – all of whom have misled the public about the State Plan for decades.

For example, recently, these groups used their friends Gov’s. Kean and Whitman in a video on the Pinelands. Both of them deceived the people of NJ about the State Plan.

Gov. Florio appears in that same video, but Florio attacked “home rule”, he openly acknowledged the voluntary flaw in the State Plan, and he issued an Executive Order to out DEP regulatory teeth in the Plan.

The Green Mafia’s use of Kean and Whitman (she was horrible on Pinelands) as conservation leaders on Pinelands and land use issues is a big fat lie, and ignoring Florio and equating their records compounds that lie.

The deception continues and Jim Gilbert’s confession will quickly go down the Memory Hole.

[Update: 9/18/22 – Two longtime State Plan experts sent me email comments I thought worth posting (names withheld):

First, on the history of the Plan, with additional fingerprints to Gov. Kean:

Excellent Good article- one issue on the state plan history- Kean killed the 1973 state plan because the courts were enforcing it – there were a series of cases were the courts used the state plan to stop development or builder remedy lawsuits – Countryside vs Ringwood where the court rule Ringwood was exempt from regional share of Mt Laurel Housing because it was a conservation area in the 73 plan – Newark Dev Corp vs West Milford were Newark challenged West Milford 5 acre zoning -The corrupt Newark watershed corp wanted to build thousands of luxury townhouses and golf course on watershed land  – Court sided with West Milford because of state plan – WM zoned private land 5 acre too including land owned buy Kean Family-there were 3 others one in Morris Co I don’t remember the others.

So Kean killed the 73 plan on behalf of the builders and the  public outrage lead to the toothless state planing act – also Kean the green mafia foundation board members own a lot of land  especially in highlands and Morris / Somerset county.

And this on the lack of protections in the Plan and local zoning:

It’s amazing that this debate has gone down hill from where I left it … on the 10th anniversary of the state plan, which was not effective in controlling development then, and surely is not now.  Unless some miracle has happened that I am unaware of, there is still not protective zoning in Plng Areas 4 and 5, much less the contested area 3, so unless the target protection area lies in an area of state special jurisdiction, it’s the local’s desires for growth, not a state plan vision which carries the day.  And the broader national mood on land-use hasn’t changed since the 1990’s: anti-federal, anti-regulatory…despite all the evidence that nature itself is going downhill. And the “fraud” … is this: that the values of the plan are in the rhetorical realm not actuality on the ground, and the 10th anniv. “celebration” was the time to announce that the voluntary experiment was over, the municipal “confederation” government had failed according to the formal values, always being doctored as in Merrill Lynch-Hopewell to bend it towards what the corporate powers want, and it was time to enforce protective standards and clearing up the ambiguity in Plng area 3.

You are right, its a self-fulfilling game for the groups you named who  continue the false advertising that it is working…


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