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Ponte della Maddalena. Serchio River. Italy. By Paul Goldfinger. © This image appeared in exhibit at the Salisbury State University Art Gallery

Ponte della Maddalena. Serchio River. Italy. Built c. 1000 AD.  Photo by Paul Goldfinger. © This image appeared in exhibit at the Salisbury State University Art Gallery.  Click to enlarge.

MUSICA SACRA:  “Tu scendi dalle stelle”

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Central Park. By Paul Goldfinger © NYC STreet Series. Summer, 2014

Central Park. By Paul Goldfinger © NYC Street Series. Summer, 2014

REBECCA LUKER

 

 

Asbury Park, NJ.. Paul Goldfinger photo. January, 2016. ©

Asbury Park, NJ. Paul Goldfinger photo. January, 2016. ©

JAY BLACK

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By Paul Goldfinger, Editor @Blogfinger

In a series of articles on Blogfinger we have reviewed the lawless behavior of Neptune Township in failing to obey the existing RSIS parking standards which would discourage more condo development without parking.  (Just do a search above under “RSIS” or “Condominiums.”)

The Township had been trying to obtain an exemption (ie a “special area parking standard”) for Ocean Grove for some time, but as recently as December 2015, their application was denied by the State Residential Site Improvement Advisory Board  (SIAB.)

Some of us Grovers were present in Trenton to hear the Committee Chair tell the Township Administrator Vito Gadaletta that the application was denied “without prejudice” and that if the Township wants to reapply it would “have  to start the application process anew.”   (this quote is from the State Dept. of Consumer Affairs.)

At Blogfinger we have been watching for Neptune to appear on the agenda at the SIAB, but their meetings have been cancelled in January and February.  Now we have learned from the DCA that Neptune Township has not reapplied.

If you are a cynic, you might roll your eyes and think, “Fuhgetaboutit—Neptune will just do business as usual and continue to ignore the law even as it approves more condominiums and places like Mary’s.”

Would the new members of the Township Committee be willing to be a party to such blatant disdain for the people of Ocean Grove and the laws of our State?

STEVE EARLE AND THE PRESERVATION HALL JAZZ BAND     –playing the theme song of the Neptune Township Committee:

#50 Main Avenue. Feb. 11, 2016. Paul Goldfinger photos.

#50 Main Avenue. Ocean Grove.    Looking west in front of the work site.  Feb. 11, 2016. Paul Goldfinger photos.

 

#50 Main Avenue, Ocean Grove. ©

#50 Main Avenue, Ocean Grove. ©  as seen from the sidewalk in front.

In May there was flooding in the bottom of the elevator hole at Mary’s Place.  Here is a link:    Double, double toil and trouble: Mary’s Place springs a leak, and a river of muddy water flows into Fletcher Lake.

After extensive pumping of water onto Main Avenue and beyond, the Mary’s leak eventually stopped. We were told that the same thing occurred when the Youth Temple was built.

Now a similar problem is occurring at the #50 Main Avenue foundation site.   An elaborate pumping system has been set up, and water is being expelled onto Main Avenue.  It will be interesting to see what that looks like when the temperature hits 5 degrees or less over the weekend. We will probably see horizontal icicles.   The contractors are probably waiting for the leak to stop spontaneously or with some creative placement of cement.

Welcome to the Ocean Grove North End Redevelopment zone. Blogfinger photo.

Welcome to the Ocean Grove North End Redevelopment zone. Blogfinger photo.

 

By Paul Goldfinger, Editor  @Blogfinger.net.     Jack Bredin, Researcher @Blogfinger.

Since 2007, the Ocean Grove Camp Meeting Association and the North End financial backers–WAVE— have been promising to move ahead with the North End Redevelopment Plan. That official NERP was passed by the Neptune Township Committee in 2008.

In order to get the process really moving, beyond the conceptual phase which has been dormant  for years, at least 3 affirmative votes by members of the new 2016 Neptune Township Committee would be required to approve a Redevelopers  Agreement  (contract) with WAVE regarding that 2008 NERP.   After that, a resolution approving the contract would be signed by the Mayor and the Township Clerk. Public hearings should be held to announce the new agreement.

If WAVE wants to change the plan from the 2008 concept to something else, then the entire process has to start again from scratch.

At the February 8th meeting of the Township Committee, the Committee’s attorney, Gene Anthony, announced that he had recently received a message from WAVE that WAVE and the OGCMA were completing their private agreement and that, secondly,  WAVE has a new investment “partner.”   When everything is finalized, they will combine their financials and make a presentation. They will have to disclose everyone involved who has over a 10% interest in the plan.

We don’t know if any of the present members of the  Township Committee have attended any of those private meetings along with the Township Attorney.   We don’t know if any of the 2016 Committee know  much about the NERP and its questionable features.

The agreement announced by Mr. Anthony should be completed by mid-February, so then we’ll see if Sisyphus can push this boulder up the hill.

SINEAD LOHAN

 

WASSUP? in Ocean Grove

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The SIAB (Site Improvement Advisory Board) which rules on RSIS exemptions has cancelled their February meeting.  the next will be on March 17 in Trenton.  So far it appears that Neptune has  not reapplied for an RSIS exemption re: parking in OG.

—-From Bill Zervas:   Interior demo work at 80 Main Ave around 2 this afternoon. Is this a plus, or a minus?   (Bill is referring to the  derelict building which used to be a doctors’ office.  Here’s a link to a 2014 Blogfinger posting about this property.

The marketplace at work: Drastic price reduction at 80 Main Ave.–derelict property

 
—–From Neptune Township:  re:  George Washington’s birthday  ( The third Monday in February is legally known as George Washington’s Birthday—est. 1885)  Neptune Township calls it a “Holiday,” deftly avoiding any semblance of choosing a side.  Some locations call it Presidents’ Day.  Anything goes…..


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—-Wassup? song of the week by SINGERS UNLIMITED.   “Anything Goes”

 

 

Belmar marina. 3rd Season of HBO"S Sopranos. Photo by Paul Goldfinger from the TV.

Belmar marina. 3rd Season of HBO’S Sopranos. Photo by Paul Goldfinger from the TV.

Tony has a boat which he uses for a variety of purposes including making Big Pussy disappear, for covert meetings away from wire taps, for family rides, and to entertain his “goomar”  (ie a mistress on the side—-this seems to be a tradition among Jersey mobsters.)

We will let our readers find a translation for the name of his boat.  This blog is rated PG-13 in Ocean Grove  (PG in Asbury Park.)

Paul Goldfinger, TV editor  @Blogfinger

AL MARTINO:

Used to be our town, too. Ocean Grove. Paul Goldfinger photo ©

Used to be our town, too. Ocean Grove. Paul Goldfinger photo ©

By Paul Goldfinger, Editor@Blogfinger   (NOTE:  This was originally posted on Dec  31, 2015, but needless to say, many of you missed it . However, in view of the signs of life emerging out of the NERP resting place, here is another chance to read selected quotes by your neighbors and a few others regarding governance in this town and about the North End plan.):

 

Why is it that our local institutions never seem to place the interests of OG’s citizens first?  Representative government here has failed.  The Neptune Committee makes you wait for 3 hours before you get 5 minutes to speak and they show essentially no interest in what the citizens of Ocean Grove think.

Here is a collection of comments, mostly from 2015, but some from 2011 and 2012, repeated now to show the extent of discourse, mostly on the critical side,  and to offer a sense of clamor for change leading up to 2016.  Note that this is just a mere sprinkling of quotes, chosen arbitrarily from the nearly 17,000 comments made on Blogfinger  (except for A.O. Scott) since 2009.

A.O. Scott of the New York Times, 2015,  talks about “how power operates in the absence of accountability. When institutions convinced of their own greatness work together, what usually happens is that the truth is buried and the innocent suffer. Breaking that pattern of collaboration is not easy. Challenging deeply entrenched, widely respected authority can be very scary.”  (This quote of A.O. Scott comes from his N.Y.Times movie review of “Spotlight” but it rings true for Neptune Township.)

Jack (Bredin) :  The proposed subdivision (on Sea View)  will result in 4 illegal lots. Whoever purchases them could have big problems in the future, and the Neptune Township Planning Board doesn’t give a flying fig*.

Devo:  Sunlight is the best disinfectant.

Jack: You would increase your chances of getting a subdivision if you hire a politically connected attorney who can trot out a professional planner who is willing to lie to the Board under oath.  You must first make a campaign contribution.

Kevin (Chambers) : As a service to the people of Ocean Grove it would be nice to have that Committee oath of office  printed on your site to remind each of the Committee people that their duty is to uphold the laws of the State and to enforce those laws, and that includes zoning laws—–for the protection of all the people in Neptune equally.

Kevin: The attorneys and the planners have the obligation to the public to make sure that testimony is factual, consistent and truthful. In one of these two cases it is anything but that.

Doubting Thomas:  The people of Ocean Grove are being plundered, just as if the Vikings returned from Iceland and landed on the shores of Ocean Grove.

Jack:

What we do know is :
-The Township Committee has no heart.
-The Planning Board has no brain and,
-the OGHOA have no courage.

They all just “go along” with the “Flat Earth Society” opinions from the Township’s professional planners and engineers who most likely were referred to Neptune by the Great Wizard.

The fact is, we have no idea who is running (ruining) our town.

Blogfinger:   The Home Groaners Board has taken the Kool Aid and has jumped on the bandwagon which says that RSIS parking standards are no good for Ocean Grove

Rev Janeba:  Although I am a Brooklynite, my heart is in Ocean Grove – the Ocean Grove I KNOW, not the cartoon theme park version that so many misguided persons are trying to bring about. Thank you so much for looking out for MY best interests, too.

Radar:  I can’t remember any recent meeting that a vote was taken on the Homeowners’ position.

Bythe sea:   Who does the OGHOA think they serve? Why do they not test their positions with their own membership? I am a member and I can attest to the fact that OGHOA members were never offered an opportunity to review the RSIS issue, vote on or even discuss it.

From the Neptune Application to SIAB:      “This application…seeks relief from RSIS standards in an overall effort to balance the needs of residents, visitors and public safety with the unique challenges of maintaining a Federal and State Historic Designation coupled with the unique and historic patterns of development that comprise Ocean Grove as a whole.”

“It is estimated that there are approximately 1.38 potential on-street parking spaces per occupied unit (ie house or condo). This potential inventory adequately addresses the parking need, given that the average number of vehicles per household in the 2010 census is 1.5 vehicles.
Neptune Township has worked in concert with the OGCMA to continue to ameliorate parking issues within Ocean Grove.”

Blogfinger  (re: RISS:)   Let’s face it, this has nothing to do with history or even parking, and everything to do with greed.

Blogfinger:   The $64,000.00 question: Even if the State turns down the application and leaves the RSIS rules in place, who is going to enforce the law?  After all, even today, the RSIS rules are in effect in Ocean Grove and they haven’t prevented condos without parking from being built— single family homes should have been constructed  instead.

New Kid in Town  Has any thought been given to forming a citizen’s group to formally object to Neptune Township’s dishonest efforts to destroy our historical town for greed and profit? I for one, would be happy to join such a group and support it in anyway I could. I know many others who would do the same.

Upset taxpayer    I invite anyone on the Township Committee that thinks we already have adequate parking, to sit on my porch on any Friday, Saturday or Sunday all spring, summer and fall, and watch the frustration among all visitors to Ocean Grove.

Michael Grover (2011)     I believe the language in the proposed Master Plan is intended to further develop ratables for the Township in Ocean Grove at the expense of its residents. The Board is attempting to set up a structure that will permit replacement of B and B’s with condominiums and development of larger structures, further adding to our density.

Don’t count on the HPC to protect us, using historic preservation as grounds to prevent conversions. Recent decisions and the North End project demonstrate their weakness against the Planning Board.

As for the Township Committee, don’t look to them for much help either. The town needs money, and this is New Jersey, enough said. We will need to protect ourselves.

Mary Beth Jahn:     (2011)    I am the sole member of the Township Committee to vote against the North End plan, and I still believe that single-family homes and not condos should be built on that site.

OGrover:  2011    The recent high density project with it’s proposed underground parking is not supposed to add to the parking issues but will do nothing to alleviate them either. (Underground parking next to the ocean and a lake? The Titanic was unsinkable, too!)

Frank: (2011)  New Jersey Site Improvement Advisory Board knows the situation of our not owning the property, and their recommendation for parking is that Neptune follow the Municipal Land Use Law’s standards that are used throughout the state. I have a copy of the letter addressed to Neptune from the Sites Board that states that the Township is to follow the standards for parking

Joan C (2012)    I was rather surprised to read that Mr. Williams stated so emphatically that he would never read nor respond on blogfinger. Is Mr. Williams “too good” for the blog? Is he choosing to remain unaware of the concerns of our residents? I frankly had hoped that all members of both parties read blogfinger, which is the least divisive, non-political posting of relevant information for those of us living in Ocean Grove and Neptune Township

Devo (2012)  The North end project, in its current form, will not benefit the Grove. It will generate significant additional traffic, create additional parking issues (despite what they say they are planning), will depress home/condo prices for the existing housing stock, and will add out of character buildings. I wasn’t here when all this went down, but I can’t imagine why folks in OG think this is a good idea.

The longer it is delayed, the better.

Michael Grover (2012)  Those of us concerned about noise and congestion, not to mention density and over-development, need to look no farther than the North End project. Want a problem that really happens and lasts forever? Why was this project approved, and where was the HPC to protect the integrity of our beloved historic district? It’s a lot easier to enforce the rules when the issue is the color of a house and other minor cosmetic concerns, or when you have the authority to impose a decision no matter how unjustified on a weak, defenseless homeowner. Take on the town and the developers, that’s another story.

Devo (2012)    Scuttle the redevelopment plan now, or forever be sorry you did not.

Bythesea (2012)  Developing the North End under a State sanctioned redevelopment designation is a terrible idea. I can tell you right now that, based on what has happened most other places in NJ, OG will lose all control and hate the outcome. OG should seek to bring about the collapse of this redevelopment plan. The land and location is valuable/desirable enough that the CMA should be able to manage its own redevelopment.

Despite Mary Beth Jahn’s best intent and all of our wishful thinking, redevelopment areas take on a life of their own and they always gravitate to higher than expected density and insensitivity to quality of life concerns of the town they are occurring in (e.g., traffic impact, parking, etc.).

Gosh: (2012) I have to say for the last time, the approval of the redevelopment of the North End was never legal.

Mary Beth Jahn   (2012)   Those who are sucking sour lemons and trying to run a smear campaign wouldn’t know or care, because they have no respect for the Grove’s historic designation and would have no problem turning the Grove into Condo City.

Wisher:  (2012)  There will be no distinguishing OG or Asbury Park in the future. No grand vistas, or public places for shoppers and beach-goers. People won’t come here any more than they will go to any of the myriad of other shore towns. No distinguishing characteristics. Just everything shoved up against the shoreline while developers walk about with their boatload of cash.

Gosh (2012)   Condos have been motivated by GREED and REVENUE that they bring into Neptune. There is absolutely no interest in keeping O.G. historic with single family homes; just look at the new Master Plan— there are so many gray areas for interpretation.

Bythesea:    (2012)  Where is the OGHOA on the North End Development? What stand have they taken relative to the abomination of a plan that now exists for the “redevelopment” of the North End? It is they who should be the champions in the fight against poor planning that will hurt the town. Do they just play a reactive game, or do they try to lead? Where is their position paper? Seems to me that this is by far the biggest issue on their plates for the next year.

Jack    The first and only comment from our new year (2016):

OhGee, the reason this special town exists, is to the credit of the OGCMA.

The Township Committee has the exclusive authority to adopt our zoning ordinance.
We cannot blame any property owner for developing what they are permitted to develop under the zoning ordinance adopted by the Committee.   With zoning, the buck stops with the Township Committee.

The problem is that the Committee, Planning Board and Board of Adjustment use Municipal Land Use Law in ways that were never intended by the NJ State Legislature.

JAMES TAYLOR

Good Morning Dr. Paul Goldfinger. Here are today's top stories. Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Good Morning Dr. Paul Goldfinger. Here are today’s top stories. Wednesday, February 10, 2016

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Internet image

Internet image

 

Despite gains under the Affordable Care Act  (ACA), about 30 million remain uninsured.

The Hill (2/7,) reports that the ACA “faces a tougher path ahead in enrolling the roughly 30 million people who remain uninsured, despite the record gains already made.” About 12.7 million people signed up for 2016 coverage, “only a small bump from the 11.7 million enrolled last year.” Larry Levitt of the Kaiser Family Foundation said, “The [Affordable Care Act] has reduced the share of people uninsured to the lowest levels ever recorded, but we are still well short of universal coverage.” Asked about reducing the uninsured rate further, CMS Acting Administrator Andy Slavitt said, “If you’d asked me a few months ago if we’d be happy where we are relative to our ability to cover more people, we feel very good.”

 

BLOGFINGER MEDICAL COMMENTARY:    Paul Goldfinger, MD, FACC

30 million people remain uninsured under the  Affordable Care Act. (ACA)

Bernie Sanders doesn’t believe that the ACA will provide universal healthcare coverage.  He wants “Medicare for all.”  He also wants a single payer system.

If you thought that the main reason for the “hope and change” that gave us Obamacare was that everyone will have healthcare coverage, you can see that the  ACA is less than a complete success; the  number not yet enrolled is nearly twice the number already enrolled.

The low hanging fruit for bringing people into the ACA has already been picked, such as those who had insurance before but who  had to move over to the ACA. Getting more people to enroll will be more difficult.

There are reasons why such a large number remain without coverage. One is that many “immigrants”  (ie illegal aliens) do not qualify. Then there is the problem where quite a few states have not been willing to expand their Medicaid programs. NJ has done so.  Affordability is also an issue for many middle class families.

But there are other issues besides numbers enrolled.  Many patients are discovering lapses in quality as they seek care under the ACA.  Much of it has to do with bureaucratic mandates, interference with the doctor-patient relationship as we have traditionally known it, rationing, and inadequate supplies of providers.

If you are sick, you may find “The Doctor is Not In” signs on their doors.  There are new barriers between patients and their access to actual care, even if they are insured.  How about “the desk girl from hell syndrome.”  She is trained to answer phones but she will ask you medical questions.   She knows nothing, but she will demand that you tell her  “What color is your urine”  or “Where is your pain?”

She will try and find any reason to deny you access or  she may invite you to the office, but not to see the doctor, and not to see the PA, and even not to see a nurse. She will check you herself for a hernia.  So, get ready to drop your pants, take a deep breath, and cough.

Doctors are becoming employees of large corporations, and care is suffering due to the bottom line orientation instead of the traditional mandate to put the patients’ interests above all else.

In 2017 we will see how this plays out.  For example will more subsidy funding be awarded to the middle class to pay for ACA insurance, and will immigration laws be changed?

Stay tuned.  —-Paul

 

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