By Paul Goldfinger, Editor @Blogfinger
This issue is the first to emerge solo from our “Question Collection,” an open town-hall on-line site, on Blogfinger.net, for Grovers and others to question events related directly and indirectly to the outrageous fire that erupted in Ocean Grove on March 3, 2013, with 7 structures destroyed or damaged.
For a number of years, we at Blogfinger.net have been writing about a variety of disturbing behaviors on the part of the Neptune Township governing body, who have the power to rule with integrity or not in Ocean Grove, NJ. There have been many articles and comments by citizens on Blogfinger.net wondering why special interests seem to have so much influence in our historic and beautiful town, to the detriment of those who actually live here.
Now, the issue has surfaced as the nauseating wreckage from the fire continues to smoulder and to bring serious concerns to the surface. So here we go, moving to a deeper level, with the discussion below:
Citizen: Who is running Neptune Township? Is it the Governing body or is it a shadow government with non-elected individuals, such as developers, manipulating elected puppets and telling them what to do? This is not unheard of in local governments.
Aggravated Curmudgeon: Citizen: “Shadow government”? Where have you been? More often than not, local government consists of the developer, their lawyer, and the crooked town council that takes their money.
Yes, our elected officials have routine business that needs attention, e.g. police, fire, sanitation, tax collection, etc. But the important decisions are all about development of property.
These officials plan for the future like any business, and that means ensuring continued sources of money. I think that Ocean Grove is a big target because they can see the improvements in Asbury Park, the property values in Avon and Spring Lake, and see the opportunity. And we have so little influence because the votes are elsewhere. They want more rateables and higher property values, taking strain off the areas where the votes are. At our expense.—
Blogfinger: And the way that these manipulators get what they want is through cynical abuse and violations of NJ Land Use Law. The elected officials make it happen while maintaining lack of transparency. They get away with it because the checks and balances that usually pick up on these mechanisms have failed Ocean Grove. The County and the State are too busy to get involved or they are conveniently looking away. Why are our elected officials not representing us properly? We don’t know for sure, but they should be removed from office. But, as Curmudgeon points out, we don’t have the votes.
Kevin Chambers, Ocean Grove resident and leader, has tried on his own, like a solitary super-hero, using his personal money, to litigate in court, but even that approach has failed, and he has turned his energies elsewhere.
And the Home Groaners Association, which deserves our derision, has totally ignored these land use issues; in fact they sometimes become facilitators to the Neptuners and Grovers who want to exploit our town for financial gain. What are their motives at the HGA.? Who knows? We invite speculation on this.