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Posts Tagged ‘Fireworks at the Neptune Township Committee meeting’

Mayor Mary Beth Jahn  of Neptune Township, New Jersey.

Mayor Mary Beth Jahn of Neptune Township, New Jersey.

We recently reported on an ugly incident at the April 27, 2015 Township Committee meeting where an Ocean Grove resident was forced to sit down during the public session.  We posted the exact verbal exchange between Jack Bredin and the Mayor, but when the minutes of that meeting were published on the Township website, this is what it said:    “Jack Bredin came up to the microphone to talk about the North End but was asked to sit down by the Mayor. He was escorted to his seat by a Patrolman.”

I think this version of the event makes Jack look bad without revealing the Mayor’s untoward behavior.  Those minutes should include everything that is said at those meetings, not a distorted whitewashed version.  This revisionist text makes one wonder what else is distorted when those minutes are typed and does nothing to reassure the public about transparency by the Committee.

The conversation can be heard on the recording that was made at the meeting, and we posted the transcription on Blogfinger  (see link below)

Exact excerpt from the April 27 Committee meeting

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Blogfinger file photo

Blogfinger file photo

By Paul Goldfinger, Editor @Blogfinger   Monday, April 28, 2014.     In an extraordinary act of reverse diplomacy, Pres. Anne Horan of the OG Home Owners Association, went to the microphone at the Neptune Township Committee meeting for her 5 minutes of fame, only to insult the Committee by saying that they are not doing enough for the derelict housing problem in the Grove. She said that she was “stunned” that the Committee would suggest that residents participate in the process of finding solutions and that the Committee had failed to deal effectively with wrecks like 80 Main Ave.

Horan was reacting to an earlier suggestion from the dais that neighbors should write letters of complaint to owners of derelict houses. Committeeman Eric Houghtaling was uncharacteristically angry as he protested her assertions, and Committeewoman Mary Beth Jahn practically jumped out of her seat as she raised her voice to say that the Committee had accomplished more in the last eight years than in the twenty prior to that when it comes to the problem of derelict houses. She said that they have been working tirelessly to solve this issue including using demolition by neglect, court cases, and over $100,000 to “chase those owners.” “There’s a process that must be followed,” she said, “but that process takes a long time.” Jahn accused the HOA of attacking the Committee. “We’re not dong enough?” she asked. “This is the wrong tack for the HOA to use against us.”

The Committeewoman complained that the OG Home Owners Association had treated members of the Committee (Bishop and Houghtaling) disrespectfully when they appeared last Saturday at the HOA meeting, and that she was angry about that. She said that the process is more difficult because the owners don’t want to do the needed work on their properties and that they would prefer to have their buildings demolished. She admitted that the process hasn’t worked, and she thought that the Camp Meeting might be helpful in participating in the effort to save the historic buildings. Mayor Brantley said, “We are frustrated and we will keep trying to do something.”

Horan was not the only speaker to question the progress being made at town hall. HOA Trustees Ken Buckley and Joan Venezia also had some criticisms of their own to make at the microphone. Venezia wanted the Committee to move faster in implementing a process called “certified local government,” and Buckley waved a copy of a legal paper from Rutgers, suggesting that the Committee do more homework. Kathy Arlt, of Ocean Grove, was upset that 80 Main Ave. continues to fall apart while nothing is done.   She also mentioned violations at 103 Franklin Ave while complaining that the Township has done practically nothing in using liens to deal with the problem. She claimed that the Township had done more in this regard out in Neptune proper.

Sometimes the best is left for the end—-this was a three hour public meeting with a fair share of fireworks. An angry citizen came to the microphone and said, “You are buying in my name and sticking me with the interest.”

Michael Bascom, the Township’s Chief Financial Officer, replied to her by giving a brilliant, off-the-cuff summary of how government works to avoid overspending and over borrowing. She walked out before he finished, but his statement should be printed and made public . If they send it to me, I will post it on Blogfinger.

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