A Mixed Bag

I received an email from an ardent supporter with their thoughts on today’s news – and some new items that haven’t made the newspapers yet. I hope I do justice, I am still trying to talk them into becoming a contributor to the Watch full time. I am paraphrasing and elaborating on their post. This person is an ardent Democrat, and long time environmentalist.

Jeff Van Drew blocked (or Sweeney blocked for Van Drew) the appointment of Larry Niles to the Pinelands Commission. Larry Niles is a scientist who has devoted his life to the bayshore region of our state and wider global environmental concerns. If appointed, Larry would have given up time to attend the meetings, represented us well and truly made a difference in the future of the Pinelands and NJ……for no compensation. I thought how lucky we were to have been able to have him represent us. Then Van Drew stopped it.

When you look at all the disgusting political appts. approved in Corzine’s last days, it’s hard to find the logic. Wonder who will get the nod now?

I have to admit that I don’t know much about Niles. Some sources say he is along time insider. Van Drew seems to be saying we need to loosen up restriction in the Pinelands – is that code for the neo-Democrats fast-tracking for developers? Maybe someone with more knowledge of the Pinelands could chime in?

Personally, I tend to favor property owners rights, especially f they were unfortunate enough to own land only to have their right to build a house on their land restricted. I am always suspicious of the “spotted owl” or “tree frog” arguments. However, we certainly do not need wanton build-out over the precious resource which includes the largest continuous plot of open space between Richmond and Boston and the fresh water aquifer that provides a good portion of the state with drinking water.

The articles today on the CCIA in the papers were incredible. Steve Wymbs ran the CCIA for 15 years with no problem and was always ready to help Lou with his budget deficits. Now Steve is gone and the CCIA can’t function ? Don Rainear, Joe Veight and Clair Miller could care less about the running of the CCIA and have no idea how to do it. Veight explains he wasn’t told of Atlantic County’s potential pull out of our landfill. I read about it months ago in the Press.

The Atlantic County deal pulling out was big news. If Veight didn’t know about that, then that is proof that he is totally incompetent. As a board member Veight has a duty to know the financial condition of the authority as well as current events that would affect the authority. He was probably too busy being a slumlord to be concerned with actually doing his job.

And then, to hear Bill Whelan say we have to pay more attention to it and maybe not bond for more cells. Six months ago, Whelan was proudly proclaiming it was a terrific time to bond and we were so fortunate the CCIA was able to do it without the county backing now. He really is in a cloud.

Again, as Freeholder and the man that ran on his credentials as a financial whiz, Bill is disappointing. I had hoped for more out of him. The majority of the CCIA board consists of Lou’s lackeys. The director ran day-to-day operations, but the board was privy to all information. And somehow this eluded big Lou? That makes as mush sense as Lou not knowing about the $4-8 Million budget shortfall that he announced immediately after being reelected.

Soon to be announced. Newly appointed CCIA board member Jose Velez is given the job at Social Services thanks to Joe Pepitone and Jane Jannarone forcing it, for about $80,000. More money than the previous lawyer, Jennifer Webb-McCrae. Now Veight and Velez are beholden to Lou for employment, and Al Kelley relies on Lou to steer grants his way. So much for an independent CCIA authority.

Wait – are you saying that the failed judge Velez is not taking the same $62,400 a year that Webb-McRae took?  He is taking a 20% increase, much more than the “greedy” $75,000 that Lou is always talking about? And this is for a part time job?  Are you saying that the man that can not stay employed was given a plum job by Lou Magazzu that pays $85.00 an hour when the county is facing 13% unemployment? Are you claiming that an incompetent person is getting this position merely for being a loyalist to Lou at the same time that Lou is threatening to lay of and furlough low level county employees?

If you were planning on attending the Freeholder meeting tomorrow, it’s been moved to tonight. It seems Lou couldn’t make the meeting tomorrow and the others are not competent enough to meet without him. It should be interesting. Wonder if they will discuss the chapel (whatever happened to the chapel?); Todd Edwards attendance at CCUA? Vine Street School renovations. The county’s award winning website still has no agenda for tonight online and hasn’t posted meeting minutes for over a month. Useless.

Once again we come to the ever-changing Freeholder meetings. The City of Millville holds city commission meetings every two weeks. The schedule is decided a year in advance, and the meetings occur on time. The Millville city commissioners take their jobs seriously, and arrange their schedules around the meetings. If the Mayor is not available due to other commitments, the commissioners meet anyway. They don’t need the mayor to hold their hands.

Is it too much to ask that Lou arrange his schedule around the freeholder agenda rather than otherwise? What is so important that he cannot perform his duty? If he cannot make it, there are still six freeholders to run the meeting.

Ah – but he cannot trust them to carry out his agenda without being under his watchful eye. It is unforgivable that not only was the meeting moved at the last minute in a transparent attempt to confuse the public that might be interested in attending, but also that the freeholders have refused to post the agenda on the $40,000 website.

We have to wonder just what nonsense Lou is trying to ram through without the public knowing about it?


9 Responses to A Mixed Bag

  1. Deep Throat says:

    The incompetence of Joe Veight is truly breathtaking.
    He claims that he was not notified by Mr. Wymbs that the tonnage at the landfill has been dropping for the past 2 years while he has been a board member.
    The Authority at the monthly meeting has had the tonnage figures, income, profit and loss, and a comparison to the projected number presented.
    This is read into the minutes at meeting.Joe Veight should learn that you learn more with yout mouth shut.
    He should have heard the report read into the record and read the minutes of the meetings.
    The only conclusion is that he is both deaf and blind or completely incompetent.
    You decide.

  2. Calhoun says:

    I don’t think one has to have an opinion on this Niles guy to know that he got the royal shaft from Van Drew. Niles was nominated way back in June of 2009. If Van Drew did not like him then he should have spoken up then. Instead Van Drew allowed this man to go through the confirmation process and then at the very last minute invokes senatorial courtesy to block it. Furthermore, the official nomination filings with the Senate has Niles as being from Greenwich, Cumberland County, which is not in Van Drew’s First District (it’s in Sweeney’s Third District). I thought senators could only invoke senatorial courtesy to block nominees from their own district. Regardless of the specific machinations, it’s a gutless act, and one that no doubt has backroom politics and dealing involved, as these last minute confirmations always involve shameless horsetrading. Regardless of what one thinks of Niles, he deserved better than this. And our democratic process deserves better than being held hostage by one senator, especially when that senator is Jefferson Van Drew. Also, sad that Niles, who would have served for free, was blocked, while Marchand, who already had a $100K/year state pension was confirmed to a workers’ compensation judgeship that also pays him over 100K/year. Isn’t the state supposed to be broke? If Marchand had a conscience he would appear before himself in his workers’ compensation court and and plead guilty to getting overpaid.

    Onto the rest of the mixed bag. Only a complete an utter ass can buy Whelan and Magazzu’s “we didn’t know” excuse regarding the landfills declining revenues due to decreased use. Look fellas an economy in a deep recession is like a person on a very strict diet. Besides eating less, dieters also shit a lot less. Likewise, when a region’s economy goes into a severe recession its citizens consume less and thus discard less. Where the hell did the Freeholders think all that tonnage was going to come from when people are buying less and less and less (and thus throwing away less and less and less)?! Maybe Magazzu and Pepitone (sorry Joe you’re a nice guy but the joke won’t work without you) can volunteer to get the tonnage back up where it should be by agreeing to climb onto the trash pile.

    The ever shifting Freeholder meeting dates are also a disgrace. Is anyone checking to make sure they are at least giving the proper 48 hour notice in the local newspapers as required by law? Fairfield Twp. recently had two committee meetings where no business could take place because proper notice was not given as required by law. Even if they are giving notice, the freeholders are doing the public a great disservice by changing the meeting dates. People should know exactly when these meeting are (say first and third Tuesdays of the month at 6:30) so they know when to attend, and, thus,don’t have to always look for the small print public notices in the paper. By changing the meeting dates, the freeholders are giving the impression that they are on the run from the public. I just wish they would keep running right on out of the County.

    Oh yeah, one last thing, Lou did I hear correctly at tonight’s meeting that you said you warned Steve Wymbs about the landfill expansion?! If that’s the case, then why the hell did the Freeholders unanimously approve the expansion last year?! I am sure I must have heard wrong.

  3. Lucky the Dog says:

    Does anyone remember Wymbs returning a phone call? ever ? How many city projects were promised support only to be left short after Wymbs didn’t follow through.

    The trash is down so the fees are down. Even Wymbs can’t change that. Maybe Wymbs got out of town just in time.

  4. Curious & Confused says:

    Gee, maybe Lou can duplicate for the CCIA what he did for the county prosetcuters office over the last twelve years. No new building as of yet. A good prosecutor that was endorsed by an overwhelming majority of Cumberland County’s law enforcement was booted out of office. What or who is next? Is the county moving backwards? Stay tuned!

  5. meagain says:

    Marchand? Have a conscience? Surely you must have known better than that Calhoun! Everyone else seems to know that the guy wouldn’t know a conscience if he tripped over one. Not only perhaps the biggest albatross in all recorded history around the neck of taxpayers of this County and State, but seems to be (in many insiders’ opinions) perhaps one of the most challenged in many other ways. His reputation seems to proceed him and not in any positive way! Someday perhaps the real story and truth behind this “character” will come out to the public. Maybe his own brother or retired Superior Court Judge Stanger will write a book and reveal the story behind the story. Best seller that could be a movie but certainly won’t be done by Disney Have to agree about the meetings being changed.

  6. mango says:

    There was a good editorial in the AC press online editorial page about the Niles fiasco — see below.

    The AC Press editorial states:

    The state Pinelands Commission is second only to the state Department of Environmental Protection when it comes to agencies that it is now popular — for members of both parties — to hate. Meddlesome, overly bureaucratic, irrational, unfair … the same adjectives get used for both agencies.

    And the criticism is not entirely wrong. Some people are so “green” they can only see the individual trees, not the whole forest.

    But then again, other people are so pro-development that what they really want is for the DEP and Pinelands Commission to just disappear.

    And guess who now rules the day in New Jersey?

    State Sen. Jeff Van Drew just blocked the appointment of Larry Niles, of Greenwich Township, to the Pinelands Commission. Niles spent 30 years as a wildlife biologist for the DEP. He might know a thing or two about the Pine Barrens. Be a good man to have on the commission, don’t you think?

    But not in today’s climate. Those are the wrong qualifications because, as Van Drew explained, “we need to ensure that we maintain the initial goal, which is to preserve the Pinelands, while also ensuring that people who live and work within in the Pinelands can survive.”

    Apparently, having one guy on the 15-member commission who was a wildlife biologist is a threat to the survival of the people who live and work in the Pinelands.

    Who knew a quiet scientist could be so dangerous?

  7. LobsterClaws says:

    People who fawn over Wymbs and the job he did apparently don’t know Wymbs, or much about the job he did.

  8. meagain says:

    Ditto for Marchand!! Except we are still stuck with paying him a quarter of a million dollars a year until the day he leaves this earth. All at taxpayers expense! Perhaps someday we will get the answers to this travesty of politics at our expense. Ultimately he has to answer for his multitude of lapses in judgement(putting it kindly).

  9. Oinkforfreedom says:

    I am amazed that the Freeholders can not make their appointments on a timetable. I can NEVER figure out when their meetings. The trashing of Wymbs is so cheezy and silly

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