One issue that has been neglected recently finally saw a story in the News of Cumberland County today – an Open Space plan. This is an issue that has been at the forefront of MagazzuWatch since June of last year. Lou did not want any plan at all, fought long and hard against one. He claims the county does not need an open space plan, even though we are the only county in the state without one.
We have maintained that proceeding without a plan is akin to building a house without blueprints. Sure, you can build a house, but I surely would not want to live there! By July Lou was crying mercy, realizing that open space would become an issue that could affect his reelection, and so he lied to the public and pretended that he would work on getting some sort of open space plan. He promised to allow public input in the plan. Of course he want a board loaded with his hand-picked lackeys, as this website pointed out.
Blake said it was already a letdown that the county had not organized an open space advisory board, as he felt the freeholders verbally agreed to do.
The open space advisory board would have been a citizen group to oversee open space and recreation issues, representing the spectrum of Cumberland County’s municipalities.
Instead, the county opted for a 3-member sub-committee.
Even then, Blake said he had faith that the county would choose an experienced group to research and draw up the plan.
“For the county to suddenly make an about-face, it doesn’t make any sense,” he said. “It really undermines the Democratic process.”
In December he once again reiterated the promise for public involvement in the plan. MagazzuWatch pointed out at the very start of this debate that a public plan was a necessary requisite to receive state and federal funding. Even the local press picked up on this aspect of the purpose of having a plan. But now Lou is balking at the $90,000 investment that would lock in funding for the county. Nah, he would rather spend that money paying for health benefits for part-time employees that do not show up for half of their scheduled meetings – but you have to have priorities.
In today’s story another aspect came to light. It seems that an independent entity approached the county and promised to give the county money, no strings attached, to proceed with developing an open space plan. All the county had to do is match dollar for dollar whatever it decided it wanted to spend. Lou Magazzu in his wisdom refused to even consider free money, preferring instead to tax county residents into poverty, with ever increasing property taxes, and spending that money on such things as attempting to pad the pension of his lawyer cronies that are employed part-time.
Magazzu never had any intention of creating an open space plan, or of creating a committee that would listen to the concerns of the public. He was buying time all along, just waiting for the moment that he could allow the whole thing to die a quiet death. It will die; the open space plan is already in the coffin as Lou awaits it to breath its last death rattle, hammer and nails ready in hand to secure the lid and bury this beast that has been dogging him for the past year. But MagazzuWatch will be here to remind everyone that Lou is no friend of the environment, but rather embraces wanton and unregulated destruction of our open spaces so that his supporters in the industry of development may plow down tracts of trees unhindered. I am anything but a tree-hugger, but there needs to be give and take, there need to be checks and balances on both sides of this issue. In Cumberland County, the last check has been canceled!