CHEERS AND JEERS
By Bill Cleary
Every month ClearysNotebook cheers those who made our area a better place in which to live and jeers those whose action merit derision.
Cheers for the 2007 Gloucester City Council. For the first time in many years our City Leaders approved the broadcasting of the monthly council meetings. Although some of the incumbents members (Kaye, Kormann, and Loebell) wanted to discuss the motion in cacuas, Mayor James, Councilmen Brophy, Hagan, and Marchese called for a public vote at the January 4 meeting. The motion passed and the monthly meetings will now be a regular feature on Channel 19.
Jeers to New Jersey State Governor and the Legislature for not fulfilling their promised to pass a tax cut for residents before the end of 2006. Last year special legislative committees met for over four months to figure out ways to reduce spending. Nothing was accomplished. Gov. Corzine started this year off with another promise to reduce our taxes, the highest in the nation. After a while, you get tired of hearing the same thing over and over again. At some point you have to make it happen. Remember in November all 120 legislators are up for re-election. If no progress is made by then I am going show my displeasure in the polling booth. How about you?
Cheers to the Camden County Freeholder Board who has promised to continue to find ways to reduce county taxes. At the Board's reorganization meeting Freeholder Cappelli said the county has eliminated nearly 240 positions by not replacing people when they retire or, in some cases, are fired.
Cheers to the members of the 26 bands who donated their time and talents to helpbenefit Brian Cohan, owner of the Pirates Den, in Gloucester City. The Pirates Den was destroyed by fire last month and Cohan had no fire insurance on the building because he couldn't afford it. The benefit was held Jan. 13-14 at Whiskey Dicks in Philadelphia.
Cheers to the local UEZ board for their work in trying to improve the local commerce. I would suggest however the Board open up the channels of communication with the public. Recently we learned they helped Gloucester Plumbing Supply by buying their old building for $640,000. Now I understand the price has went down to $630,000. Word of the project leaked to the community. And rumors spread that the deal was not on the up and up because of the secrecy. If better communications were established those type of rumors would not exist. I like to know how the UEZ determined the price for the property? Was a professional appraiser hired by the Board? And if so release that information to the public. We live in a democracy and all of the people have a right to know these facts; not just a select few. Further example about undisclosed facts being kept from the people is the deal surrounding the purchase of the old Dooley's Bar by the
Kilcourse administration. Cost to the taxpayers $425,000. When will those facts be released?
Jeers-Speaking of that dilapidated Dooley's building located at Broadway and Cumberland Streets, when will the City demolished it? In certain sections of the structure the concrete has actually fell off. Are we waiting for someone to get hurt? I still wonder how the owner was able to walk away with $425,000 in his pockets and leave it in that condition? Try to sell your property with a crack in the sidewalk and the Housing Office is all over you like flies on fly paper. I know some of you will say I am beating a dead horse but the purchase was made in October 2006. How much longer will it take? (Mayor James said on Friday Jan. 19, " it will be soon, real soon.")
Cheers- I am a little late but isn't it nice that the City Board of Education honored Dr. Pearl Kowalski with a memorial garden at the high school. The garden and gazebo was dedicated in November 2006. It wasn't until recently while walking the dogs that I noticed the project on the Rt. 130 side of the high school. A long time City resident, with many honors, Dr. Kowalski passed away in March 2005 at the age of 80
Cheers-How about the show of dissent on City Council. For too long City council was run by the Party Boss. Decisions by council members at the monthly meeting was nothing more than a rubber stamp on actions that were decided by someone who wasn't necessary elected. Open debate on an issue was unheard of. We live in a democracy not a Third World country. And I for one am happy to see the democratic process finally at work in Gloucester City for all of us to view.
Jeers-In order for Scarborough builders to construct townhouses on the old Coast Guard property
( now Holt Cargo Systems corporate offices) Scarborough agreed to build Holt a new office building. However, the City agreed under the Kilcourse Administration, to give up O'Hara's parking lot on King Street for the new office building. I suggest Holt and Scarborough be told no way! Build the new office building on Holt's 64 acres, not on City property. How can the City develop the King Street Corridor without parking. Holt has gotten a number of what I call "sweet heart deals" under previous Democrat administrations. For example, a 99-year-lease on the Coast Guard property. It is time the City for once to say no more! Can someone come forth with more facts? When will the people be told the real truth?
Cheers to Mayor James and those members of council working with him to clean up the mess left by those who previously controlled the operation of our community for the past decade or more. You have to give them credit for taking on such a monstrous job. And from what I am hearing in less than a month they have made some major changes.
COMMENTS POSTED JANUARY 2007
I seem to be having a problem having a letter posted in the Gloucester City News...... Rick Gonzales suggested I try your site. Well, here goes...
The employees at the Sunoco Station at Market and Broadway need some customer service classes. I felt like I was bothering them the other day as I pulled in for gas. This is not the first time it's happened, but it will be my last. After all, they are in our city..can't they show a little courtesy to the people keeping them in business? Just a suggestion..
In the past when I asked to know about things like the redevelopment plan the solicitor Mr. Maley, told me that including the public too early in council business is counter productive. At the Council Caucas Meeting last thursday the PMK Group made a presentation relative to the purchase of the Gloucester Plumbing Property. The presentation almost made it to public view. Mayor James indicated we the public could remain but council members Loebell and Kaye swiftly protested that this should be done in executive session. Mayor James, obviously taken by surprise capitulated. I believe to error on the side of caution in case of some obscure rule that requires it. I wouldn't fault him for that quick, but I believe erroneos, decision. But, I think it is extremely important that the newly elected council members remember and never forget that we elected them to get out from under the oppressive control of the Kilcourse administration, of which Kormann, Kaye, and Loebell remain. Remember the Club is only one vote away from control again.