Monday, August 10, 2009

Anyone heard from Frank Pallone?

NOPE for the better part of its nearly 2-year existence has tried, to no avail, to engage (directly and indirectly) District 6 Congressman Frank Pallone in the Navy's civilian housing issue at NWS Earle. The Congressman, contrary to his objections to construction of the Laurelwood homes in the 1980s (see the 1987 Laurelwood EIS - if you're looking for some REALLY mundane summer beach reading), to this story from the November 29, 2000 Independent, has been relatively mum on the U.S. Navy's plan to fill 300 unoccupied homes with civilian tenants, even though parts of Earle are squarely in his district. Silence, in this case, is detrimental to NOPE's cause, and whether it is for lack of interest or a sense of futility in dealing with obstinate Navy decision makers over more than two decades in Washington, NOPE needs Congressman Pallone to be more engaged with Congressment Holt and Smith.

We would encourage Mr. Pallone's constituents who reside anywhere near Earle and all of our supporters to contact the Congressman (202-225-4671 or 732-571-1140) to encourage him to speak against the Navy plan and protect those living along Normandy Road (on which the Navy transports tons of high-powered ordnance each year) and near Earle's base in Leonardo.

In the throes of summer vacation, it is interesting to look back on the history of the Navy's actions at Earle over the past 20+ years and remind our supporters of Mr. Pallone's vehement stance against construction of the homes, as well as his objection to reports of the Navy moving ships from its fully capable Earle homeport to Norfolk, Virginia. The Navy seemed to do so without real justification, and just a few years after the Navy stressed the need to construct 300-500 new homes to house sailors on the ships homeported at Earle (yes, you guessed it...the Laurelwood homes that put us in the current mess we're facing some 22 years and $100 million+ later).

The piece from the Independent is not presented here to slam or embarrass Congressman Pallone in any way, but rather to put in perspective the clear frustrations of our elected officials and residents of the surrounding Earle communities in dealing with Navy decision-makers over the last two-plus decades.

Collectively, we cannot go silent in objecting to yet another poor decision from military leaders in Washington, and one that threatens to compromise the mission at NWS Earle and our local and national security. That includes you, Congressman Pallone.

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