Wednesday, September 30, 2009

For NOPE's "new" followers

Between the comments and questions of visitors to our table at Tinton Falls Community Day, and an email exchange between the leaders of NOPE about publicizing the need for a jampacked rally at Colts Neck High on Tuesday, October 27 (730pm), it seems appropriate to offer a Cliff's Notes rehash for our "newer" followers a few reasons why the U.S. Navy plan to let civilians live on Weapons Station Earle by next September is a horrendous idea for your community.
  • Opening an active military weapons facility (300 bunkers worth) to anyone is an obvious threat to your security (post-9/11) as an area resident, and will become a distraction to the base's primary mission (to provide munitions to the fleet) and expose Earle's guards to terror attacks: The Navy intends to build an unguarded 2-mile access route from Rt. 34 (about 500 yards south of the extremely well-guarded main gate in Colts Neck) thru the base and to the Laurelwood homes, which the builder can rent to anyone with the ability to pay the reported $1,600-$2,200 monthly rent, all without background checks. This will require, as written in our business case analysis, the Navy to handle (and provide funding for) all emergency matters, with Earle's personnel serving as the de facto police, fire and EMT squad for 300 civilian families from 30 years, through 2040 - when, by contract, the homes must be torn down anyway. To be sure, we have blogged here about plans by a North Carolina man and others to kill guards at Quantico Marine Base in Virginia.
  • Taxes and Education: Introducing 300 new civilian families (with 2- thru 4-bedroom townhouses at Earle by next September, we can safely assume at last 1,500 residents at full capacity) not paying property taxes to either Colts Neck or Tinton Falls (the current host to K-thru-8 school-aged kids) will impose at least a $300 million school tax burden on Tinton Falls (or Colts Neck, Howell or some other surround district), depending on the outcome of a lawsuit filed by Tinton Falls over the state law that now allows Earle's Navy dependents to leave their district (Colts Neck) to attend Tinton Falls schools. Regardless of who ends up the host for Laurelwood school-aged kids in the end (right now, Tinton Falls taxpayers subsidize about $1 million per year of the cost to educate the 80-90 current military dependents residing in other homes at Earle), our own kids' education and public school quality will be greatly compromised.
  • Civilian housing will require the host school district to construct new schools; we put the price tag at roughly $50 million for one new school. And we, the local residents, will be left holding the bag (i.e. unused school capacity) when the Laurelwood homes are leveled in 2040.
  • Environmental questions: The EPA has yet to address our concern about the presumed overlap of the new road to Laurelwood with an EPA Superfund site that is, by law, not allowed to be disturbed. Otherwise, we are concerned about potential exposure of any civilian residents or visitors to harmful chemicals that are all part of what ultimately is a "dirty business" of handling military explosives and munitions.
  • The U.S. Navy (someone in Washington, not anyone at Earle itself) is going thru with this civilian housing deal, presumably, SIMPLY TO GET OUT OF A BAD CONTRACT IT SIGNED IN THE 1980s AND TO AVOID THE APPROPRIATE ALTERNATIVE - VOID OR BUY OUT THE DEAL.
  • The ONLY PARTY that will profit/benefit from letting civilians live at Weapons Station Earle is a private contractor based in the Seattle, Washington area - Laurelwood Homes, LLC. We estimate that Laurelwood has already taken in roughly $75 million on the first 20 years of the contract. Did the homes (built in the late 1980s and almost totally vacant for the better part of the last decade) really cost that much to build and maintain?

These are just a few of the reasons you must attend our rally on October 27 and show the U.S. Navy that, together, we will not stand for this!!!

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