Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Rally a HUGE success, but lots more to do

The Department of Navy need not look further than the success of last night's NOPE rally at Colts Neck High School to know that it should do an about-face on its egregiously flawed decision to open military housing at Weapons Station Earle to civilian renters, starting next year, through 2040.

NOPE would like to thank the 250-300 that turned out on a rainy night to participate in our rally at CNHS, plus the continued outpouring of support today from many of the attendees, who are eager to volunteer to spread our message and participate in the cause as the Navy's April 30, 2010, deadline to obligate the Laurelwood housing lease draws near.

If nothing else, the Department of Navy needs to know that NOPE is NOT going away, and our ranks will only grow!

NOPE also would like to acknowledge participation of our elected officials - from Sen. Menendez's office and Rep. Smith's and Holt's offices in Washington, all the way thru the District 12 State Senate team, Monmouth County Freeholders and leaders of Colts Neck and Tinton Falls.

And we'd also acknowledge the extensive media coverage from News 12 (our story evidently aired on the 10p and 11p newscasts, and we'll provide a link once it is available) and Millenium Radio (i.e. WOBM, 94.3 The Point, etc) and down to diverse local media.

To reiterate last night's takeaways:
  • The NOPE community is unified, committed, and growing even stronger! There is no arguing this point.
  • The Navy's assertion to the public that civilian housing at NWS Earle is a "done deal" and needs to go through (and will not compromise the base's mission or our security) is FAR from the truth. As noted last night, article No. 15 of Supplement No. 43 to the Laurelwood lease (see our July 15, 2009 blog entry pertaining to this, with the link providing the full document NOPE obtained through the Freedom of Information Act) obligates the Navy and its developer to a buyout and teardown should "the government fail to provide unimpeded access at the termination of the inlease (April 30, 2010)." Furthermore, Supplement No. 43 also foolishly signed away the Government's right to revoke the lease in the event of a national emergency, and appears to potentially obligate the Government to laddered rent payments to the developer through 2017 at a cost that we calculate at upwards of $22 million.
  • The wheels are in motion for a GAO financial and security assessment of the Laurelwood housing issue (see pgs. 898-899 of the House Conference report accompanying the FY 2010 Defense Authorization legislation) - an assessment that the Navy (via the NAVFAC branch) was required to include in its Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) of the Laurelwood housing issue but refused to do, citing confidentiality and a "sorry, but financial projections are too difficult for us to calculate" excuse.
  • Supporters need to provide us with a list of 5-10 more names of residents, along with their email addresses, phone numbers and home addresses, so that we can extend our message and increase the pressure on the Department of Navy and the agencies that dropped the ball on this issue, namely the EPA, DHS and Governor Corzine. In addition to the hundreds of postcards you submitted last night (and that we will mail early next week, once cover letters are drawn), visitors to the rally took stacks of the pre-printed postcards home with them to share with their neighbors. In all, we expect to quickly exhaust the 600 sets of protest postcards we printed for last night's rally. Well done, folks!
  • NOPE will have a strong turnout for our efforts to lobby members of the State House in Trenton for passage of S3017/A4159, mandating a cost benefit and security analysis of the Laurelwood housing plan before state agencies can issue permits the Department of Navy needs to begin the road construction phase of Alternative 4 (the road to Laurelwood). We anticipate at least 1 busload of supporters, and are targeting 1,000 signed postcards to hand over when the committees meet to discuss the bill, expected sometime after the November elections.

Stay tuned for more in the days, weeks and months ahead, and thanks again for your support, which is essential if we are to prevail in preventing civilian housing at NWS Earle. And please contact us at or

No comments: