Saturday, June 13, 2009

An example of why veterans housing at Earle would not be such a good idea...

This story from the Christian Science Monitor (June 12, 2009 edition) suggests the recent Holocaust Memorial shooting and other acts of domestic terrorism by extremists with military backgrounds back up the findings of a controversial Department of Homeland Security report warning of radicalization and indoctrunation of former U.S. soldiers.

The last thing the commanding officer and his staff at NWS Earle, a powderkeg of 300 bunkers of explosives, is not only the distraction of civilian tenants cutting thru the base, but also plotting something ill against those in uniform who defend the base and ultimately will be responsible for patrolling and policing the planned civilian road to the Laurelwood homes.

This is not to disparage the infinite number of distinguished and rational vets that outnumber the few malcontents, but as they only takes 1. Let's not turn Earle into the next domestic terrorism target.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Rumblings on veterans housing at Earle

The Asbury Park Press reported about Colts Neck "maintaining a hard line on Earle housing," citing the Township Committee's entirely appropriate stance on the matter. This comes despite a plan (admirable, though extremely sketchy) put forth by a group (i.e. "the Accettola Plan," named after its chief proponent) that recommends using the 300 existing Laurelwood units to house senior and disabled vets, subsidized thru Section 8 vouchers and overseen by Neptune Housing Authority.

NOPE is steadfastly opposed to any civilian ever residing on Earle. Although no one would argue with the notion of providing for our veterans in need, the Accettola Plan (which the public and NOPE have yet to officially see in writing despite several requests) appeared riddled with holes and fallacies when discussed by the NHA earlier this year in Tinton Falls. We would encourage the group that attended the CN Township Committee meeting the other night to review all of the documentation put forth by the Navy and then issue the full text of the Accettola Plan for consumption by the public.

Fort Monmouth (set for closure in 2012 and with some existing housing units and a fully functional medical facility and infractructure in place) would seem a far better venue to address the housing needs of retired and disabled veterans, rather than dumping them in the middle of a fully functional and massive 11,000-acre weapons depot because its the best of many extremely poor options for what to do with the Laurelwood houses.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Ex-Georgia Tech student convicted of terrorism charge

At the same time the Navy intends to clear a lane for anyone to drive thru Naval Weapons Station Earle and right behind the main gate off Route 34, a 24-year-old from Georgia was found guilty in federal court of conspiring to provide material support to terrorism in the U.S. and abroad. Amazing...

Among the evidence against Syed Haris Ahmed: casing videos (emailed to suspected co-conspirators) of U.S. landmarks such as the U.S. Capitol and World Bank, meetings with suspected terrorists in Toronto, and discussing attacks on military bases.

Imagine this guy or some other malcontent living at Laurelwood, gathering info on train movements and tracking activities at the base, all from his cozy three-bedroom Laurelwood townhome or the unimpeded access road to be built. We're talking about a base that handles serious military weaponry, not some soft outpost in Alaska with which the Navy has compared securing Earle.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Kudos to Assemblywoman Casagrande

Caroline Casagrande, on behalf of Sen. Beck and Assemblyman O'Scanlan, was published in today's Asbury Park Press. Her letter to the editor complements our criticism of Howard Snow's decision on Laurelwood housing and the subsequent insulting letter to the APP published June 1, and hopefully will be the first of many outcries about the Earle situation. The District 12 team has been exceedingly supportive of NOPE, which should allay concerns of people who have approached some of us with: "Where are Beck, O'Scanlan and Casagrande on this?"

The distinction that people should understand between this threesome and our elected officials in Washington is Beck-Casagrande-O'Scanlan have to work this issue from the state perspective (i.e. making sure the DEP and DOT are not being intimidated into fast-tracking Navy permit applications) while the likes of Congressmen Smith and Holt must present our case with the Navy and in Congress.

Back to the letter...the telling piece of Ms. Casagrande's piece is that of the Navy essentially negotiating against itself. Be sure to read her other comments, and contact your elected officials, namely those that have been mum on this (i.e. Menendez, Lautenberg & Corzine) to encourage them to back NOPE and fight publicly against plans for civilian housing at NWS Earle!

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

e-Letter Campaign to President Obama

NOPE requests that on SUNDAY, JUNE 14TH, (in the morning) all supporters e-mail President Obama, encouraging him to act on the Laurelwood housing issue. (If you have not yet received a form e-letter from NOPE Secretary Ernie Janssen yet, please let us know).

President Obama receives many, many e-mails every day and his staff picks out 10 for him to read. We would like to have every member of NOPE send this message to the White House at approximately the same time Sunday morning in hopes that it will generate a lot of interest and alarm that the President and/or the Vice President will acknowledge the faulty Earle housing plan and assist us in a viable, secure solution. Here is the process that we must all follow -
  1. Log on to
  2. Fill in the requested information
  3. In the blank paragraph we request that you copy and paste the message that we have attached (or send in your own message). The message MUST BE A LESS THAN 5,000 CHARACTERS (including spaces). The message we emailed you separately fits within the parameters of the White House mandate for messages.
  4. Naturally, please sign your own name...and not Ernie's.
With your help, we are encouraged that our message will have the potential to reach the President's desk.
Thanking all of you in advance for your help in this fight and for your continued support.
Ernest Janssen

Monday, June 8, 2009

Yet another military housing debacle

Anecdotal, yes, but along the lines of the Laurelwood mess at NWS Earle, where our military again botches another housing contract and then hides behind rhetoric in a dangerous situation - in this instance about the welfare of enlisted personnel.

The Army, through an outside contractor of course, was in the process of building 110 homes at Fort Wainwright, Alaska, when in 2005 the contractor abruptly halted construction owing to a putrid smell that proved to be vast amounts of PCB, a highly toxic and dangerous chemical to humans. The site on which the housing complex (Taku Gardens) was quickly classified an EPA Superfund site, and roughly $15 million later, more than 3,000 cubic yards of PCB-contaminated soil, 1,000 tar and petroleum drums, and 300 tons of scrap metal reportedly has been extracted from the housing area. Diggers went down as far as 18 feet deep (!) to extract far down as the groundwater (can you say PCB in the water) in some spots, but promises to ease neighbors' worries "by designing raised beds for flowers." This clearly will make a soldier feel much better when his or her child is born with three heads and has a ready supply of PCB-laced water and toxic homegrown carrots from his/her Taku Gardens back yard...

The contracting agent's response to the Army's insistence on opening these sweet homes to its own soldiers, you ask...(?):

It's bad from an environmental standpoint, but it doesn't pose a health

PEER, which claims membership of 1,000 civilian federal employees dedicated to upholding environmental laws, puts the price tag for 110 Taku Gardens homes at $100 million to U.S. taxpayers, around the same price that Laurelwood is costing us at Earle (not counting what it will cost if the complex goes civilian). And remember, too, that Laurelwood was built on top of designated wetlands.

NOPE is not oblivious to the notion that military work can be dirty (environmentally) and dangerous, but maybe it's time for our federal and state leaders to start demanding more of our military leaders in terms of truly addressing the housing needs of its soldiers and being a much better neighbor to its host towns and cities. NOPE urges its supporters to contact their U.S. Senators and local elected officials to stand up and fight such issues.