Wednesday, December 9, 2009

More on the NJ legislation, and a bit of clarification

Greater Media News staff writer Rebecca Morton did a nice job detailing the NJ legislation (A4159/S3017) seeking an analysis of the Laurelwood housing conversion at Weapons Station Earle, in this piece in The Examiner (of Allentown, Millstone, Roosevelt and Upper Freehold).

It is a misnomer, however, that the U.S. Navy is off the hook for rent payments to Teri Fischer, owner of Laurelwood Homes, LLC, as of (April) 2010, as suggested by The Examiner, and as the Navy's own Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) on the housing conversion would suggest.

NOPE's reading of the Laurelwood lease and supplemental agreeements, obtained via the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), suggests the U.S. Navy will be on the hook to the developer for as much as $20 million more if certain access and occupancy requirements are not met. The Asbury Park Press reported on this in May 2009, and as spelled out in this NOPE press release from May 12, 2009.

We can provide copies of the full lease agreement, if anyone needs. Just drop us a comment here and we'll be sure to follow up.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Earle measure passes State Assembly; now up for Senate consideration

A mere formality, but A-4159 (a state-mandated probe into the financial and security aspects of the Laurelwood civilian housing issue at NWS Earle) passed 76-0-1 in the New Jersey Assembly yesterday and is under review by a Senate committee (Community and Urban Affairs). NOPE is pushing for passage of the measure by the Senate before year's end for signature by Gov. Corzine during the lame-duck session and will keep tabs on when the Senate Committee meets to address the matter. (There was a committee meeting yesterday, but the companion S-3017 was not listed on yesterday's docket available online; since the NJ Legislature website is so rigid, click on the link here, then click the "Community and Urban Affairs" link on the right side of the screen to see their meeting schedule).

Please click on the A-4159 link above for the 1-page write-up of the official bill, but in short, full passage would prohibit the two key state agencies - the DEP and DOT - from issuing any state permits to the Department of Navy and Laurelwood Homes, LLC for its route construction to the Laurelwood homes until the study is completed. In this case, the state has far greater powers over the process than the federal agencies (i.e. EPA). A good thing for NOPE.

In the meantime, we are reviewing the security guard contracts up for bids at Earle to see whether we can ascertain anything relevant to our case, as noted yesterday, and will post our findings when ready, so stay tuned.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Earle security up for bids

Naval Facilities Engineering Command, Mid-Atlantic (or NAVFAC, the outfit that cobbled together the incomplete Environmental Impact Statement - EIS - on proposed civilian housing at NWS Earle) is soliciting bids from private contractors for outsource security guard and dispatch services at Earle. You can download the PDF files here. (If you get a "security certificate error", just click the link with the Red X, even though your PC may says it is not recommended - a lot of military websites give this prompt, though it is entirely safe to open).

NOPE will analyze the documents in the coming days and blog our findings here.

In short, Earle now uses guards from an outfit from North Carolina called Myers Investigative and Security Services, as we discussed here a few days ago (see the Inspector General report on problems with Earle's oversight of the current contract). Now, oursource security contractors will be able to bid thru January 6, 2010, on this new IDIQ - indefinite delivery, indefinite quantity - parlance for "open-ended contract."

Sunday, December 6, 2009

NOPE on Facebook

Get your friends, family and neighbors to join and support our cause on Facebook. We will work on improving the page over the next few weeks, but let's get everyone signed up.