Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Just a fly in the ointment

Greater Media's News Transcript has run another story on the Laurelwood housing situation, this time honing in on NJ Senate passage of S762 (i.e., the cost-benefits analysis of civilian rental housing proposal at NWS Earle), but failed once again to reach out for a response from NOPE regarding a half-baked concept to turn the complex into veterans-only housing.

Not to sound callous, but the same group of advocates from Neptune Housing Authority, one Colts Neck resident and one Tinton Falls resident posing this time as "the MonmouthATeam" continues to espouse the benefits of vets-only housing at Laurelwood, but for two years has not produced a single, viable, detailed document to the public for how their plan to convert Laurelwood into a veterans housing panacea will work (we have long asked for this). For that matter, it is clear that they have not read ANY of the federal documentation put forth about the Department of Navy's civilian housing plan and unfunded mandate on New Jersey, and this group continue to try to tug at peoples' heartstrings (i.e. homeless vets need housing, with which no one would disagree), rather than assessing the DoN's true motivations for putting any civilians inside an active Navy weapons station and giving them unimpeded access to boot.

NOPE supporters should be clear that this MonmouthATeam's initiative is nothing but noise. And enough already that there's no available rental housing in Monmouth County. Look, we know that federal, state and local legislators from both political parties (a miracle unto itself) squarely oppose and/or have serious, valid questions about the DoN's stated plan for Laurelwood housing, and Laurelwood's owner has come out practically begging for a buyout (i.e. she wants no part of these houses and the eventual headache of the 30-year civilian use phase of the contract). In addition, the Navy, itself, knows it would be ill-advised to compromise Earle's mission capabilities by turning Laurelwood into a civilian free-for-all, all for the sake of skirting rent obligations for underutilized housing.

So, please DoN, let's come public and end this charade once and for all. Enough already. Void or buy out the contract and level Laurelwood. You are wasting your own time (and money), and clearly ours.

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