Thursday, May 6, 2010

NOPE, Supporters Deserve Their Due

The Asbury Park Press editorial "Navy Waves the White Flag," published May 5, egregiously ignores NOPE and its supporters.

The leaders of NOPE never got into the civilian housing fight against Naval Weapons Station Earle for self-aggrandizing or publicity, but the Press's editorial board did the thousands in Earle's host towns who came out to NOPE rallies or joined our mission a huge disservice by backpatting a select few legislators and entirely ignoring community pressure as the lynchpin of our unlikely victory versus the Department of Navy on the Laurelwood housing issue.

Candidly, had it not been for NOPE's involvement and tenacity since January 2008, bulldozers would be paving the proverbial road to nowhere, and civilians would likely be living inside NWS Earle by September at a half a billion-dollar cost to surrounding communities.  At the same time, the local towns would have been embroiled in lawsuits and finger-pointing over who did who wrong back when the houses were built in the 1980s, or where civilian Laurelwood residents would go to school for the next 30 years.

In short, the APP editorial is a huge slight to the community activists and grassroots leaders of NOPE who dedicated thousands of volunteer hours between work and family obligations to the battle, while at the same time heaping credit on Colts Neck's governing body, which cost its townspeople roughly $300k (for a suit whose text looked similar at times to free research and views published by NOPE), and the District 12 team's legislation in Trenton, where the measure still lingers in Assembly committee almost a full year after introduction and may never be signed into law.

Whoever wrote the editorial really took their eye off the ball, in that the community spoke loudly and clearly enough for the U.S. Navy to hear and, augmenting the efforts of those we've thanked ad nauseum (our U.S. senators and congressmen, state and local officials, area school district leaders, businesses, and the thousands of nameless supporters, etc.) in the wake of the DoN decision to buy out the Laurelwood contract, together we are on the cusp of victory.

Perhaps the biggest "monkey wrench" (to coin the Press's parlance), NOPE supporters deserve their due.

Bill Holobowski
NOPE Chairman

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