Monday, December 6, 2010

Monday Morning Quarterback

In the aftermath of Thursday night's announcement of the Department of Navy's $32.7 million buyout of the Laurelwood housing agreement at NWS Earle, it was interesting to read the (seemingly negative) reaction of anonymous armchair QBs the past few days to the Asbury Park Press story in Friday's edition.
  • "An American Tragedy(!)", wrote hthegerman, a frequent NOPE basher on the APP boards who added that "the Navy was forced into this predicament." 
    • (Provocative, but 100% incorrect; the Navy created its own mess. We brought it to light and provoked the only rational outcome.) 
  • "Another colossal waste of taxpayer money...this is why our taxes are so high," wrote LocalGuy77
    • (Wrong again. Local taxes would have been WAY higher with NWS Earle operating a civilian "town" inside its property line; i.e. educational expense, no local tax on federal property, added cost to NJ to process any legal matters of prospective tenants for the next 30 years before the mandated 2040 tear-down date, etc.)
  • BlueOrchid chimed in with a suggestion to use the Laurelwood homes "for the mentally ill...they could have a stable place to live and social services could help them." 
    • Quite an interesting plan -- putting the mentally ill in the middle of Navy base where the military stores bombs and often sets off explosions as part of its regular routine.
  •  "Fence it and sell it to the builder to rent out," suggests EastCoast, perhaps new to the scene and unaware that this was the Navy's plan ( from Day One. 
  • Plus, the usual mudslinging toward any objector to proposed civilian housing at Laurelwood as "snobs, merry morons (NOPE), etc." 
These charges are fine, considering we've never been thin-skinned at NOPE or hid from our mission - to prevent a security disaster from ever happening at NWS Earle that could have resulted because of a civilian housing plan that was entirely an economic -- rather than a beneficial military or strategic -- decision by Navy leaders in Washington.  Our mission was NEVER personal (i.e. anti-Navy, anti-veterans, anti-affordable housing, etc.).  NOPE merely stood up to the DoN about a force-fed, detrimental proposal.

NOPE recognized from the outset in late-2007 that a handful of charged-up local affordable housing advocates would ignore the facts of our case (i.e. that opening unused NWS Earle housing to anyone who could cut a rent check was an extremely toxic and expensive venture to the surrounding community and the DoN itself) and turn a ridiculous housing conversion proposal by the Department of Navy into a class battle to promote their own forum.  That's fine, but extremely misguided and the crux of the above criticisms from the APP message boards.

In short, NOPE proved the merits of the community's case through extensive research, gathering of government and military documents through the Freedom of Information Act, high-level discussions with local, state and federal bipartisan elected officials as well as meetings with the Department of Navy, and articulated the facts to thousands of residents in the surrounding communities through door-to-door contact, the digital media (i.e. our blog and website), on the ballfields, letter writing and town hall-style briefings and presentations that, in some cases, were attended by 300-500 area citizens. 

And this was done by passionate, open-minded volunteers and servants (three respected veterans of three branches of the U.S. Military among us) who gave freely of their time to the benefit of their community and in the face of naysayers. NOPE was never smoke and mirrors. Respectfully, responsibly and resolutely, we gathered and presented the facts. Bottom line. Our detractors have every right to continue to ignore those facts, but turning the outcome of our case into a personal attack does nothing good for anyone.  

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