The column that says we’re forming a march on DiLisi’s Ristorante at Carll’s Corner Monday morning to demand the salad bowls be brought back, and we met two ladies tonight who demanded the salad bowls — an idea of future eatery owner Byron Hitchner — when they dined across the room from us, and, together, we all protested before we left, kinda … a little … some.
By Jack Hummel
Radio: 92.1 FM Saturdays noon to 2 p.m.
U.S. Army: RA13815980
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Why would anybody in any workplace in 2015 tell another worker to watch out who they hang out with and not expect to face charges like happened in 2015 in a Bridgeton Fire Department interview.
We still haven’t moved on?
Those back in the old days comment cost the city of Bridgeton $90,000, but it was one of those secret settlements not supposed to see the light of day.
But John Paff, presently serving as Chairman of the New Jersey Libertarian Party’s Open Government Advocacy Project as well as the NJLP’s Preempted Ordinance Repeal Project and who we have had on 92.1 FM more than once, has published the details and sent this memo to the lawyer presenting the lawsuit and city council:
“Dear Mr. Wall:
“We are pleased to inform you that the “confidential” settlement that resolved the captioned matter has been published on a blog (click here) maintained by the New Jersey Libertarian Party’s Open Government Advocacy Project. Further, we have sent links to our blog article to area media. We hope that you will share this information with your client.
“We believe that inserting confidentially clauses in a settlement agreement that resolves a lawsuit in which a public agency is a defendant is shameful and offensive to public policy. The only reason for enforced confidentiality is to suppress the truth and impede the ability of taxpayers, who fund these settlements either directly or through insurance premiums, to learn how much of their money is being paid out.
“Copied on this e-mail are Mayor Kelly and the Bridgeton City Council. My purpose in copying them on this e-mail is to ask them if they will, at their May 16th meeting (or the following meeting, if the May 16th agenda is already fixed), discuss whether inserting confidentiality clauses in the City’s settlement agreements comports with Bridgeton residents’ whole interest in monitoring their City government and, if not, whether a resolution or ordinance should be passed that would prevent the City or its insurers from inserting such confidentiality clauses in future settlement agreements.
“Very truly yours.”
— John Paff, Chairman
New Jersey Libertarian Party’s
Open Government Advocacy Project
Everybody has had sensitivity training in the workplace, and certainly that has to include the city.
“”It’s been suggested that we talk about this on my radio show. It’s all around us. Teachers, lawyers, yes, even pastors and of course, POLITICIANS. Every walk of life has their hypocrites.
“Should be a good show! 92.1 FM WVLT Saturday mornings 6 to 8 and sometimes I join Jim Sauro between 8 and 9. Talk Radio at it’s finest … that’s right, I said it. Don’t forget the talk radio line-up — me 6 to 8, Jim 8 to 10, Pearl Giordano, 10 to 11, flex hour 11 to 12 then noon to 2 p.m., it’s Jack Hummel.
“Tune in. Better yet, call 856-696-0092.”
— Rich Hoch
Meanwhile, back at the ranch …
Go, Steven Paul, go! Can we have a Steven Paul Day in Bridgeton? Can we hold a Steven Paul race through the city? Can we have his face on a banner across Broad Street, or if you can’t because it’s a state highway, how about on top of Scarani’s station or the side of the Cumberland County Jail, saying, “Come dine with me!” with his picture and a phone number?
How about a photo of Mayor Kelly with the same message, or does him telling everybody he meets out of town that he comes from the great city of Bridgeton enough?
We don’t think so.
Wouldn’t you love to hear the owner of Las Palmas speak about why he has his eatery in town? Do you know his name? You know who owns De Olde Towne Tavern. We know who owned the Coach Room.
Go there and meet him? Been there, didn’t meet him.
We know the owner of the Green Olive, mainly, because he’s rebuilding Hopewell and took the area by storm when he took an eatery that had failed three or four previous times, completely refurbished it and packed it every weekend, even BEFORE he got the liquor license.
Can we GIVE the downtown to Bahri and Nancy Yilmaz after what they did for the ramshackle Hopewell Shopping Center across the street?
Or just give him North Laurel Street from Commerce to Washington — both sides — and let him remodel all the storefronts at street level and build on the other side where the open space is.
Has anybody been asking him? Have we had enough of the ethanol ghosts and Ferracute vegetable growing dream?
Would Bahri’s customers at the Green Olive follow him downtown from Commerce to Laurel — the whole block — if he worked his magic?
Yilmaz opened the Green Olive in 2005. Since then, the restaurant has undergone three renovations, two in the first year to expand seating, now seating nearly 300 patrons comfortably.
A brick oven — the third renovation — was added to expand Green Olive’s already-extensive menu to include pizza, stromboli and calzones.
We’re begging, Bahri.
If Dolores Sharkey loves you, it’s enough for us.
We know there’s a $750,000 clean-up needed on one side there, and we know the $10,000,000 non-ratable county clerk’s office is going to go there to increase foot traffic.
But don’t tell us Bahri Yilmaz can’t get the funding to get creative on Laurel Street.
We’d even share one side of Laurel Street with Ozkan Akilli, son of the great Golden Pigeon founder, and now operator of Ye Olde Towne Tavern.
Somebody at the old Farmers & Merchants Bank believed in Gasim Akilli’s dream at the shuttered Hickory Steak House.
A little history
The township didn’t even get the buyer’s name right.
Not even spelled right.
So you know the part about the township talking to the buyer of Capps Picnic Park andwarning him he couldn’t get a liquor license wasn’t true.
But all everybody worried about was the liquor license rumors.
“They’re going to turn it into a bar!”
“They’re going to try and transfer the De Olde Towne Tavern license to Capps Picnic Park!”
None of it was true.
They could have found out by asking Ozkan Akilli.
He’s the 32-year-old son of Gasim Akilli, who owns the Golden Pigeon in Upper Deerfield and the Towne Tavern, in Bridgeton.
Gasim Akilli is the man who signed on the dotted line for Capps Picnic Park last week.
His relationship with Ross Capps, the seller of Capps Picnic Park, goes back to when Capps sold him the former Hickory Steak House — now the Pigeon.
“We kept in touch,” said Gasim, “even after I paid off the restaurant. I’ve been up to his other place — Brandywine Picnic Park, in Pennsylvania — what a wonderful place! So much room. I love that place!”
Ozkan Akilli has been there, too.
It is where he got the idea for buying and rebirthing Capps Picnic Park.
Ozkan is a graduate of Ursinus College.
“I was an A student at Cumberland Regional and a B student at Ursinus,” he said.
His dream was to go back to Turkey and run for election and do great things for his country.
“I changed my mind in college,” he said. “I still want to become a politician, but here.”
He is married with two children, 8 and 2.
Ozkan went to his father with his thoughts on Capps Picnic Park. His father thought enough of the plans to cough up $675,000 for the 30 acres.
That’s when the rumors started about the liquor license.
“It said in the newspaper that township officials talked to me about not being able to get a liquor license,” he said. “No township offical has ever talked to me. The only official I have talked to is Bob (Hulitt) and that was to get a CO (certicate of occupancy) after we bought it so I can clean up the place.”
He has a five-year plan.
But he won’t reveal it.
“If the township lets me do what I want to do, it will be a great success,” he said.
“You know my dad,” he smiled. “He’s a 12-month-a-year man, and I am, too.”
He looks right at you when he talks.
“If you work hard, you can accomplish anything,” he said. “The only time success is ahead of work is in the dictionary.”
He never had plans to seek a liquor license — transfer or otherwise.
“There are already three liquor licenses in the township,” he lets you know he’s done his homework. He knows the formula won’t let there be more until the area grows.
“Look at Upper Deerfield before my father came,” he pointed out. “What was here (in 1990)?”
“How many banks?
“Look at it now,” he said. “Fairfield will also grow.”
It will be a family venture.
“Include my sister, Gulsen, and don’t forget my younger brother, Ugur,” said Ozkan.
Hopefully, Fairfield will learn how to spell all three names as the family works to establish a recreation area that will include food and become well-known all over South Jersey.
His father has been in business at the Pigeon for 21 years.
“The first 4 1/2 years, I never took a dime out of the business,” he said.
Reminded that the week he opened, he found meal slips all over the parking lot because people had walked out without paying their bill, he told another story.
“Five people came in and ate and they presented a bill for $15,” he said.
The waitress had given them the wrong bill. They were supposed to get a bill for $50.
“I looked and saw five people and I said, what, didn’t anybody eat? I’ll never forget that story.”
Wednesday night, Ozkam was supposed to arrive at 11 p.m. with his father for this interview.
“He’s working behind the bar (at the Towne Tavern),” his father relayed by cell phone. “He has to help out.”
He runs the place with his dad.
“I have to do what I have to do,” he said later. “If I see a piece of paper on the ground, I don’t wait for somebody else to pick it up. I pick it up.”
“Do you know how old my father was when he started the Golden Pigeon?” he asked.
“Do you know how old Ross Capps was when he took over Capps Picnic Park?
The same age as Ozkan.
As far as the downtown goes, let’s tap instead of tap dancing.
“Well, good news and bad news:
“The Bay Day in Bivalve has been canceled.”
— Perry Loatman
Jim Bergmann at noon and Prez Yves Salomon-Fernandez at 1 p.m. Saturday with us on 92.1 FM.
YOU CAN BOOK IT: Sometimes, a Phillies rainout is better than the game, like tonight when Harold Gould’s story was played instead.