The column that says Kissy’s Place Animal Rescue is coming on 92.1 FM Saturday noon and then the author who penned a novel around historic Greenwich comes on at 1 p.m., and who else believes the mayor and city council in Bridgeton should be a breakdown o/f three Latinos, two black and one white, because it’s time the 43% majority in this town has more to do with its future.
By Jack Hummel
Radio: 92.1 FM WVLT Saturdays noon to 2 p.m.
U.S. Army: Ra13815980
Google all columns at jackhummelblog
The Cumberland County SPCA must show records of their transactions under the Open Public Records Act, and those transactions involve charging the city of Millville full price when veterinarians actually gave them a break on charges.
How this will play out, we don’t know, but we know if it’s true, the SPCA must pay the legal fees of the lawyer who brought the case, and that should be interesting, and, also, how much has to be returned to the city of Millville, possibly with interest.
It will also be interesting to see what the state SPCA might do to the local shelter in such a case, if anything.
But the most interesting to us will be why the information was OPRAed in the first case, depending on how much money is involved with an organization with a $300,000 annual budget.
The problem still exists and gets worse by the day and all the OPRAs in the world won’t solve it.
Maybe the filing lawyer will donate his fee to TNVR.
“Happy 4th of July weekend! Hope it is a long one for you, too! As far as there is one less thing to complain about with the removal of the Bertini Bldg, well, you don’t know taxpayers!
“I’m sure that the Historical Commission is very well intentioned and they deserve a lot of credit for donating time and energy to enrich the city. But they now have @ least 2 fails on the books — Bertini and Swedish Settlement.
“And there was some hoopla at the Settlement awhile back with even the Swedish Ambassador visiting. It was in the paper. What happened to all that? Absolutely nothing. What happened to the monies raised, well who knows? Maybe you do.
“I guess that what remains of it after all the parties and fun and photo ops is it follows the buildings to their new home city. Or did Bridgeton get to keep it? So now all we hear about (well, what I read in your blog) is The Nail House.
“The Ferrecute, well, that kind of seemed to fizzle out, too difficult I guess. It seems that meetings are all these commissions can accomplish. Nothing concrete, just meet and talk and plan, and when it gets really hard, loses its glamour and newness move on to the next shiny thing.
“Because, as well-intentioned as they might be, they can’t seem to move forward. I don’t know why. Maybe they fall into that trap a lot of ill-conceived commissions and organizations do — they forget how difficult and costly it can be to actually execute a plan when you lack follow through.
“I know you like positivity, and I do, too, but money is real and the sooner these committees and commissions realize it and stop wasting our taxes, the better.
“And please don’t say they don’t use taxpayer funds. The last Nail House plea was for Bridgeton City to kick in money to pay someone and I don’t remember anyone saying it was a loan.
“I (as a taxpayer) should not be your safety net. I think the city isn’t in that great shape financially, so why are you adding to the burden? I don’t oppose my tax dollars being used for Historic Preservation.
“Just show some results, because as much as you think otherwise with grand plans, money is real and it is a finite resource.”
Carrying Big Knife
We were at the city council work session when Flavia Alaya, founder of CHABA, asked for meager funds for an event she was holding at the Ashley-McCormick building.
Otherwise, she has been using her own organization for writing grants and asking for donations. There is nothing wrong with saving historic buildings, but when the price of saving the Ferracute office building is put at $1 million, and the national trust fund has dried up, you’re right — there is no way it can be done locally.
Oberlin Smith is biggest part of history that we have in Bridgeton, but has never been so far removed from that status as he is today.
We are a distressed city TODAY. Can history get us undistressed? Being the largest historic district in the state has done nothing in that direction.
When congress decided farmworkers deserve decent living conditions, better than what farms were providing, some — not all — farms came to Bridgeton and lined up rentals en masse.
That’s how the city became 53% rental, with landlords happy to provide accommodations by turning mansions into rentals, and, as people passed away, survivors fo/und they couldn’t sell the house because those who wanted to buy couldn’t get the loan approved and those who could afford it didn’t want to move into that neighborhood.
The only option left was to sell to a landlord who had the money, even seeking out those landlords. We know a lot of business people in the townships who own rentals in Bridgeton, 13 here and 6 or 7 there. You’d be surprised because talk always centers around Bob Thompson, who would sell every rental he has if you agreed to turn it into a single home.
It is the absentee landlords, especially owners of buildings downtown, that make us fume because they don’t care.
We can tell you not only is there money to be made in a distressed city, but why would the old money in Bridgeton take a chance on investing in the downtown? You tell us.
The other fact is the bases of the big buildings downtown are eroding, and will cause massive spending to fix eventually.
On the other hand, the architecture on the second and third floors of some of these buildings will stun you, if you just look up. It is the first floors that have been made ghetto-like.
Take North Laurel Street and refurbish those second and third floor facades so they are the first thing you see driving north. The trees hiding them have to go. A Community Development Association has to be formed to do the investing, owning the buildings and fixing them up and making money on the resale. It is not a new idea.
It is architecture you will never see again.
Now, how to sell the sizzle!
“Park It and Zoo Too.”
“1,100 Acres of Parking In Bridgeton, and that doesn’t even include the downtown.”
“Do You Zoo? Do You Zoo With Mary Lou?”
Turn “zoo” and “park” into action verbs. Come out and park it. Come out and zoo it. “Zoooom it!”
Are we hired, Cindy, hired planner?
Don’t include Bridgeton in the name of the downtown or the city park! Call it 1,100 acres of sprawling woods, indian trails, history in western Cumberland County.
And while we’re at it, why don’t the Lenni-Lenape have a permanent spot on Mayor Aitken Drive in the city park? They’re a big part of our history, yet are tucked away downtown.
Don’t try to overcome the Bridgeton stigma. Sell the sizzle of the city park, zoo, splash park and amphitheater on their own merits. If the perception is Bridgeton is unsafe because of crime reports readily available to the media centered in areas far removed from the park, ignore the name of the city.
“We need your help to get transitional housing for a chronically homeless man with lung cancer who starts treatment next week. Cancer is terrible and being homeless only compounds the issue.
“As you know, we are working to rapidly house 42 of our chronically homeless individuals in Cumberland County by September 30th. To date, we have 5 people approved by the NJ Department of Community Affairs (DCA) with another 14 applications pending approval. We will soon be sending up another 15 applications for their review.
“After they are approved by DCA, we place the individuals in transitional housing until we can get them an apartment. However, people like the gentleman with cancer need immediate access to shelter. Transitional housings costs $50 a night.
Also, I want to encourage to check out our TEN WAYS YOU CAN END HOMELESSNESS. Plus, you can help protect Medicaid Health Coverage for the homeless and poor by signing an online petition.
“I want to wish you a safe, happy, and healthy 4th of July weekend. Let us all work towards a more perfect union TOGETHER!
Our mailing address is:
Bridgeton, NJ 08302