WHAT HAPPENED IN VENTNOR Fall 2002?
The debate this summer in Margate will be about whether to join or not to join the AISPP. Or will there be any debate at all? Will summer 2013 follow the pattern that late summer and fall 2002 did in Ventnor? I hope not. Why? Because , what happened in Ventnor that year was a vote, but there was very little in the way of any kind of actual debate. Back then Mayor Kreischer and his Commission all came down 100% for joining and then proceeded to bully and threaten the other side in this extremely contentious and one-sided election. That might not have happened, had DUNE listened to me and not to Paula Johnson back then. I had warned the principle organizers and founders of DUNE Mark Miller and Marvin Levin that they faced a election that year and they ignored me. I knew it as early as Jan. 2002. They waited to get organized till Sept. and then refused to put together a local citizens committee, as I had advised. Paula lived in Margate, as did I and Mark and Marvin were summer residents not registered local voters. Not one of us was a resident voter of Ventnor, a critical issue that was used against us during that whole election. That decision by itself IMO doomed any hope of winning in Ventnor, as dim as they were anyway. Mayor Kreischer et al. were at that time at the top of their game in Ventnor and ruled the town with an iron-fist. Anyone in Ventnor that stood up to TIMMAY as he was known got hammered by him and his right hand man City Solicitor Scott Abbott ( now coincidentally Margate's City Solicitor.) The rest is history. DUNE lost 65% to 35% to nobody's surprise. DUNE was totally an amateur act , not put together to run political campaigns. Paula had wanted to believe that Kreischer was bluffing and that no election was ever going to be held. What did she know, she was from NYC. To her credit though she was good at organizing petition drives and we do owe her the law that now sits on the books in Margate.
The truth is we were never more than one really bad storm away from an election on this issue in Margate. We lucked out for the past 11 yrs., at least until Sandy .
DEBATE OR DIVIDE ?
Hopefully, Margate's present leadership will decide that on an issue of such importance it behooves them to allow the public to have all the facts and information surrounding this issue. Holding public meetings that ONLY allow one sided opinions and facts to be aired, as was done in Ventnor in 2002 is not a real debate. So, I would warn the Pro Dune-side here that they must understand that having public meetings that give a starring role to the ARMY CORP. and the NJDEP are merely pep rallies for their Pro-dune team, not public meetings that allow for both sides to air information and make their respective cases. I would respectfully suggest that this whole issue be actually debated in public and that each side present it's case in such a format. I would also suggest a few large public meetings where the Commission allows the public to field it questions about the Project, at those meetings both the Army and the NJDEP could be asked to attend, but hopefully not sit on the stage. They could be called as speakers when questions about the Project are asked. Allowing them to sit on the stage with their charts and power pts. is just another advertisement for the Pro-dune side in this. This same is true of having someone like Pro-dune Stockton Prof. Stewart Farrell , who makes a tidy profit off doing contract work for the Army and the NJDEP and the various NJ Coastal communities. He's anything but neutral on this issue. Hopefully, this whole issue will not turn into another ugly & divisive community divider, as was the case in Ventnor in 2002.