|Lucy the Margate Elephant, Atlantic Avenue & Decatur Street, Margate City, Atlantic County, NJ.|
I was present today @ Atlantic County Superior Court in Atlantic City to witness the proceedings of Margate Vs. The State of NJ, as regards the States insistence we be "forced" into the AISPP through the condemnation and Eminent Domain process. Judge Julio Mendez was presiding and after hearing both sides in this case, Judge Mendez decided he needs more time to deliberate and study this increasingly complex legal case. The State did not get want it wanted today from the Judge. That said, he also did not rule in favor of Margate either. He, said he would look at both sides of the case as presented today and then decide whether Margate had the right to further due process. The State claims we don't and that the Judge has to rule in favor of the State and the Army because the Project is mandated by Congress. The Judge however seemed more then a little hesitant to buy this argument considering the fact that this whole affair has been going on now for 19 yrs!
THE $$$ THE $$$ THE $$$ !!
The State's Atty's. argument was as I've always said it is all about the availability of the MONEY! No money, no project. Protecting property only happens when all these folks are paid. in front. In the mean time Margate has it's PRIMARY system of Protection that it can rely on. I don't think the State gets the IRONY of their own position and what it means for every community in the State that is wholly dependent on these Projects for their sole means of Protection from storm surge. If the Federal funding ever stops most of NJ's coastal cities and towns that have NO other protective system will be left to maintain these berms at huge cost to their local tax payers and mark my word that day is not far off. As sea rise becomes an established fact and Congress sees that its essentially pissing billions into a rising tide it will abandon this fools errand leaving the local fools holding the sand bag. Margate with it's citywide bulkhead system though will still have a PRIMARY defense, if it's maintained! The problem is if we are forced into this misbegotten Project the temptation for future residents and City Commissions will be to think the Project berm is all they need and they'll allow the bulkhead system to degrade and disappear. It's already happening in Ocean City and Ventnor as I write this. When that day comes these places will be wide open to the Sea !!
Margate Lives to Fight Another Day!!
Neither side got what they wanted today IMO. However, from Margate's perspective a draw is a win because at least we live to fight another day. For the State not winning today was a defeat for it's claim that this Court and this Judge have no standing and must essentially rubber stamp what the Gov. wants, which is his claim that we have no due process rights from here on. The Judge in fact said over and over that generally the Courts interest is to see that due Process is carried out to the maximum extent that is possible. I think this favors Margate's contention that we are still due our day in court to make our full case with expert testimony etc. I think if we are allowed to do this we can present a very strong and compelling case against the States outright LIES in this case. The State's Atty. stood up there today and spewed nonsense on one point after another. If we are allowed a real defense, I think the reality of what the State and the Feds. have actually been doing on the coast will be damning to their case.