Margate, NJ voters in a near 2-to-1 margin voted not to join the AISPP dune project. ? Governor Christie and the Federal Government, the local media, and forces within Margate City government all worked together to try and force Margate in to this project. ? A group of local citizens, including blogger and activist Glenn Klotz, formed to educate citizens on the issue. ? Their efforts led to the 2-to-1 defeat of a referendum question asking whether Margate should join the Dune Project.
Have frequent referendums (public votes) on issues of public importance
To Margate’s credit, their Commissioners voted to put this important issue on the ballot so that voters could give their opinion on the issue. ? Voters have resoundingly said NO. ?The question now becomes whether or not the Margate City Commissioners will represent the will of the people of Margate and fight off the Army Corps. of Engineers attempts to coerce Margate in to the Dune Project despite the referendum results. ?Glenn Klotz reports on the last Margate Commission meeting:
If I’m reading [Mayor Becker] right he seems to believe that the public mandate of last week only refers to the Commission actively joining the Project through a vote of the Commissioners. ?However, he’s well aware the Gov. has said public ally that he would ignore
both the voters & even the Commissioners and find some way to use his authority to force us to join. So, if the Mayor is not willing to mount a legal defense of Margate if necessary, he would then
be allowing Margate to be joined to the project through his passive acquiescence. ?The outcome then would be the same as an active vote by himself & Commissioner Taube to join. However, By doing nothing they probably believe they would avoid another election ( they both know they would almost certainly lose) and that they would also be able to blame the Gov. for the outcome. ?IMO, such a plan is nothing more then a cynical & disingenuous attempt at taking a detour around the voters and his public pledge, to follow the outcome of the referendum he called for.
Governor Christie has issued executive order 140. ? The Press of Atlantic City reports:
Margate?s efforts to make dune-building a local decision may no longer matter. A provision in Gov. Chris Christie?s executive order designed to streamline efforts related to dune construction and other flood hazard risk reduction measures may eliminate the need for local approval.
The order, issued Wednesday following the announcement of the state?s $1 landmark settlement with a Harvey Cedars couple over the value of a lost view due to dunes, states that no municipality can ?enact or enforce? any regulation, ordinance or other measure that would interfere with the state?s efforts to build dunes as flood-control measures.
The upcoming days will show whether the liberty of people to exercise self-government will win out over the “wisdom” of the Governor in Trenton with respect to the way in which the people of Margate want their town protected against future storms. ? It is a classic case of the liberty of individuals against the central planning of the Governor, his administration, the NJ DEP, and the US Army Corps. of Engineers. ? It is a struggle worth engaging in whether or not you live in Margate. Liberty is the business of us all.
(Image sources -?http://rlv.zcache.com/margate_new_jersey_sunset_poster-raf49031faa094e16b9faf1f009b1a73f_acaq_8byvr_324.jpg & http://activerain.com/image_store/uploads/8/4/0/8/0/ar136070366908048.jpg)