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Freeholders Rankled By Newspaper's Criticisms

Kelly, Vicari say claims they have done nothing are baseless

The Ocean County Board of Freeholders reviewed plans on Wednesday to seek bids for retrofitting two more stormwater basins in the county, during the bimonthly preboard meeting in Toms River.

The two basins -- one along Vermont Avenue in Toms River, the other at the intersection of North County Line Road and Jackson Mills Road in Jackson -- are the newest in a series of basin retrofit projects the county has done to help create a filtration system that lessens the impact of rainwater runoff on Barnegat Bay.

The county is estimating the retrofits will cost $1 million, with the county splitting the cost with the state Department of Environmental Protection, county engineer Frank Scarantino said.

Citing the stormwater basin projects as just one example, Freeholder John P. Kelly took the opportunity to blast a newspaper editorial over its criticisms of the board.

"How dare they say we don't care about Ocean County?" Kelly said. "We were one of the first counties to build these basins, to protect Barnegat Bay.

The editorial, which appeared in Sunday's Asbury Park Press, endorsed Democrats Joseph Grisanti and Pat Barndt in Tuesday's election for two freeholder positions, currently held by John C. Bartlett and Director Gerry P. Little.

"How dare they say we don't do enough to fight for Ocean County?" Kelly said. "Where are they when we are meeting with the commissioners, pushing for widening of Route 9?"

Freeholder Joseph H. Vicari said there have been active efforts to block any attempt by Ocean County to get funding directed to the widening of Route 9 by the state Department of Transportation, which has responsibility for the road.

Kelly said that during a conversation with one commissioner, he learned that commissioner was under the impression the county wanted Route 9 widened to three lanes in each direction.

"He was surprised to find out it was only one lane each way," Kelly said.

Little said that while the county's road crews clean stormbasins throughout the county each year, storm drains along the state highways through the county -- Routes 9, 70, 37 and 35 -- go untouched, resulting in flooding during heavy storms and sending pollutants into Barnegat Bay.

"There seems to be a confusion between what's the county's responsibility and what's the state's responsibility," Vicari said.

"The state should be doing more," Kelly said.

"Maybe if newspapers disappeared our recycling crews would have time to do other things," Freeholder James Lacey said, half-joking.

BW October 28, 2012 at 02:54 PM
Why wouldnt you do your own blog then? Very easy and most are free. In the world of ocean county politics it is every man for himself. And just an FYI if it were reversed you would do the same thing to them, and dont say no we wouldnt. Been around a long time, I know the game, and there are no rules.
Frederick John LaVergne for Congress October 28, 2012 at 10:25 PM
We have several, and, no, whether you believe me or not, we don't censor ours. You don't know me if you think we do. Honor means something to some of us. So does the Constitution. Ask folks who know ME. I think you will be pleasantly surprised. Democratic-RepublicanParty.org, NationalTruth.org, ChangetheRulesPledge.org - all worth a look. Not a shot at you personally, but I sign everything I write with my real name.
Frederick John LaVergne for Congress October 28, 2012 at 10:29 PM
Actually, I bring that up because there is a fellow on here who uses three aliases to make it look like he has support in his trolling. He accused me of "cut and paste" of someone else's work, because the exact text appears on WikiPedia. It does. They cited ME. I'm the AUTHOR. Ken Lack is the wiki editor for anyone who wants to confirm that. We are running the entire campaign with a pen, a calculator, and a library card...watch what happens in Philly tomorrow (electronic issue, so closed city matters not). We ARE independent of the George v George / D v R machine politics, and have actually managed to expose the antics that have hurt our communities for years.
mjmjr December 16, 2012 at 06:34 PM
foggyworld January 12, 2013 at 06:54 PM
"How dare they ....." The whole point of journalism is to report things and often that rubs the feathers of those on high the wrong way. Newspapers also write editorials and that is a traditional part of the package. News reporting has gone astray in recent years and become more and more political in tone but the smart ones do try to walk that center line because from there other opinions can be promulgated. And by attempting to stay neutral (which is tough to do) successful news outlets are providing spring boards for comments that put some articles up for challenge. It's all part of the healthy free speech we have and we and newspapers, should "dare." People in office ought to expect criticism and if they can't respond with facts that overwhelm the original writer's criticism, so be it. Most of us are getting tired of pat-you-on the back stories and give the results politicians have been providing us, criticism is in order.


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