Monday, February 10, 2020

Just Mercy - a must-see movie for anyone who thinks Grace has died along with truth in this country.

Sorry for the long string of code below. But sometimes those short urls don't work so well. And I wanted everyone to see the poster for this film - Just Mercy - which I saw with friends Friday night at the Bradley Beach Showroom theater.
There were so few people in that beautifully renovated, airy theater! I guess people are distracted by so much: the latest election campaign revelations, impeachment details, Saturday Night Massacre-style firings, the Senate hearing acquittal and Hollywood's Annual Version of the Nobles, to name just a few.
But it would be a crime to miss this movie. Here is the story of Brian Stevenson, a young black man who aces Harvard Law and sets out immediately for the South - Alabama - to work for peanuts while investigating death row cases. He takes a ton of flak, including from some of the prisoners themselves. And he gets the stuffing punched out of him. But he prevails - he spares the lives of more than 135 people facing execution and keeps on going!
I just wish our schools or churches could arrange a trip for our young people to see it and maybe get inspired, too. They need to see that there is mercy amidst all this hatred and disinterest. Don't take my word for it, see for yourself, please.

Friday, February 7, 2020

City's 2018 Access Plan Approved iStar's PRIVATE POOL?

Excerpt from pg. 38 of the

Amended and Restated Redeveloper and Land Disposition Agreement

Contained in the Municipal Public Access Plan. The excerpt reads:

The Amended and Restated Redeveloper and Land Disposition Agreement is a master redeveloper agreement between the City of Asbury Park (acting as the redevelopment agency) and Asbury Partners, LLC that was executed in 2002 in order to implement the Asbury Park Waterfront Redevelopment Plan. The purpose of the redeveloper agreement is to set forth the respective rights, obligations, conditions, and agreements of the City and the Master Redeveloper in connection with the development and redevelopment of the properties in the Asbury Park Waterfront Redevelopment Area. [Emphasis AsburyRadio]

The redeveloper agreement outlines the following specific provisions as relevant to public beach access and parking for the redevelopment area:

1. Article 3, Schedule of Development: 3.13 Beach Clubs:
Master Developer shall be responsible for the construction of two, one or two-story Beach Club facilities, one of which shall be available to the general public. [Emphasis AR.]The first will be located on the eastern terminus of Ocean Avenue and the beach between 6th and 7th Avenues and Master Developer may charge a membership fee. The second, the public Beach Club will be located on the eastern terminus of Ocean Avenue and the beach between 1st and 2nd Avenue and available to the general public. Neither of the facilities shall be built to impede pedestrian access to the boardwalk. The obligation to construct the facility for the general public is explicitly conditioned on Master Developer obtaining all approvals to construct the two Beach Clubs”

For the full Municipal Access Report from the DEP site Use URL

How should this Developer Agreement and the Coastal Area Facilities Review Act (CAFRA) 2004 Permit, which Asbury Radio posted about earlier this week, on our FB page at and here, to be viewed?
The CAFRA Permit bars anything but a public facility on the Asbury Park beach.
Yet the Developer Agreement seems to grant exactly what iStar is asking for in 2020 - a non-public beach, albeit without using the word private.
And why are the dates missing from this 2018 document, the Access Plan? [see brackets]
It reads:
"This plan has been developed in collaboration with the DEP, Asbury Park City Council, City Manager, and Planning Staff; and was presented to the Planning Board [on date] and approved for submission to the DEP [on date]. Upon receiving approval from the DEP [on date], the MPAP was incorporated into [specify element] Element of the Master Plan by resolution on [date], (see Appendix 1). All public access decisions made within Asbury Park after [this date] will be consistent with this plan." End of excerpt -

Why does this document reference 2002 (see above), as if these details were included upon the signing of the City's first developer agreement with Asbury Partners. And if that's true, why wouldn't the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) have finalized it by filling in those dates? This, together with the strange page numbering and missing pages in the CAFRA permit document, listed on the homepage, should give the AP Planning Board cause to pause for even more reflection.  Your comments are invited and very important.

But NOTE all might be turned around again, according to N.J. Governor Phil Murphy's press release this morning 2/7/20, laying out the State's plans to bring our DEP into the Climate Conscious 2020s.  

DEP Begins Reform of Environmental Regulations in Response to Climate Change

February 6, 2020

Contact: Lawrence Hajna       (609) 984-1795
                Caryn Shinske          (609) 292-2994


Protecting Against Climate Threats: DEP Seeks Stakeholder Input on Greenhouse Gas and Environmental Land Use Rule Changes

(19/P02) TRENTON - One week after Governor Phil Murphy and Commissioner Catherine R. McCabe announced a comprehensive effort to modernize New Jersey's environmental regulations to protect our communities and economy against the threats of climate change, the Department of Environmental Protection is moving forward  with a collaborative rulemaking process, holding several stakeholder events throughout February and March, to make the New Jersey Protecting Against Climate Threats (NJ PACT) reforms a reality. [ Read full release with details for public comment at ]

Tuesday, February 4, 2020

Area Residents Jam Chambers to Protest iStar Private Pool - Even the State's CAFRA Permit Bars It

Residents had only three minutes each to voice their disgust last night for the nearly 18,000 sq ft private pool club planned for between 6th and 7th avenues, right in front of North Beach condos. Two hours later the last speaker finished by declaring the oceanfront "exactly back where we were before" the redevelopment plan of 2002 began. Everything about the master developer's concept irritated every speaker - white, black, young or old, poor or well off - not one liked the proposal. 

A developer and builder who said he chose North Beach as his retirement home, described the physical structure of the pool, which features four solid walls, as "a fortress." 

"We were told there might be structures of two stories in front of us," he said. But the buffer strip between North Beach and the boardwalk is on an incline so that the ocean side of the pool is higher than two stories. "This Planning Board is our last line of defense," he implored, urging the Board to create "an inclusive place that meets all requirements."    

Whites and blacks alike expressed frustration at iStar's apparent lack of empathy in deciding to build the City's first beach side pool in decades and to design it as an exclusive -- expensive -- iStar-owned Asbury Beach Club amenity for its members only. Comparisons were made to the pools built in pre-integration times, such as the former Monterey 'public' pool, which some say relied on social snubbing to make people of color feel unwelcome. The beach itself was once totally off-limits to black residents, with the exception of an untended no-man's-land scrap of sand south of the Casino, where the sewer pipes crossed the shore to the ocean.   

During our three minutes, Asbury Radio informed the Planning Board that the NJ Dept. of Environmental Protection's 2004 Coastal Area Facility Review Act (CAFRA) permit [see links] that they are guided by -- the only CAFRA permit issued to date -- specifically restricts structures to places of assembly open to "the general public" and "supports beach/tourism related activities, that is, retail, amusement and food services." The description does not seem to fit a members-only private pool beyond the reach of most Asbury Park residents. AR could find no references to private pools in the 54-page section of the more than 250-page document that deals with those issues.  

AR asked the professional planner hired by the group Save Asbury's Waterfront, Carlos Rodrigues, PP / FAICP ( which means he is a Fellow of the American Institute of Certified Planners) of Design Solutions, LLC, for how we should interpret this information. 
The answer was far more than I anticipated: 
 "The CAFRA permit does not anticipate a private club – only public clubs," Rodrigues responded via email. 
"The applicant’s attorney will argue that the Planning Board has no jurisdiction over the CAFRA permit, only NJDEP.  However, if the town does something that puts that permit at risk, then redevelopment would also be at risk. So the Planning Board should take it seriously."

Teretha Jones, a native of the City whose family owned a business here, told the Board to "Throw the whole plan out!" Declaring the City to be 75 percent "her people," Jones said, "the City is more segregated than before," staining the City's era of redevelopment with the racist attitudes of the 50s and 60s. "You didn't even want to include my family business in your incubators." In those decades, she also noted, Asbury Park was a center for KKK rallies. 

Rev. Alison Estes, a 24-year resident, acknowledged a need for healing. Katherine Healy, a new mother of a son, lamented "how racism is built into our society today." And, she added her concerns for better stewardship of the coastline, "New Jersey is ground zero for the effects of climate change," she said.

"The onus is in your hands," said Joyce Grant, an environmental columnist whose view from her Asbury Tower window chronicles a daily devastating excavation. Where a wide boardwalk once stood, heavy construction equipment rakes, scoops and dumps dunes and shore grasses onto mountains of dirt. Her message to the board was simple and short: "I implore you, reject this environmentally irresponsible project." 


Duanne Small, a contractor and lifelong city resident, described earlier times of exclusivity when he would've had to carry proof of work in order to cross from the west- to the east-side of the City, and leave before dark. Today, Small said, there is a 30 percent unemployment rate among 18 - 30 year-old residents of color in Asbury. A former charter study member who worked successfully to change the City's form of government, Small complained that a meeting planned with an iStar manager has brought little relief and prodded city officials to take a stronger role in getting the developer to use local labor. "Power concedes nothing without a demand," said Small in closing on his three minutes with the Frederick Douglass quote. "It never has and never will."

Arlene and David Levenson, of North Beach, a 160-unit community, noted last week's revelation from an iStar engineer charged with analyzing storm water management of the pool. In draining and during weather events, when the adjacent Deal Lake would receive the bulk of runoff from the 74,800-gallon capacity pool, the Deal Lake Commission monitors and adjusts the depth of the lake through a flume system. Yet iStar's mechanical facilities engineer, Sean Delaney, told Asbury Radio last week that he has never contacted the DLC, or consulted its engineer, Peter Avakian.  David Levenson related the horror of seeing Superstorm Sandy literally push in the great front doors of their North Beach home that is directly behind the site planned for the pool.       

The Planning Board Chair thanked the participants for their comments, on which she said board members had taken notes in order to review later.  The board's vote was moved forward to February 24th, when she said some speakers may be asked to clarify or expand on their information. The 2004 CAFRA permit is linked to this report. Please see page 10 for the passages quoted here, as well as other mentions of venues for the general public. 

Wednesday, January 29, 2020

Asbury Park and Area Residents Hear Private Pool Testimony

Storm Water Engineer Blanks on Deal Lake Commission

January 29, 2020

Residents simmer over exclusive private pool club

An engineer for Asbury Park's master developer, iStar, returned to the Planning Board Monday night to explain his revised findings on how the area north and west of its planned private pool, immediately east of the North Beach condos, would fair through a major storm. Despite hours of minutia-filled testimony in response to residents' often critical questions, mechanical facilities engineer Sean Delaney eventually offered that he had never contacted the Deal Lake Commission, whose mission includes restraining the lake from overflowing and flooding any of seven towns along its banks. Deal Lake would receive the bulk of the pool's runoff.
Residents are invited to present their views on the entire project for three minutes, one time, before the planning board at 7 PM on February 3.  

Thursday, January 10, 2019

We need your input!

We used to come to you via WYGG 88.1 in Asbury Park. We're thinking about doing podcasts now. What do you think? Please comment below!

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Meeting the Lawyer Who Bankrupted the KKK

Morris Dees founded the Southern Poverty Law Center ( 40 years ago. I've admired him and his organization for more than 25 years. Not quite over major surgery, I traded makeup time and other such vanities in order to schlep into NYC Wednesday night last week. A scary sight. My hope was just to catch a glimpse of Morris. Lucky me I found a seat 4 rows behind him. He was charming!

The son of Alabama tenant farmers, Dees, was educated during the 40s and 50s in a tiny school house. He grew up sharing his meals with the children of other tenant farmers, who included many blacks. As he grew up, Dees couldn't reconcile the institutional racism around him. It seemed to him the only thing worth doing was trying to avenge the injustices committed by extremists of all traits. For many years, AsburyRadio has had a link to the left of this blog - - which is one of the many services of SPLC.

This shot doesn't do justice to representing the packed house at the gigantic Schaffer Forum of Congregation Rodeph Sholom on W. 83rd. The balcany, barely visible in this photo was also packed.

Among the moving stories we heard was the brutal murder of two police officers by extremists Joseph Kane, 16, and his father Joe. Police officer Brandon Paudert was identified by his father, Police Chief Bob Paudert. SPLC went to Arkansas to make a training film of the murders to distribute free to law enforcement across the country. To our shock Retired Chief Paudert then took the lectern.
Paudert explained that the first time SPLC called him he made an excuse because he didn't want anything to do with the organization which he'd had pegged as a "commie outfit". Now he works with them as a volunteer. 

Asbury Park Honors Sacrifices of Armed Forces & Local Heroes

VFW members joined other veterans' organizations and elected officials to remember our war dead and honor the troops and veterans at the veterans' memorial on 5th Avenue in Sunset Park. The Asbury Park High School Band, led by Music Director Karen Schwartz, played tributes, Asbury Park's police and fire fighters stood by at attention.

Fire fighter Jason Fasio, barely visible in the long line of firemen, stood with his mates through the long cold, windy ceremony.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

In Memory of Those Lost on 9/11/01

September 11, 2011 - Ten Years Gone

We remember Scott, David and Dinah, my three colleagues, among the other 2,980 innocents killed 10 years ago today. All three were attending a conference atop the North Tower that morning, something we had done many, many times before.

Scott Saber, a funny and equally brilliant participant and observer of the intricacies of Wall Street trading. He loved leaking a good story to his friends in the press (you could hear his excitement bursting through the phone line), as long as they agreed to not only get all the facts, but understand them, as well as their implications, and to tell all the elements of the story -- no sound bites, the whole story, as only he who understood the industry inside and out could tell it.

David Rivers, a tall, elegant, kind, thoughtful and hugely talented writer, who infused his reports on the financial world with the same excellence of craft, integrity and dignity that he gave his own work, his beloved movie scripts. As the tireless Editor of Waters Magazine, David wrote most of the book along with his other duties for the news service. I had the honor to work with David in New York, where he lived with his beautiful wife, Ricky (the Rickster) who edited a fashion magazine, and the toddler son whose picture he flashed at the slightest provocation with a broad smile.

Dinah Webster, bubbly, blond, beautiful, highly capable. Dinah ran the conference business at Risk magazine in London when I knew her. At first you'd say how could someone so cute and adorable also be so successful in such a sharply competitive field. (Yes, sexist, I know.)  Despite the hair-raising pace of that industry, I never saw Dinah look down, or cross or ever grumble. You would have asked, "Can she really be that nice -- for real?"  Yes, she really was.
Our love and comfort to their families.

Friday, September 9, 2011

Asbury Park Homeowners Invite You to Meeting Tonight

We look forward to seeing you this Friday, September 9th at 6:30pm in

the City Council Chambers.

The Executive Members of the APHA:

Danny Weiss, President

Rita Williams, Vice-President

Lynn Tirado, Treasurer
Larry Bertorelli, Secretary

Jim McGlynn, Membership Chairperson

Upcoming Meetings Events
Save the dates! We are currently finalizing our future meetings and

events. Please mark your calendars for the dates listed below. More

detailed information will be forthcoming shortly!

Saturday, October 29th........Time TBD

Friday, November 18th..........6:30pm to 8:00pm
Friday, December 9th...........Time TBD
Don't forget to visit our website at


Please send all of your suggestions for the Asbury Park Homeowners

Association to .