The following comment is from Frank D'Alessandro, owner/director of the (Stephen) Crane House, a free museum on 4th Ave., open to performance artists, cinema lovers and the curious.
To the Editor,
It is no exaggeration to say that my friend, Werner Baumgartner, is unique in several ways. Not only is he the only person ever to be named Asbury Park's official Historian, I believe he is also the only person in the history of this city to be incarcerated three times (or once for that matter) for “code violations” to his own home, alleged violations which are a threat to no one other than perhaps himself. He is currently “housed” at the County Jail, or as it referred to in elite circles, the Monmouth County Correctional Institution. He is serving his third sentence, this one for twenty eight days. He sent the following letter to me and asked that I pass it along to anyone who would care to read it.
“Open letter to all,
One thing about being in jail is the lack of access to outside information and events. I find myself being cut off and defenseless, although I know there are both supporters and detractors on the outside.
Certainly being jailed for building code violations in a city with glaring unfinished projects, demolished historic sites and general dysfunction is a unique situation, selective enforcement (punishment) at its finest.
To everyone interested in my case I ask that you consider the larger picture. Do not focus on what the city has done to me, but instead evaluate what the city has done regarding all the larger more obvious “code violation” sites around the city.
The concept of equal treatment seems to be lost on this city administration. Could it be that focusing on me is a means to divert attention from greater failings in city policy?
Perhaps it is time to hold the city accountable. I ask all those concerned about Asbury Park to ask why the city does not enforce its codes and regulations in a fair, equal, and sensible manner. Why, after ten years, is the city still suffering from an ill-advised Redevelopment Plan?
Patricia A. Florio
Way to go, Frank.
Christian Adams commented on your note "Comment from Frank D'Alessandro and Open Letter":
"Thanks for keeping us updated. It is hard to comprehend this is really happening. In this decade, we have seen the Federal government deprive individuals of their basic rights, abuse the justice system for political purposes, and utilize the heinous practice of torture. Just when you think things are getting better, we see a local government taking political prisoners."
Mario DeStefano Perhaps our City Council should appoint an ombudsman. I wasn't sure if there was such a thing for cities and towns, so I checked: ombudsman "city council" - Google Search Definition(s): ombudsman in English - Google Dictionary http://bit.ly/bQ3fiN I've followed the NYT's ombudsman since the position there was... established a few years ago. A great tamping strategy for any organization, public or private, as long as the person is truly independent. Takes much of the emotion out of complaints, disputes, and grinding axes.