Asbury Park is Now Officially A Banana Republic
Asbury Radio considers it an outrage that this city has AGAIN sent its only officially designated historian off to jail for 28 Days on trumped up charges in an action that rivals the worst tactics of a lawless third world country.
We have repeatedly asked the city leadership, as recently as last night, for an answer to this question: What other resident of Asbury Park has been sent off to jail for failure to correct building code violations on his own home? The government didn't even do that to the owner of the Metropolitan Hotel whose decrepit state threatened the safety of everyone who passed by for years and years!!! The Metro Homes building site, between Kingsley and Ocean, is a minefield of violations, a gaping oozing sore abandoned by the developer, who graces the pages of the local newspapers every year or so with promises to restart the project soon. But the city insists it doesn't know the answer our question.
The official charge is "contempt of court," triggered by the historian's failure to pay down a veritable mountain of alleged code violations that include peeling paint on his house and grass deemed too tall on property that he doesn't even own. The charge is "contempt of court", because no one in his right mind would send someone to jail for not mowing his lawn! So the court had to resort to the one size fits all "contempt of court", normally reserved for people who don't show up for court or give the judge some guff.
The case would be thrown out by a higher court. Is the City afraid to test it? Move this case out of this jurisdiction!
This City and its court have made a mockery of the law by failing to acknowledge the glaringly obvious conflict of interest between it and the city historian who nearly everyone knows is an outspoken critic of this town, a role respected and tolerated by every civil municipality similarly situated.
The State of NJ includes in its definition of the position of "official historian" the fact that the position must be unpaid. Why unpaid? Because the wise forefathers realized town fathers may resent the slowing hand of the historian, whose thankless mission to weigh progress against preservation may require curbing enthusiasm at times, and rebel by holding his salary over his head. Even they would probably be shocked to know this city is holding this man's personal liberty over his head!
We are not chastened by excuses that the electorate cannot intervene in the actions of the judiciary. The electorate appoints the judiciary in this town! Can you intervene more than that?
Werner Baumgartner can be a colossal pain in the behind, no one knows this more than we do. And he knows it himself. And most historians worth their salt are!!! However, this city's so-called justice has committed what amounts to acts of cruel and unusual punishment, which have driven our historian into financial ruin and threaten the his sanity, as they would any one of us. The normal, routine recourse in cases of violations is to attach the property with the fines, not imprison the property's owner.
Is this a side show, a carnival town or is this a respectable community with compassion and judgment? If we can't answer that, who is going to want to have any dealings with us?
Free this man now!!
email MayorJohnson@verizon.net or AsburyRadio@aol.com