|Citizens’ Media TV coverage of last night’s meeting is sponsored by the Hainesport Democrats, who “firmly believe in transparency, truth and open government for the residents.”|
By: Jeff Epstein, Editor, Citizens’ Media TV
(A more in-depth review of the meeting can be found here.)
New Jersey State Trooper Storm Culleton gave a 40 minute presentation on the relationship between Hainesport and the State Police. The presentation was given at least partially in response to a tense discussion on the Hainesport Happenings Facebook page. Hainesport is served by the state police at no cost. Culleton called Hainesport’s level of crime, on a scale of one to one hundred, “a twenty.”
UPDATE 9/17/2017 B
To the New Jersey State Police:
Trooper Culleton’s presentation has been deleted from the video as we committed. It will remain that way on YouTube and in this article.
It’s also been completely deleted from Facebook (since editing a Facebook Live video is impossible).
However, we now realize the gravity of what we’ve done. You have asked us, journalists, to delete a public record from existence without due process. Had we the chance to do this again, we would have responded, “We will not irretrievably edit or delete a public record without being legally compelled to do so.”
The original and unedited raw footage (including the presentation) is being stored securely and privately. If it becomes necessary to divulge, we will inform you of such before doing so.
If you wish for this private copy to also be deleted, then you will indeed have to legally compel us to do so. (Had Trooper Culleton asked us to stop recording during the meeting, we would have.)
We will not make this mistake again. Thanks.
UPDATE 9/17/2017 A
The New Jersey State Police have requested that we delete the presentation by Trooper Storm Culleton from our livestream video of the September 12th Hainesport Township Council meeting (occurs at the 7min:20sec mark). Here is their request/statement:
The NJ State Police have requested removal of Sgt. Storm Culleton’s presentation from the Hainesport Township Committee Meeting video dated September 12, 2017 as there is sensitive operational information that may adversely affect their operations (staffing shortage, etc.).
Information presented at a public meeting should be part of the public record. If Trooper Culleton requested no recording at the time, we certainly would have complied. That said, the presentation will be removed from the video this weekend.
As our coverage of this meeting was sponsored by the Hainesport Democrats, they were included in making this decision. The video as embedded in the article has been edited. Unfortunately, there is no way to edit a Facebook Live video, so we’ve deleted it. This has resulted in broken links for those who have shared the original live video. Apologies.
As this was an informal request, the original raw footage, including the presentation, is being securely and privately preserved.
Recreational land purchase
The most contentious part of the meeting was related to the purchase of a plot of land for mostly recreational use (1hr:8min). The plot is approximately two square miles, which is almost a third of the town’s land area. Some residents were happy about the potential of preserving open space, while others felt that the recreational space was taking away from the potential for commercial properties, and therefore increasing the tax burden on residents. Others accused the committee of passing on a bad decision onto soon-to-be incoming members, and urged the decision to be postponed.
Multiple people, including Republican Committee Candidate Lee Schneider, expressed concern for the potential contamination left behind by the former businesses on the site. According to the township’s special counsel (1hr19min:50sec), one of the former businesses on the site was a “glaze and pottery works,” which has already been remediated under the Industrial Site Recovery Act (ISRA). The committee confirmed that the purchase was contingent on environmental remediation and cleanup.
After public comment, Mayor Porto and Committeewoman Gilmore spoke highly of the history, beauty, and long term potential for the land (photos displayed in the back of the meeting hall are included at the bottom of this post). Township Solicitor John Gillespie said that the only other businesses expressing interest in the land were a rock crushing business (“think Fred Flintstone,” he said) and a storage facility (1hr:10min). The purchase was then unanimously approved by the committee. (They also clarified that a previous media report that the purchase was already approved was incorrect.)
The Mt. Holly Municipal Utilities Authority
Mayor Tony Porto acknowledged the letter written by Democratic Committee Candidate Anna Evans, regarding how Hainesport residents are potentially being overcharged for postage and handling fees. He stated that The township was contacting the MUA to inquire about the potential discrepancy.
Evans also referred to our research of hundreds of homes in Hainesport, as located at the bottom of our latest article (1hr:46min). She requested the committee use their email list to recommend that residents check their actual meter sizes, and compare it against the size as specified in their MUA sewer bill. Evans also suggested that, beyond the potential MUA discrepancies in the article, the sizes of the water meters themselves may be inappropriate for the homes they exist in, as they are not uniformly proportional to home size.
(Citizens’ Media TV has set up a page where you can report your findings.)