Governor and commissioner, stand firm and do the right thing

Dear Editor:

Governor James E. McGreevey and NJDEP Commissioner Bradley Campbell have shown responsive and bold leadership by the DEP’s default of contract letter to the public-be-damned Liberty State Park Development Corporation (DC), which was given 60 days to show why termination would be inappropriate. The letter cited financial mismanagement; the park not needing the DC; and the “direction of the DC not coinciding with the park’s mission”.

We strongly urge the Governor and Commissioner to stand firm and do the right thing for New Jerseyans by totally ending the contract and getting rid of this arrogant private corporation, which has shamelessly hired top lobbyists and lawyers to prevent their termination.

Despite the vast majority’s clear consensus for a free park, the DC has caused endless, wasteful battles against their destructive commercialization and privatization plans such as the golf course, waterpark, and commercial concert series. Their DEP contract is a dark cloud over the park, as the DC are nothing more than reprehensible frontmen for greedy developers and promoters who want to exploit the park for profit.

This is the climatic American battle for a free, green park next to Lady Liberty and Ellis Island. The park is a majestic oasis for our hearts and is even more sacred since Sept. 11th.

We ask that people express themselves on our spiritually uplifting New Jersey public land by writing to the Governor and by joining concerned citizens at a “Rally to Abolish the DC” on Saturday, May 11th at 11a.m. at the park’s historic CRRNJ Terminal Plaza (inside if rain).

In addition to not understanding the park’s purpose as a free park for a free people, the DC is an unnecessary and costly middleman. The park can make more money by directly collecting rents from the private yacht marina and the two paid parking lots. The state treasury had to pay out $833,000 in the last 2 years because the DC undercollected parking lot rental fees. The DC’s yearly salaries amount to $150,000. Their claims of bringing large sums of money to the park are ludicrous and unsubstantiated. They point to last Spring’s 75-day circus, but fail to mention that it caused weekend traffic jams, which blocked pubic access.v The DEP, with public input, with the excellent Superintendent Steve Ellis, and with the responsible Interdisciplinary Planning Committee, will guide the park toward the fulfillment of its great potential. Only when the DC is gone, will the bells of freedom ring from Liberty State Park. Governor, please resist the pressures of the DC and their power broker allies, and blow that dark cloud away.

Sam Pesin
President of The Friends of Liberty State Park


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