On July 24, 2001, at the Town Council meeting Ordinance #2001-19 was introduced. This was an ordinance allowing the town to sell real estate property known as Block 9, Lots 2,01 and 3,01 as well as Block 18, Lots 1 and 1.01 to the New Jersey Transit Corporation. It was my belief that this land was in “fact” not theirs to sell. I raised some questions. I was not opposed to the sale. I was particularly upset that the town was moving ahead with the sale of this land without having talked to anyone on the Board of Education.
Mayor Elwell went public with his position, making it appear that I did not know what I was talking about. His attacks against me and his grandstanding that night and subsequently in the local papers only confirmed the position I had taken. Elwell boasted that it is his opinion/position that the Town was on good “legal ground” in this matter. The “legal ground” he proclaimed to be standing on was in my opinion “quick sand.” I told him so that night and said I believe I had the “facts” to prove it. Mayor Elwell has a right to be wrong in his opinions. But he does not have the right to be wrong in his facts.
Some facts. In April 2001 I was elected to the Secaucus Board of Education. I previously served on the Board in 1973 to 1976 and then again from 1979 to 1982. During my 1979-1982 tenure the Board of Education fought long and hard to get land from Hartz Mountain for the Board, not the Town. I was no longer on the Board of Education when the Board and Hartz agreed on the parcel of land Hartz was to give the Board but I did keep up with negotiations. The Deed speaks for itself. Facts, not opinions. Mayor Elwell, the right to do something that you think you have the authority to do, does not mean that what you attempted to do back in July of 2001 was right.
At the last Council meeting 11/25/03, the Mayor and Council and the Board of Education agreed on a decision to resolve the sale. This is a decision I can honestly say I can live with. The decision is concrete, clear and specific. I thank all my colleagues on the Board of Education who continued to contribute and support my position on this issue these many months.