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POLL RESULTS: Open Space As Priority Wins, Though Narrowly Among Patch Readers

The surprisingly close poll showed that while more of our readers seem to consider open space a municipal priority, many others say recreation is more important.

With the hot-button issue of of concern in Barnegat for some time now, we wanted to know, which priority do you, readers, value more -- recreation or open space? 

We tried to ask the question in a balanced way, and we allowed eight days for you to respond to it.

While most of the respondents did vote for open space (52 readers, or 46 percent, as of this writing), it was a pretty close one, as far as our polls go, with 44 readers saying recreation was more important to them).

We will keep the poll open for your voting pleasure, to mirror the debate that continues in Barnegat.

Thank you for voting!

Cindy Janowiak June 13, 2012 at 05:10 PM
Katia, I appreciate your efforts in attempting to provide additional information regarding recreation statistics. If the Barnegat Township recreation director cannot provide this information, I wonder what information and from what source our township administrator and committee are using to determine the township’s recreation needs?
Rick June 13, 2012 at 07:10 PM
What was the purpose of clearing such a large area beyond the sodded area of the new "Mirage" softball field at Lower Shore? I doubt anyone in town is going to hit a ball that far past the foul poles. In fact most professional baseball players couldn't hit one that far.
Mike Howard June 13, 2012 at 08:41 PM
At Lower Shore Rd. we have 2 softball fields and 2 other fields. One of those fields is a football/soccer field that was built in the late 70's or early 80's. The other is an unfinished football field. Neither of the softball field have an out field fence. Softball and football can not be played at the same time. very poor planning and a large waste of money. For all the leagues named by the Rec director, none of the basketball teams, or wrestling teams will use these fields. Most of the other named teams or leagues won't use these fields either. Again, only 2 fields of the 4 at Lower Shore can be used at the same time. That's because of POOR planning and a wasted of money. YOUR MONEY.
Eric Thomas June 14, 2012 at 10:33 PM
It needs to be underscored that Barnegat taxpayers continue to fund fields, etc. at the public schools. The field behind the Brackman school is huge and affords enough space for several events to take place simultaneously. The athletic wonderland adjacent to the high school should be opened to the general public; albeit on a reservation basis. This is Barnegat - - not the Meadowlands. With abandoned/foreclosed homes checkering the landscape of the township we simply do not have the money to cater to special interests who argue that school fields need to be closed to the public even during months when school is in recess. The political shilling of misusing open space funds to construct fields is an assault on one's sensibilities. The town is filthy - - litter abounds. Kids do not need a plethora of fields "to play." If the fields at the schools suffice during the academic year, why, then, cannot they suffice every single day? BTW, how are we coming on the audit of time sheets for the township committee members coming along? Got to keep those benefits flowing, guys. 35 hours each and every week!
Capt Jacobsen Mey June 15, 2012 at 04:58 PM
Eric - You are so right with the "filth" statement. There are properties that are unkempt all over as well as those sitting vacant or in foreclosure. Not to mention the trash and apparent abandoned/non-running vehicles parked in people's front yards/driveways. When is Barnegat going to start fining these individuals, I mean after all, there is CODE ENFORCEMENT LAWS which is right on Barnegat's website - and nothing is being done by the TWP. The filth is getting more and more disgusting. What is it with lazy people who can't even pick up their OWN trash cans in front of their homes after the trash is picked up? Is it Barneghetto mentality to leave the empty cans by the roadside, blowing around? Or better yet, debris left over after trash pick which is really for BULK trash and the lazy people just leave it out for weeks on end?? How about folks parking in front of fire hydrants, or parking near corners which create dangerous intersections for other drivers and pedestrians? I mean, those are tickets or offenses - if the town is short on money, maybe the committee folks, the Mayor and the police should start enforcing the Codes and laws. When is the town going to do mosquito spraying? What is the town doing about bringing ratables instead of constantly building new homes of which there are NO BUYERS because people are leavin and the existing homes won't even sell? Open Space and Recreation is the least of the concerns in this township. Wake up Barnegat.
Eric Thomas June 15, 2012 at 05:03 PM
Captain Mey, the probability of Mr. Cirulli ordering the code enforcement officer to do his/her job so close to his reelection effort is nil. Yes, Barnegat is chocked full of unkempt homes, vacant land areas and more. This did not happen overnight. Do we not merit public service requirements that can be handed down by the town court for people convicted at the township level? I see "chain gangs" working in other places but never Barnegat. Why??? It would be nice for Patch to dispatch one of their photographers to memorialize the state-of-repair in Barnegat. It would also be smart for opposition candidates in the November township election to do the same. I ask again, does anybody know how we are doing with the audit of the township committee's time records? "The Boys" need to put in 35 hrs. per week to keep those taxpayer funded benefits. Ms. Raina, would make for a good investigative story if you were to ask to see those time records. The runaround you will get should make you dizzy!
Katia Raina June 15, 2012 at 05:14 PM
Thanks, Eric. While I cannot make a commitment to every important story idea my readers are throwing at me, I will definitely consider this as something else to look into. :)
Ray June 16, 2012 at 11:38 AM
Katia, all you have to do is go down Gunning River Rd by the Baptist Church. You will see 3 homes that have been boarded up, some for over 10 years. Take pictures of them and ask the construction dept. why they haven't issued summons for code violations.
Eric Thomas June 16, 2012 at 02:09 PM
Ms. Raina, Barnegat cries out for some investigative reporting and not just sound bytes from town hall, etc. The 35 hour requirement is real. There was substantial discussion of it on this site during your predecessor's watch. If signed time records exist, fine. If they do not exist, then you have a tiger by the tail. I'm betting you have what it takes to be an investigative reporter in the best traditions of your time-honored profession; assuming Patch will allow it.
Katia Raina June 16, 2012 at 03:38 PM
Thank you, Mr. Thomas for your confidence. The question isn't that of Patch allowing me to do this. I am pretty sure I do have what it takes, I've done such stories before. One resource though gets pretty scarce at times in daily journalism -- time -- the time I would need to dedicate to each of these stories, in the interest of thoroughness and fairness. Being totally honest with you guys here! I am glad Graelyn has already done some stories on on township committee's time records, if that's what you are saying. Once again, I really appreciate all the suggestions, and keep them coming. I will do my best. Enjoy your weekend!
Bob Wise June 16, 2012 at 09:32 PM
I think the frustration that many of us feel comes from how most stories have been written in the past. In an attempt to be "fair" the story told from the local officials side is seldom challenged for it's truthfulness or it is presented as one of two sides of a story (while the know past facts, IF presented, would make it clear that the officials are not being honest). For example the story about the lower shore field controversy stated... Breeden expressed pride that the township has turned what was essentially a "storage and dumping area" into a "premier recreational facility," For those of us with a background on the past, that statement is absolutely laughable. It was the township officials that WERE RESPONSIBLE for turning the site into a "storage and dumping area". They threw our old garbage cans on the tennis court (you could never play on it because of them), making the site an ugly embarrassment to our community. For new people in town (including the many older voters that have moved to the area), they would not have the background to see that Mr. Breedens statement is an arrogant remark from a man who is able to say anything he wants without being challenged. His spin is sickening to those of us that feel that our officials should be working for us in an honest way and not spinning the truth for cheap votes. Follow up reporting regarding any missed facts would tell the whole story and give the readers the accountability they deserve from those who serve us.
Rick June 17, 2012 at 07:01 AM
If they are boarded up then no one is living there. So just who would these summons be issue to?
Mike Howard June 18, 2012 at 06:55 PM
Mr. Cirulli, stood up at a Township Meeting and in a loud voice stated, "no Taxpayer money was used to build the new softball field at Lower Shore Rd." Within a short period of time, Mr. Bredeen gave a presentation and stated at that time, over $55,000.00 had been used of TAXPAYER MONEY. These statements were about a year ago. To date, over $600,000.00 has been spent on fields. That's Six Hundred Thousand Dollars. Unless it came from the tooth fairy, i'll bet Mr. Cirulli can't claim, no taxpayers money was used.
Eric Thomas June 18, 2012 at 07:10 PM
Let us call a spade a spade, Mr. Howard. Just say the obvious truism in this matter. Mr. Cirulli LIED. You do not owe gentlemanly courtesies to a public servant who refuses to be honets with his/her constituents. All the nore reasons Mr. Cirulli and "The Boys" on the TC should be compelled to produce certified time records documenting their minimum work week of 35-hours exclusively for township business. Mr. Cirulli is an administrator for a nearby public school. His contract allows him to accept a money payment in lieu of benefits. He also has the same option vis-a-vis township committee benefits. Does anybody truly believe he is not cashing in one or the other? This sleazy boondoggle needs to be investigated. And since one of Mr. Cirulli's opponents in November is an attorney, it should be a simple matter for her to request the appropriate agency does just that. We shall wait. We shall see.
Bob Wise June 18, 2012 at 07:44 PM
It is ironic that it was the Barnegat Patch that was used to spread the "Cirulli LIE". What ever happened to the "softball Patch blog" that was used to lie to the Barnegat taxpayer. They did their job, got their payoff, and now they are gone. Also it is ironic that in the above question one of the choices is... "Recreation -- let the kids play!" Anyone with background on this subject knows that "kids" playing was never a factor here. The field was built for a few old men that care very little about kids playing, or the truth involving the use of our tax dollars for this field. Otherwise they would not have lied.
Rick June 18, 2012 at 08:13 PM
Eric et al, Be careful what you wish for, you might just get it. If the township committee were required to submit a time sheet, it COULD be argued that they would have to be paid the minimum wage of $7.25 an hour, which amounts to a bit over $12,600 a year.
Eric Thomas June 18, 2012 at 08:35 PM
Rick, what you said would be true if they were "hired." However, they were elected. As such, they take what comes with the office - - benefits, stipend, pension, et al. I am certain the members of the school board and various other boards and commissions survive quite well without picking the taxpayer's pockets. What with all the investigations one reads about in which fraud, time-padding and the like were discovered, what harm can it do to audit the TC here in Barnegat? If they are "clean," they have nothing to worry about.
Rick June 18, 2012 at 08:40 PM
Here I go again, agreeing with "Bob Wise". Open space preservation means leaving existing open space, whether it is an open field or a wooded area as it is. It doesn't mean clear cutting all vegetation out of an area and creating a clearing to be used for other purposes. Open space preservation is much like the Farmland Preservation act, where the property is deed restricted in perpetuity for agricultural use.
Rick June 18, 2012 at 09:07 PM
What's your point Eric? The President, Vice President and all 535 members of Congress are elected and they all get a rather nice salary and lavious benefits. Since they are elected, should they not get paid too? BTW, the members of the school board are the only other group out of the ones you mentioned who are elected.
Eric Thomas June 18, 2012 at 09:19 PM
Rick, you just acknowledged my point and I thank you. The money payments and benefits are fixed - - not hourly. In the case of the TC, their is a requirement that a minimum of 35 weekly hours devoted to township business be put in. There is no provision for "overtime." Why, then, are the school board members not on equal footing? As for the appointees on the commissions and boards, their "election" comes via majority ratification of their proposed appointment done by vote of TC members only. Kind of like the sham "electing" the mayor and deputy mayor. Let's get those time records made public and audit them. Betcha they don't exist.
Rick June 18, 2012 at 10:58 PM
First of all, where did I write anything about overtime? What I said was that if they were required to submit a time sheet, it COULD be argued that they would have to be paid the minimum wage of $7.25 an hour. Any form of salary, hourly or fixed base annual salary, cannot be less than the minimum wage.
Cindy Janowiak June 19, 2012 at 12:43 AM
If I recall correctly the 35 hour requirement has to do with the township committee members receiving their health insurance benefit through the township. Last year or possibly the year before the township switched its employees to the state health benefit plan. As such, all personnel enrolled in the plan must maintain a 35 hour week in order to be eligible. The township committee members' stipend is not based on the hours they serve.
Ray June 19, 2012 at 01:20 PM
I recall when Hartman was Mayor, the TC tried to build fields by the HS which would have cost 7 million. At that time, residents protested a a vote was taken in Nov. The TC lost, and Lower Shore Rd became an alternative. The softball field was built for the over the hill gang at the Mirage who votes for the GOP. The turf field will turn out to be a boondoggle which wil cost the town plenty in costs and lawsuits.
Ray June 20, 2012 at 11:59 AM
Boarded up homes should be razed and the owners billed. Leaving in that condition fosters the nickname " Barnegatto". I could see this happening temporarily, but not for long periods of time.
Rick June 20, 2012 at 06:17 PM
If they are boarded up and no one is living there, who would the town send the bill to?
Roadway Maintenence Warrior June 21, 2012 at 10:05 PM
Since code enforcement been mentioned, does Barnegat charge all the people who park their trailered boats and jet ski's in the narrow streets. also park empty trailers in the streets . 4 which are on the street right around the corner from the Mayor's home.
Wes June 22, 2012 at 02:14 AM
The opinion here seems to be that the Lower Shore feilds were built for "old men", or "over the hill gang", or a couple of old guys. There are plenty of 20 somethings, 30 somethings and 40 somethings that play recreational softball and wanted those fields. Many of these same men (and women, I might add) are the people that volunteer their time to coach their sons and daughters while still working, running a household, attending graduations, recitals, practices, etc, amongst many other things that take up their time. The worst part of this whole argument is that there are continued references to Lower Shore Rd feilds that have been built, when not a single field has been completed. One field and part of an outfield, with no fence, and a huge cleared out area. When I look at that, I think; "what contractor got paid to do this work and never finished the job?" The fact of the matter may be that the "Taxpayers" spent money on the fields...but guess what folks......There is one field that is playable (barely), and thats the one that was there the whole time. No new fields + lots of money spent (wasted) = a whole lot of crap!
Whiny Liberals July 07, 2012 at 02:09 AM
Where does the law say that Ricky? If the OS money is used, it can be maintained, developed to promote recreation and conservation. This includes clearing the land for ballfields, bathrooms, pavillions, parking, etc. Read up ftp://www.njleg.state.nj.us/19961997/S1500/1110_s1.pdf http://law.onecle.com/new-jersey/40-municipalities-and-counties/12-15.1.html http://www.nj.gov/dca/divisions/dlgs/lfns/98/mc98-2.pdf
Rick July 07, 2012 at 05:23 AM
Gee Whiny, Your’s is certainly a wide interpretation of the law. But remember I did say "open space preservation". Emphasis on preservation. By the way, have you actually been to Lower Shore Fields? There is the existing football/soccer/softball field, the new Mirage Field of Dreams, some large open area beyond that which at one time was a playground and a nature trail and the tennis courts/storage space. The only thing missing is parking. If there are 30 or so little football/soccer/softball players and families along with some of the friends on the old field and 30 or so Mirage softballers and friends and then some other group using the new whatever field that little road is going be crowded with parked cars.
Rick July 07, 2012 at 05:28 AM
Whiny Liberals? I thought all Whiny Liberals were tree huggers who don't want wooded areas cleared and the animals living there displaced.

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