Page 4 of 7 FirstFirst 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 LastLast
Results 37 to 48 of 84
  1. #37
    Join Date
    May 2004
    Location
    New Jersey's scenic Ramapo Valley
    Posts
    2,751
    Thanks
    152
    Thanked 432 Times in 288 Posts
    Chats
    39
    Groans
    1
    Groaned 3 Times in 3 Posts


    Re: Ramapo River Restoration Project Moves Along

    Quote Originally Posted by FlyBri View Post
    Here's another Oakland Facebook page that has some comments.
    https://www.facebook.com/groups/1672988849581465/
    That's a political group, that I got banned from rather quickly.
    It was started by a "pretend" conservative for the purpose of getting Democrats elected/reelected in 2015.

    I'm surprised it's still active.

    Since the vote was unanimous, I'm mad at everyone now, regardless of political affiliation.


  2. The Following User Says Thank You to Pete For This Useful Post:

    Rusty Spinner (06-08-2016)

  3. #38
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
    Location
    Flanders, NJ
    Posts
    5,877
    Thanks
    1,948
    Thanked 1,548 Times in 982 Posts
    Chats
    1909
    Groans
    3
    Groaned 24 Times in 23 Posts


    Re: Ramapo River Restoration Project Moves Along

    Quote Originally Posted by Pete View Post
    Since the vote was unanimous, I'm mad at everyone now, regardless of political affiliation.
    Apparently, at least one of your councilmen is getting cold feet. I know one of the local residents plans to question the council (tonight?) about this bid asking 1) why they are contracting with a vendor that clearly does not qualify, 2) why they refuse to perform a freshwater mussel survey knowing full well that the NJ Division of F&W will require it as they know from emails, and 3) why has nobody in the decision making process called the Division to find out if a vendor never having done any river restoration work can even qualify for a permit to restore the river. It would be nice to be a fly on the wall, but I need to stay away from council meetings for now.

    To date, 100% of my free advice I gave them while working for TU has held up. Is there a remote possibility I actually know the process for river channel restoration in the state of NJ? Hmmmm, nah, that can't be it!

    A sinking fly is closer to Hell - ​Unknown

  4. #39
    Join Date
    May 2014
    Location
    Oakland
    Posts
    17
    Thanks
    2
    Thanked 5 Times in 4 Posts
    Chats
    0
    Groans
    0
    Groaned 0 Times in 0 Posts


    Re: Ramapo River Restoration Project Moves Along

    Here's the discussion Lew from the flood commission started on the political site.

    Lew

    May 26 at 7:24am







    I think the notion of non partisan politics in any small town such as ours is a great ideal, but it is unattainable in an all or nothing context. People have opinions on social, economic, and a host of other issues. That are relevant at the state and federal levels.
    What is attainable with good leadership is the ability of our governing body to respect each other's political beliefs, understand that on the bigger state and federal levels partisan politics is for the time being not going anywhere and that those who are elected as the stewards of our town are going to, and should work and support the party that best reflects their beliefs. They should also be understanding that matters which effect our community are just that, community issues.

    Having seen 1rst hand as Chair of Oaklands Flood Commission the petty nonsense that occurs within governing bodies past and present, clearly those we have elected pay lip service to bipartisanism but are hard pressed to truly and in good faith embrace it.
    Many may be aware of the potential debacle over what should have been a landmark restoration of a very sick Ramapo River, probably one of the most significant environmental resources in our community. This project was presented to the Flood Commission by Trout Unlimited as part of the national TU's decision to help waterways they have an interest in to be resorted after hurricane Sandy. The Flood Commission presented this project which we unanimously endorsed to the governing body who to their credit secured funding and a grant (The grant was not a superior act of financial procurement, the NJDEP set up a statewide grant to perform waterway de-snagging ) which was more right place-right time then anything else.
    It was after this point that in my opinion the train left the tracks.

    An inability to recognize when advice from professionals might not be in keeping with the best interests of the project and to question those professionals and seek alternate opinions is what got us to this stage: The Oakland Flood Commission in writing and publicly has with drawn our support and endorsement of this project,
    Undeterred the governing body has elected to award a very sensitive restoration that was designed to be performed using green engineering and real time design build principles to a an excavation contractor who admittedly has never done this specific type of work before. Their experience which the governing body has accepted is that they remove underground tanks, dams, and may or may not perform restoration of waterways using engineered products such as rip rap and sheet piling. Clearly NOT what was presented to us.
    The decision making by the governing body being driven in part by laziness of some to fully understand the project and the ramifications if not done properly. It is also a result of what this post started out discussing oh so long ago....petty politics, a fear that instead of being able to have an informed discussion where honest discourse is OK, agenda's and not wanting to be bullied became the apparent predominant factor.
    The actions described herein are so concerning, there is now a "likely probability" that Trout Unlimited the folks who bought us this project, who have done it so successfully in NJ that their track record affords them the ability to secure permits that our borough engineers employee said can't be had, have all but disappeared from the landscape but are now discussing if they also should withdraw in writing.

    The borough engineers by the way did manage to get some $ 30,000.00 on top of their retainer out of the governing body which we also advised against. One member of the governing body actually citing the fact that we the residents have given the engineer $ 30,000.00 should that's a good reason to keep going....It was our advice that the borough engineer should have been utilized strictly as a backstop to insure compliance with municipal public works rules.
    The bottom line is that yes, I strongly believe in community matters, non partisan is paramount.
    This restoration issue is more involved then I feel like typing, but it is important and anyone interested in learning more should feel free to ask any questions, I will do my best to answer expediently and objectively. Or feel free to call me at my office 1-201-651-1005.





    LikeShow more reactions
    Comment







    2You and 1 other




    Comments



    James The politics of Oakland always reminded me of the people in high school who got involved in student government just so they could add it to their college apps.

    Unfortunately people in small towns are just as corrupt as larger ones.


    Like · Reply · May 26 at 8:07am








    Lew Well James Applebaum, while I would agree that in a lot of cases their behavior has been; High school-ish - Absolutely, Petty -Certainly, Vindictive - OH BOY, Less then forthright (You know who you are), Small minded - Yep, Lazy - Check, Ego Maniacal -...See More

    Like · Reply · May 26 at 9:10am · Edited








    Brian Lew, do you know what we can do to stop the council from ruining the river?

    Like · Reply · 21 hrs








    Lew We are hoping NJDEP Fish & Game solve the problem by not issuing a permit to this excavation contractor which would (Unless Mr's Kunze & Visconti convince the governing body otherwise) allow the borough to go out and re-bid. The problem is that they would in all probability do it exactly the same way as it is all they know and do not appear to be very creative. This project is an excellent opportunity to do "holistic" restoration. The latest development is that Trout Unlimited THE EXPERTS in this type of restoration and our former partners have upon being notified of the governing bodies decision gone in the same direction as the flood commission and withdrawn from the project over the same concerns over the primary vendors admitted lack of experience in this specific type of restorative work.

    Like · Reply · 21 hrs








    Lew The good news is that there is a possibility that should the borough wise up, we may be able to renew the partnership. It will require the governing body to utilize Mr. Kunze and Boswell Engineering for ONLY compliance back stops. In my opinion, this went terribly wrong at Mr. Kunze's hands. He failed to act on almost anything bought up by Trout Unlimited, the Flood Commission or the Borough's river keeper. HE took it seems sole direction from Boswell Engineering's Frank Rossi. The bad news is that we have already paid Boswell some $ 30,000.00 for their part in this potential mess. We were extremely vocal regarding our opinion that this level of financial involvement with Boswell was totally out of whack, but at least they did not get the near $ 50,000.00 or $ 60,000.00 they initially tried for.

    Like · Reply · 21 hrs








    Brian Is there anything residents can do other than

    Like · Reply · 20 hrs








    Brian hope the NJDEP doesn't issue a permit?

    Like · Reply · 20 hrs








    Lew At this juncture the hope from my standpoint is that the borough gets to re-bid it and has the hindsight to let people who can get it done properly take the lead. After this experience I have NO confidence in the borough administrator. He is the reason this went south. He created an adversarial atmosphere early on and although he'd listen, every suggestion that was made was ignored in favor of Frank Rossi from Boswell Engineering (Who by the way, we told the borough has no business being involved with this project save ensuring our compliance with NJ bid rules which should have been under their retainer)

    Like · Reply · 19 hrs




















  5. The Following 2 Users Say Thank You to FlyBri For This Useful Post:

    Pete (06-08-2016), Rusty Spinner (06-08-2016)

  6. #40
    Join Date
    May 2004
    Location
    New Jersey's scenic Ramapo Valley
    Posts
    2,751
    Thanks
    152
    Thanked 432 Times in 288 Posts
    Chats
    39
    Groans
    1
    Groaned 3 Times in 3 Posts


    Re: Ramapo River Restoration Project Moves Along

    Quote Originally Posted by Rusty Spinner View Post
    Apparently, at least one of your councilmen is getting cold feet.
    Believe it or not, one of the council members is a TU member. I wonder if it's him.
    I know one of the local residents plans to question the council (tonight?) about this bid asking 1) why they are contracting with a vendor that clearly does not qualify, 2) why they refuse to perform a freshwater mussel survey knowing full well that the NJ Division of F&W will require it as they know from emails, and 3) why has nobody in the decision making process called the Division to find out if a vendor never having done any river restoration work can even qualify for a permit to restore the river. It would be nice to be a fly on the wall, but I need to stay away from council meetings for now.

    To date, 100% of my free advice I gave them while working for TU has held up. Is there a remote possibility I actually know the process for river channel restoration in the state of NJ? Hmmmm, nah, that can't be it!
    A resident being outspoken tonight may be timely, but he may feel constrained to "pull his punches".... It's "Student Government night". Children will be participating. some will be on the dais.


  7. #41
    Join Date
    Dec 2011
    Location
    1060 West Addison, Chicago....
    Posts
    4,082
    Thanks
    2,054
    Thanked 940 Times in 626 Posts
    Chats
    4328
    Groans
    24
    Groaned 12 Times in 12 Posts


    Re: Ramapo River Restoration Project Moves Along

    Kinda' reminds me of a dam in High Bridge.....

    "I'm not out on the river to win." -Kieth Rutherford

  8. #42
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
    Location
    Flanders, NJ
    Posts
    5,877
    Thanks
    1,948
    Thanked 1,548 Times in 982 Posts
    Chats
    1909
    Groans
    3
    Groaned 24 Times in 23 Posts


    Re: Ramapo River Restoration Project Moves Along

    Thanks for posting that, FlyBri. Lew is a good man who knows the ins and outs of his town's politics yet stays the course and always does the right thing by the river. His only mistake is it was Hurricane Irene and not Sandy, but that was just something he likely did in haste. It has been my pleasure working with his Flood Commission. At the end of the day, small town politics is no different than the mess we are calling our current Presidential election. Not one bit.

    A sinking fly is closer to Hell - ​Unknown

  9. #43
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
    Location
    Flanders, NJ
    Posts
    5,877
    Thanks
    1,948
    Thanked 1,548 Times in 982 Posts
    Chats
    1909
    Groans
    3
    Groaned 24 Times in 23 Posts


    Re: Ramapo River Restoration Project Moves Along

    We just got our formal reply from the Borough that our only recourse for this bid is Superior Court. Since our only outcome could be a rebid if we hired attorneys and won with no guarantee that our bid would win a second time, we are walking away from further action and will let the Borough sink or swim with the unqualified vendor they chose. We were just trying to save the river from a further indignity of having some hack screw it up worse than it is. Oakland owns this mess. Now on to restoring rivers for folks that "get it".

    A sinking fly is closer to Hell - ​Unknown

  10. #44
    Join Date
    May 2004
    Location
    New Jersey's scenic Ramapo Valley
    Posts
    2,751
    Thanks
    152
    Thanked 432 Times in 288 Posts
    Chats
    39
    Groans
    1
    Groaned 3 Times in 3 Posts


    Re: Ramapo River Restoration Project Moves Along

    Quote Originally Posted by Rusty Spinner View Post
    .....I know one of the local residents plans to question the council (tonight?) about this bid ......
    It didn't happen last night, at least not in (the televised) open session.
    "Student Government Night" was cancelled due to something at the school, so there was no reason for anyone to feel inhibited, but if the project was mentioned, I didn't hear it. Chris didn't even mention EJTU's letter during the liaison reports.


  11. The Following User Says Thank You to Pete For This Useful Post:

    Rusty Spinner (06-09-2016)

  12. #45
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
    Location
    Flanders, NJ
    Posts
    5,877
    Thanks
    1,948
    Thanked 1,548 Times in 982 Posts
    Chats
    1909
    Groans
    3
    Groaned 24 Times in 23 Posts


    Re: Ramapo River Restoration Project Moves Along

    Quote Originally Posted by Pete View Post
    It didn't happen last night, at least not in (the televised) open session.
    "Student Government Night" was cancelled due to something at the school, so there was no reason for anyone to feel inhibited, but if the project was mentioned, I didn't hear it. Chris didn't even mention EJTU's letter during the liaison reports.
    Thanks, Pete. We got our formal "F U letter" from your borough Admin's lawyer to take it to Superior Court of leave them alone to work with the unqualified vendor they chose. I'm not wasting any more energy for the Ramapo in Oakland, I'm sorry to say. I feel badly for your town. Part of me feels guilty that I could have done more to prevent this, but I really had no clue how poorly your Admin and outside engineering firm would handle this. They were far different in our face to face meetings back when I was still working for TU and helping out a town that asked for my help after Hurricane Irene.

    A sinking fly is closer to Hell - ​Unknown

  13. #46
    Join Date
    May 2004
    Location
    New Jersey's scenic Ramapo Valley
    Posts
    2,751
    Thanks
    152
    Thanked 432 Times in 288 Posts
    Chats
    39
    Groans
    1
    Groaned 3 Times in 3 Posts


    Re: Ramapo River Restoration Project Moves Along

    I had my TV tuned to last nights council meeting but wasn't paying close attention.

    After a few months of silence on the subject...

    During the liaison reports, Councilman ChrisV mentioned that a "pre-construction meeting" was scheduled (or words to that effect), and used the words "Flood Commission".

    I have no idea if that means that they got their permits, nor if it means that the Flood Commission is back "in the loop", or if he was inviting them back into the loop.

    EDIT: Got a reply to a similar post on FB. As far as "Lew" is concerned, the Flood Commission is not back "in the loop".


  14. #47
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
    Location
    Flanders, NJ
    Posts
    5,877
    Thanks
    1,948
    Thanked 1,548 Times in 982 Posts
    Chats
    1909
    Groans
    3
    Groaned 24 Times in 23 Posts


    Re: Ramapo River Restoration Project Moves Along

    Pete,

    We "spoke" via Facebook, but for any others that might be interested, it was not a pre construction meeting but seems to be their initial kick off meeting which to me means a contract has been offered and signed to move forward. TR Weniger learned in that meeting what river restoration entails, that he alone will be responsible to obtain the necessary permit, and that the local flood crazies and others in town that are in the know will be watching his every move in the river since they are not happy this is going the way it is.

    There is a catch 22 here that few understand: to obtain a General Permit # 16 which is required, one must submit a permit application with a letter of support from one of only three agencies. Those are: US Fish & Wildlife Service, Natural Resources Conservation Service, or NJ Division of Fish & Wildlife. The first 2 agencies are not involved in this project and therefor cannot write that letter. That leaves our Division. To get a letter, the winning bidder must submit plans to the regional fisheries biologist and request a letter of support. Not sure the biologist is going to offer that to a company with exactly ZERO experience in river restoration, so there would be no way to submit the permit application let alone obtain a permit if the biologist isn't supportive. There are no other DEP permits that could be used to achieve this project's goals.....

    A sinking fly is closer to Hell - ​Unknown

  15. #48
    Join Date
    May 2004
    Location
    New Jersey's scenic Ramapo Valley
    Posts
    2,751
    Thanks
    152
    Thanked 432 Times in 288 Posts
    Chats
    39
    Groans
    1
    Groaned 3 Times in 3 Posts


    Re: Ramapo River Restoration Project Moves Along

    Quote Originally Posted by Rusty Spinner View Post
    Pete,

    We "spoke" via Facebook, but for any others that might be interested, it was not a pre construction meeting but seems to be their initial kick off meeting which to me means a contract has been offered and signed to move forward. TR Weniger learned in that meeting what river restoration entails, that he alone will be responsible to obtain the necessary permit, and that the local flood crazies and others in town that are in the know will be watching his every move in the river since they are not happy this is going the way it is.

    There is a catch 22 here that few understand: to obtain a General Permit # 16 which is required, one must submit a permit application with a letter of support from one of only three agencies. Those are: US Fish & Wildlife Service, Natural Resources Conservation Service, or NJ Division of Fish & Wildlife. The first 2 agencies are not involved in this project and therefor cannot write that letter. That leaves our Division. To get a letter, the winning bidder must submit plans to the regional fisheries biologist and request a letter of support. Not sure the biologist is going to offer that to a company with exactly ZERO experience in river restoration, so there would be no way to submit the permit application let alone obtain a permit if the biologist isn't supportive. There are no other DEP permits that could be used to achieve this project's goals.....
    How independent is the Division?
    Will they bow to political pressure?
    If TR Weniger is that close to Boswell, they've probably done "government work" before, and may be quite adept at "pay to play"... Might even "own" a few politicians.


Page 4 of 7 FirstFirst 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 LastLast

Thread Information

Users Browsing this Thread

There are currently 1 users browsing this thread. (0 members and 1 guests)

Thread Participants: 7

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •