Friends of LSP Press release on S2956 for Sen. Judiciary Committee 8/4/22
Sam Pesin. Pres of Friends of LSP statement to the Committee
Thank you Sen.Stack being a champion of liberty Parks Caven Point urban nature sanctuary behind Lady Liberty. I’m the president of the Friends of LSP. My father Morris is the “father” of LP. I’m named after my Uncle Sam who was an assemblyman in the 1930’s and my Uncle Al was the oldest sitting municipal court judge in NJ when he retired at 89 years old.
I urge this committee to stand up for the public interest by the no-brainer action of unanimously passing this bill to protect this urban public natural resource behind Lady Liberty. In crowded, concrete Jersey City and Hudson County. public green open space and nature are very scarce. In the suburbs and rural areas, people have front yards, backyards, parks and nature everywhere. As the “godmother” of LSP, Audrey Zapp would urge elected officials outside Hudson County to, to walk in the shoes of urban people. I urge you to do so today in protecting this secular cathedral a haven for wildlife and a spiritual resource for urban people and all visitors.
To paraphrase former Sen. Loretta Weinberg’s Star Ledger quote for the previous Protection Act, “This bill is unique, in that there is no logical reason to oppose it.”
The diversity of park users and popularity of LSP with 5 million visitors a year to its 600 acres of land not counting parking lots, etc. truly makes the park a free People’s Park. The essence of park history is that the overwhelming majority, the broad public consensus – 10’s of 1000’s – have put democracy into action and opposed exclusionary privatization plans for this invaluable tax-payer funded public parkland no matter what money was promised by profiteers.
The all-volunteer Friends of LSP were co-organizers with the NY/NJ Baykeeper of the 111 local, regional and statewide Coalition to Pass the LSP Protection Act and save the park’s Caven Point Natural Area. The Protection Act was killed after 3 and a half years by the influence and money of Paul Fireman and his lobbyist as reported in news stories and editorials by the vigilant media.
So those 111 groups are on record of wanting Caven Point protected from privatization. Former Governor Christie Whitman had an op-ed in the Star Ledger a few months ago strongly supporting the protection of LSP.
Also 32,790 people signed the Petition to protect the whole park after 46 years of overwhelming opposition to privatization plans and the petition emphasized protecting Caven Point from privatization under threat from the golf course expansion plan for this urban public natural area.
Also, early in Governor Murphy’s term, within weeks, over 1000 pages of emails were sent to his DEP to oppose the golf course’s Caven Point privatization proposal in response to Governor Christie’s DEP’s privatization RFP for Caven Point.
Please implement the clear and strong voice and will of the people to protect LSP. If this bill doesn’t become law, it must be asked, is Nothing Sacred in NJ. Take Caven Point off the chopping block. LSP has always been vulnerable to exclusionary privatization because of the democracy-subverting, collusion of profiteers, politicians, lobbyists and bought off opportunists.
As most of you know, Caven Point has been under assault for many years by the land-grabbing billionaire golf course owner who wants to bulldoze it for golf holes for multimillionaires.
He pretended to give up his goal 2 years ago but immediately started orchestrating a phony front group and other surrogates to push lies and smear attacks to kill the LP Protection Act because it protected Caven Point. You’ve probably all been lobbied and lied to by Fireman’s lobbyists Eric Shuffler and Kevin McCabe but I urge you to protect this Urban wild space in perpetuity.
The Chair of the State of NJ Commission of Indian Affairs, Steven Burton wrote to the Governor in 2020 and to this Committee the other day, calling Caven Point a Sacred site” because of the tragic 1643 massacre there of 100 innocent, Lenape Native American villagers of Men, Women and Children because they would not pay tribute. He wrote that this bill is in the moral, just, and best interests of New Jerseyans. https://folsp.org/preservation/indian_affairs_support_protection_act.pdf
The bill is essential as it will ensure Caven Point protection as there are processes which can un-protect this tax-payer funded land from Green Acres and federal funding requirements. Gov Christie ordered his DEP to put out a privatization RFP which a future governor could easily try to do. Lastly, the DEP stated in a NY Times story that Caven Point was remediated by 2004 and the DEP requires “no further action” due to Caven Point’s passive recreation uses.”
Also, the Jersey City American Legion Post 419 supports the initiative for a Caven Point PTSD program for veterans.
Future generations deserve this urban unique natural resource treasure neighboring Lady Liberty.