Bavoso Spreads Misinformation

October 19, 2016

Bavoso on The Berkeley Heights Swap

During the Berkeley Heights League of Women Voters Debate that was held on Oct 13, 2016 at Columbia Middle School in Berkeley Heights, Peter Bavoso stated the following during a rebuttal:  “OK Just to mention since Tom gets very excited about this Yellin, First of all the municipal redevelopment falls under the redevelopment law of the state.  This is not one of those issues that is a council issue.   If Tom would like to go to the state and change the legislature that is a different conversation, its redevelopment law, there is no loophole there is no backoffice dealings.  This was actually heard by the public for years.   They changed the location at one point, there is no conflict of interest, all of those court cases have been settled. There is currently a contract going on with little flower, it will proceed, you cannot stop whatever it is he is talking about. “  

Let us break this down a bit:

Peter Bavoso stated : “First of all the municipal redevelopment falls under the redevelopment law of the state. “

The township had a choice on how to proceed: it could have just purchased the Little Flower property and sold the library to them, both at fair market values. Then it could have rezone Little Flower property and sold it off. The voters if they wish could have a vote on this choice. Under this option the township would have proceeded under the Local Lands and Building Law. It was researched by the Township  attorney in August of 2012 after a request from Mr. Hall. Call  this choice the Rezoning Option. Or as a second choice, it can invoke the Local Housing and Redevelopment Law. This second choice was preferred by them since it eliminates any possibility of a referendum on the sale. It was researched by Michael Cressitello in February of 2013 for presentation to the Council in Executive Session.  If you check the town website and minutes of executive session for February 5, 2013 you will see that both Rezoning Option and the Redevelopment Option were presented by the Planning Board attorney.  So Mr. Bavoso is misleading the voters on this matter.

 

Peter Bavoso stated:“This is not one of those issues that is a council issue.”

Again, a misleading statement by Mr. Bavoso. The choice was a council choice.

 

Peter Bavoso stated: “ If  Tom would like to go to the state and change the legislature that is a different conversation,”
Yet another deflection by Mr. Bavoso. The LHRL may need changes but the Council did not need to invoke it.

 

Peter Bavoso stated: “ its redevelopment law there is no loophole”

Actually the law has a serious loophole. It permits a township to invoke this law on its own property as a means to deny voters any say on the actions of its local government. Mr. Bavoso does not even understand the most basic idea about government by the people. The people are the final decider on expenditure of capital funds, not the government.

 

Peter Bavoso stated: “there is no backoffice dealings.”

How this was done to the good people of Berkeley Heights is a prime example of backoffice dealings. The entire process has been pre-decided in the back room in secret meetings at town hall and then formally voted on from time to time. It is one of the worst examples of backoffice dealings that I am aware of.

 

Peter Bavoso stated: “This was actually heard by the public for years.”

True, but misleading,  While the public heard about it,  many of the public meetings were after the decisions were made.   At every step the people questioned and protested.   So yes the public heard about it as one directional communication, but the town did not hear, or more accurately, ignored  the public.

 

Peter Bavoso stated:   “They changed the location at one point”

True, the project was initially sold to the people as the town taking over the Little Flower property for use  as the municipal building.   Now the municipal building is slated to be just west of the current building.  The buildings were found to be in poor condition so that may have been a factor too.

 

Peter Bavoso stated: “there is no conflict of interest,”

I would strongly disagree with that statement. Certain active members of the Church have voted on the land swap and related contracts. The lead negotiator for the town was an active member of the Church. The former mayor who favored the swap was an active member of the Church.  One council member was a trustee and finance council member. The law on conflict of interest says you cannot act if you have a conflict. Act means voting or participating in discussions.

 

Peter Bavoso stated: “all of those court cases have been settled.”

There is a pending appellate level case. It is Matula v. Berkeley Heights Township. Again, another attempt to mislead the public by Mr. Bavoso.

 

Peter Bavoso stated: “There is currently a contract going on with little flower”

There is a contract expires sometime next year. The contract is contingent on all litigation being resolved and the township passing an ordinance to complete the sale of the property.

 

Peter Bavoso stated: “it will proceed, you cannot stop whatever it is he is talking about. “

False again!  The above stated ordinance will need 4 votes to pass. Two members are conflicted and cannot vote.  I will be not give them the 4th vote so the ordinance will not pass and the swap will fail.

 

Vote: Edmund Tom Maciejewski

7F, Column F for Fiscally Responsible!