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OMG, K.I.D.S., IMHO, Needs to Go

Let the voters decide if they want to turf the town.

Back in the Mesozoic era, when I was substituting at the UES, I saw the writing on the wall. It wasn’t a chalky, cursive scrawl on the blackboard or medicinal dry erase block letters on the white board, but an indecipherable mess of initials that served to alert me, one more time, that I was old and out of the loop.

I was substituting in a sixth-grade language arts classroom for one of my favorite teachers, a true inspiration, Ms. Leeanne Schmidt. The students were writing in their journals. My assignment was to give the journal entries a quick look-see, nothing more. No grammar lessons, no prose suggestions. I was amazed that, in most of the entries, the students were using IMing expressions, like LOL and OMG…expressions that have segued into texting world, now that IMing is passé.

In my dual role as parent and teacher, I remember being appalled by the acronyms, worrying that students would forget how to write without using the now popular all-cap expressions. Since we had a few minutes to kill before the bell rang, I asked the students to put some of their expressions on the board, making sure to remind them that we were in a G-rated environment. We had a lot of fun trying to decipher the acronyms, voting on our favorites and voting down ones we didn’t like. I remember talking to some of the language arts teachers about this new phenomenon, and we all agreed that we hoped it was a passing fad.

In today’s newspaper, there was an article about the OED, which is the mother ship of all acronyms. The Oxford English Dictionary is a 20-volume compendium of the English language. An Internet version was launched in 2000, and was soon getting 2 million hits a month. With so many grammatical errors out there, this is hard to believe, ain’t it?

Unless you’ve been living in the woods behind Roberts School, you know that OMG stands for "Oh My God" and LOL means "Laughing Out Loud." You are probably also familiar with BFF (Best Friend Forever), IMHO (In My Humble Opinion) and TMI (Too Much Information). Once acronyms are included in the prestigious OED, it is safe to say that they’re here to stay.

Besides the BOE and the MEA and C.A.S.A., we here in Mo’town now have the K.I.D.S. Initiative, an attention grabber that everyone needs to know about. Oops! I forgot to mention EDAC, the Economic Development Advisory Committee! Sorry, boys! I haven’t forgotten MYSHA, MYSBA or the other sports acronyms, but I want to focus on the K.I.D.S. Initiative.

Keep Investing and Developing Sports and Recreation (wait a minute! Shouldn’t it actually be KIDSR? Guess that didn’t flow as well) is a well-intentioned group of parents lobbying to pass a $2.7 million bond to put wall-to-wall carpeting on two of the township’s athletic fields. No, they actually just want to put artificial turf down on two infields as well as upgrade several other fields and add an additional turf field at Wesley Bishop. At the Town Council meeting I attended, the K.I.D.S. people had put together a lovely picture book of the ecological disaster that is Wesley Bishop field. Unfortunately, I had left my pictorial history of the deterioration of Memorial Field at home, otherwise I would have pointed out that all of the fields need help, not just a few, and that all of Moorestown’s kids need to be served, not just the ones that can afford to play organized sports.

The K.I.D.S. Initiative passed the first read and will be discussed again on tonight. I urge everyone in town to be there and be heard, because as it stands right now, a very vocal majority is urging Town Council to push this thing through.

I am not LMAO over this one. I am MAHAINGTTIA (see the catch phrase from the movie Network). These are very tough economic times. Our jewel of a town has been degraded by the ongoing Town Hall debacle, which, BTW, has still not been resolved. We have a very unpopular school budget election coming up that, IMHO, is going to have trouble getting passed. And what about the REC center?  We have this terrific facility that could be utilized so much more than it is, that is closed most of the time. The kids that need the REC center are not the kids that use the athletic fields. Wouldn’t more programs at the REC center better serve all the kids?

TPTB are zealously trying to paint citizens opposed to this bond issue as not being FTK. Again, this is JMO, but the citizens opposed to this initiative are against it because it a) is not fiscally responsible in this economy and b) does not serve all the children in Moorestown. AFAICS, our taxes go up every year. That seems to be the new reality and we can’t stop it. But we can say no to passing bond issues that we are not ready to support. I know I sound like an OF, but when I was a kid, we were happy to have a field to play on. I don’t remember my parents going to one of my softball games, ever. Peggy, Debbie and I would hook our gloves onto our handlebars and peddle over to the fields across from Green Valley Farms. We would play, perhaps buy a Popsicle then ride home. No parents? No problem. We didn’t expect them to be there. This was a kid’s game.

Well, friends, this is not a kid’s game any longer. FWIW, sports programs in our town are paid for and supported by parents. Right now, there are three councilmen who are very vocally for the K.I.D.S. Initiative and two against. There are also close to 200 comments about this initiative on the Patch, both pro and con.

The best suggestion by far was this: PITAV… Put it To a Vote. Let the people decide whether K.I.D.S. is a keeper or not. In the meantime, if you believe that the fields in Mo’town are “dangerous,” as one parent put it, you best leave the young’uns at home or go to the games AAD (armed and dangerous)!

Ed Nice April 23, 2012 at 10:45 PM
Hey townie. When BGT and Broder/Rocato lowered the rate from 3 cents to 1 cent in 2009 and saved taxpayers $900k a year x 4 or $3.6 million so far, where were all of the cries about the sky is falling. Is the reason because you only want our tax dollars for what you want it for and not what we want it for???? Where was all of the important projects the past 3 years. BGT did the Hess deal and I cant even get free vegetables for my tax dollars LOL!!!! Fair is fair and time to spend some of the $20 million we collect in OS/Rec money on fields. Any more excuses???? Its turf is no good or we cant build parking or lights or the fund is empty or whatever???? As I love to say, facts are stubborn. We have turf. We built parking and buildings on open space. Even the dams are funny.....whats a dam made out of it????? CONCRETE!!!
Terry April 23, 2012 at 11:14 PM
Mr. Testa and Gallo knew the cost of town hall/library when they made the promise. They are choosing not to honor that promise, as unfortunately many politicians do.
Ed Nice April 23, 2012 at 11:22 PM
Gee let's see what has happened since they ran and were elected to office .....HUMMMM AHHHHH I think I know ..... YEAH that's it.......... A RECESSION !!!! DUH !!!!! I guess your going to blame them for that too!
Terry April 23, 2012 at 11:48 PM
That times are tough is true. But Gallo, Button and Testa knew that at the time they made the promise. And furthermore they counted on that and told us we would get low, low bids because of it.
Ed Nice April 24, 2012 at 12:17 AM
Once again you are clueless to the facts. The Dems left them in a 4 million dollar hole which they didn't know and the biggest rise in costs to the town has been wages and benefits. The cost of heath care is the biggest factor that we do not control and no one knew they were going to sky rocket. Do me a favor and get the facts before you post your complaints. They would love to solve all the towns issues but they have a responsibility to the tax payers of the town to do it in fiscally responsible way!!! They can't just give it to you because you want it and they want it, they have to have a plan on how to pay for it! Raising taxes at this point is not an option. Times are still to tough. Maybe you are one of the well to do people of town and can afford what ever taxes are charged to you. If that is the case I say lucky you! But there are a lot of people out there in our town that are struggling and could use that extra tax dollars in a much better way at the moment. This all being said, i am willing to be a part of the project. I'm not against it being done. I think in 2 years when debt services are down it maybe a better time to address the issue. Problem is Jordan and Chiacchio want to make it happen now while they are still in office. It's all about politics not what is necessarily good for the town. Not saying a new library wouldn't be good for the town, just not now!
Townie April 24, 2012 at 12:31 AM
Ed, You're rambling. In the first three sentences you go from "we already did that" to "we need to maintain our property" followed by "If people don't think kids need turf...fine". After telling me to move to FL you head to rant two where you detail that we have and can save more money if we lower contributions to the OS fund. You then ramble about the sky falling? In what was an interesting "Political" commentary (after so many comments about "not playing politic") you say "fair is fair". You got yours...now gimme mine. Tit for tat? Thought your enlightened understanding of right and wrong would prevent you from being so obviously interested in getting your piece Senator? I know you're going to find this hard to believe, but I played on those fields (the ones that existed in the 70's/80's)....my kids still play on those fields....and while I would love to provide the best surface available, I just don't think it's prudent. I'm not sure, but I've gotta be approaching a dozen+ posts on the subject. Time to accept my limited understanding and move on....good luck with your crusade.
Terry April 24, 2012 at 10:36 AM
In the last bid done for library/townhall project, only union contractors and subcontractors were given the opportunity to bid. They did this against the advice of many experienced builders from town. We would have had a library and town hall by now had GBT not mishandled the entire process.
Ed Nice April 24, 2012 at 02:21 PM
Hey Terry you sound like the spokesperson for the mrmc LOL. Arent there 5 people on council who supported the 1st bids??? I might be mistaken but arent all jobs prevailing wage and bids can be made by anyone who pays?? i noticed Jordan/Chiacchio ran on town hall so what have they done in 2 years to get it done??? Now the R and D candidates want to get it done too. So eveyrone wants to get it done but no one tells the truth on how or how much in new taxes. That is all that matters. The town hall is $15 million now so how will it get done and how much Terry????
Terry April 24, 2012 at 03:13 PM
It was the prior council (BTG, Rocato and Broder) that restricted the bid to union only. Prevailing wage is a given but PLA is not. Had that council not wanted to placate the unions, we might have had a library/town hall by now.
Ed Nice April 24, 2012 at 03:58 PM
Hey Terry do you make up this garbage?? Placate the unions??? Im sure Rocato is laughing while reading this right now!! Are you sayin you are anti union??? I did google moorestown pla and read some of the old minutes. Mike Locatell, 526 East Main Street, advised that open shop contractors can bid but they have to pay pension and health benefits and dues. He suggested bidding the project PLA and non-PLA. He felt that non-union bidders would bid more aggressively due to the economy. Is this the same locatell that is vice chair of republican party and BGT appointed to the zoning board??? Sounds like he too was ok with PLA but felt non PLA firms would be less. So what happened??? And why wont you answer my other questions???The town hall is $15 million now so how will it get done and how much Terry???? Are we gonna play the blame and lie game or talk about doing whats right without raising taxes and burdening our residents.
Terry April 24, 2012 at 06:14 PM
Why do you find it pertinent to mention what one other person said, presumably at a council meeting? Plain and simple the PLA bid was mismanaged by all of council who voted for it at the time. Mr Rocato was honest about it when he said it was a bad decision. The bids all came in high and the job never got done. No, I am not anti union. But if you read the articles in the Courier at the time, you will see that the PLA made it exceedingly difficult for any non union company to bid.
Ed Nice April 24, 2012 at 07:35 PM
Why do you continue to duck answering my questions??? The facts matter and you single out some but not all. Explain how the PLA was mismanaged and how on earht would you know anyways???? The bids were high and all 5 killed the project. Ok, now what??? I point out the truth. What has jordan/chiacchio done to fix town hall that is better than BGT or Rocato did??? If you are not anti union, why do you care about the PLA which the leader of the Repubs recommended???? You make no sense. How will town hall get done and how much in new taxes does it cost??? I want answers!!! This was their campaign promise!!! Town Hall Stacey and Chris agree with you that the Town Hall issue needs to be resolved. They also agree with the current council’s decision, not to increase the budget by $4 million dollars, just to get the project underway. That would be easy the thing to do, but not the responsible thing to do. Now, we must diligently explore all options, provide a fresh perspective and ideas to get the project moving forward. Stacey and Chris will draw on their experience to work diligently and provide the leadership needed to get a workable and cost effective plan in place and underway. Stacey and Chris are committed to finding the most cost effective plan which will make the residents proud and provide services for all.
Terry April 24, 2012 at 08:11 PM
My point is that the bid should not have gone out to only union companies. If council two years ago, would have done an open bid, they would have had more and better bids. Now years later, many dollars later and umpteen studies later the job is not done.
Ed Nice April 24, 2012 at 08:25 PM
Who says it did??? Where is the proof??? Sounds like you are making up stuff but I am willing to wait until you prove it before I respond. Isnt the real deal that the plan is very different than a few years ago anyways with no court/police onsite which makes me wonder why is it $15 million again??? And you keep forgetting we cannot afford to raise taxes to burden the taxpayers for it right now anyways. Sounds like you are saying well if we just spent $15 million 2 years ago, it wouldnt matter. We dont have the money without raising taxes so yes it does matter!! No new taxes!!!
Jerry A April 25, 2012 at 12:44 AM
Ed - Terry is correct, the bid process required a union company a few years ago, when the project first came in over budget. Seeing as you weren't actively following the discussion then (judging by your earlier post where you said you had to go read old meeting minutes), you can't claim to really know otherwise, right? Statistics (yes real statistics!) show that requiring a PLA can drive construction costs up in excess of 30% here in NJ. I think most people who were actively involved in the process at that time would tell you the PLA was a mistake, heck a lot of us realized it was a mistake before the bids even came back... I find this very unfortunate, because the new complex would be built and operational at this point were it not for that misstep. By the way, you're continued use of ridiculously excessive punctuation is coming across kind of desperate...
Ed Nice April 25, 2012 at 12:49 AM
Hey Jerry!!!!!!!!!!!! you dont like punctuation!!!!! Im looking for proof not because you said so. PLAs dont require union only bidders only that union rules apply. Is that all you got??? If we had a town hall by now, we would have HIGHER TAXES to go along with our LOWER home values and a court/police station that doesnt belong downtown!!! Maybe it was dumb luck but we are better off. What am I desperate of??? I dont want a new town hall or higher taxes!!!!! Do you???? The fields are getting done!!!
Ed Nice April 25, 2012 at 12:52 AM
Jerry when you say a lot of us knew beforehand, who would a lot be and where in the council minutes can I find where you told council all 5 members exactly that or is waiting until now your only game??????????????
Terry April 25, 2012 at 12:48 PM
Many owners of large construction companies spoke to council regarding the problems with a PLA. Others who had dealt with government bidding also offered advice. Council chose to ignore those comments, insights and suggestions in order to favor their union constituents.
Ed Nice April 25, 2012 at 01:04 PM
Hey Terry. Produce the evidence then we will all believe you. All you seem to want to do is attack the 5 members of council for trying to fix town hall which you said you want. What I keep asking and you keep ducking is how much will town hall cost and raise my taxes?? The project was stopped and Jordan/Ciaco said they supported the decision so what have they done to get it done without raising taxes?? That is where we are. Guess All Repubs are union friendly LOL and when do you want to talk about liquor?? For Immediate Release Mount Holly, March 20, 2012 - Saying it reflects their commitment to fiscal policies that are making Burlington County more affordable for working class families, Burlington County Freeholders Bruce Garganio and Mary Ann O'Brien announced today that they have both been endorsed for re-election by the Southern New Jersey Building & Construction Trades Council. "Bruce and Mary Ann have proven themselves to be on the side of working class families in Burlington County by enacting policies that make it more affordable to live, work and retire in South Jersey," said Southern NJ Building & Construction Trades Council President James Kehoe. "They have earned our support."
Terry April 25, 2012 at 01:28 PM
If you check the Courier Post May 18, 2010 you will have your proof. Among other testimony, the Chairman of the Association of Builders and Contractors, said a state Department of Labor study of school construction concluded the labor agreement contracts are 32 percent higher than bids submitted by non-unionized contractors. Still not sure why you insist on bringing up other politicians? But for our town, BGT did not perform correctly. Neither did the Democratic administration before them. Point is that we could have spent the millions we used for all the studies over the years and had a beautiful library/town hall by now.
Ed Nice April 25, 2012 at 01:45 PM
That is your proof??? You said Many owners of large construction companies spoke to council regarding the problems. What are their names and what did they say? The only thing that matters is how would it have been paid for and how can we not add to the tax burden!!!! I am glad it didnt work out. My taxes are high enough and my home value is sinking !!! If BGT didnt work out then that means Rocato/Broder/Jordan/Ciacho didnt work out either but you are trying to single out someone you dont like. There are 5 members and they all vote the same. What are the new R and Ds gonna do to lower taxes??? That is why I keep asking and them and everyone is afraid to answer. If they have such great ideas, why dont they speak to council at the meetings and tell them what they are. I saw Hines, Palko, Vicky something all there and they say nothin. Must be easier to make up stuff then explain how to do it. BGT are not running so that means Jordan/Ciacho needs to step up and tell us like they did in their campaign ads. Stacey and Chris agree with you that the Town Hall issue needs to be resolved. They also agree with the current council’s decision, not to increase the budget by $4 million dollars, just to get the project underway.
There's Been a Leak April 25, 2012 at 01:48 PM
just received a email from my source at the county says and I quote "council acquiesced to the pressure form the county machine to use a pla on the bids. after the results came back over budget council decided no more pla which pissed off the county expecially now with a union leader as a freeholder and with union endorsements of gop cadidates" the email goes on to say that mrmc sucking up to the county machine on this one. shocker now that is good gop leadership
Terry April 25, 2012 at 04:05 PM
If you had read the minutes of that meeting as you had in other instances that suit your cause, you would get the true picture. And again, you are bringing the other two council people into the argument. From my understanding they are willing to move forward but for the hold out of Mr. Gallo and Mr. Testa. The argument has gone full circle.
No New Taxes 2012 April 25, 2012 at 05:30 PM
Let's see if our Big Brother will allow this posting. Right Rob? How do you not raise taxes? Just spend on what revenues you have. By the way, include all that saved money from the Snow Removal Fund. Now, Rob, where is that Report on the Moorestown Recreation Department? Have you compiled it yet? We are waiting. Oh, Ed - stay at Holiday Inn Express tonight. You may feel brighter in the morning.
No New Taxes 2012 April 25, 2012 at 05:33 PM
Back in the Mesozoic era,
No New Taxes 2012 April 25, 2012 at 05:34 PM
Back in the Mesozoic era,
No New Taxes 2012 April 25, 2012 at 05:34 PM
Back in the Mesozoic era,
Ed Nice April 25, 2012 at 06:37 PM
Hey Terry how would you know what each member of council is thinking?? Maybe Gallo and Testa are not willing to raise taxes and burden the citizens of Moorestown for buildings we dont need. Are saying Jordan/Ciaco will raise taxes for their pet project?? Why do you refuse to answer my questions???
Terry April 25, 2012 at 07:10 PM
I would rather the politicians not waste money on study after study and time on bids that won't work out and actually get something done. You prefer the status quo. But the status quo with town hall/library means that our library is a disgrace, and town hall is a hole in the ground and we are paying rent.Your over punctuated "questions" are unnecessary, we disagree.
Ed Nice April 25, 2012 at 07:35 PM
If my questions would get answered I would use less punctuation.LOL!! I have to agree about wasting money on studies but if the end result would be better than all the better. If it already was done, we wouldnt be sharing court and saving money. Assuming a new library is built someday, we dont need a court with a bunch of criminals hanging around having coffee and researching their cases in it. LOL The library gets $1.5 million a year and it wasnt maintained. NNT is right why should taxpayers pay for neglect and reward them with a new building. I get it you want a town hall. Tell me how it will be paid for and how much my taxes are going up. Better yet, have Jordan/ciacco tell the people they represent how we can build town hall without burdening the taxpayers and keeping seniors in their homes as they keep saying is there main concern. Is the question too hard for you or them to answer?

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