Blog for Highland Park

Welcome to the Blog for Highland Park, a weblog chronicling events in Highland Park, NJ from an alternative perspective to the often one-sided slant of the official borough newsletter.

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Location: Highland Park, New Jersey, United States

I am a freelance writer and community activist who has worked on many progressive and Democratic political campaigns over the last 25 plus years and a lifelong resident of Highland Park, NJ. I have a BA in Journalism from Rutgers University, an MA in Middle East Studies from Harvard University, and an MEd in English Education from Rutgers Graduate School of Education. An enthusiastic amateur astronomer, I have just completed Swinburne University Astronomy Online's Graduate Certificate of Science in astronomy and am pursuing a Masters of Science in astronomy at Swinburne. I am also an actress with experience in theatre and film and have written a full length play. I am currently working full time on a book "The Little Planet That Would Not Die: Pluto's Story."

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

A Bill of Goods on Eminent Domain

A3257 is up tomorrow afternoon in the full Assembly. This is a bad bill that presents the appearance of reforming eminent domain but makes only a few minor changes. It does not follow the letter or spirit of the Public Advocate's report, which specifically addresses how eminent domain has been abused in NJ and its connection with pay to play.

You can read the Public Advocate's report and testimony to the Assembly Commerce and Economic Development Committee about eminent domain at

If you want a bill that really protects homeowners and businesses from having their properties taken and given to private developers, please contact your Assembly members in opposition to this bill. Even if you contacted them before, call NOW. The Assembly Democrats can be reached at 609-292-7065, the Assembly Republicans at 609-292-5339, and the Governor's office at 609-292-6000. Tell them to to protect homes and small businesses by opposing A3257 until it stops eminent domain abuse by banning pay to play, provides a net increase in affordable housing, results in no involuntary displacement, eliminates the "underutilization" criteria for both homes and businesses, puts the burden on municipalities to prove an area is in need of redevelopment, and offers compensation that keeps property owners whole. (A3257 does none of the above).

YOU CAN EMAIL ASSEMBLY MEMBERS AT: ASM (for male) ASW (for female) “THEIR LAST NAME” @NJLEG.ORG. You can also find contact information for Assembly members at In Highland Park, our Assembly members are Assemblyman Upendra Chivukula, whose office can be reached at (732) 247-3999 and Assemblyman Joseph Egan, whose office can be reached at (732) 249-4550. Be assured that legislators in our district take public messages on legislation very seriously.

It has been a year since the US Supreme Court ruled against Property Owners in the KELO case. The outrage of that decision has not diminished!


FRIDAY - June 23rd - 6:30pm

There will be speakers followed by a protest walk along the redevelopment area built by K. Hovnanian, Matzel & Mumford and The Applied Group. Remember to bring your protest signs, but don’t worry, we will have plenty if you forget!

Location: 38 Ocean Terrace – Long Branch, NJ 07740
For additional information go to or contact Lori at or
973-699-0375. There will be street parking on various streets in the area. There is also parking at Seven Presidents Park, one block north of the MTOTSA neighborhood. Garden State Parkway to exit 105 - Stay straight 4-5 miles and you will dead end right into the parking lot. If you walk with the ocean on your left hand side, Ocean Terrace will be the second street south of the park.

For more on what you can do to fight eminent domain abuse, visit the following sites:

At one of the hearings of the Assembly Commerce and Economic Development Committee on A3257, which I and many opponents of eminent domain for private redevelopment attended, Committee Chair John Burzichelli said, "Eliminating eminent domain for private redevelopment is not an option in New Jersey." Why not? Maybe because he is a mayor and a developer, in addition to an Assemblyman, and like many public officials and their developer friends, benefits from its use. However, ultimately the people decide.
Show our elected officials we will not stop until eminent domain abuse stops!