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."

Sunday, August 31, 2008

Help Fight Eminent Domain Abuse Again

The Institute for Justice, a national organization dedicated to ending eminent domain abuse, needs volunteers to help a Vietnamese-American business owner in Atlantic City keep his jewelry store now that a wealthy developer wants to take his land and build yet another casino.

On Wednesday, September 3, the City Council of Atlantic City will decide whether to designate businesses and homes in a 24-acre area around the former Sands Casino as "in need of redevelopment," in order to seize the properties and transfer them to Pinnacle Entertainment for a new casino.

Quang Ha owns a jewelry store right next to the developer's lot. In the 1980s, his small factory in Hanoi was seized and he was imprisoned. Quang fled Vietnam, and after a treacherous journey, finally made it to the United States. After years of hard work and learning the trade, he opened his own business - one that the government couldn't seize. Or so he thought.

If the city votes to designate his property as "in need of redevelopment," it may be seized so that a rich developer can build a casino and make money on Quang's land. It would be a travesty to let the city destroy Quang's American Dream!

Before the City Council meeting on Wednesday, the Institute for Justice is organizing a rally to show support for Quang and the other threatened property owners in the area, and to send a message to those in power that we will not tolerate eminent domain for private gain. Here are the details:

RALLY to Stop Eminent Domain for Private Casino's Gain
September 3, 2008 @ 4pm
1301 Bacharach Boulevard
Atlantic City, NJ
City Council meeting to follow at 5pm.

Let's help save Quang's American Dream and those of his neighbors and property owners across the Garden State. We may be winning the battle against eminent domain abuse here in Highland Park and even making significant progress across the state, but this fight is far from over. For more information, please contact Christina Walsh, Director of Community Organization, Institute for Justice,
901 N. Glebe Road, Suite 900, Arlington, VA 22203. You can reach the Institute by phone at(703) 682-9320 or on the web at or

And in another good sign that public sentiment is overwhelmingly opposed to the use of eminent domain for private redevelopment, the Rutgers film festival is again presenting "Greetings from Asbury Park," the story of a 91-year-old woman whose modest home is threatened by eminent domain to make way for a waterfront redevelopment project. The film will be shown on Friday, September 19, Saturday, September 20, and Sunday, September 21, in Scott Hall Room 123 on the College Avenue Campus at 7 PM on all three days. Tickets are $10 for members of the general public; $9 for students and seniors; and $8 for Rutgers Film Co-op/NJMAC Friends.

Director Christina Eliopoulos will make a personal appearance at the Friday night showing.

For more information on the film showings, call (732) 932-8482 or visit

It's not over until any and all taking of private residential and commercial property in NJ and in this country is eradicated forever. These two events are opportunities to stand up for property owners and against big developers and to learn the truth about the projects these developers work hard to sell to communities. Be part of the change!