3, 1998 |
commission needs its sails trimmed
Assemblyman Joseph Azzolina, R-Monmouth, who also chairs the
Battleship New Jersey Commission, as poster child for arrogance.
Sen. John Matheussen, R-Gloucester, and Sen.
Wayne Bryant, D-Camden, introduced a resolution asking the commission
to consider having the ship brought to Camden as a floating museum.
Their effort got this response from Azzolina:
'I commend the effort, but it is for naught. The commission made
the decision on Bayonne. There is no way you would be in time
to change positions because anyone else can apply to the Navy
for the ship and we could lose it altogether.'
Like his arguments for putting the grand old
ship in Bayonne, it's little more than hot air, puffery to cover
the fact his commission really didn't give other parts of the
state a fair shake.
Perhaps that's because no commission member
lives south of Princeton.
Matheussen correctly questions the commission's
authority to decide on a specific location when it applied to
the Navy two years ago. The legislation that created the commission
limits it to 'assistance and advice' in planning and fund raising.
'The commission never had the authority to
decide where the site was. It was only empowered to make a recommendation,'
Prior to the scare tactic about losing the
ship, the best Azzolina could come up with is that the battleship
had to be in Bayonne because it was close to New York.
Yeah, sure, millions of people are going to
leave the Big Apple and try to find Bayonne. How much of a cab
ride is that, anyway? If they want to see a former Navy ship
made into a museum, they can walk a few blocks from Broadway
and visit the much bigger USS Intrepid, an aircraft carrier.
The USS New Jersey belongs on the revitalized
Camden Waterfront for many reasons, not the least of which is
that it was built at the Philadelphia Naval Shipyard by a lot
of people who lived in South Jersey. This is the ship's home.
This is where it should come back to.