Via Email – August 28, 2007 - 9:36 a.m.
Mayor Berni Platt MayorPlatt@CHTownship.com;
Frank Falcone, Council President FFalcone@CHTownship.com;
Assemblyman Louis Greenwald firstname.lastname@example.org;
Assemblywoman Patricia Lampitt
State Director, NJMentor Ted Ericson Theodore.Ericson@thementornetwork.com
Nadezhda Robinson, Ph.D, email@example.com
NJ Dept of Children and Family Services
Re: Won’t You Be My Neighbor
Proposed Group Home at 1107 W. Valleybrook Road
Just close your eyes. Imagine, like John Lennon, Imagine all the People, working together, resolving a crucial need for special children in need of help in the world and hey, even possibly right contributing to this dilemma in your own neighborhood….maybe even next door to you…Imagine…..now….a web of issues, methods, laws, missions and questions that are deserving of honest answers…to set aside fears*…a revolving door of issues…..in your neighborhood….possibly even right next door to you……imagine…a for profit business…..for children… imagine…..their needs…children with special needs...severe emotional/behavioral needs…revolving every 6 to12 mos., every 8 hrs. of rotating caretakers/shift workers with inevitable guarantees that, from time to time, will surely get sick themselves or perhaps get stuck in the ice/snow, having all the obvious challenges and tasks that we all do daily in our personal working lives…imagine….daily, one person (or maybe 2) monitoring 5 severe behavioral/emotional children of the same sex, with similar or different severe emotional/behavioral problems individually that paid shift caretakers have a passion for helping and do, yes they do. God Bless them. Then, it changes again, every half of year, and revolves again, to another different group of 5 children, a different group of 5 severe emotional/behavioral children /your again, new neighbors for 6-12 mos., here comes another set of caretakers every 8 hours daily. Then, of course, there are the caretakers caretakers…supervisors/doctors, in and about, weekly or possibly daily at some point making sure you get the job done right and you answer to them and their mission or skilled direction and expertise. Imagine…in your backyard….even possibly right next door. That’s what I heard at the recent CH township meeting. Imagine…Perhaps you can.
Imagine….now…being the next door neighbor…not being able to get any return calls or information for weeks…weeks… [from your township or even repeated attempts for any contact name from the realtors that sold and knew about the intentional use…imagine….even your former neighbors of over 11/23 years knowing this intention…imagine… a web of deceit before the property is even made legal by signature in whatever business name you place on the deed…(the need for a much better pre-inspection person…to look into your new neighborhood’s municipal rules...and the legal mumbo jumbo stuff of variances/zoning/permits required to which we have been mandated to follow too). Reputable and up-front government/companies/organizations and businesses do. Then, you, as a citizen/neighbor inquire enough to be made aware of the possibility of a profit business for children moving in…as your new neighbor with, again, a revolving door of 5 different severe behavioral/emotional children of the same sex, times 2 sets of revolving children every ˝ year, and another shift of 8 hour caretakers, daily, in your backyard, maybe even right next door to you. Imagine. Perhaps you can. Close your eyes and imagine. Surprised by reactions? Come On! Won’t you be my neighbor? NOT.
The trust is gone…now and in the future…for any group home**…too little/too late……I imagine this will open many eyes to the education and need, for the facts, the fear factor, the communication, the knowledge (federally and locally) of what does and doesn’t work…..ways to achieve and improve on how to go about this for all children’s interests and citizens rights….community rights…..neighbors too….imagine….how do we correct and help this ongoing and needy dilemma. Please figure it out for the next single family homeowner who deserves some information (even some miniscule specific on each child to lend an embrace to and be aware of).
A new program two years young……..operating with this method of for profit operation in my backyard… revolving…I’m sorry, too (a phrase that was documented many times from all of the representatives at Thursday’s town meeting) … the trust is gone for any support you may have had or could possibly have for any group home, ever, now or in the future...next door to my house… ever. Imagine….perhaps imagine our emotional/behavior searching of logic and parental/human concerns and fears. The obvious failure before you even occupy your for profit business was an inevitable collapse under this method of information and legislation. Not in my backyard. You got it! Rights. Yup. Government. Morals. Ethics. Property value. Imagine. Perhaps you can.
Oh, and by the way…we really do appreciate the lawn being cut the day of our requested township meeting for the first time in over 2 months………..perhaps a serious tree pruning would be appropriate now too, before your tree damages your neighbor’s roof further…and perhaps you don’t have to spend 4 nights after your shift work (a machinist and a secretary) of chain-sawing and removing debris**. You’ll also need a dumpster too, to remove the two rotting sheds and trash/tools left behind by the prior owners on our adjoining back lots, not to mention the pool and Jacuzzi that’s been breeding mosquitoes for months. Oh, and I won’t report the painters you hired that rinsed off their paint cans into our clean water sewer line leading back between us to beautiful Green Acres and the brook of tranquility my family has labored over the years to maintain.
Welcome to my world of reality.
Rights. Constitution. Imagine. Perhaps. Imagine trusting any group home next door ever now…not...embrace you…not...embrace this……..Please Don’t Ever EVER Think that many Cherry Hill neighbors and/or Brookfield Citizens couldn’t or wouldn’t “understand” (we have over 35*** group homes already), and if mandated for all, if all properly and trustworthily informed…perhaps...most fears would be set aside…but for now and in the future, trust any group home or the governmental policies and methods shown here, living next door to me. NOT.
Until measures, precedence, municipal laws, ordinances and communication all the way down the line of this web are a part of all children/citizens/buyers/taxpayers rights for any single family community, the web will continue to spin. It is expansive and vast. Please figure it out and seriously consider a more effective, neighborly, honest and communal way to be told to embrace this method of operation/issues and predicament. What a web. What a revolving door. I’m sorry too. The trust is gone…imagine that…perhaps.
We are………..The Neighbors**** next door.
[Imagine walking in our shoes lately...perhaps.]
1109 W. Valleybrook Rd.
Maureen and Bob
Brookfield Citizens for 23 years, 2 children, widowed Sister and her 3 Children 10 houses from us, late Mother and 2 Brothers also CH residents, 2 more Siblings in surrounding communities.
* I especially want to thank you for setting my worse fear aside at the meeting Thursday…for any future single family neighborhood you go move into, that being your guarantee, in writing, from you and our township -- that no Second Chance group of 5 children (juvenile sex offenders) will ever live next door to our community single family development.
** I do think reimbursement would be appropriate for the labor and time in cleaning up your tree and saving even more property monetary damage (consider this my formal request/bill -- thanks). I do have your 1-800 now for the future.
**** I still await the requested and list promised of other group homes in Cherry Hill that my municipal township president and Mayor stated they would provide me well before the meeting.
*** My Brother-in-law’s mentally retarded Brother has been in a stable group home for years (he’s over 50 now). My mentally retarded Uncle and Cousin continue to be cared for by my Aunt. My recently late Mother, late Father-in-law, and late Brother-in-law/neighbor (25 yr. CH police officer) all came from orphanages and often spoke of the feeling of sameness, support and help they received until placed or adopted or joined the armed forces. I know first hand personal history of these challenges in life have always been because we have live it as a family, together, embracing, and answering and seeking guidance from the big Man upstairs.