December 13, 2010 |
To the untrained eye, the rough-looking tract on the south side of the Statehouse in Trenton looks like an ordinary construction site. To archaeologists and historians, it's a rare treasure. Deep in the earth are the remains of what may be the only colonial-era steel mill excavated in North America. Two Philadelphians - Timothy Matlack and Owen Biddle - once made steel at the so-called Petty's Run site, demonstrating an independent streak that dismayed England. The British wanted raw materials from the colonies so they could turn out the finished product for sale in America.
November 27, 2010 |
Gov. Rendell on Friday was mulling whether to sign or veto a bill that could vastly curtail access to autopsy and death reports, a move that coroners hailed as overdue and critics said would be a setback for open-government efforts. The measure, given final legislative approval Nov. 16, could limit public access to nothing more than a victim's name and manner and cause of death. Under current laws, that information is typically released, and coroners must also file annual public reports that include details of their closed investigations and rulings.
October 6, 2010
The state's new Right to Know Law made it easier and more affordable to access information used in real-estate settlements. But some legislators are trying to undo this good that was so hard to achieve. It's all because tax collectors complained that their bottom line was affected. They want to preserve the exorbitant certification fees paid by consumers. The tax collectors don't believe the Right to Know Law pertains to them, and they seem to have the political strength to persuade their legislators to alter the law. Two bills under consideration outline a process in which the public must obtain a clearance certificate, whose cost will be determined by the very same tax collectors who profit from printing out public information.
October 2, 2010
Legislators in Harrisburg should stop an attempt to weaken the state's new right-to-know law. The Senate passed a bill unanimously last week that would water down several provisions of the two-year-old law, which granted greater public access to government records. The latest measure, sponsored by Senate Majority Leader Dominic Pileggi (R., Chester), would restrict the records available from government contractors, charge members of the public just to view a public record, and prevent the public from viewing delinquencies of water and sewer authorities.
September 1, 2010
Given New Jersey's varied Shore communities and the recession-driven stresses being felt on town finances, it may make sense for Gov. Christie to scale back the one-size-fits-all approach to promoting public access to the state's beaches. The test will be whether relaxing rules on beach access is seized upon by Shore towns and property owners to post the equivalent of more "private beach" signs. For now, proposed new beach-access rules are receiving good reviews from municipal officials and at least tentative acceptance by the state's Sierra Club chapter.
August 30, 2010 |
Jersey Shore officials - from towns that encourage day-trippers and those where scarce parking and public restrooms can make a visitor feel unwelcome - are applauding a draft of loosened beach-access rules released by the state. The Department of Environmental Protection intends to "enhance" public access to coastal areas while relaxing its regulatory grip on Shore towns, the agency announced in June. Gov. Christie called for revisions based on "commonsense principles" in consultation with towns and property owners, said DEP Commissioner Bob Martin.
June 16, 2010 |
Public access to New Jersey's beaches will be enhanced and Shore towns will get out from under "burdensome and costly" rules that eroded their municipal power under regulations proposed Tuesday by the state Department of Environmental Protection, according to officials. "We want a policy in place that works for everyone, that allows ample and easy access to our waters while removing onerous burdens on businesses and property owners," DEP Commissioner Bob Martin said in a written statement.
November 10, 2009
FOR THOSE disgusted with events like the recent transit strike - in which deals are done in closed rooms with citizens having little say in things that directly affect their lives - here's an antidote: Tonight, citizens get a chance to interview five finalists contending to create a master plan for the central Delaware waterfront. The Delaware River Waterfront Corporation is hosting the meeting, at which citizens can hear how firms would approach the process that will literally lay the groundwork for streets, land use, public access and more for the central Delaware.
August 19, 2009
JUST TWO YEARS ago, the city's Central Delaware waterfront was known for big-box stores, the potential home of two controversial casinos, and a long history of squandered opportunity to create a vital asset for the city. But in the past 18 months, that reality was transformed by a big, new vision, created with the input of experts and citizens. The foundation of that vision rests on balancing public access and amenities with thoughtful development. The lastest step in reaching that goal was the hiring of a new president of the Delaware River Waterfront Corp.
July 3, 2009 |
A special judicial panel in Philadelphia has admonished a prominent federal judge in San Francisco for storing pornographic images that were accessible to the public on a personal Web site. The panel said yesterday that Alex Kozinski, chief judge of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit in San Francisco, was imprudent for storing the sexually explicit material on a home computer server that could be viewed by the public. However, it did not criticize Kozinski for having the material, nor did it impose any penalties.