OPINION: Grounded TR Drone Ban Written to Appease One Influential Resident
According to Toms River Councilman Jeffrey R. Carr (Ward 3), the ordinance that recently proposed to essentially flat out ban drone flying in Toms River, require registration with a $70 fee yearly, and expose violators of the ordinance to a $2,000 fine and 90 days in jail, was hastily put together due to the council’s empathy for Kathy Durante.
This was indicated on April 25, 2017 during the council’s conclusion of the final hearing on the proposed ordinance and just before the council, after being confronted by and hearing from a vast variety of citizens in opposition to the ordinance, unanimously voted to table the matter for review and revisions of its provisions.
Kathy Durante was the only person to address the council with insistence that the ordinance, as written, be enacted then and there, “tonight” in fact, and “not become a prolonged discussion.” Her reasons for such instance speak for themselves and can be heard on the attached video.
Of greater interest to me was why the council would, based on what we heard from Kathy Durante, resort to hastily creating a new ordinance, an ordinance with extraordinary implications and consequences for Toms River residents, that was only acknowledged as flawed and tabled due to an overwhelming and legitimate showing of opposition from citizens. So I did some simple checking and what I found kinda made me go “hmmm.”
Kathy Durante of 529 Reynolds Avenue, Toms River NJ (Tallymawr Estates), a relatively affluent area, is also an influential character in Ocean County. More specifically, she is the Executive Director of the OceanFirst Bank’s charity, OceanFirst Foundation, which boasts of providing grants of over 30 million dollars to community organizations in and around Ocean County to “enrich lives in areas such as Housing, Youth Development and Education, Improving the Quality of Life, Health and Wellness, and the Arts.” With that much in mind, one need not stretch their imagination too far, particularly as heavily Ocean County Republican politics play for many years and especially as all four of the ward seats on the council are currently up for election this year, to suspect the political pandering that the council had engaged in by practically jumping to Mrs. Durante’s tales of whoa.
Listening to Mrs. Durante made it difficult to continue to empathize with her, as the only potentially legitimate “privacy” issue she raised (a drone flying allegedly low into her backyard) was the basis she was urging the council to enact the ordinance right then and there, “tonight” in fact, and not wanting it to “become a prolonged discussion.” It was like her practical hysteria about the drone flying in her yard and her elitist-type of delusions about the “privacy” of her affluent neighborhood roads should compel the council to simply enact an ordinance that, on its face, is arguably illegal and unconstitutional, certainly draconian, exorbitantly expensive for the taxpayers of Toms River if it was to be enacted and enforced, and simply not in the best interests of ALL of Toms River Township.
Now knowing the significant and influential position she occupies with the OceanFirst Foundation and the contribution it makes to our community, coupled with her apparent proclivity for being elitist, self-centered, and inconsiderate of others, I wonder more about the OceanFirst Foundation and how she may impact on the decisions of its board in pursuing and fulfilling its mission. Stay tuned…