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Just Off-Camera

"They respect you if you write. The dumber the world gets, the more the words matter." -Dan Jenkins


Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Rutgers Law: Preventing Matt Kenseth From Running Over The Diamond-Spotted Swamp Frog

Ah, Jersey. You do everything wrong.

Whether it’s planning your merges on the Turnpike (whose idea was it to have six lanes turn into two in a half-mile stretch?) or trying to build an East Coast Vegas (stop charging for casino parking in a crackhead-infested neighborhood), you may have good intentions, but like Kim Bauer, you always do something stupid anyway.

In an effort to bring an influx of Tony Stewart merchandise into the Garden State, Millville, N.J. officials are planning to build a $100 million motorsports park on 700 acres of land. A thousand jobs, money flowing through the economy, caravans of Winnebagos clogging up the Turnpike on their way in from Alabama…yep, everything seemed great about the New Jersey Motorsports Park.

Except for the fact that, like most everything else in the state, it’s bad for the environment. And so a bunch of tree-huggers – Citizens United to Protect the Maurice River and Its Tributaries Inc., the state Audubon Society, and the Association of New Jersey Environmental Commissions – sued to hold up the progress of the tracks’ construction. They did so with a little help from their friends at the Rutgers Environmental Law Clinic.

Now, you’re probably either thinking, “Go, law students! Fight the man!” or “NASCAR? Git-r-done!” But the real issue here is that Rutgers is a public school, and therefore receives taxpayer money – some of which goes to fund the law students who are working this case.

As a result, proponents of the track are passing resolutions left and right. The New Jersey Association of Counties (every county in the state), the Southern New Jersey Freeholders Association, the Cumberland County freeholders, and the New Jersey Association of Dale Earnhardt Memorial Windshield Sticker Makers have all made their voices heard – government is bad and should not be paying these egghead law students to fight this glorious monument to restrictor-plate racing. (I exaggerate, of course. There is no New Jersey Association of Dale Earnhardt Memorial Windshield Sticker Makers.)

I’ll leave the deep legal analysis of the issue to some other law student’s blog. The fact is, this motorsports park, for all the good it does (and seriously, there is good being done here – the economy of Cumberland County will likely get a huge boost), is an environmental hazard. There are some endangered birds and frogs in a nearby wetland, or something like that, and the encroachment that the 700-acre development entails will make them really endangered. And we don’t want to kill off the purple-billed sapsucker. Or whatever it is.

So I think it’s a good thing that someone is taking up the case on behalf of the environmentalists. Progress unchecked isn’t always a good thing, and if anyone knows this, it should be the residents of New Jersey, who have built their homes in, on, and around the smog and pollution left by the past 150 years of industrialization. If the track is ultimately worth the environmental sacrifice, then the courts will allow its construction.

What the Jerseyites ultimately seem to be upset about is that their tax dollars are used to fund law students who are opposing their motorsports park. Cumberland County Freeholder Louis N. Magazzu said, “New Jersey has legitimate environmental challenges. There are many other places these students could learn their skills in a way that would not have a devastating effect on the economy.”

As I see it, Magazzu’s point is that Jersey is already an environmental disaster area and that the law students should take their state-granted money and go fight someone else’s development.

If he’s right about his home state having environmental challenges (and of course he is), then he should recognize the importance of a group – even a state-funded one – whose mission is “to serve the state's environmental community.” The motorsports park will probably end up being built in the end, and by contending with the environmental advocates, the progress of the park may end up infringing a little less on the already damaged environment of New Jersey.

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  • At Thursday, September 21, 2006 3:13:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Tips for Being a Successful Landlord

    In today’s apartment rental market there are several things that are “must do’s” for becoming a successful landlord. The reason you’re playing the real estate rental game is to have the check in your mailbox on the first of the month, right? Here are a few tips that can help you to achieve this with as little aggravation and frustration possible.

    First and foremost is finding the right tenant to rent your apartment, house or other rental. This is the most important ingredient in the recipe. Checking the prospective tenant’s credit history to make sure they are paying their bills is one of the best ways you can screen. A tenant that pays their bills on time most likely will send you their rent on time. Establish a clear system on collecting rent, handling complaints from the tenant and how you will contact them if you need to gain access to the apartment.

    Secondly, get all the important terms of the tenancy in writing. You have the option to have a basic rental agreement or draw up a formal lease. Whichever you decide, the important thing is to document the terms that you and the tenant agreed to. Clarify who is paying the utilities, the rental price and any other agreements made between you and your tenant.

    It’s a good idea to stay on top of the repair and maintenance needs of your property. When you are notified of something that is broken or not working, repair it as soon as possible to prevent further damages. You may also lawfully enable the tenant to withhold rent, sue for injuries caused by defective conditions or move out without notice.

    On a similar topic make sure you are carrying enough property and liability insurance to cover yourself in any situation. A well designed insurance program can protect your rental property from losses caused by everything from fire and storms to burglary, vandalism, and personal injury lawsuits.

    I hope that this has been helpful to you. Just remember, as long as you follow these simple tips you will be on your way to a happy and fulfilling landlord future. Best of luck!

    ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Eric Goldstein, associated with www.AllSpacses.com which Conveniently Connects All People with All Spaces in All Places, has been dedicated to the real estate rental market for over 8 years. He has assisted over 25,000 landlords with their renting needs. Any questions about renting apartments, houses or other rentals feel free to visit www.AllSpaces.com or email him at Eric@AllSpaces.com.

     

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