Categories
government Money Island redevelopment

How to Have Effective Conversations

This post is adapted from healthebiker.com. When we’re faced with differing opinions, we feel like others are challenging our identity. Money Island has long been a focal point in the differences between individuals and government and differences between users of different backgrounds and interests. Yet we’ve also made significant progress in addressing these differences and look forward to more of this ahead. So first off, do what you can to make sure your conversational partner feels respected. 

Tip 1: Listen to Understand, Not Respond

Most of the time when we argue, we listen to respond. If you’re planning your response while the other person talks, you’re listening to respond. 
Instead, let your conversational partner finish their point. Then repeat their ideas to show you’re listening. Most likely, this action will catch them off guard. When people feel listened to and respected, they’re more likely to reciprocate.

Tip 2: Do an Activity

It’s easier to have hard conversations if there’s something we can do to distract ourselves. So when you want to talk politics, find something else to do too. Go Fishing. Go to a bar and play pool. Enjoy the health benefits of a boat ride. The point is, find a way to stay busy. Let the conversation have natural lulls and pauses. Incorporating an activity makes this easier.

Tip 3: Start With the Similarities Between Us

There are a lot of similarities between us, whether democrats and republicans. Here are a few of them. At the very least, there are some political topics where we already share similar footing. 
Both democrats and republicans are worried about our deteriorating fisheries. They’re also worried about the rising cost of enjoying the bay. Try starting your conversation with questions on common interests like “What do you think would be the best way to restore our fish stocks?” Then hear your conversational partner out. Pick some points you agree on, and share your thoughts. 
By starting on similar ground, you’re more likely to have a friendly, open conversation.

Tip 4: Don’t Try to Change Minds, But Promote Discussion

Of course, you want to get someone else to share your beliefs. That’s human nature. But remember they share the same desire. When you talk politics, don’t try to change their opinion. 
Try to understand where they’re coming from. This will make you more informed about your own opinions, and it will open more space where we can share our ideas.

Tip 5: Planning A Meetup

Once public gathering restrictions are lifted and people feel safe, Money Island has a long history of hosting community get togethers. We plan to make the most of it. 

Categories
blue claw crabs government

Making blue crab more marketable

Late in July (2020), U.S. Senators Ben Cardin and Chris Van Hollen and Congressman Steny H. Hoyer, all Democrats serving in Maryland, announced almost $300,000 in federal funding for the University of Maryland for research into a new processing technology that could enhance the competitiveness of the domestic blue crab industry. The funding comes from the 2020 Saltonstall-Kennedy Competitive Grants Program through the National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration.

The lawmakers’ joint press release said “Few things are as iconic as the Chesapeake Bay blue crab, and its harvest is a cornerstone of Maryland’s local economies. This grant will expand the competitiveness of domestically produced crab meat in the face of intense foreign competition, and will help unlock new markets for an important Maryland industry”.

In recent years the U.S. blue claw crab industry has faced increasing competition from imported products, especially Venezuelan fresh pre-cooked crab, which has a longer shelf life but doesn’t taste as good as our local blue claw crab. But this has still resulted in a major loss of market share for the regional seafood industry. This new high-pressure processing technology will extend shelf life of domestic crab products, while improving food safety and expanding market strategies among the seafood industry.

The lawmakers previously advocated for U.S. fisheries in their April letter to the Department of Commerce, urging coordination with states to quickly allocate assistance and inclusion of Maryland’s value-added seafood processors in relief aid set aside in the CARES Act for fisheries.

Seperately, Baysave advocates for additional research in aquaculture cultivation and enhancement of natural populations of blue claw crabs in the Delaware Bay.

Categories
government

Baysave 2019 federal and state charity filings

Baysave Association has completed federal  501 (c )(3) charity and a New Jersey state registered charity for the year ended December 31, 2019. 

This is sooner in the year than most charities file their information returns and annual registration, but I like to get this one finished before handling the annual filings for my more complicated nonprofit clients.

The best way to find information about a New Jersey charity is to use the Division of Consumer Affairs web site. The site includes both federal and state filings but it takes a while for them to update the most recent years.

Categories
environmental justice government

The water cleanup timeline

Categories
government investment Money Island sustainability sustainable redevelopment

Baysave Plans for 2020

Baysave is committed to a plan for 2020 that emphasises activating diverse community interests at Money Island NJ.

GOVERNMENT– After an intense year of dealing with government, we anticipate that government will play a decreased role as we move forward. The board of directors adapted rules specifically designed to avoid the need for government integration and we do not anticipate that government support will the largest factor in future sustainability plans.

DOCKS – We will emphasize the use of the Money Island site as a port for large vessels. The demand is growing and our facilities are less expensive than other options. While smaller boats are welcome here, dry dock is more affordable than boat slips. In general, the cost of boat slips (costs imposed by government, not by us) exceeds the amount that small boat owners want to pay and exceeds the price of other docks in the region. For all boat sizes, we will emphasize long term relationships rather than single season arrangements.

CRABS – Commercial operations will remain in Delaware until New Jersey updates its laws to allow transfer of crab license and the use of online cooperative marketing. We hope to expand support of recreational crabbing with boats and rafts if public interest is sufficient.

OYSTERS – There is growing interest in recreational oyster tonging. We have no specific plans at this time

INVESTORS – Private investments are available. A significant goal is to create long term tax-free investment gains.

CHALLENGES – The largest challenge for founder Tony Novak is balancing the desire to make facilities available to as many people as possible with the need to reduce financial losses. In 2018 the losses to to abuse and vandalism were substantially more than public donations. That is obviously unsustainable. We will continue to try different approaches, technologies and operating practices to deal with these challenges.

Another long term challenge is building engagement with the community. The trend toward depopulation has been going on for decades and now we see only a few people each day. A key to sustainability is connecting with the fewer but more interested individuals who have an interest in the bayshore.

Comments and feedback are welcome.

Categories
aquaculture climate change environmental justice government sustainability

List of suppressed food security and climate documents released by U.S. Senate

This shocking science news yesterday (September 19, 2019) was buried beneath all of the other shocking national news; 1,400 scientific papers on food security and environmental science were suppressed or hidden from us by the federal government since January 2017. The U.S. Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry and the U.S. Department of Agriculture apparently had enough with the corrupt and dangerous politics and compiled this 634 page list of the important documents for release to the public. The title of the report is “Peer-Reviewed Research on Climate Change by USDA Authors January 2017-August 2019“.

The full 634 page report of 1,400 peer reviewed documents is available online:

https://www.politico.com/f/?id=0000016d-4aa1-de7e-ab6d-efb938460000

Categories
environmental justice fisheries government

Environmentalists, watermen and law enforcement

The recently observed bad behavior of local law enforcement officers combined with national news headlines has watermen, local bayshore residents and our guests on edge. Yesterday’s national news headlines indicated that dozens of environmental activists were arrested in public protests against environmental injustice. That number will likely escalate sooner rather than later as civil disobedience in protest to government actions increases locally and across the nation. Locally, a court’s action to effectively block the marketing efforts of a watermens’ cooperative triggered angry talk of retaliation.

Watermen are wary of both environmentalists and law enforcement officers. Many consider their god-given right to work the water as their highest held value. Some feel they have little to lose messing with the law. One told me that he deliberately gets himself into a little legal trouble each fall to get “three squares and a bed” over the winter months.

It is easy to forget that as recently as 1970 our watermen were engaged in violent battles against federal government officials with occasional gun battles on the water. No one wants to see a return to those lawless days. Yet the animosity of ordinary local citizens toward government is at a record high level. Today watermen and environmentalists are equally likely to wind up in unfortunate encounters with law enforcement officers.

Our focus is on protecting ourselves here on site at the bayshore rather than what happens elsewhere in clashes with government. It seems that government visitors have become a daily occurrence at the bayshore lately and it is not easy to know who is being investigated and for what. We anticipate that the incidence of law officer activity will increase. Virtually every published authority we’ve read predicts that clashes between citizens and government will increase dramatically as citizens unite to demand environmental justice.

The tension is compounded by the fact that a high percentage of us in the fisheries industry are not English-speaking natives and almost everyone knows someone who is struggling to get work papers extended or citizenship paperwork processed.

The Water Protector Legal Cooperative published guidance on how to lead with law enforcement officers that we intend to adapt as guidance for behavior of civilians on our own sites.

On first observation of an officer

Thanks to modern security tools, we typically have the advantage of seeing an officer approach from a long distance away. That gives us time to go inside a building or boat cabin and close the door if a law enforcement officers appear on the site. Act respectfully, keep your hands visible, do not engage, and do not open the door.

Use these words calmly but clearly and loudly if an officer is on the site:

  1. “I wish to remain silent”.
  2. “I did not consent to this search”.

If detained or arrested

Ask “Why am I being detained?” and “Am I under arrest?”. In one instance here an officer made a detainment and moved a protester without making an arrest. It can happen but might not be legal. It take a tremendous amount of self-restraint to simply keep quiet and ask for a lawyer.

 

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If uncertain of the identity and purpose of a government vehicle, the best advice is to avoid contact and go inside to avoid engagement. Recent bad experiences with law enforcement here started with casual conversations that turned into fishing expeditions for information to support further improper government action.

Categories
government sustainability

Tips for meeting with elected officials

I never imagined that my work would involve frequent meetings with elected officials, but that is an important part of my agenda recently. As an advocate for small businesses, I’ve had the opportunity to meet locally, in Harrisburg, Dover and Trenton as well as Washington DC. Because our bayshore neighborhood is often in the news over environmental justice and aquaculture redevelopment issues, I’ve had the opportunity to host a handful of officials here on our emerging sustainable aquaculture site at Money Island, NJ.

I suggest these tips:

  1. Do your homework before the meeting. Know your representative’s voting history, committee assignments and recent activity (usually available on social media).
  2. Open with clear simple facts.
  3. Paint pictures with short clear stories of how the issue affects your business or industry.
  4. Avoid tipping your bias on politically sensitive issues. Disregard partisan politics.
  5. If the issue involves problems with unelected officials, be sensitive to comments about your legislator’s willingness to get involved. Some are not willing to get involved and will tell you so. Some will tell you that they have a poor track record working with ingrained bureaucracies. That is important information even if it is not what you want to hear.
  6. Wrap up with a clear actionable request. If that includes asking the official to write a letter, offer to prepare the letter draft yourself. Better yet, have it drafted already and offer to send the staff the electronic version.
  7. If you belong to a community group with regular meetings, extend an invitation to the meeting. This is a nice way to wrap up, exit, but hold the door open for follow-up communication.
  8. Leave you business cards with both the representative and the staff.
  9. Follow up with an email and thank you card or letter.
  10. Connect with the representative on social media and be positive and supportive. You’d be surprised how many directly answer tweets.
  11. Donate to the campaign even if it is a small amount. If you donate to an industry PAC, mention that when appropriate.

I am especially grateful to the professionals at the New Jersey Society of CPAs, especially Jeff, for teaching me the basics of advocacy, to my Cape May friend Ed for emphasizing the value of diplomacy and restraint, and to my activist friend George for showing me the power of being loud and fearless. While we may never be certain of the ultimate impact of our own advocacy efforts, I now know for sure that my voice will be heard.

Categories
Delaware Bay government sustainability sustainable redevelopment

NEW JOBS PAC

Tony Novak CPA will represent Baysave at the 2019 NEW JOBS PAC “The Voice of Business” Annual South Jersey Legislative Reception for the New Job Political Action Committee as a member of the NJCPA and supporter of its PAC. The annual event attracts local lawmakers to discuss local business and economic development opportunities and hindrances.

New Jobs PAC logo

The group focuses on legislation to improve the business climate in New Jersey by supporting pro-business political candidates. Baysave is involved in revitalization of the bayshore economy and last year received funding from the NJ Community Capital THRIVE Grant to promote the local crab industry through a multi-state marketing cooperative. That effort was stymied by legal action by state government.

Baysave is focused on spreading the word about the huge growth potential of our local aquaculture industry, especially blue claw crabs and oysters at the Delaware Bay region. Advanced and technology open the door to a tenfold increase in total seafood production in the years ahead. That growth means moe infrastructure needed, more jobs created and more tax revenue for South Jersey government.

Categories
aquaculture blue claw crabs fisheries government

Update on crab king case

Update on the nicknamed “crab king” case: the hearing details are changed. The information below is no longer accurate. See a more recent update.


Oral argument is scheduled Monday June 10, 2019 at 2:00 PM before Honorable Judge Joseph M. Chiarello, JSC in Court Room 235, Cumberland County Court House, Broad and Fayette Streets, Bridgeton NJ for State vs. Tony Novak, Appeal #2-19. The state will be represented by Danielle Pennino, Esq. of the Cumberland County Prosecutor’s Office. The hearing is open to the public.

Because of the case’s potential impact on the future of social media marketing of the Philadelphia region’s “farm-to-table” and “dock-to-table” grower cooperatives, I have invited inquiries for an amicus brief (friend of the court) from other similarly situated groups. So far, no response. Preparing a brief is often an expensive undertaking and I suspect that not many grower and harvester cooperatives are aware of the potential legal threat.

The core issue is whether the state has the ability to hold off-site, online marketers who are not growers, harvesters, buyers or sellers responsible for keeping physical catch records of content they sell that might be related to New jersey fisheries. The language of the statute was written long before the age of social media when the word “marketing” and “selling” had the same implication and were typically under common management control. That is no longer true today. Now in the age of networked online “sharing” of other users content these two words have entirely different meanings.  Sharing online content is not selling under most legal authorities. The goal of this legal action is to establish this as the legal standard under New Jersey fisheries management law.

The brief on behalf of Baysave’s controller Tony Novak is filed and the state has until May 28 to respond. The brief, the state’s response and the rebuttal documents will be available to the public.