Wednesday, October 30, 2019

ONLY WE CAN CHANGE THINGS

As we've said before, Love Lindenwold is a Community Advocacy organization looking out for the greater good and future of Lindenwold. We are not a political entity nor do we provide a political voice. We would be naive though, to not recognize the ongoing impact that politics and politicians have on our community. 

Some comments were recently made on one of Facebook posts that we feel deserve a deeper dive. While it's true that property values are up more than 30% in Lindenwold over the last two years, the same can be said for all of Camden County. 


In Lindenwold specifically, the property value increase is most likely as a result of the hard work of Codes Enforcement Supervisor, Wayne Hans, who with his team, has reassembled their operation, quickly finding more than 6,000 non-compliant properties in just the last two years. Thank you Wayne! 

Remember, it was Councilman Strippoli's dismantling of our Codes Department through Patterson v Strippoli that insisted on upholding a level of Community Standard at one house, on one end of Elm Avenue, that is still not upheld on the other - or throughout the rest of the community. This cost us millions in marketshare and $110,000 in settlement. http://bit.ly/36cmg12

And lest we forget that Mayor Roach's idea of Codes and Community Standards involves using his position of power to illegally park a 30-foot RV on the sidewalk and then convincing both the Codes and Police Departments to look the other way. It seems whether or not you're allowed to park on the sidewalk continues to be an issue of who you are and/or where you live. If there is any question, try walking, or better yet maneuver a wheelchair, up or down the sidewalks of West Park Ave in the evening. https://6abc.cm/2Wqk4yw



Beyond property values, there is a whole host of metrics that attribute to the viability of a community. When New Jersey Monthly Magazine, for example, compiles its bi-annual list of the Best Towns to Live in New Jersey, it examines 10 different qualifiers including average residential tax bill; change in average property tax bill; effective property tax rate; median home-sales price; change in median home-sales price; average days homes were on the market; total crime rate; violent-crime rate; ranking in New Jersey Monthly’s Top Public High Schools chart; and a lifestyle factor that considers the number of acute-care hospitals and live performing-arts theaters within 10 miles of the municipality’s main zip code, number of restaurants within two miles of the municipality’s main zip code, and average commute time for those working away from home.

According to their research, in 2015 Lindenwold came in at 454. In 2017, we fell to 502 and in 2019 we dropped again to 509. To illustrate that a little clearer, we're not fighting for first, second or third. Not even 100th, 200th or 300th. Where 1st is best, Lindenwold's current ranking is 509th and falling on a list that ends at 513. When looking at this more comprehensive picture, it certainly doesn't appear that Lindenwold is headed in the right direction.


Then, because it's election season, we'd be remiss to not mention the democratic process. We have been contacted by a number of business owners who report wanting to post campaign signs but won't out of fear that Borough officials will then give them trouble when trying to renew their licensing. Multiple Borough employees, both past and present, have reported that their voting records were used against them - being openly called out for not voting for the incumbents. And we've spoken with members of the fire department who've stated that if they don't vote for those in power, they won't get support for their new fire hall come the new year. Just to be clear voter intimidation is illegal. http://bit.ly/2WksDdS

That may have something to do with why, as tenured incumbents, our local leaders are running on a campaign slogan of 'Vote Blue, No Matter Who.' Is this really the most effective way to elect leaders who will improve our community?

Friday, October 25, 2019

TRANSFORM SOUTH JERSEY

#FridayFeeling is #TransformLindenwold
About a month ago a small team began forming to see if they could get Lindenwold selected to apply for the Transform South Jersey Community Heart & Soul Program. In a nutshell, it's an amazing opportunity to grow your community in meaningful ways by going through a series of community building exercises. With it comes $100,000 in grant money, expert training, and tools to share stories, and connect. Great News! This team succeeded in having Lindenwold selected as one of the towns invited to move forward.

What comes next is the formal application process. There are quite a few steps involved, some of which include hosting a few brainstorming events. Everyone in the community will have an opportunity to have their voice heard. Stay tuned for details. In the meantime, feel free to visit https://transformsouthjersey.org/ to learn more. There you find information about the Heart & Soul Program as well as webinars and downloads. Take a look. Get involved.
From their website: "Community Heart & Soul is a catalyst for positive change in small cities and towns. By actively seeking the collective wisdom of all residents, including those whose voices are often missing, Community Heart & Soul brings people together to build stronger, healthier and more economically vibrant communities. This resident-driven model helps build trust while taking into account the unique character of a town and the deep emotional connection of the people who live there—a town’s “Heart & Soul®.” These collective insights into what truly matters most guide a community in making the best decisions about its future."

Monday, September 23, 2019

LINDENWOLD DAY 2019


Lindenwold Day 2019 was held on Saturday, September 21, at Carlton Rouh Field. There were lots of local vendors, community resources, churches and political candidates represented. This year marked Lindenwold's 90th anniversary of incorporation and the 75th anniversary of hometown hero Carlton Rouh's day of action, for which he later received a Congressional Medal of Honor, a Silver Star and two Purple Hearts.

Hundreds of people gathered on a beautiful day for our Borough's equivalent of Family Day. Residents talked and laughed as they walked around the event, stopping in on the various booths, meeting new people, sharing stories, connecting with neighbors - a great time had by all.





We tried to interview event organizer and Mayor's wife, Brenda Roach, about the day's festivities including how the participants were selected and what it takes to put an event like that together. We were told, no comment.

This year being an election year, there were also political candidates in attendance who are running for local Lindenwold office. The election will be held on Tuesday, November 5th.

On the ballot are three incumbent Democrats up for election: Mayor Richard Roach, Councilman Joseph Strippoli and Councilman Joseph DiDomenico. We asked for interviews and were told no comment. For more information on them, call Borough Hall at 856-783-2121 or Google each of their names.

Also running this year are three new independent candidates who've launched a write-in campaign: Joe Dacciaio for Mayor, Diane Veteri for Council and Joseph Hammell for Council. We met with each one at Saturday's event and asked the following three questions.

Why have you guys decided to run for Mayor and Council in Lindenwold?

We have decided to run for office in Lindenwold because we believe that this is the right time for change. I (Joe D.) was a union rep for 10 years and was told that it would be a thankless job. I wanted to bring change and unity to the workers and the company. Similarly, if we didn't step up now then who would make this change. We want the best for our families just like everyone else does. My wife and her family are from Lindenwold, born and raised. We are invested and determined to return Lindenwold to its former glory.

What do you see as Lindenwold's biggest challenges?

Lindenwold's biggest challenge as we see it right now is the old regime. We think that when people begin to serve in public office, they generally have good intentions. As time goes on they become complacent, swayed or even fatigued by other people and/or parties. Mind you, our current incumbents have been serving for 20, 30 years. Unfortunately it seems, they forget who they are serving. We need to let our residents know that WE work for them and not the other way around.

What would you like to see happen in Lindenwold?

We think that our Borough's overhead needs to be reduced. We believe that new thinking, new ways of doing things and a fresh new outlook for the town could reduce spending on certain areas of the budget and increase it on other fronts. We would like to reduce taxes not only for residents but also for our local businesses. We would like to make Lindenwold a more attractive town for people to want to move here and raise their families. We would like to create better programs that serve more of our residents. The crime in Lindenwold needs to be a focus. We need to greatly reduce and/or eliminate crime by working hand in hand with our police force. Look what Camden has been able to do about crime in just a few short years. This will increase safety and security for our residents and town visitors. It would also spur outside investment and rateables. We would like code enforcement to be more involved in reducing community problems. We'd like that team to help whether it be one of our many apartment complexes, a homeowner who needs help or a landlord of a neglected rental property. Let's bring back businesses to Lindenwold along the White Horse Pike. If we had new business this would attach growth and revenue to Lindenwold. We would like to see better infrastructure improvements for going green to reduce costs and repairs. Let's help bring back industry to Lindenwold. This will bolster blue collar jobs in our town and will be great for the families who live here. We are supporters of better wages for the workers so they have the means necessary to buy the home they want. While the current Mayor supports affordable housing, we are not big supporters of our increasing number of rental properties. It's ironic that we reduce the cost of some homes while raising the cost of others through taxation. It is a delicate and difficult balancing act and one that should no longer be placed on the residents. We would love to better support our veterans and senior citizens in our town. As we spoke to veterans and seniors on Saturday at Lindenwold Day, they seem to feel as they have been forgotten. We would like to create easier pathways to home ownership. We would love nothing more than to have better, more effective communication with our residents. We will have an open door policy at all times. We can welcome change for the better with strong new directions. This will be a more secure path forward for the residents. The biggest issue that we heard and keep hearing is that "no one cares about problems in Lindenwold". Well, let us be clear, WE CARE.

Joseph Dacciaio, long-time resident, Write-in Candidate for Mayor

Diane Veteri, long-time resident, Write-in Candidate for Council

Joseph Hammell, long-time resident, Veteran, Write-in Candidate for Council

For more information contact Joseph Dacciaio for Mayor of Lindenwold.



All in all Lindenwold Day provided our community a wonderful opportunity to come together. Family, friends, neighbors and newcomers all enjoyed the activities, refreshments and fireworks. Already looking forward to next year.

Saturday, September 21, 2019

PRIDE OF PLACE SHIRTS

We are excited to announce the launch of custom made Love Lindenwold t-shirts. Your $20 donation will not only help show your pride of place, it will also directly help the students of Lindenwold (see below). And for a limited time, you get to choose your shirt and lettering colors. There are thousands of possibilities. Want a blue shirt with yellow lettering? Done. How about a green shirt with black lettering? No problem. Just let us know, size, color and quantity.

Love Lindenwold t-shirts support our students and community

*Keeping it local: From each $20 t-shirt purchase, $2 will be used for future programming, $8 will go to a Lindenwold vendor for the shirt and printing and $10 will be donated to a soon-to-be-announced Education Foundation currently being created to support the students of the Lindenwold School District.

If you have questions or would like to place an order, please contact us directly at 1.888.498.6788 or love@lovelindenwold.org.  **Sizes 2X and larger are $2 extra.

Friday, September 20, 2019

LINDENWOLD DAY IS ALMOST HERE

#FridayFeeling is Lindenwold Day! Getting ready to celebrate our community, your home, and 90 years of history. Come out to the field tomorrow, Saturday, Sept.21st - it's supposed to be a beautiful day! #LoveLindenwold
PS: Who's "Carlton Rouh" - he's a veteran, a Congressional Medal of Honor recipient and an American hero who hailed from Lindenwold and for whom the field is named. https://bit.ly/2m3U4uq

¡#FridayFeeling es el día de Lindenwold! Celebrando nuestra comunidad, su hogar y 90 años de historia. Sal al campo mañana, Sábado 21 de septiembre ¡se supone que es un hermoso día! #LoveLindenwold
PD: ¿Quién es "Carlton Rouh"? Es un veterano, un ganador de la Medalla de Honor del Congreso y un héroe estadounidense que proviene de Lindenwold y por el que se nombra el campo. https://bit.ly/2m3U4uq


Sunday, September 1, 2019

CRIME, CAMDEN AND COMMUNITY

From our Facebook Page's Wednesday Wisdom Series:


There is little dispute that one of the biggest ongoing factors negatively impacting life in Lindenwold, is our crime rate. This unfortunate truth affects more facets of our lives' than we can even imagine including our quality of life, safety, property values, mindset, outlook, school funding, outside investment, rateables, reputation, tenant base, etc, etc, etc.

It also causes many residents to offer Gibbsboro, Laurel Springs or Voorhees when asked where they live - too embarrassed to admit they live in Lindenwold. Sad but true.


For our #WednesdayWisdom series - each week we share a resource to help the greater good and future of Lindenwold. Today, we highlight the Camden County Police Department. Currently celebrating its lowest crime rates in 50 years, Camden has become a model for new police behavior being rolled out nationwide.
How best can Lindenwold leverage that National model to lower the crime rate and improve the quality of life for the 18,000 residents who live in Camden's high-crime, county cousin? #LoveLindenwold
One of the things we notice in looking at force.nj.com (first two pics), is that Camden employs one police officer per 220 residents while Lindenwold employs one officer per 474 residents (approx).
And as we've reported in the past, about 8,000 of our rental tenants, who live in our apartment complexes, are "filtered" through 23+/- property managers. What role do these 23 people play in contributing to our crime rate and quality of life? #ChamberofComplexes


 










Wednesday, August 7, 2019

CHAMBER OF COMPLEXES PART 2

#WednesdayWisdom this week is about crime in Lindenwold. Someone recently asked about a Youtube video that ranks Lindenwold as the 9th worst place to live in New Jersey. First of all, we disagree. But equally important is our response which offers informational resources on crime and more thoughts on the idea of a Lindenwold #ChamberofComplexes.
LoveLindenwold.org is a resident-run, community advocacy organization whose mission is to build programs and partnerships that bolster Lindenwold's assets and image.
As others have noted and as the YouTube video suggests, Lindenwold doesn't have the best reputation and crime continues to be an enormous influence and issue.
We've recently written about how crime is not so much a police issue as it is a community issue. Camden for example, in the midst of its rising, is experiencing its lowest crime rate in 50 years.  https://bit.ly/2YlCHU9
Lindenwold Police provide weekly reporting of borough crime using CrimeReports(TM) available for free at https://bit.ly/2KzbCK5. You may also learn more about the violence police experience and exhibit while on duty in Lindenwold at http://force.nj.com/
Most of Lindenwold's crime does occur within the complexes. The apartments themselves though, and the communities they encompass could be an enormous resource to Lindenwold, and to #CamdenCounty.
The prevailing trend in housing is denser, walkable communities that provide tremendous amenities. The 'leg up' Lindenwold has is that the bones of that desirable, dense infrastructure already exist here. Thousands of apartments, close to everything, award-winning public transportation, and choice schools.
The fact is, many other communities across the country have flipped the script on their burdensome, crime-ridden housing by turning it into the enormous asset it was built to be. Lindenwold could do the same thing. https://www.strongtowns.org/
Because the 23+ complexes make up so much of the Lindenwold community, investor owners need to be strongly encouraged to continually enhance their portfolio properties. There needs to be fierce competition among the complex owners as they fight to provide the best in amenities to the best of the South Jersey tenant pool.
Giving apartment complex owners and managers an opportunity to excel at the quality of life they provide is a huge part of it. These 23 figures 'filter' more than 8,000 people who live in Lindenwold's apartments. They also dictate the conditions of their communities, and provide either an overall resource or liability to Lindenwold and the rest of our residents.
This is one of the conceptual strategies behind our idea of creating a first-of-its-kind Chamber of Complexes. You may find Part 1 of this post below.