Nimby. Not in my back yard. That’s what many are suggesting in reference to where the FoodBank mobile pantry truck be stationed in Ventnor. That fiercely debated question is now pitting local condo residents against those looking to feed those in need. Things got so heated, a proposed resolution to move the truck to Ski Beach had to be tabled at the recent Ventnor Commissioner meeting.
Some background: Each month, the FoodBank of New Jersey was sending a truck full of food for 166 registered residents of Ventnor. Some suggest this free food give-away was attracting much more than 166 hungry locals.
FoodBank truck was originally using the Dorset Ave VFW as a Ventnor drop-off point.
In July of 2016, thw VFW location was cancelled after mounting neighbor complaints of growing, lingering crowds. Since then, those in need must travel to Somers Point or Egg Harbor Township food pantries.
The resolution to use Ski Beach, on the bay at the end of Dorset Ave. came as a surprise to most. Seems like the City of Ventnor neglected to adequately inform residents, especially the bay front condo development right next door.
Some fear the Wednesday morning FoodBank at Ski Beach could cause problems, like urinating in the bushes or trespassing on private property.
What angered those the most, was lack of heads-up for adjacent Ventnor residents.
Letters, email and other general notifications were not made, said Peter Kleiner, a resident of Crown Key Condos, right next door to Ski Beach. Kleiner feels an open public discussion at City Hall should have been held first.
After push-back, Commissioners Landgraf and Kriebel delayed the vote. Ventnor Mayor Beth Holtzman was not in attendance for the planned resolution vote.
Mayor Holtzman was asked about the Ventnor Food Pantry issue by the Downbeach Current Newspaper:
The issue is an example of why residents should attend public meetings. Instead of being reactive, residents should be pro-active about what’s happening in their community by attending the workshops
That statement did not sit well with a majority of busy Ventnor residents, especially the majority that don’t live here full time. Attending monthly meetings is not even realistic for busy local families.
Maybe it’s time for Ventnor to finally embrace digital communications? We think so. Facebook doesn’t count.
A majority of Ventnor locals are 2nd homeowners who live offshore 9 months of the year.
How should Ventnor leadership keep taxpayers informed? Easy. Webcast the meetings. It’s easy, cheap and effective. Then, post that video on YouTube for easy viewing on demand…at any time. Providing this would cost the city about $100 per month for the webcasting service. Total start-up & equipment costs would be less than $2,500.
We respectfully suggest that Mayor Holtzman spearhead a plan to get all public meetings online. Pronto. It’s a great way to keep locals and 2nd homeowners in the loop…no matter where they are, no matter what time of day.
Having meeting agendas much easier to find on the City website would be helpful too. To the best of our knowledge, Ventnor Commission meeting minutes are not posted. Or…we just can’t find them at the confusing www.VentnorCity.org
Please note: posting critical Ventnor City info on social media like Facebook or Twitter is NOT acceptable.
According to well-sourced data, a typical Facebook post reaches less than 15% of followers…unless you pay dearly to ‘boost’ that post.
We hope the City of Ventnor takes better advantage of the City website. The current site leaves a lot to be desired.