I’ve never been to a board hearing before. Tuesday night was a great awakening to me. In the U.S., grassroot movement means showing up en mass. American civil discourse is calm, polite, and tedious. To win, you have to prevail with arguments, head counts, and frequently, a flush war chest.
I’m afraid we are losing. Our opponents are well prepared, well financed, well connected, and battle tested. They come with heavy tanks, while we can only manage to push back with guerrilla skirmishes. We can nibble two feet here, six feet there. They will modify plan to accommodate, then come back en force. Eventually we will run out of fuel. The town planning board has taken the traffic issue off table. We are doomed because we are forced to fight on our opponent’s turf. We need to change the theatre to our advantage.
There are more than two thousand families living on the Hills. The Liberty Corner volunteer fire station is the only fire station to protect us from fire. The entrance and exit of proposed mosque is directly in the way if the Liberty Corner Fire Station fire engines need to turn our direction. Therefore, if the mosque construction is approved, the only fire station serving us,, could take much longer time to reach families on the Hills. In emergency, every second lost means less lives saved and more property damaged.
We partition the township to conduct inquiry on the impact of mosque proposal to the public safety of residents on the Hills.
We have enough talent in our community to conduct our independent study. We will engage the fire chief of Liberty Corner Fire Station to educate us on the issue. The township has to ensure that the public safety of Hills residents is not negatively impacted by the mosque proposal. To achieve that, the township will be forced to conduct traffic studies on the traffic impact of mosque construction. The table will thus be turned in our favor and the traffic issue will be back onto the table again.
Our goal is to force the township planning board to put a stay on the decision, order new studies, and drag the issue into neverland. Without a decision, our opponent can not file suit, as the delay is well warranted over public safety issue. Thus we take their best weapon off table. Will our opponent be able to survive the wait? Will there be greener grass elsewhere they can try their bite?
As a first step, shall we invite the Liberty Corner Fire Chief to our club house to give us a presentation on the current fire response plan for the Hills residents?