Tag Archive: Edison

Toxic debris from Ford plant being spread around state

Clean one site up, contaminate at least 8 others.

The 8th construction site receiving toxic debris was found last week, a hotel being built in Edison.  From the Star Ledger:

The debris, tainted with low levels of PCBs, is at the center of a civil and criminal investigation being conducted by the Department of Environmental Protection and the Attorney General’s Office, as authorities try to determine how it was allowed off-site without state approvals. The U.S. Attorney’s Office and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency also are investigating.

The coverage began on March 7 with a mention of developer Jack Morris, whose Edgewood Properties owns the other 7 sites that received the debris:

Middlesex demands Ford offer plan for toxic debris at Edison site

Ford Motor Co. must devise a cleanup plan for the thousands of tons of PCB-tainted concrete debris remaining at its old assembly plant in Edison, a Middlesex County health official said yesterday.

For three hours yesterday, Ford representatives, county health staffers and officials from the state Department of Environmental Protection met in Trenton to discuss the handling of the contaminated concrete, officials said.

David Papi, the director of the county health department, assigned six staffers from his department to investigate the tainted debris, which is also the subject of a criminal investigation.

Last week the state Attorney General’s Office announced it was launching a probe to determine how PCB-tainted concrete from the Ford site ended up in five residential and commercial sites in Middlesex and Mercer counties owned by Piscataway developer Jack Morris.

Morris, who owns Edgewood Properties, claims he was not aware the debris it received was contaminated, while Ford has said it informed the developer that the debris had low levels of PCBs — polychlorinated biphenyls — which are classified as a probable cause of cancer.

Papi said his department was “skipped over” when Ford began disposing of the concrete left when the old assembly plant was leveled. Last Friday, the county won a restraining order in court against Ford, stopping the automaker from moving any of the 93,000 tons of debris left on its property.

It looks like a big challenge for Edison’s new mayor, Jun Choi:

Edison Mayor Jun Choi said he learned yesterday the hotel site received more than 8,000 tons of concrete contaminated with polychlo rinated biphenyls, which are classified as a probable cause of cancer.

“Obviously it is a concern,” Choi said. “Every day we learn something new as we investigate.”

Although the state is responsible for the oversight:

To partly avoid the expense of disposing of concrete debris from the site, the automaker made the material — some of it contaminated with low levels of cancer- causing PCBs — available for free.

Piscataway-based developer Edgewood Properties carted away thousands of tons of the debris, depositing it in at least six of its sites in Middlesex, Mercer and Ocean counties.

The contaminated debris is now at the center of a civil and criminal probe being conducted by the Department of Environmental Protection and the Attorney General’s office. The U.S. Attorney’s Office and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency are also investigating.

The probe puts a spotlight on the business practices and relatively lax oversight of the concrete recycling industry in New Jersey, which produces 4 million tons of concrete, asphalt brick, cinder block each year.


Spadoro’s last hurrah

This Home News oped says it all:

Edison mayor wrong to appoint new chief

Edison Police Chief Edward Costello apparently saw the writing on the wall. And so on Thursday, a little more than a week before a new mayor was due to be installed, Costello abruptly announced his retirement, saying he didn’t “choose to work with the incoming administration.” The truth, of course, is that there is every likelihood that Costello himself might have been unchosen had he stuck around for the independent review of the troubled department promised by the incoming mayor, Jun Choi.

As it is, outgoing Mayor George Spadoro did the public, the new mayor and his own reputation one last disservice by promptly installing a new chief, without seeking input or even informing the man due to replace him. There were those who said Spadoro acted within his legal rights; but as Abraham Lincoln noted, some things that are legally right are not necessarily morally right.

Who knows what Spadoro had in mind by acting as he did: spite, one last power trip, or even a last attempt to reward another political friend? The man he appointed to succeed Costello, George Mieczkowski, also has served 33 years in the Edison Department and will likely see a boost in his pension from even a temporary stint as chief.

Besides the chutzpah involved in naming a replacement 11 days before he was due to lose his job as mayor, Spadoro also failed as a leader. There is no doubt Edison residents deserve a top-to-bottom review of operations within the department, given the embarrassment it has generated over the years, particularly in the last 12 months. It may be that Mieczkowski is the man who can bring change. But certainly every other option — including brand-new blood — ought to have been considered before the job was handed to him, seemingly without a moment of hesitation or review.

Another Recount Winner

As reported in today’s Star Ledger Edison Mayor-Elect Jun Choi has increased his margin of victory by one vote in the official recount, and has been recertified the winner of the November election. Thrilled for Jun – still not quite understanding what these “recounts” are supposed to be proving.

Federally monitored elections in Edison

Was the race card played in Edison?

Thursday’s Home News had some pretty damning comments about the election for mayor of Edison:

Race is no longer an unspoken topic in township politics.

William Stephens, who lost his bid for the mayor’s seat to Korean American Jun Choi, said residents voting along ethnic lines determined Tuesday’s election.

“The township was pushed further apart,” Stephens said. “He played the Asian card.”

…But the race issue has been around Choi since the Democratic primary campaign, where he launched his meteoric rise and upset three-term Mayor George Spadoro.

In April, Craig Carton and Ray Rossi of New Jersey 101.5 FM’s “The Jersey Guys” propelled Choi’s name to newspapers across the state and into the Philadelphia and New York City media markets.  During the show, Carton ridiculed Asian-Americans.

“No specific minority group or foreign group should ever dictate the outcome of an American election. I don’t care if the Chinese population in Edison has quadrupled in the last year, Chinese should never dictate the outcome of an American election, Americans should,” said Carton, according to a transcript of the show.

The radio-show hosts and the station apologized, but because of that broadcast a New York City-based Asian voting-rights group called on the U.S. Department of Justice to monitor the primary polls.

The Justice Department outlined its observations in a letter sent to the Middlesex County Board of Elections. Some of the findings were: poll workers telling federal observers voters should learn English in order to vote; and a poll worker stating when a Gujarati or Hindi-speaking voter appeared she would “send them to the nearest gas station.”

These observations led to federal monitors overseeing polls during Tuesday’s vote.

In the primary, Spadoro’s campaign also sent out three mailings featuring Choi’s face with a tight focus from his cheekbones to his forehead.

At the time, Choi had no comment, and Spadoro’s campaign said the mailers were in no way meant to be racist.