My Name is Steve Cotton.
ALRIGHT- ENOUGH IS ENOUGH!!! You might as well take a seat and get comfortable. You are about to read the facts surrounding the synthetic field being constructed at the Lower Shore Field Complex. Some of which you probably don’t know and have mistakenly listened to others.
This whole use of the field construction project as a Political stone throwing game has gone far enough!!!! This is not political, IT’S PERSONAL. By sending out false and misleading information you have personally insulted everyone’s intelligence and even more disgustingly spit in the face of the volunteers who have dedicated and committed their time and energy for the benefit of Barnegat and its youth.
Just like last election I have received an expensive 8 ½ x 11 glossy delivered to my residence right before the election in what appears to be a planned last minute effort to get negative information out to the public about a Town Committee opponent. The use of the field project being built By Volunteers as a venue for advocating or attacking one another in pursuit of a position on the Town Committee is reprehensible.
Since it appears it is important than one should announce their service to the Country and military affiliation when either running for office or supporting one who is running, I will do the same. I proudly served our Country in the Marine Corps many, many years ago. Quite honestly, a Marine prides oneself on their integrity and would never stoop to either stating or sending out condescending and dishonest information in attempt to con or mislead the public about the facts surrounding the construction of the synthetic field. Oh, by the way, I have no desire to run for office. I just wanted to make that clear so that no one lies about my intentions or motivation for writing this.
Let me first address the written statements on the 8 ½ x 11 glossy I received at my residence, specifically under the heading “Million Dollar Field. By the way, whoever put that flyer together, YOU KNOW that the picture you put on the flyer is not the way the field looks. Just remember, CARMA is a *****. I present in RED a truthful response to each of the statements made in the flyer sent in support of Mike Howard .
Before I do that let’s back up and start with the basic facts:
This is not a political party endorsement or politically motivated statement. I don’t care if you are a republican or a democrat. If you are not out there banging the drum and doing everything you can for the youth of Barnegat, then you are not for me. There are those who have voted against their party lines with regard to constructing the field because it was the right thing to do. Susan Conway I admire you for that decision and the youth of Barnegat appreciate your decision.
This Town’s Mayor Len Morano and Committee Person Elaine Taylor voted against the construction of the field. The youth of Barnegat appreciate your caring and support. NOT!!! You can trust that I will let them know who you are. I received the letter at my residence from Mr. Morano saying how much he needs Mr. Howard on his team. From Mr. Howard’s statements regarding the field construction, it appears that Mr. Howard would in fact be a proud member of the mayoral team who displays little to no regard for the youth of Barnegat, or the volunteers who willingly donate the time for the benefit of the youth. That’s right Mr. Howard, insult the volunteer’s by telling them they don’t work fast enough. Were you there volunteering? How about any of your constituents? There’s an old saying that those who row the boat don’t have time to rock it. There are some Barnegat politicians and Town criers who are not even on the boat, they just stand on the shore and throw rocks at those trying to do good. Shame on those to whom this applies!!
Basic Facts vs False Allegations:
1. Owner and Provider of the Synthetic Field
The synthetic field was provided by Steve Cotton, both the 1st time and the 2nd time.
Regardless of what the newspapers have stated, the fact is the current synthetic field being installed was not donated by MetLife or the NFL. They probably don’t know who or where Barnegat even is. The current synthetic field being installed is Owned by Steve Cotton.
I could have elected to install the field anywhere in the Country and have been paid for the field and its installation. Barnegat is the Town I live in and have coached many of its’ children for many years. My personal choice to provide the field and my and several volunteer’s choice to dedicate our lives to building this field for the benefit of the youth of Barnegat was a personal choice. Respect and appreciate the commitment made by the volunteers. Mike Howard was quoted in a recent newspaper article as saying something similar to, this is the way it should have been done in the first place and that previous expenditures were a waste of money. Does Mr. Howard own a synthetic field that he has been keeping for himself ? Does he have the financial ability to provide Barnegat with a synthetic field or the ability to construct the field? If he does, then he should have offered to donate the field and its construction to the youth of Barnegat, and of course commit all of the time to constructing it. Let’s face it, that was a stupid statement by Mr. Howard and it shows a total lack of appreciation and respect for those volunteers who have given so much.
The Town spent $28,000 or thereabout transporting the 1st synthetic field to be installed from Annapolis to Barnegat. I contacted 4 different turf companies I deal with and the Annapolis turf was the only synthetic field I was able to secure at that time. The Town paid nothing for the transportation of the 2nd field.
In a recent flyer I received at my residence, Mr. Howard was quoted as saying “I believe we owe service to our country and community – Politics is too important to be left to politicians. These volunteers have and continue to volunteer their services for the benefit of the Town and youth of Barnegat. A Thank You to the Volunteers and the supporters of the youth of Barnegat would have been appropriate and very well deserved. Not bashing them for not getting it done quick enough.
2. Construction Costs taken on by the volunteers instead of the Town to save the tax payers money-
I volunteered to have myself, and other volunteers constructing the field, perform the grading, and construct the stormwater system rather than having the tax payers’ incur these costs. All of the labor work was performed by the volunteers and the Town bore only some of the equipment and material cost. The volunteers should be commended for their commitment to save the taxpayers money. Remember these volunteers are Barnegat taxpayers.
When it came time for the Town to secure pricing for the stone required for the stormwater system beneath the field and the sites stormwater system, I contacted stone suppliers that I commonly purchase large quantities of stone from and asked that they consider the field was being constructed for the youth of Barnegat by myself and other volunteers. I asked that they reduce their standard pricing they would commonly provide to Barnegat for supplying the necessary stone. In consideration of my request the stone suppliers extended stone pricing to Barnegat at prices lower than they would have provided me on my own projects. This is what happens when good people do good things for the benefit of our youth. Did I happen to mention that this saved the taxpayers money?
3. Construction costs assumed by the Town
During the construction of the field taken on by myself and the volunteers, the Town purchased the stone, pipe, and constructed the curb around the field area (this curb is what has been mistakenly identified in the papers as a concrete base) It is simply a curb around the field. The Town also paid for the glue and associated materials for seaming the field. The Town did bare some of the equipment costs associated with the construction of the project. I say some, because the bulldozers and some of the other equipment utilized in the field construction were donated by my employer.
In a former newspaper article it mistakenly said the Town was asked to provide an additional $20,000 to help Steve Cotton complete the field. The costs required to seam the field were in the initial costs that I identified to the Town would be material cost associated with the field. There was no bail out or additional costs beyond those I identified would be incurred. The Town should have corrected it when the press made this inaccurate statement. I know, the truth would have been far less amusing.
4. Transportation Costs Associated with 2nd Field
When I purchased the second field, from a party who will remain nameless, I contacted Dave Breeden and asked if the Town could take care of the transportation costs associated with getting the field to Barnegat. Mr. Breeden informed me that the Town could not provide any financial assistance with transporting the field. I informed Mr. Breeden that it was such a good opportunity for me to provide the Town with the 2nd field that I would somehow secure the money from sources other than the Town to get the field to Barnegat. I was approached by a resident of Barnegat, whose children I have coached, who told me he was so tired of seeing me get bashed by Town residents and articles in the newspaper, and asked if there was anything he could do to help. It is because of the generosity of this gentlemen and his family, and the Barnegat Youth Football Association that I was able to afford to pay to transport the current field to Barnegat. Of course the other option still available was to sell the field and get paid to construct it somewhere else within or out of state. Barnegat and the youth of Barnegat benefit from the generosity of a few and my decision and commitment of volunteers.
5. Current Field and Consequences of its Installation
It was a very difficult decision on whether to install the current field or to leave the field that was partially constructed and complete its construction. Providing and committing to install the 2nd field I own would result in construction delays and the commitment of additional time to remove the partially constructed field and install the field I recently acquired. For the benefit of Barnegat, and the youth of Barnegat, I and the other volunteers pulled up our big boy pants and committed to install the field I recently acquired. Yes it delayed the completion of the field, but I believe it was the proper decision. Did I happen to mention that during our attempt to complete the field earlier that certain members of the Town Committee had decided they needed to review the field and vote on whether they would even let me complete it? Now isn’t that a kick in the teeth. That’s me keeping it clean. You know what I wanted to say.
All of the hours spent by myself and the volunteers for the benefit of Barnegat and the children of Barnegat, and you need to vote on whether to permit me and the volunteers to continue to volunteer our every available hour to completing the project? Deplorable!!!!
Despite this week’s phony “Grand Opening, Al Bille’s pet project is overbudget and still far from completion. Phony Grand Opening? Seriously? Mr. Howard should be embarrassed by either writing or permitting someone to communicate the entire content of this flyer with regards to the construction of the synthetic field. It was my personal mission and commitment of a few volunteers to get this field ready for the children of Barnegat to play on this football season. We have spent countless hours trying to achieve this goal. We extended our football season for 2 weeks in attempt to satisfy this goal. As far as characterization of our desire to have a Grand Opening as Phony, Mr. Howard needs to get the facts straight. This was a Barnegat Youth Football Association Grand Opening. This field was built by volunteers for the benefit of the youth of our Town. Get it straight!!
As far as it being “Al Bille’s pet project? If it is truly Al Bille’s pet project, then he would be pet less without the generosity and commitment of the volunteers who have worked on this field project. I somehow think he is intelligent enough to know that. I do recognize that Al Bille supported the project, as did everyone else on the Committee with the exception of Mayor Morano and Elaine Taylor. To all of those Town Committee members who supported the project, the Volunteers and youth of Barnegat Thank You. To those who opposed the project and never spent as little as one minute to volunteer your time for the benefit of the youth of Barnegat, you should be ashamed!! That includes Mike Howard who drove by the field the other night while volunteers were working and the biggest acknowledgement he gave for our efforts was a toot on the horn. KEEP RIGHT ON DRIVING MR. HOWARD. Mr. Howard, you also KNOW that the field looks nothing like what was depicted in the 8 ½ x 11 glossy that was mailed out. SHAME ON YOU and your party or supporters who intentionally are attempting to mislead the public regarding what the field looks like. You state maybe it will look good someday. It looks beautiful and you dame sure know it!! You could have easily stopped by when you drove by the other night and I would have given you a personal tour of the field. Now that I have received your 8 ½ x 11 glossy full of lies regarding the field construction and it’s costs, I will leave it to the youth of Barnegat to decide whether they feel you are deserving of entry onto their field. After all, constructing the field was always for the youth of Barnegat, and not to be used as a political sword for stabbing ones opponent.
Million Dollar Field -As far as the field being characterized as a Million Dollar Field.
I have no idea how you or others have derived at this figure. I know what I know and the costs I am familiar with are addressed above. I know during previous political bouts Town committee members, Town Criers and Committee position seekers have attempted to lump every dollar ever spent at the lower shore fields into one number and identify as the costs associated with building the synthetic field. It’s time people are held accountable for such lies. Don’t lie to or mislead Barnegat residents. The facts are the facts, I provided the synthetic turf to the youth of Barnegat free of charge, the labor associated with constructing the field and the site work was donated by volunteers who should be publically recognized for their sacrifices and commitment, and the Town incurred some equipment and material costs. GOOD DEAL?? NAH, GREAT DEAL.
If there was a way I could give this field to the YOUTH OF BARNEGAT, instead of giving it to the Town of Barnegat, I would do it in a second.
In closing, Thank you for taking the time to read this. I have sat passively by and had certain residents of this Town and the Town Committee attack me for 2 years now regarding this project. Constructing this field for the benefit of the youth of Barnegat was and is the only reason why I and the volunteers who have sacrificed so much took on this project. We have no hidden agenda, IT HAS ALWAYS BEEN AND WILL ALWAYS BE ABOUT THE KIDS.
My sincere thanks to my family for letting me satisfy my commitment and for supporting me. My heartfelt and sincere thanks to Mike D, Franky, Ricky, Tommy and the few others who sacrificed the time with your families for the benefit of the kids, there are a few others out there who also donated some time and I will acknowledge them when we open the field, and last but not least, my thanks to those who are currently on the Town Committee, and those previous Committee members who supported me and had faith that a few dedicated volunteers could provide and construct a synthetic field for the kids of Barnegat.
Again, thank you for taking the time to read this, for letting me provide you with the facts, and for letting me vent. Sorry it’s so long, but this is two years of condensed information. The field will be open soon and I hope to see you all there. Take the facts and run with them. Know what you are voting for. If you aren’t for kids, you are not for me. If you are not honest you are not for me.
Steve “Coach” Cotton