Today is a mile mark, maybe even a celebration, of personal bravery. Earlier this year after suffering a dismal series of government attacks, I decided to take my family’s advice and get out of New Jersey permanently. I won’t enumerate the litany and range of problems again now; it’s depressing enough just to have them back in memory. But it has been a long year of personal and professional threats and attacks, physical, legal and otherwise. It’s clear that I’ve really pissed some government people off and that there might be more problems ahead as long as I remain committed to talking about government misbehavior and environmental justice issues.
Over the past few months a handful of things have improved. Two of my antagonists died. In July the Attorney General’s office sent a letter to the Superior Court judge in my open case that the state does not intend to take further action. That means, as far as I know, that in two years I am entitled to ask for dismissal of the charges. I’ve heard confirmation from a number of sources that government is backing off its active prosecutions of the poor rural bayshore residents. Maybe my activism in environmental justice even played a role in that shift in paradigm. I had to go through CPA license reviews in two states. That meant rehashing all of the details of my legal history. Both boards were OK with it.
Today I rejoined the New Jersey Society of Certified Public Accountants. I submitted the application and paid the fee. The association members and staff have been fabulously supportive through my crazy journey as an environmental activist. I had resigned in June, in fear and while planning an exit from the state. In the meanwhile I’ve cancelled all of my NJ memberships and affiliations and moved my personal and business licenses out of the state. I am now willing to consider finding a new home here and we will move cautiously in that direction. For now, those other things can remain out-of-state and move slowly to return.
Whether my bravery is smart or foolish remains to be seen. Time will tell. Bu I’ve survived the wrath of an attempted political assassination, endure an ongoing smear campaign, targeting by the seafood industry, avoided drowning under the legal might of the Attorney General’s office, handled millions of dollars in legal claims, loss of all of my net worth, am dealing with a deterioration of health and personal relationships. But I’m still here, still trying to rebuild a life, a business and a community. The way I see it is that there is little down side remaining. I might as well stay and enjoy the view.