Home Haddonfield News LETTER: If referendum passes, ‘Bancroft will be toasting to our gullibity’

LETTER: If referendum passes, ‘Bancroft will be toasting to our gullibity’

Haddonfield citizens should be furious that the group supporting the Bancroft bond, One Haddonfield, receives much of its funding from Bancroft.

“One Haddonfield” (which supports the bond) should not be confused with the similarly named “Haddonfield United” (which opposes the bond).

One Haddonfield identifies itself as a “grassroots organization of concerned residents who support the Bancroft land acquisition, with a “vision… for a joint community/school use of the highly visible property for education, recreation, preservation, and conservation.”

Regardless of whether Haddonfield citizens agree with the alleged goals of the organization, they should be astonished and outraged, as I was, to learn that One Haddonfield is shilling for Bancroft.

“One Haddonfield” was set up as a political action committee, or PAC.

One Haddonfield’s Report of Contributions and Expenditures, which is available from the New Jersey Election Law Enforcement Commission, shows $595 from anonymous contributors as well as one single contribution totaling $3500 from none other than Bancroft itself. In other words, One Haddonfield, as of its most recently filed report in late December, had received 85 percent of its funding from Bancroft!

Clearly One Haddonfield is the furthest thing from a grassroots organization in that it supports the interests of Bancroft, which stands to profit mightily if the referendum passes.

The fact that the pro-bond group One Haddonfield represents Bancroft stands in stark contrast to the front page of the One Haddonfield website, which conjures up visions of a benevolent, charitable, community-minded group of citizens who have our best interests at heart and is “centered on a mission for the betterment of the entire community as a whole and for all its members as individuals.”

As if that were not bad enough, the One Haddonfield website creates the misimpression that Haddonfield voters will make out well if they approve the bond that is “about $4.3 million cheaper” than the original $16.8 million bond.

In actual fact, the price that Haddonfield residents are being asked to pay is grossly inflated. At the height of the real estate market, the property was appraised for several million dollars less than the price that Haddonfield taxpayers are being asked to pay.

Moreover, the approximately $4 million “reduction” represents open space grant money that Haddonfield and other taxpayers have already paid into our county and state government coffers.

The county would essentially be giving us back our own money — which is hardly savings, especially in light of the inflated purchase price.

Considering the fact that Bancroft has been the source to date of the lion’s share of One Haddonfield’s financial backing, I wonder who funded the telephone push poll that many Haddonfield residents underwent weeks ago.

No organization has yet taken responsibility publicly for the poll.

Did Bancroft also fund this directly or indirectly? It is remarkable that the “survey” posted on the One Haddonfield website contains questions that are substantially similar to those of the push poll — questions designed not to gather information, but to sway the opinion of the reader (see for yourself).

If the referendum passes, we can be sure that Bancroft will be toasting to our gullibility.

Christine Schultz

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