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New on the Internet: Site Pollution Data
These stories by Melinda Sherwood and Teena Chandy were published in U.S. 1 Newspaper on March 31, 1999. All rights
Sensitive company information — violations, enforcement
records and soil-sampling results — may become available to the
general public on the Internet, says Jeffrey Entin, a senior
associate at Sadat Associates at Forrestal Village. "Confidentiality
and security may be at stake," he cautions.
Under the Department of Environmental Protection’s Technical Requirements
for Site Remediation, companies are now required to submit environmental
data on clean-up sites electronically. "Before, company data was
buried in voluminous files," says Entin. "In a year or two,
anyone will be able to get commercial site reports immediately."
The new technology may make companies vulnerable to inquiries from
competitors, banks, citizens groups and insurance companies, while
raising a multitude of questions about what kind of information belongs
in the public domain.
Entin will talk more about the ramifications of the DEP’s electronic
deliverables program at a roundtable discussion on Thursday, April
7, at 4 p.m. at Envirogen Inc. at 4100 Quakerbridge Road. he title:
"Point and Click: Now who’s got your environmental data?"
Sam Wolfe of PSE&G and Adel Abeid
will also offer their opinions on how companies can cope with costs
and resolve security issues related to the proliferation of information
technology. Susan Hoffman, a partner at Drinker Biddle and Reath
LLP on College Road East, will moderate the discussion. Cost: $30.
Call the New Jersey Technology Council at 609-452-1010.
Entin holds a BS from Rutgers Cook College, Class of 1988, and earned
a master’s in environmental engineering at Stevens Institute of Technology.
Prior to completing his undergraduate education, Entin joined Sadat
Associates, an environmental consulting and engineering firm with
only six employees, as an entry-level technician.
As senior associate and project manager, Entin is responsible for
designing, directing, and carrying out remedial projects regulated
under the Industrial Site Recovery Act (ISRA), Resources Conservation
and Recovery Act (RECRA) and other environmental clean-up programs.
In the short term, Entin explains, the DEP’s electronic delivery program
may save both time and money by minimizing the paper involved. The
use of information technology may exact a much higher price in the
end, however. "It raises a whole host of issues, such as competition
and people finding out what your secrets are," says Entin.
An ongoing controversy between industry and state government concerns
what kind of information is confidential and what can be kept out
of the public domain. "Until now, publicly available information
was not really publicly available," he says. "You have to
physically go to Trenton and request a file to review and pay someone
to make copies for you and interpret it." Only the most diligent
individuals are likely to jump through the hoops necessary to exercise
their rights to company information.
All of that is going to change with the introduction of information
technology, Entin says. Companies should prepare themselves by strengthening
their own internal protocol for dealing with privacy issues and environmental
disasters. Companies may also want to play a more active role in community
relations. He offers advice for companies learning to use the electronic
deliverables system and hoping to see positive results:
data. Some programs used to submit data in the GIS compatible format
still have some bugs. The HazSite program, for example, won’t allow
data fields to be left empty. Spreadsheet programs, such as Microsoft
Excel, have also been problematic. "Make sure that the consultant
and laboratory both know exactly what kind of format you’re looking
for to minimize costs," Entin says. "Otherwise, you could
lose two or three weeks, which is a lot of time when you’re doing
will eventually gain access to company data, it is wise to begin a
public dialogue now. "Take the time to work with the community
and generate confidence so there is no suspicion that a facility could
have a problem and affect surrounding residences," says Entin.
Company-sponsored meetings, newsletters, and communication with town
officials will all help secure the public trust.
result from misuse of company information. "You need to have a
legal protocol and security protocol, and it needs to be integrated
within the company," says Entin. Strong community relations are
only a small part of that plan.
the DEP’s resources and be patient, urges Entin. "Recognize that
the DEP’s system is evolving, and one day, hopefully, all the costs
that are being borne now may trickle down to the people who are bearing
them in the form of reduced oversight costs."
the quick and easy access of information through the DEP’s internet-based
system. The general public must also be aware that it poses a security
threat to their own neighborhoods as well. In the worst case scenario,
publicly available environmental information could be used to execute
terrorist acts. Experts are still trying to figure out ways to put
security issues to rest, Entin says, in part by focusing on the definition
of "public domain."
"One thing that has been suggested is that information be made
publicly available through certain channels," says Entin, "maybe
by subscription." If that’s going to happen, law will have to
race to catch up with technology in the next year.
— Melinda Sherwood
With small businesses making up much of the American
economy, millions of Americans find themselves negotiating commercial
leases every year. Yet it remains one of the most difficult transactions
to execute. The commercial lease is so mired in "legalese"
that the average person is ill-equipped to cope with its implications.
Thomas G. Mitchell wrote "The Commercial Lease Guidebook:
Learn how to win the leasing game!" to be a concise reference
that simplifies the lease process. In easy-to-understand language,
Mitchell features a step-by-step system that shows how to organize
and review a lease. The book costs $19.95 plus $4 shipping. Call 800-888-4741
or write to Macore International, Box 10811, Lahaina, HI 96761.
Mitchell, who has been active in brokerage, development, and property
management since 1975, examines 155 commonly included provisions of
retail, office, industrial, and ground leases from both tenant’s and
landlord’s positions. His descriptions enable all three parties to
the lease — landlord, tenant, and agent — to understand what
clauses are generally about, who wants what positions, and why.
The book’s section on "negotiation" will help the reader make
a better deal. Mitchell quips that the commercial lease is a great
example of "The Golden Rule," as in "he who has the gold
makes the rule."
"Since the landlord owns the property, the lease is designed primarily
to protect the landlord’s property and ownership rights, and to satisfy
the requirements of a lending institution. Secondarily, the lease
defines the rights of the tenant.
"If you are on the tenant’s side of the table, expect a `landlord-oriented’
lease as you start your review, and you will find it to be a lot less
"If you are a tenant using an agent to conduct your negotiations,
give the agent the proper negotiating tools. Your negotiator should
be equipped with a detailed list of specifications, budget restraints,
critical dates, names and titles of the parties who will sign the
lease, and some understanding of your financial situation. Your agent
can then make a much better impression on prospective landlords.
"To conduct effective negotiations, you must distinguish your
`needs’ from your `wants.’
"Bargain hard for your `needs,’ and don’t be afraid to establish
a bottom line on each issue. Create an agenda, and during the negotiating
process, explain the reasons for the positions you take so as not
to seem arbitrary."
Mitchell refers to "wants" as "give-ups," saying that
before you even start negotiating, prioritize your "give-ups"
and sacrifice them carefully in exchange for "needs."
"Also understand that both parties have a hidden agenda. It contains
their list of needs — the points that will make or break the deal.
It is camouflaged with `wants.’ Uncovering the other party’s hidden
agenda is, therefore, the key to success.
An example: As a tenant, if you "need" extra parking spaces
(above the landlord’s standard "parking ratio," but you "want"
a designated parking area, you might give up the designated area just
to get the spaces.
When a film is made in Hollywood many people come together
— the actors, director, screen-writers, artists — and they
all get listed in the credits. "We can apply this model to how
we do business," says Ronnie Fielding, general manager of
the interactive division of the marketing firm Princeton Partners
on Research Way.
Fielding, who built a successful new media business using the "Hollywood
Model," will discuss how this can be applied to a variety of businesses
at the meeting of the New Jersey Entrepreneurial Network on Wednesday,
April 7, at noon at the Princeton Forrestal Hotel. Cost: $35. Call
609-279-0010 for more information.
Fielding majored in English at Rider University, Class of 1981, and
has been working in new media for 15 years. After nine years at Dow
Jones Interactive, she and a partner started United Multimedia in
1995, and it was bought by Princeton Partners last year. Fielding
expanded and refined her Hollywood model and is running the interactive
division at Princeton Partners.
"The difference with the Hollywood Model," says Fielding,
"is that we don’t use vendors, we use partners. We are not pretending
that we are doing the whole thing. A lot of companies come together
to create the project."
As in Hollywood, all partners get credit for getting results for the
client, says Fielding. "We are not outsourcing. We have the strategic
expertise inhouse to understand the business issues and to manage
the resources to complete the project. But we also hire artists and
programmers, and they work with us hand-in-hand, and are very visible
to the client."
The partners share in both the rewards and the risks, says Fielding.
"We work for a fixed fee, and everybody works for the fee they
agreed on. Our partners get compensated when we do."
Fielding says that the Hollywood model is ideal for new media businesses,
a term that refers to any type of computer-based media such as websites,
DVDs (digitized video on disc), CD-ROMs, and kiosks. "In new media
it is very difficult to hire and retain good talent. When we work
this way, we have an ever expanding workpool to choose from."
The Hollywood Model, Fielding says, can be tailored to any business
that needs alliances to move forward. "By making strategic alliances
you can keep your overheads low and profits high."
— Teena Chandy
What are Americans being sold? The emperor’s new clothes?"
asks Irmgard Howard, a biochemist on the faculty of Houghton
College, referring to the myriad of "chemical-free" products
that the American public seems to be seeking in earnest today. In
reality there is no such thing as a "chemical-free" product
and the chemistry-naive consumer is being misled, says Howard.
Howard will present the biochemist’s approach to the public’s fear
of chemicals at a meeting of the American Chemical Society on Thursday,
April 8, at 6 p.m. at Princeton University’s Prospect House and Frick
Chemistry Lab. Call Alice Fankhauser at 609-258-3922. The lecture
is free; the dinner is $20.
"Chemicals are made of elements, and elements are all the members
of the periodic table," says Howard. If you go back to what you
learned in high school, this would include "everything" —
and "everybody" too. That is what Howard wants to convey through
her presentation — that "people" are chemicals too.
"Once people understand that they are made of chemicals and that
they interact with a world made of chemicals," Howard says, "they
understand better how their bodies work and make more informed chemical
decisions." It’s a choice of chemicals that we have to make, Howard
says, and not a denial of chemicals.
Howard has a bachelor’s in zoology and a PhD in biochemistry from
Duke University. She has done research in clinical chemistry, immunochemistry,
molecular genetics, and nutrition. Since 1970, she has taught clinical
chemistry, biochemistry of nutrition, and a course called "The
Impact of Science on Society" at Houghton.
Howard began collecting examples of chemophobia 24 years ago, after
she saw an advertisement of a chemical company claiming their vitamins
had no chemicals in them. "I took it to my class and realized
that everybody had already become used to the idea of chemical-free
vitamins and didn’t think it was strange at all."
"Words like `herbal’ and `organic’ are good, but the word `chemical’
has become a bad word, and we as chemists are being discriminated
against," says Howard. She says that there should be better communication
between the chemical society and the rest of the world. "It’s
important for chemists to use words correctly," says Howard, "and
insist that others use words correctly too. Nutrition and biochemistry
can be used to communicate what is happening with chemicals in people
and in their environment."
In this country there is so much processing of food, that it is essential
for the consumer to make informed decisions, says Howard. For example,
"You can choose to eat foods that contain certain preservatives,
or foods that don’t have preservatives, which could end up being more
The word "chemical" has come to replace "synthetic"
and that is not correct, says Howard. "People look down on anything
that is being made in a lab." Advertisers get away with misleading
messages because there are no regulations by the FDA, says Howard.
"I am not against saying `no chemicals added’ or `no harmful chemicals’
but to say that something is `chemical free’ is senseless."
A good place for the consumer to start, Howard suggests, is by reading
the labels of products. A "chemical-free shampoo," for example,
would have natural ingredients like aloe and water but "there
also has to be a detergent molecule in there that will make the suds
that will clean your hair."
In the end, Howard says "it’s not good versus bad, or no chemical
versus some chemical. It’s the quantitative decisions that we make.
Like everything in life, this is also just a matter of balance."
— Teena Chandy
Should you decide to get seriously involved in politics,
you may need this map of the area, the 1998 New Jersey Legislative
District Data Book, published by the Center for Government Services
at Rutgers University School of Planning and Public Policy. This 23rd
annual publication presents a detailed statistical description of
the state’s legislative districts.
The book includes statistical and directory information for each of
the state’s legislative and congressional districts and for the counties,
municipalities, and school districts of which they are composed. There
is also a map of the district, showing municipal and county boundaries,
a general description of the district, including its political orientation,
and names of incumbent legislators.
The data book is also available on 3.5-inch disk. The book costs $39,
the disk costs $50, and a set in print and on disk costs $75. Call
Joan Buck at 732-932-3640, extension 628 for more information.
A less extensive book is the 1999 State Chamber Legislative Roster,
available to members free or for a fee to non-members. Call 609-989-7888.
New Jersey Transit will run a late night trip on the
600 bus route from Forrestal Village to Trenton and the Princeton
Junction railroad station starting Saturday, April 3. This was arranged
by the Greater Mercer Transportation Management Association (TMA)
in response to the growing number of service employees on Route 1
working late night shifts.
The trip will begin at Forrestal Village at 11:15 p.m. and make stops
along College Road East and Scudders Mill Road, at the Princeton Junction
station, throughout Carnegie Center, and along Route 1. In Trenton
the bus will stop at State and Warren streets and at the Trenton rail
This service will run seven days a week and on holidays on a six-month
trial basis. If ridership is consistent with other trips on the route,
NJ Transit will continue the late night service. For schedule information,
call 800-772-2222 or 800-582-5946.
The intersection of Grovers Mill Road and Cranbury Neck Road will
be closed for construction until Friday, April 2. Cranbury Neck Road
will be closed at Nostrand Road and Grovers Mill Road will be closed
at Maple Avenue. The closing comes as part of the New Jersey Department
of Transportation’s construction of a new bridge along Cranbury Neck
Road, over the Millstone River.
Thomas Weber of Edison, a retired professor of history at Rutgers
University, has donated $15,323 of Lucent Technology stock to the
Delaware-Raritan Girl Scout Council, as part of a two year $28,700
"My daughter wears a brace on her leg due to polio," says
Weber of his daughter, now the proprietor and a veterinarian at Sea
Girt Animal Hospital in Wall Township. "Girl Scouting helped her
gain confidence and feel accepted by her peers. I felt compelled to
help Delaware-Raritan Girl Scouts give other girls the same advantages."
The donation will assist the council to achieve its goal to ensure
universally accessible facilities at the New Leaf Environmental Center
and Oak Spring Day Camp, Somerset. For information about the activities
of the Delaware-Raritan Girl Scout Council, or to make donations call
732-821-9090, extension 3.
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