HARRY HURLEY OPINION - EDITORIAL 

Atlantic City has been forced to live through the "Mayor Marty Show" regarding the shutdown, towing, and impounding of the Fish Heads seafood restaurant truck.

Now, it’s time for the epilog.

Small has maintained from the beginning that kicking Gregory “Dredgie” Wood and his long-standing business out of Gardner’s Basin was not personal or politically retaliatory in any way.

As the truth has become self-evident, this tall tale is collapsing on Small in a big way.

Small has repeatedly placed all of the blame for the demise of Fish Heads on the state of New Jersey, and, in particular, the Department of Environmental Protection (NJ DEP).

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We previously reported, that with the help of multiple sources, locally and in Trenton, all assured us that it was Marty Small who unnecessarily provoked this entire situation.

In other words, Small took direct negative action against the last African-American-owned business in Gardner’s Basin and then blamed the state of New Jersey.

We caught him in the act.

Now, there is additional corroboration from the Philadelphia Inquirer, who spoke with Caryn Shinske, a public information officer with the state DEP, which is responsible to manage the Green Acres program.

It doesn’t get any more unambiguous then this:

“The issue was that Atlantic City is evicting Fish Heads," said Shinske

"It is not the state that is evicting Fishheads. It is Atlantic City!" said Shinske to Rosenberg.

Small has repeatedly attacked me and New Jersey Senator Vince Polistina throughout this process, as we have been two of the biggest public defenders of Gregory “Dredgie” Wood and Fish Heads.

I have never met Dredgie Wood. We stepped up to defend and support Wood because what Small was doing was wrong.

Now, Small has resorted to outrageously calling the highest elected state-level official in Atlantic County (Polistina), a racist. He’s not.

Small told Rosenberg that Small accused “Polistina, who is white, of playing reverse racism in the Black community. Vince Polistina voted against tax relief for Atlantic City, and now he wants to act like he's a champion," Small said to Rosenberg.

"The bottom line, none of them give a damn about Atlantic City. I've been a champion for the community, for Black businesses. I put my record overall,” said Small.

This is a blatantly false statement by a Small about Polistina, who has a long demonstrated track record of supporting Atlantic City and its residents in many ways; financial and thorough excellence in constituent service.

Here are more undeniable truths about Small���s recent boorish behavior.

In just the past few months Small has:

  • Led a political stunt to remove John Devlin from his public position on the Atlantic City Municipal Utilities Authority.
  • Coordinated with the Atlantic City Board of Education to kick out Stockton University from using the Atlantic City Boathouse. Stockton has invested $ 270 million in Atlantic City.
  • Political retaliation against Wood and Fish Heads; whereby Small had the business towed to the Atlantic City police compound … On a Saturday, during inclement weather.

Are all three of the above wrong and only Small is right? No one is buying that. Small is earning a reputation for engaging in political retaliation against targets of his choice.

Regarding Small and his move against Stockton University, now suddenly, the Atlantic City Board of Education is transferring ownership of the boathouse to the City of Atlantic City?

This news came only weeks after the Atlantic City Board of Education told Stockton Unuversity that they could no longer use the boathouse because they (ACBOE) had plans to use it more.

Even after getting caught once again telling untruths, Small double-down on his blame of the state game.

Small told Rosenberg, "It's a Green Acres issue," he said. "Look at the history of Green Acres with the city of Atlantic City. We're following the state laws,” said Small.

This is Machiavellian behavior being exhibited by Small. The state had absolutely no interest whatsoever in going after the small business owners like Wood, who were simply working hard, trying to earn a living, and providing a service to the public in Gardner’s Basin.

The state only became involved after Small concocted his political scheme.

As we have maintained from the beginning the State of New Jersey didn’t have plans to shut anyone down. Now, the state has publicly exposed that this was done by Marty Small.

Senator Polistina has been saying the same thing after he found out that the state of New Jersey DEP actually permits these types of food trucks to operate on Green Acres sites.

Small manufactured a dispute with a local business owner, that didn’t exist in reality. Small then misused New Jersey Green Acres laws as the rationale to shut down Fish Heads Restaurant.

Wood had his ability to do business taken from him. He had his physical business property towed and damaged in the process.

The final indignity, Small charged Wood $350 to get his business out of the Atlantic City Police Compound.

That’s just nasty.

In the end, Small got caught in the act.  But, the damage to Wood and Fish Heads is already done.

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