A Letter from Kathy Abbott, Chatham Township Committee Member

June 1, 2014 at 7:45 PM

Dear Neighbors,

I have once again been attacked by my fellow Township Committee member, Bailey Brower—this time on the eve of the primary election. Those of you who have lived in Chatham Township for some time know of Mr. Brower’s penchant for rabidly attacking those who do not fully agree with him or who question him, and he is rarely encumbered by the truth. His goal this time is to dash my chances at reelection so he can promote his own favored candidates.

Mr. Brower’s political machine works by identifying an issue, clouding it by fear-mongering, and then distorting it in a public forum:

ß The sidewalk snow-shoveling issue is a perfect example. Mr. Brower was informed during a March 14, 2014 Township meeting that the prevailing law in New Jersey, as determined by a 2011 New Jersey Supreme Court case, Richard Luchejko v. City of Hoboken is: “(1) an ordinance directing private persons to care for public property is remedial and does not grant individual citizens a right of action, (2) at common law, property owners had no duty to clear snow and ice from the public sidewalks abutting their land and, if a property owner decided to do so, he would not be liable unless his negligence created a new hazard.” The only basis for Mr. Brower's continued discussion of property liability is to create unfounded fear about the subject.

ß A second example of Mr. Brower’s fear mongering campaign is his statement that I championed the No Idling ordinance. I was not on the Township Committee when the ordinance was adopted.

However, N.J.A.C. 7:27-14, contains exemptions to the no-idling law when the temperature falls below 25 degrees. As a result, there is no foundation in law for imagery of “a small child in the car in freezing weather with no heat” because the law would not permit that to happen.

ß The Linden Lane issue has been covered extensively in the press. However, the fact is that in 1956, Mr. Brower supported the public easement and his support is noted in the public record. Fifty years later, Mr. Brower stirred up controversy over the public easement that he had originally supported in order to support his own agenda.

ß With respect to Mr. Brower’s criticism of my support of the refurbishment of the Colony Paddle Tennis Courts, I rebut by stating that the Township population includes residents who belong to private swim, golf and tennis clubs as well as residents who belong to the public recreational facilities. When the paddle tennis platforms were refurbished, over 50 residents signed up for paddle tennis memberships. It is absurd for Mr. Brower to link my support of continuing public recreational programs to the damage that occurred to them as a result of Superstorm Sandy.

ß I will not justify Mr. Brower’s personal attack by politicizing Township personnel matters. I believe it is unethical to use Township employees as political footballs. It is highly inappropriate for Mr. Brower to be publicly discussing confidential personnel issues, let alone publishing and widely mailing them.

In fact, Mr. Brower’s entire career on the Township Committee has been marked by self-interest and entrenchment. His worst nightmare is two highly competent, well-educated members, such as Mike Kelly and me (we are a professional volunteer and a young retiree, respectively), who are fortunate to have the time to serve in a “full time” capacity, working for the people of Chatham Township. We will work full time to make Chatham Township the place we ALL want it to be.

I know that the people of Chatham Township are smarter than Bailey Brower would have us believe. Don’t be fooled by his sad attempt at propaganda. Please tread the high road with Mike Kelly and me, and vote Abbott and Kelly on Tuesday, June 3. (Column 5, lines 8 and 9).

Thank you for your support!

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