Regretfully, we are not surprised that our Democratic opponents went against their own platform of “promising civil engagement”, and issued a personal attack video. It’s easy to cut and clip a sentence out of context when you have been sitting at home on the sidelines, not actively engaged with the residents of Chatham Township. We have energetically fought against overdevelopment, and for strategic planning in Chatham Township for the past year. We fought alongside hundreds of Chatham Township residents, first when the municipal building was almost given away in exchange for 65 affordable housing units, then again when the environmentally sensitive River Road area was about to be destroyed to appease outside influences forcing an arbitrary “unmet affordable housing need” on our Township. Please search the minutes and videos of every past Township Committee meeting this year. They are available on the Township website. Then do that same search for our opponents; sadly, you will find nothing.
They have been silent. Our Democratic opponents never made a single public statement concerning anything impacting Chatham Township prior to launching their website and Facebook page in August. They haven’t attended a single Township Committee meeting before September of this year.
In their silence, they appear to be in favor of all developments in this town when building was slated to go anywhere but near their homes. When Noe Pond was rumored as under contract to a developer, the issue came closer to their homes. Now they are scrambling to make up for their lack of education on these issues and lack of involvement in the threats to our Township's quality of life. Suddenly our Democratic opponents adopted the platform to “put resident concerns first” and “not let developers bulldoze Chatham Township”.
Those phrases sound like lines right off our campaign materials made in April and could have been heard out of our mouths at any committee meeting since November 2019. We are glad they have caught up to our position from six months ago, but they are still behind. We have fought overdevelopment in the name of affordable housing or other, every single time it has popped its head up in Chatham Township, and you can count on us to fight it at Noe Pond as well. For our Democratic opponents, all of the sudden, try to appear as “the candidates against overdevelopment” takes our Township resident's goodwill for granted.
We have continually attended Township Meetings and have spoken out in support of all Township neighborhoods. This Committee, and our opponents, have never spoken out against condemnation of private property, if it fits their agenda. We have spoken out against condemnation of private property in Chatham Township every time it has come up. If you need confirmation, ask the resident of 464 River Road who was threatened with just that during the March 2020 portion of the current committee’s affordable housing debacle.
At last week’s affordable housing compliance hearing, Judge Gaus said "I understand the controversy as it relates to condemnation. The appropriate place to resolve any of those disputes would be in that litigation." Judge Gaus clearly understands that there will be more litigation before we find a resolution. While we might wish we could avoid litigation, our Democrat opponents don't understand that litigation is already upon us. You can't manage, what you can't understand. Therefore, our opponents are not capable of managing this challenge.
That leaves us where we are today, having to properly manage and negotiate our current and pending litigation for our Township. You have a choice on your mail-in-ballot, which is now as close to a referendum on any one issue as you will ever be a part. Vote for the team that has consistently fought against overdevelopment in all of Chatham Township, Ashley Felice and Mark Hamilton. Otherwise choose our opponents who only speak up and participate, when they want your vote.
Ashley Felice and Mark Hamilton
Candidates for Chatham Township Committee