Recently when queried by a reporter from a local New Jersey newspaper, a democratic candidate for Freeholder responded "the powers that be decided Muhlenberg Hospital should close." Who are these powers that be and what have they done for us?

Let's examine the case of Muhlenberg Hospital. The hospital was certainly the area's largest and best health care facility. It was also one of the largest employers in the area. On the surface, it looks as if Plainfield lost its primary health care facility and also one of its largest employers. Well, if that is not bad enough, what about the small businesses who served the hospital? This includes not only medical suppliers but also local diners and delis that provided meals to the employees. What about the former employees who lost their jobs, how do they make their mortgage payments and put food on the table? How do these displaced homeowners and businesses pay taxes?

The closing of the hospital is devastating for the City of Plainfield and surrounding towns. So now who are these "powers that be?" Could it be Mayor Briggs and the all-Democratic Plainfield City Council? Could it be Freeholder Chairman Al Mirabella and the all Democratic Union County Board of Freeholders? Could it be Democratic State Senator Scutari? Could it be Democratic Assemblywoman Linda Stender and Plainfield resident Assemblyman Jerry Green? Could it be Democratic US Congressman Frank Pallone? Could it be Democratic Governor Jon Corzine? Could it be Democratic US Senators Frank Lautenberg or Robert Menendez?

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We're not sure who dropped the ball on this one, but it is quite apparent that in some combination the "powers that be" mentioned above are the responsible parties. None of the above mentioned parties did anything to try to prevent the closing until after the hospital was closed, and even then their press conferences were mostly excuses for not doing anything.

What have "the powers that be" done for us other than close Eastern Union County's premier medical facility?

On a Union County level, the Freeholders closed a county golf course where 30,000 rounds of golf were played and paid for each year and replaced it with a non-revenue producing park at the cost of hundreds of thousands of dollars. They hired the brother of a former Acting Governor, and by doing so, padded his pension. They have increased taxes by $115 million.

They have voted to increase the state income tax, the state sales tax, and the tax on liquor, wine, and cigarettes. Tolls on the turnpike were doubled as well as the real estate transfer tax. Overall, the various taxes were increased over $8 Billion, partially in the name of cutting property taxes. Fair enough, except that property taxes are continuing to rise and the property tax rebates are continuing to be cut.

Maybe it's time to change "the powers that be" with a new voice for Union County. Anthony Sytko and Nicole Cole will bring fiscally responsible leadership to Union County. We will review the budget and eliminate wasteful programs and patronage jobs. We will bring transparency to the role and answer constituents' questions, rather than responding with hubris and frustration. Change the powers that be on November 3. Vote Sytko and Cole for Union County Freeholder.