Letters to the Editor

Independent James Riley Seeks Township Council Seat in Berkeley Heights

My name is James Riley and I am an Independent seeking election to the Berkeley Heights Township Council along with my running mate, Mr. John McDermid. Let me begin by thanking the many voters who signed our nominating petition guaranteeing us a spot on the ballot in November. The purpose of this letter is to introduce myself to the electorate and officially launch our campaign.

I have resided in Berkeley Heights with my wife Sheila and daughters Mary (age 9) and Kerri (age 6) for ten years. I am a project manager for a construction company where it is my job to insure that projects are completed efficiently, expeditiously and economically. I am involved with projects from inception to completion. The knowledge and experience that I have gained during the course of my professional career have prepared me to serve the voters of Berkeley Heights as a Township Councilman.

When I first moved to Berkeley Heights in 2000 the topical issues were, to name a few: aging municipal facilities (Town Hall, Police Department, Library), the absence of a dedicated Senior Citizen Center, the lack of adequate parking in our downtown business district and horrendous traffic problems on Diamond Hill Road. In 2010, ten years later, we're still facing the same problems. I have become as frustrated as many of my friends and neighbors with the lack of any measurable progress, clear vision and leadership from our "so called" trusted public servants. As a result I decided that I would take an active role in addressing these and other important issues affecting our Township by seeking elected office.

Sign Up for E-News

I have been and continue to be thoroughly disappointed with the performance of our leadership since I have been a resident. Our hasty decision in 2004 to purchase and develop the Stanford Drive Park along with Union County is an example of what is wrong with the leadership of our Township. This decision was made solely to prevent development and not out of any need for a park. It was made with little input from our residents, without a thorough cost analysis or a study to determine how construction of this park would affect the quality of life of the residents of the neighborhoods immediately adjacent to the park. On July 27th I addressed the Mayor and Council and asked questions regarding the status and cost of Stanford Drive Park to our Township. According to our Mayor we are responsible for the insurance, electricity, water, maintenance, trash removal, snow removal and possibly the policing. Remarkably the Mayor wasn't able to tell me who will provide police service, since this is a Union County facility. The Mayor and Council couldn't tell me how much these items are going to cost the township or how we will pay for them. Shouldn't we have known these costs before construction began? The park is scheduled to open in October and there is no money allocated for any of these expenses in our current budget.

As an Independent candidate I know that there is no room for partisan politics on the local level. I have a Democrat as my Campaign Manager and a Republican as my Treasurer. I am truly an Independent thinker beholding to no political party. I do not work for any municipal, state or federal agency, nor am I looking to be involved in any political endeavor other than to serve as a Township Councilman in Berkeley Heights. My agenda is straightforward: I want to work with the Mayor and other Council members to serve the best interests of our Township and citizens.

I know that the voters of Berkeley Heights deserve leaders who represent the best interests of the Community, individuals who demonstrate clear-headed leadership and vision, and who listen to the voice of the people instead of speaking down to the voters as if they were misbehaving children. During the next several months Mr. McDermid and I will make every effort to meet as many of the Township's voters as we can, listen to your concerns, ideas suggestions and recommendations and let you get to know us. We are both excited about the many challenges that this campaign presents and look forward to discussing in detail all of the issues facing our Community in future "Letters to the Editor."

James Riley is an Independent Candidate for Township Council

The opinions expressed herein are the writer's alone, and do not reflect the opinions of TAPinto.net or anyone who works for TAPinto.net. TAPinto.net is not responsible for the accuracy of any of the information supplied by the writer. Click here to submit a Letter to the Editor.

TAP Into Another Town's News:

You May Also Be Interested In

Sign Up for E-News

Berkeley Heights

Christopher Rinaldi for Town Council - Leadership, Judgement, Experience

May 17, 2018

My name is Christopher Rinaldi.  As a long-time member of the Republican Party, I am running in the Republican Primary on June 5th for Township Council and Republican Municipal Committee of Berkeley Heights.

As a follow-up to my Candidate Statements from the last two weeks, I would like to share with you a few areas of direct work experience garnered over the past 25 years that I believe ...

Redevelopment: Taking the First Step Together While Protecting Berkeley Heights

Redevelopment. It’s something that takes careful planning, foresight, the ability to negotiate for the most favorable outcome, and, of course, patience. I’m proud to say that we’ve been able to reach all of these milestones. Tomorrow, on Wednesday, May 16, 2018, we as a community will take the first step together in the culmination of these efforts, when the ...

I am Proud to be Your Mayor

Honesty and results. Those two principles characterize my service to our community for the last nine years. I served on Town Council for four years and have been your Mayor for five years. I appreciate the opportunity to serve you and our community, steering it in a positive direction. During this time, I have learned about our Town, identified areas for improvement and been privileged ...

Taxes up, Services down.....At least someone is listening

May 15, 2018

Do you feel as if you are getting good services from the town for what you pay in property taxes? I don’t, and wanted to thank the one Council person who voted NO on this year’s municipal budget which will increase your taxes by more than 3 percent, exceeding the cap.  Thank you, Susan Poage, for listening to taxpayers.

When our Mayor grants raises by executive order ...

Who Is Dmitriy?

Who Is Dmitriy?

That is the question I asked myself in the past year or two. I first chanced across him online in community conversation. When an issue seemed to go nowhere, people starting to get ugly and nasty, personal attacks escalating, in would pop Dmitriy and with one comment, he could sum things up. He based his  opinion on information he knew, coupled with what he could glean ...

The NO vote on the Budget

I read today's letter to the editor from Councilwoman Susan Poage regarding her reasons for voting "no" on the town's 2018 budget. As I attend most meetings of our Township Council, including the one on May 8, I want the public to be aware of some facts that are not contained in Mrs. Poage's letter.

The 2018 Budget development process included public meetings on Feb. 26, ...

Racing to the Finish and Supporting Cancer Survivors

May 19, 2018


MAY 13, 2018 SUNDAY | BERKELEY HEIGHTS, NJ—On May 13, the Summit Area YMCA welcomed over 1,000 participants to the 17th Annual Mother’s Day 5K Run/Walk at Memorial Field, in Berkeley Heights. This family-friendly event also hosted a fun magic show, invigorating Zumba dancing, a tot trot, face painting and music.

Matthew Byrne of Berkeley Heights won first place ...

Berkeley Heights Volunteer Rescue Squad Offers Free Community CPR Classes and Plant/Flower Sale to Raise Funds for Relay for Life

BERKELEY HEIGHTS, NJ - National EMS Week – a time to celebrate EMTs and the important work they work do for our nation’s communities was established in 1974 by President Gerald Ford.  This year National EMS Week is May 20 to May 26 and the Berkeley Heights Volunteer Rescue Squad (BHVRS) can think of no better way to celebrate EMS Week than by teaching YOU, our ...

Bee Day at Hanson Park!!

Please join the Hanson Park Conservancy on Saturday, June 23rd for Bee Day at Hanson Park!  At 2:00 PM Grant Stiles from Stiles Honey will be sharing his knowledge of bees with his presentation, “Fundamentals of Beekeeping and the Importance of Honey Bees in Our Society.”  Bring your blankets and chairs and enjoy the beautiful surroundings as Mr. Stiles answers all of your ...

ECLC Celebrates Special Education Week

ECLC of New Jersey’s school in Chatham is celebrating Special Education Week by highlighting how links with the community support our students with special needs.

The second week in May has been designated by Governor Phil Murphy as “Special Education Week” in the Garden State.  This year’s theme, “Working Together to Build a Special Future for All” ...

Fallout Continues from Lawsuit Against Mountainside; Police Chief on Administrative Leave

May 19, 2018

MOUNTAINSIDE, NJ – Police Chief Allan Attanasio is the latest member of the police department to suffer repercussions from a complaint filed against the borough on May 11.  Attanasio, who is not named as a defendant in the lawsuit, was “placed on administrative leave,” on Thursday by Borough Administrator and former Police Chief James Debbie, said  Lt. Joseph ...

Video Shows School Board Member In Altercation With Police at Traffic Stop in South Orange

May 16, 2018

SOUTH ORANGE, NJ - South Orange Maplewood School Board Member Stephanie Lawson-Muhammad got into an altercation with a South Orange police officer who stopped her for speeding last month, in which she used profanity, complained when she was issued a ticket and called South Orange Police Chief Kyle Kroll “a skinhead cop.”

Lawson-Muhammad also appeared to suggest that she would ...

Upcoming Events

Sun, May 20, 11:00 AM

New Providence Community Pool parking lot, New Providence

CSA Community Yard Sale

Giving Back

Sun, May 20, 11:00 AM

New Providence Community Pool parking lot, New Providence

CSA Community Yard Sale

Giving Back


Sun, May 20, 11:00 AM

Berkeley Heights Volunteer Rescue Squad Headquarters, Berkeley Heights

Berkeley Heights Volunteer Rescue Squad Offers ...

Sun, May 20, 12:00 PM

Trailside Nature & Science Center in the Watchung Reservation, Mountainside

29th Annual Spring Garden Fair & Plant ...

Green Home & Garden

Sun, May 20, 2:00 PM

Miller-Cory House Museum, Westfield

History of Silhouettes & Craft for Children


Sun, May 20, 2:00 PM

Summit High School, Summit

Summit Symphony Orchestra Concert

Arts & Entertainment

Don’t Make These Three Mistakes About Social Security

Social Security has been around for decades and it’s not about to disappear. Why? Social Security is not an entitlement ("gift") that can be taken away - it’s a forced savings scheme that Americans pay into in their working years in order to secure a pension for life. Ideally, Social Security should not be your sole source of income in retirement but even comfortable ...