While it is clear that history was made in the recent presidential election, what should have also been heard loud and clear was that people desperately want change throughout our country!

Take for instance in Berkeley Heights. Who would have thought Chirinos/Hasz, relative newcomers to running for office would have given GOP incumbents, Perna and Bruno, the fight of their lives?  According to the as-of-yet unofficial results, the incumbents collectively won by approximately 10% of the vote. That coupled with the NO vote on the Bond referendum being approximately 20% greater than the YES vote should serve as notice to the mayor and council members that our community demands Real Change in our town.

From an independent voter's perspective Real Change means:

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1) Operate with open transparency and disclosure and set a tone of inclusion as oppose to exclusion.

2) Be open minded, not rigid, and engage residents of Berkeley Heights from all parties to solicit their feedback. This will go a long way in setting the town's priorities.

3) Develop a comprehensive vision and plan for the township instead of using a silo approach. A good example of this is with Long Hill's Riverside Park, which my family frequents often.  They built their Library and Township facility right next to their recreational park, which serves as a multi-use facility. Had an open transparency and community-based approach similar to this have been followed to serve all constituents perhaps the community center wouldn't have failed to be approved.

4) And, most of all, please serve the citizens with responsible stewardship, professionalism, less (or better yet no) finger-pointing, more bi-partisanship, demonstrate the ability to compromise and negotiate, and ultimately take personal accountability for the betterment of our community!

With that said, I would like to offer my congratulations to both Perna and Bruno on their re-election win and am hopeful that they will heed the voter's wishes. I would also like to congratulate both Chirinos and Hasz for all their efforts in touting the message of change that is so desperately needed and to show the voters of Berkeley Heights that they did indeed have a viable choice!