Dear Berkeley Heights residents,

As some of you may know, I am running for the Town Council in the upcoming Republican Primary Election (column C, row 7).

Because of that, people often ask me “What is your stance on various town issues? Was the decision to build a 30 mln municipal complex a good decision? What about Stratton House - was it necessary, could we do better? And what about YMCA taking over the Community pool ?”

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Some people think that I should be more vocal on those issues and others, that I should take stances. I do have an explanation for why I don’t.

Because speculating, nitpicking, implying, complaining, accusing people (any people) based on assumptions is not something I am interested in doing. That wouldn't help me or anyone else.

There are too few (if any) balanced discussions on town issues happening these days, too many biased posts and comments, too many assumptions, a lot of misleading and sometimes even incorrect information coming from all sides. That’s a problem.

One part of the problem is an unhealthy political atmosphere in our town, irresponsible words and actions of some of our politicians and their supporters, who use propaganda, partial biased information and inflammatory statements to provoke anger and win political points.

But I think that the root problem is a lack of high-quality information coming from the town government.

I believe that information about town issues, about solutions proposed, about decisions made by our government should be complete and accessible.

When there is a lack of openness and transparency, assumptions, speculations and anger flourish.

A resident should be able to find documentation on each of the ongoing and past town projects, he or she should be able to read document and understand the problem being solved, understand the goals of the project, its constraints, what the proposed solution is and what’s the rationale behind it, how it compares to the alternative solutions (there must always be more than one option considered, obviously),  what are the pros and cons of each.

[  FAQs are also extremely valuable - everyone knows that :)  ]

Very importantly, residents should be able to provide feedback. Feedback should be easy to provide, it should be proactively sought out. It should be collected, acknowledged, organized, and acted upon.

There must be a “feedback loop” established, at least for the most important town projects : residents get information about the project and the proposed solution,  residents provide feedback, the proposal gets adjusted based on their feedback, and then gets presented to residents for further feedback.

I understand that it is not easy to come up with such documentation, with such process, but it is necessary, in my opinion - especially in case of major decisions that affect taxes, that have profound long-term effect on our town.

I could help with that, if I am elected. I know how it’s done.

I do realize that my position is pedantic, boring, “not sexy”, not anger-provoking. But it is what I think.

You can find this statement, and my other statements on our campaign website http://WhoIsDmitriy.com

Also, feel free to reach out to me on Facebook, or via email : dmitriy4tc@gmail.com