As your elected representatives, it is essential that we are strong and accessible advocates for all of Berkeley Heights: its residents, businesses, non-profit organizations and volunteers. Our job is to effectively and efficiently manage our hard-earned tax dollars in order to support the community and provide the services that we all need and expect. Over the last several weeks, there has been a small but vocal group attacking our town on social media and describing us in unflattering ways that I believe is hurting our community and our business environment. I am a strong proponent of the first amendment, but as most people believe, that sacred right bears with it a sense of moral responsibility. When our community is painted unfairly on outlets such as Facebook and YouTube, we are ALL affected—and not in a positive way.
Effective government requires trust. It is easy for naysayers to brandish about the phrase “lack of transparency” and make false accusations or facile statements that distort real facts….and usually this behavior heats up at election time which can cause people to get anxious or even a little scared about what is going on. Marc Faecher and I are all about the TRUTH and the FACTS. This Council live streams and videos our meetings, has upgraded the Town website, developed a Facebook page, have email listserv, Swift 911, additional public hearing opportunities, and more....all established to gather and share information with our residents.
When you elected us three years ago, we told you that together, we were committed to building the future of Berkeley Heights. We have worked hard to make smart, strategic investments in our town and together through our collaborative efforts with YOU, the residents, as well as other key stakeholders such as the Board of Education, local businesses and volunteers, we have delivered significant improvements to infrastructure and services without burdening the taxpayer.
Let me share with you some of these accomplishments. Before I was elected, we didn’t have standardized paver sidewalks and adequate/aesthetically pleasing lighting in our downtown area, nor did we have a beautiful Veterans Memorial Park, a Town Clock, or the seasonal banners we now are all so proud of. In addition, we have established a fabulous Winter Walk tradition, summer Street Fair, plans for a new Pool and YMCA (at the Y’s expense!), and at long last the vision of a modern Municipal Complex with modern space for our Seniors, Recreation Department, Police Department, a new Public Library and more. We have worked very hard together to accomplish these improvements and I am strongly committed to continuing that partnership with you in order to find new and better ways to make continuous improvements to the town we all love. I also think it’s worth mentioning that we accomplished all of this in the aftermath of the worst recession in our modern era! So when I hear people telling our citizens that our downtown is “awful”, etc., I can’t help but take it very personally -- because I care. I care about our local business owners and I know how hard they have worked to keep their doors open in order to provide the products and services our residents want. I also care about our volunteers, who put in endless hours to help our town, our kids, our Seniors, and our Veterans. We have all accomplished a lot in the last few years -- and we did it together. So I take serious issue with folks who say “nothing has been done,” or who use “bad math” in terms of characterizing how our hard earned money is being spent, or who misrepresent the dogged determination that Council members have demonstrated in order to keep developers in line to preserve and protect the character and feel of our lovely small town. So I want to speak out firmly and clearly right now and ask you not to believe the incredibly negative things that are being said or the misinformation that is being disseminated, mostly via social media, about our efforts. Instead, reach out to me or other individual members of the Town Council, come to the meetings and join with us so we can continue to make this town a great place to live.
TOGETHER, we have all worked too hard to allow distorted descriptions and characterizations to be viewed as reality. Because TOGETHER, we really are getting things done. My examples above are just some of the ways that we’ve taken action, achieved positive results, and are making a difference. Talk is cheap—results are what matters. Thank you and let’s keep moving forward by working with each other, not against each other. Please vote for Column E for Marc Faecher and Jeanne Kingsley on June 6. The polls are open from 6am-8pm. Please visit KingsleyFaecher2017.com to learn more about how together we are achieving positive results.