BERKELEY HEIGHTS, NJ - Each week leading to the November 6 election, the candidates running for Berkeley Heights Township Mayor and Township Council have the opportunity to answer question(s) that will be run in a series by TAPinto Berkeley Heights.
The following answer is from Democratic Township Council Candidate Stephen Yellin for Week 1.
Week 1 Questions:
- Why are you Running for Office?
- What unique skills or knowledge will you bring to the elected office you are seeking?
- What do you think the major issues facing Berkeley Heights are at this time?
I want to serve on the Township Council because this has always been my hometown and I care about making it the best it can be. Three generations of my family have called Berkeley Heights home, and they definitely made the right call! Growing up here meant I was fortunate to be educated in one of the best public school systems, walk or ride my bike on some of the safest streets, and be part of a community with a remarkable commitment to others. Now, it’s time for me to give back as best I know how.
We have a great town but we have a lot of room for improvement when it comes to local government. The expertise and skills I would bring to the Council, together with Angie Devanney and Alvaro Medeiros, will help us make the positive changes necessary for that improvement. I have a proven track record of making positive changes and promoting common-sense ideas (many of which have been adopted by the Council), of “walking the walk” when it comes to communicating with and listening to our residents, and seeking common ground and reasonable solutions to the challenges we face. These things, together with my extensive knowledge of Berkeley Heights history and public policy in general, make me one of the 2 best candidates for Township Council this election (Alvaro being the other).
The major challenges Berkeley Heights faces today are as follows: 1) Responsibly managing the Municipal Complex project (already $4 million over budget and with an average tax increase of $179 per household); 2) Fixing our roads and sidewalks at a much faster rate than we do now; 3) Planning for the impact of new housing and programs that will put additional strain on our infrastructure; 4) Identifying ways to embrace inclusiveness and give all residents a say in the future of our town; and 5) Working harder to communicate with residents and earn their trust for our efforts in local government.
My opponents are good people who also want to help our community, but they had not done all they could to meet these challenges. Pledges to keep the Municipal Complex cost below $28 million have not been kept. Grants to fix our roads worth hundreds of thousands of dollars have not even been sought, let alone obtained. Volunteers have been treated with less than the level of respect and support they deserve. And efforts to communicate better with residents – with ideas I pushed for as far back as 2010 – are only being done now, with an election right around the corner.
We can and should do better. We need to bring our community together in making real, positive change. That is why Angie, Alvaro and I are running, and why we are proud of the broad, bipartisan coalition of residents who share our commitment to Change We Can Agree On!