To the Editor:
Calling out hypocrisy should never be done lightly. It’s a claim that elicits strong emotions, which often fade slowly with time. However, if one should be so passive and so restrained as to censor oneself from such observations, they end up serving a hypocrite’s agenda.
And therein lies the problem.
An honest opinion that seems to defy the Golden Rule can put your friends in a funk. We’re talking about local people who cross paths as members of the same community. That’s especially true when you have kids, and you see them at your son’s karate class or your daughter’s soccer game. So, how often can you be willing to give someone the benefit of the doubt? How often can you overlook a candidate’s aversion to facing past decisions when they’re unpopular? How often can you forgive a candidate for being in favor of something before an election, then oppose it as a political candidate? Even worse, how can you reconcile that person's self-promotion as a champion for fighting the thing he or she once supported?
Well, here we are, watching those scenarios play out as we head toward an election. We see contradictions that are hard to ignore. For example, Republican council president Matthew Moench has voted in favor of the Center of Excellence, a large scale development at the former Sanofi plant. Now, under the “Right for Bridgewater” banner, mayoral candidate Moench has declared himself part of “the ONLY team that will fight overdevelopment.”
We’ve watched Moench and the town council put the cart before the horse, as traffic studies are still being discussed more than three years after his 2016 vote to approve the COE. Is this the behavior of someone who is genuinely concerned about the effects on Bridgewater residents? How about transparency?
For years, people have asked that council meetings be broadcast, recorded and made publicly available. The earliest public record of this shows resident Bill Metz making the request in 2014. Democratic mayoral candidate Jeffrey Brookner, with Patti Selikoff and John Arcoleo running as candidates for town council, began recording meetings on their YouTube channel in July 2019. They’ve made public statements calling for transparency as a key campaign promise.
On Oct. 3, Timothy Ring, a Republican candidate for town council, finally brought it up at a council meeting. It was received with praise by Moench and fellow Republican council members Filipe Pedroso and Howard Norgalis as if it were a new idea. Keep in mind that one of the key slogans for Right for Bridgewater is “Providing Responsive Government for Bridgewater.” It seems that the Right for Bridgewater team sees “responsive” and “timely” as mutually exclusive.
If this were like any other election from our recent past, we’d be resigned to choose between Republicans and Republicans. However, this isn’t like any election. The Democrats have responded to the political contradictions and lack of responsiveness with candidates that will challenge the status quo. They’ve done so with campaign promises that have already come to fruition long before election day, and I find that pretty remarkable.