My name is Thaddeus Kobylarz, and I’m running for the Chatham Borough Council in order to restore bipartisan government and decision making to Chatham.
During my undergraduate and graduate years at Columbia, I participated in a student-run initiative to tutor underprivileged kids throughout New York City in math and the sciences. Much as with my work as a Big Brother, this was a powerfully formative experience, one that seared into my mind the moral imperative to help those amongst us who through no fault of their own find themselves in the most challenging socioeconomic conditions in the United States. This experience has ingrained in me a meaningful and deeply held concern for the wellbeing of our fellow citizens, both nationally and within the wonderful community of Chatham Borough.
In the course of my campaign, I have had the privilege of meeting hundreds of Chatham Borough voters at their doors, and have done my best to listen to their needs and opinions, and have incorporated much of what I’ve learned into my campaign platform. What I’ve seen over the past several months is a Borough Council that perceives itself as more open and transparent than it actually is. I’ve witnessed firsthand the threat of clubhouse politics that comes with a governing body entirely composed of one group of one political party, and had these thoughts corroborated by residents, volunteers and participants in our town’s civic life who feel that their thoughts are not being addressed by the hierarchical structure of the current Chatham government.
In my opinion, ensuring public safety should be priority number one for a municipal government. In the conversations I’ve had with those brave volunteers willing to give their time to our Fire Department, I’ve heard of insufficient funding, bureaucratic roadblocks and a less-than-open system for acquiring necessary equipment and repairs. I’ve heard from police officers and police veterans of the hollowing out of our Police Department due to attrition and under staffing. It is my strongly held belief that providing our firefighters and police officers with the tools they need to accomplish their jobs is mandatory; I also believe that the leadership and personnel of these departments best know what they need, not the politicians who are detached from the day-to-day activities of our public safety units.
I have also been struck by the incumbent Councilmembers’ refusal to back off of the idea of building a multi-tiered parking structure in the middle of historic downtown Chatham, as noted in the new Master Plan Re-Examination. Such a development would be detrimental to the suburban character of our community, and be a further sign of creeping urbanization into a town we all love for its open spaces and small-town feel. While my opponents have relished in pointing out the nature of this project as merely a “suggestion,” they have dodged coming out with a clear and firm stance on what has become a focal point of resident opposition to the new Master Plan Re-Examination. It is my belief that my running mate James Clyde and I are the only candidates for Borough Council who oppose this project.
Simply put, the interests of Chatham’s citizens and public servants have been inadequately represented by the current members of the Borough Council. If elected to the Council, James Clyde and I would seek to be a voice for the diverse opinions of our community. Chatham Borough is a unique, historic community that is in danger of being fundamentally changed by politicians beholden to their own, small group. I ask for your vote on Tuesday November 8th to open up Chatham government.