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Letters to the Editor

Moving forward in Chatham Township

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Letter to the Editor

Congratulations to Kevin Sullivan on winning re-election to a second term on the Chatham Township Committee.

When I first ran for Township Committee I lost. After the election, my political opponent, Mayor Hoag took me out to lunch. She was impressed with my campaign and my ideas for Chatham and wanted to encourage me to stay involved. I never forgot Mayor Hoag’s graciousness. She always had the best interests of Chatham at heart. In keeping with that tradition, let me be the first Township Committee person to publicly congratulate Stacey Ewald on running a first class campaign. She raised important issues for the future of Chatham. I know I speak for all those who were touched by her campaign as I urge Stacey to stay involved. The best is yet to come for someone with such intellect and personality and vast record of leading community volunteers to accomplish great things.

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As we look to the future, I will continue to speak out on the issues facing our town. One recent issue I raised during a public meeting is that the Township should consider adopting an ordinance banning guns in municipal buildings and our playgrounds. I requested that Township Attorney draft an ordinance for discussion on this issue. The request for public debate was quickly squashed and the matter was referred to the Township’s subcommittee on public safety. In politics the referral to a subcommittee is a political graveyard. Just weeks earlier, Mr. Sullivan raised an issue of regulating drones in town, a public safety issue. The idea never went to the public safety subcommittee. It went directly onto the Township’s agenda in the form of a draft ordinance without any input from fellow committee members. Objections were raised to this procedure and the matter was put down for public discussion. After an exchange of ideas the draft ordinance was improved and approved by the Committee. That’s the way it should be. Open public discussion resulting in an exchange of ideas always results in better public policy than back room deals.

Committeeman Mike Kelly is working on a resolution urging Congress to take action on the issue gun violence. I hope it will be on the agenda for the next township meeting on November 12th. Please come out and lend your support. For those of you who contacted me to voice your support for my idea about a municipal ordinance regulating guns on municipal property and playgrounds, please email me at rgallop@chathamtownship-nj.org  or show up at a Township meeting or write a letter to the editor in support of the idea. If enough people raise the issue the Committee will give the idea serious consideration. 

Last year the Township Committee passed a resolution opposing terrorists. When President Kennedy set the goal of landing a man on the moon, he said, “We choose to go to the moon… and do the other things, not because they are easy, but because they are hard.”

Opposing terrorists is easy. Wading into the issue of gun violence is hard. Everyone knows there are strongly held beliefs on the best way to deal with it. But we owe it to our children to discuss the issue. Make no mistake school shootings affect Chatham. It affects the way we allocate our police resources during the day. It necessitated hiring a public safety employee by the Board of Education.

We all hope and pray that a shooting on town or school property never comes to Chatham. Our job as elected officials is to use every resource under our control to prevent it. Even if we can only move the ball forward by a couple of inches, it is worth doing. We need your help.  Please voice your opinion on this critical issue.

Robert Gallop

Chatham Township Committeeman

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