To the Editor:
Kelly and Ness took your government over, and we now see what they meant by transparency. No questions, no answers. Backroom deals in secrecy. They forced lawsuits from the public. And now, in a brash act, they order a public entity to steal signs off your yards because they don't like what the signs say. They stole them from public property as well. I guess public property is only reserved for their political signs.
Now, with the power they begged for, our Mayor Kelly and Deputy Mayor Ness have stolen your constitutional right of free speech. Amazing to some, predicted by many. All over the desire for a new municipal building hiding behind the affordable housing rouse.
Bob Hoffmann certainly did not order the theft of these signs without Mayoral directive. And was it so important to get just the ones that were alleged to be removed as was the excuse? Kelly and Ness are the elected officials who make very clear to all of us that they run this town. If they ordered this unconstitutional act to steal your signs and freedom of speech it is malfeasance. If they claim they didn't know it is malfeasance. Either way, at this point, neither can be believed to be truthful.
We in Chatham Township have been lied to, to the point that private citizens have been forced to take legal action against our Township government. One of the greatest decisions our Township has faced in many years has been decided by Mike Kelly in a back room. He and Ness balk at your questioning, if they even appear to listen, your concerns may be heard, but certainly not cared about. Look at their actions and how they disregard the residents at every turn. And now we are at a point where questions are no longer welcome in open public sessions.
Remember when you think about this and hear all the excuses about the removal of the signs: they didn't take signs for church bazaars, day care, items for sale, garage sale signs, Democrat political signs, or any other signs that sometimes remain in place for months past their usefulness. THEY SPECIFICALLY TOOK ONLY THOSE GET ACTIVE SIGNS THAT OPPOSE THEIR HANDLING OF AFFORDABLE HOUSING.
I certainly understand this is not about signs, and I know our residents understand it as well. It is about squashing opposition like an unwanted bug. It is about Kelly and Ness not wanting you to have a voice or a say in what goes on in town, whether it be affordable housing or any other issue. It is about these politicians using your tax dollar as a blank check for a vision they want, and how dare you to be so audacious as to question. It is all about the theft of your right to a government that works for you, the folks that pay the bills for the total crap Kelly and Ness are trying to pitch.
We all want to do what is just, right, and fair when it comes to affordable housing. We here in Chatham Township have big hearts. We just want to do what is fair to everyone. Kelly and Ness however could care less what is fair to you, and the proof is in their actions. There certainly is no reason to point to anything else. It is clear their words are worthless and not to be believed at this juncture.
These most recent actions of pettiness in taking your signs are the crowning moment of Mayor Kelly's administration. It should tell us all about by whom and how our beloved Township is now run.
Take back your first amendment rights. Take back control of your town. Do what it takes to fix what these jokers have destroyed. Don't be discouraged and don't give up. And be sure not to allow Mike Kelly to be elected again. The call for him to relinquish the office of Mayor should be loud and clear after this theft of your property and rights.
Green Village section of Chatham Township
Daniel Miller is a longtime resident who currently serves on the Chatham Township Environmental Committee. He is a former member of the Chatham Township Planning Board, and former Chairman of the Chatham Township Republican Committee.