Every day I thank God for the great blessing of being a citizen of the freest, most successful, strongest, yet most generous and benevolent nation that has ever existed, and I am continually amazed by what individual Americans can independently achieve through hard work and perseverance. This inspiration and pride is only magnified by having the opportunity to live among some of the best and brightest, most accomplished and most giving Americans of all –
the people of Chatham Township.
That is why I am running for the Chatham Township Committee. Because my family and I – like our friends and neighbors – love living in this community. We choose to live here, and are proud to live here, because Chatham Township is a special place. It became so special, unique even, because it has been skillfully guided on a consistent path by its past leaders.
My friend Rez Estevez and I are running for the Committee because we believe that the formula that has made Chatham Township the gem that it is should be preserved. We run on behalf of, and at the request of, the largely silent majority of Township residents who understand what that means. The people who are not clamoring for ill-advised, unwanted, and unnecessary “change.” This silent majority, of which Rez and I are a part, wants to live in a stable community, start and raise families, or enjoy retirements – we simply want to go about living our lives in an already beautiful and prosperous town and have no interest in dictating to our neighbors how they should be living their lives. We like the Township the way it is – not the way a small cadre of liberal Democrats would like it to be.
It has long been said that eternal vigilance is the price of liberty. This is obviously true in a “macro” sense globally, but it also is true on the “micro” level right here in Chatham Township. And now our community is at a distinct crossroads. The well-established foundations and traditions that make Chatham Township great are fragile and must be carefully minded each and every year. Our uncommonly low (and incredibly stable) tax rates, our envy inspiring home values, our difficult-to-achieve “Triple A” debt rating, and our reputation for law and order make this one of the most prosperous and safe communities in New Jersey. All this “good” is in serious jeopardy if two more extremely liberal Democrats are voted onto the Township Committee.
Just one year ago, a combination of conservative complacency, and an onslaught of liberal Democrat national money from Washington that poured into Morris County, brought us to this brink when a self-professed “Max the Tax” liberal made it onto the Committee. Now, two more extremely liberal Democrats are doing anything they can to join her – including pretending to be “non-partisan.” Let’s call that what it is, an insult to your intelligence.
We all know that Stacey Ewald and Celeste Fondaco are nothing more than lockstep followers of Tracy Ness and the small but incredibly noisy squad of liberal activists that surround her. Scratch the surface of their phony rhetoric about non-partisanship and you will find their true agenda – to oppose, reverse, and undo the policies that have been so effective in this community for many years. They abhor the principles of limited government, low taxes, combating lawlessness, and fiscal responsibility. Instead, in the name of “change”, they mean to bring us higher taxes, more spending, increased regulation, capitulation to Trenton affordable housing advocates, and support for Phil Murphy’s disastrous “sanctuary state” policies.
None of this is really debatable if one takes the time to seek out the campaign literature that Ewald and Fondaco circulate to their liberal followers. They speak in terms of Chatham Township (that is, You, the Taxpayers) owing a present “obligation” to actually pay for the construction of affordable housing units and the need to “find funds” (and surrender Township-owned property) for affordable housing. They describe how they intend to manage “the coming tax increase.” In fact, they overtly advocate for a new tax that will penalize homeowners for doing what we should all be encouraging – making home improvements that ultimately benefit the entire community. They’ve already made it clear that, not surprisingly, the recent encroachment into the operations of private businesses in our community (and corresponding punitive tax) related to so-called “single-use” plastic bags is “just the beginning” when it comes to new regulations. I believe that all of these measures are bad policy, and that they will have a severe detrimental impact on Chatham Township. So does Rez Estevez. That is why we have been endorsed by the four Mayors of Chatham Township that preceded the lame-duck current mayor who is Tracy Ness’ ally.
My only aim is to ensure that the voters are fully aware of the choice that is facing them. Rez Estevez and I intend to rely on and apply the conservative, Republican financial principles that have served this community so well. There is no effort to obfuscate what we are talking about. But make no mistake about who the other candidates are. The choice is clear and elections have consequences. A vote for Ewald and Fondaco does not serve any non partisan or cooperative purpose. It is a vote that will create a controlling block of extremely liberal Democrats on the Township Committee. This group has already made it perfectly clear that they do not look at things in terms of what is best for Chatham Township. Instead, they actually, and brazenly advocate for all manner of programs based on the fact that “lots of other towns are doing it.”
This is not how serious, informed people govern, and it is wrong for Chatham Township. It always has been. That is why over the last 17 years the voters of Chatham Township have considered Stacey Ewald and Celeste Fondaco as candidates for the Township Committee, and rejected their liberal tax and spend agenda, four times. Along the way, Stacey Ewald had a fifth failure as the champion of the plan to spend $25 million of Your money on a totally unnecessary and ill-conceived performing arts center (among other things), which was rejected by a 3 to 1 margin by voters in both Chatham Township and Chatham Borough. The fact is that the citizens of Chatham Township did the right thing when Ewald and Fondaco came looking to spend our money five times before.
Once again, we need to do the right thing. I was humbled and compelled to act when the former mayors and other Township leaders asked me to step up and do my part to maintain our community’s standard of responsible government. This is why I am committed to donating my time and professional expertise to this endeavor. In this context, consider this aspect of how important the election on November 5th is to the future of this community . . .
in just a very short period of time we could see conservative, full-time business people/part-time politicians John Maurer, Kevin Sullivan, and Curt Ritter, all replaced by what are effectively full-time liberal, agenda-driven community activists.
The last thing Chatham Township needs is a full-time “political class” scanning the political developments coming from Trenton, Montclair, Maplewood, and Milburn for new ways to grow government, influence into your life, and spend your money. We need serious, business-minded people who will always revert to the same guiding principle in each and every situation: (A) what outcome is in the best interest of Chatham Township (without regard to anyplace else); and (B) what path to that desired outcome will have the absolute least impact on our community (physically) and our taxpayers (financially).
Look at just one example – the very serious situation regarding so-called “mandates” being pushed onto Chatham Township by the NJ Fair Share Housing Center. Now, I understand that Ewald, Fondaco, and Ness adhere to a political philosophy that is fundamentally different from my own. However, even in that context, I find it genuinely incredible, perplexing, and disturbing (and so should you) that an actual elected representative of the people of Chatham Township, and two would-be representatives of those same people, seem eager to act as advocates for the NJFSH, and against the interests of the people they expect to elected them. We should all be on the same page on this one – but we are not.
Yes, there is a “settlement” between the Township and NJFSH that has been approved, including by conservative Republicans. How the nuanced terms of that settlement will be interpreted or enforced, however, remains to be seen. The settlement is a very complex legal agreement negotiated between two parties with adverse interests that may be subject to various competing interpretations. You can be sure that at each juncture along the way through this process I (and Rez) will promote only the interpretation of each and every term, clause, and punctuation mark in that agreement that is in the best interest of Chatham Township and that will result in the least impact on our community.
Where this will all lead is admittedly unclear. But, there is one thing that you can know for certain – when it comes to that settlement (and any other future interactions with NJFSH), I will be applying all of my skills and knowledge as an attorney who regularly deals with complex contract issues to forcefully advocate the position that is best for Chatham Township, without regard to what other towns are doing or what the wants, desires, or interpretations of NJFSH may be. I certainly will not be firing off public proclamations on social media or anywhere else haphazardly adopting positions regarding what Chatham Township’s “obligations” are. The public adoption of set-in-stone interpretations as to purported future obligations under the settlement by Ewald, Fondaco, and Ness (that comport with NJFSH’s agenda) is real “amateur hour” stuff. This alone demonstrates that these are not the people we want representing us in these negotiations, or in any other way.
The choice before us could not be more clear. On November 5th , Chatham Township can join me (and Rez Estevez) on the conservative road to continued financial stability, low taxes, safety and security, and a “Chatham First” agenda that defends our community from outside pressure for “change” and the failed policies pushed by Trenton. Or our strong and prosperous town can opt to choose a road that inevitably leads to failure, by following Stacey
Ewald and Celeste Fondaco down the path to liberal Democrat tax, spend, regulate, and capitulate policies.
That wrong road has been wisely rejected many times before. On November 5 th, it’s time to do it again.
I respectfully ask for your vote.