To the Editor:
Kelly rigs the system in favor of poorly planned affordable housing. He earlier forced the recusal of Committeewoman Swartz, who has opined against the faulty and costly plans. Now, at the planning board level, Kelly, behind the scenes and in the background, forces the recusal of planning board member and former mayor, the honorable Nicole Hagner.
Yet when deputy mayor Ness, who is a realtor by trade, is seeking out and recommending properties to be purchased or condemned by the Township, he defends her obvious conflict of interest. The hypocrisy knows no bounds. Legally required or not, the recusal of Ness would be appropriate, simply because of the optics. Perception is everything, and the possibilities of future business and considerations for a realtor by trade representing the selection and purchasing of private properties with taxpayer dollars knows no bounds. Self recusal and the request of recusal by Kelly would only hold consistent. I suppose recusal and perception of conflict of interest is of no interest to Kelly with a supporter like Ness. Those types of conflicts and perceptions only apply to his detractors and opponents, in order to eliminate opposition to plans deemed inconsistent with our master plan, and unwanted by the taxpaying public.
Kelly will certainly say he has nothing to do with it, but we all must remember, he as mayor appoints the members to the planning board, appoints the committee members who have representation on that board, and certainly has tremendous behind the scenes influence over that so-called independent body. Never forget, and check the record, Kelly ducks and dives everything, and always finds some scapegoat to blame.
Remember how he blamed the administrator for your stolen signs, and those illegal trespassing, unmasked and ungloved surveyors on your private properties? An I am sorry from Kelly is insincere and just doesn't cut it. As we work to stay safe, obey directives from the governor, etc., Kelly approves contractors without vetting, endangers the lives of families, and approves illegal entry into our private property. And when you complain, Kelly hits the mute button on you, talks over you, and then cuts you out of his virtual zoom committee meeting. He has exploited the format to force the defacto recusal of many of the public who cannot participate in this fashion. From one hundred to two hundred attending pre-pandemic meetings, to now thirty to forty public participants at virtual meetings. Kelly's reasons for the pushed agenda are clear.
As we all have read, the planning board went on to approve rezoning in areas that previously were deemed inappropriate for affordable housing. This approval was made regardless of the fact that these rezonings are deemed inconsistent with the Township's master plan. This is just the beginning, as the planning board will soon go on to approve more inconsistent plans, allowing for multiple units to be built in areas deemed by the master plan and our existing zoning laws as not buildable. These decisions will be made under this rigged and corrupt system, and destroy certain neighborhoods, build on steep slopes, recharge areas and natural habitats, diminish property values of surrounding homes, etc. This vicious destruction of the values of homes that taxpaying residents have invested their entire lives is cold, vicious, mean, and sick. And most of all, not next to Mike Kelly's home.
One would think instead of spending millions on properties for this poorly planned project, our mayor and government would be more interested in financial relief to eliminate some of the devastating effects of the pandemic on our residents, small businesses and owners, our devastated long term care facilities, and the exacerbated mental strife and substance abuse increases that have been experienced. These are just a footnote to our mayor and committee, and regardless of what they say, they sure aren't throwing millions toward helping those in need, they are throwing millions at property purchases all over town instead. Instead of financial relief, Kelly is raising your taxes during this trying time. The actions of the committee are clear. The seriousness of current conditions matter none. The concerns do not coincide with the actions. Our millions of tax dollars being leveraged for affordable housing should immediately be diverted to recovery, assistance, mental health and substance abuse, senior care relief and PPE, etc. All issues attributed to the ongoing pandemic. All issues that carry much heavier weight than purchasing property in a willy nilly fashion. But as clearly shown, Kelly takes none of these issues seriously.
Don't be bullied by the tyrannical Kelly and Ness. Don't let them get away with it, and stop this crazy governmental overreach. Keep working to stop this insanity being perpetrated upon us, with our tax dollars. Don't allow the elimination of your voices by Mike Kelly. Keep fighting, be safe. Keep your eye on the ball, and most of all vote this joker out of office before he can do any more damage to what you have worked for all your lives.
Green Village section of Chatham Township