To the Editor:

Mayor Kelly and Deputy Mayor Ness could not be more out of touch. Ness even said we are all working and getting on with our lives in the most recent electronic Township Committee meeting. Not sure what world these two are living in, but they surely don't see what the rest of us do.

Kelly and Ness are missing the mark, and are absolutely tone-deaf and dismissive of the wishes and will of our residents. The lip service given to us on affordable housing and the insincerity of actually listening or caring about what the residents of Chatham Township want is astounding and quite frankly alarming. To be purchasing property, raising taxes, and forcing unwanted and unnecessary affordable housing plans upon us in this time of economic upheaval is offensive.

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Kelly pushes the agenda and is exploiting remote meetings with tremendously limited public participation to force his agenda through. Ness, Fondaco, and Ewald follow in lockstep, looking concerned, but parroting the same narrative.

The truth is that the River Road project and the real estate purchases around town for group homes are flawed for numerous reasons. One thing is perfectly clear about the actions of Kelly and Ness though, is that in part this whole project is being pushed with a vendetta against the public. Why? Because they are so angry that the plan that they hid for over two years to replace the municipal building and give that land to a developer for AH was exposed, rejected, and defeated.

They wasted all our time and court extensions on that secretive project, and now they will spend money we don't have, tell us what a great job they are doing, limit the input from the public, raise our taxes tremendously during what may be the worst economic upheaval in history, and destroy neighborhoods all over town with poorly planned AH and group homes. We will certainly begin to see many leave Chatham Township due to the overtaxing, destruction of property values, and the overreach of Township government during these financially uncertain times. The tax the max moniker on Kelly and Ness is absolutely accurate.

How about showing some compassion for our residents? Not from Kelly. Kelly's compassion comes in the form of sending surveyors unmasked and unannounced to trespass on people's property, endangering the health and welfare of private citizens whose property is not part of the affordable housing debacle. Remember, contractors also work at the behest of the mayor. It is his job to see they are screened and act appropriately. Yet another fail by Kelly. But you can count on one thing, Kelly won't take responsibility for that.

When pressured it is clear that regardless of what Kelly says, they have not pressed the court in any serious way to put all this aside until we see the actual financial fallout from this devastating pandemic. They say oh we asked, but it is clear no true pushback on the courts has taken place.

Our local governments have been directed at this time to work in a limited capacity, basically pay the bills, make sure the residents are safe, and be thoughtful
in this difficult time. That is happening in most places around the state. But not here. Kelly and Ness are full steam ahead pushing this life and town altering agenda at a time when all of our lives, businesses, and jobs are put on hold. It is tragic when our government pits itself against its residents instead of joining them. It is sad when two people, Kelly and Ness, can hijack our Township like thieves in the night, and destroy what so many have worked for all their lives.

The subversive actions of Kelly and Ness need to be posed to the courts, letting judges know that now failed and flawed plans were hidden from the public for years. The courts need to know the truth of why the residents are upset, and also that the residents are eager to find a workable solution. It is clear that the haphazard plan Kelly and Ness have put forward is not a reasonable, fair, or equitable solution for anyone. And remember, when Kelly thought the courts might have found out about massive public dissent, he had the signs showing that dissent stolen from the resident's yards, ordering public entities to take them. The lengths Kelly and Ness will go to eliminate public input knows no bounds. And to continue to blame the administrator is an insult to all of our intelligence.

Nobody, including me, is against affordable housing. All the residents want is to do it in an area that is appropriate for those in need, and for those who are already living here. Our committee cares little of that. Fondaco is more concerned about how new power lines near her home will affect her but cares none for the reformation of entire neighborhoods far away from her house.

The only way to begin to get AH done in the correct way is to get Kelly out. Felice and Hamilton then can come in and work to fix this disaster, in a suitable way for all involved. We must vote for Felice and Hamilton in the upcoming Republican primary.

We need to work towards a solution on affordable housing with responsible planning, responsible placement, and honor the commitment governing officials owe to the citizenry they pledge to serve. Kelly and Ness have failed, have invited lawsuits from the public, squelched public sentiment, and purposely ignored the will of the taxpayers in Chatham Township. It is time for a change. Felice and Hamilton will bring about the restoration of responsible government that works in the best interests and at the direction of the taxpaying residents.

We need leaders, not dictators. Kelly will only continue to dictate and lecture us as if we are 12-year-olds. If one watches these meetings, it is clear to see. With the elimination of in-person challenges, the emboldened Mayor pushes through. Stop the insanity, remove the rino Kelly. Do it July 7th by voting for Felice and Hamilton.

Stay healthy, stay safe, stand tall with your neighbors, and keep your eye on the ball. Vote.

Dan Miller

Green Village section of Chatham Township