Transparency is a word that gets thrown around a lot during political campaigns. It was a surprise to me that the Republican candidates for Garwood Council (Stevens, Nicastro, and Bellomo) screamed about the lack of transparency of the current mayor and council. In their latest mailer, they put out a political newsletter that was designed to make Garwood residents believe they were reading a newsletter from the school. When you place “Back to School” on the front, you are attempting to dupe people into believing this is coming from a trustworthy source like the school. This is not only misleading, but it also shows that these candidates are willing to do or say anything to get people to elect them.

Then when you start to read the articles, you realize that you are reading a complete work of fiction. Where do I start? The article on rats claims that “most residents have called exterminators and incurred costs over $500… [and] two separate independent companies have stated Garwood is having a rat epidemic.” It sounds like the apocalypse will be coming next. Transparency means you state facts and you back them up with actual credible sources. Do the Republicans have exterminators willing to go on record to confirm this doomsday scenario? Also, if this has been such a problem, why hasn’t anyone from the current Republicans running come to council to say anything about these issues? If these claims were legitimate, you would have seen large swaths of people during public comment expressing these concerns. 

Then they go on to claim that “Garwood is no longer self-sustainable” because of the increase in debt. What do they mean by no longer self-sustainable? That suggests that every town in Union County that has far more debt than Garwood and many whose debt ratio far exceeds Garwood are also not sustainable. I guess we should say goodbye to Clark, Springfield, and Cranford based on this erroneous statement.

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Also, their debt argument is just a veiled message that says they were against the purchase of the new ladder truck, which accounted for more than half of the increase in debt that they claim in the mailer. If the Republican candidates would just come out and say what they are truly for, I could maybe respect their position, but saying you are against debt means that you are against the purchase of any new equipment for our DPW, Fire and Police Departments. 

What is transparent is that the current candidates on the Democratic ticket, Jen Blumenstock, Marc Lazarow, and Russ Graham, have shown what it truly means to be transparent. They have had “Breaking down the Budget” meetings to explain each expenditure. Their team has supported and attended the fire truck town halls that were led by the fire chief. They have passed an ordinance to provide improved enforcement of the Health Department to ensure that residents keep their properties pest free. 

Now I will show you an example of my own transparency in this letter. I intend to vote for candidates that I can trust to be honest with the voters and my vote will most certainly be for Blumenstock, Lazarow, and Graham.