Letters to the Editor

Opposition to Open Government Shines Spotlight on Raritan Twp.

e8f413915d5af809f781_letter_to_the_editor_1.jpg
e8f413915d5af809f781_letter_to_the_editor_1.jpg

To the editor:

Raritan Township’s resolution opposing enhanced open government inadvertently shines the spotlight on itself.

With bipartisan co-sponsors, state Sen. Loretta Weinberg - a champion for open government - crafted bills S1045 and A2699 to expand open and transparent government. These increase public participation rights earlier in the governmental process, specifically in committee meetings now exempt.

Sign Up for E-News

The Raritan Township Committee cited mendacious excuses, such as “unnecessary, unpopular, burdensome to staff, time-consuming, expensive” and the like. Employee assignments and workloads are expenses to serve the public …not to be cited as an obstruction to it.

The state’s Sunshine Law is needed for the public’s effectiveness in fulfilling its role in a democratic society. Shrouded government restricts knowledge, interest, concern and participation. Elected officials are cognizant that this minimizes citizen interference and facilitates government control.

Previously, Weinberg introduced legislation to restrict officials’ exploitation of new technologies - such as wireless and virtual communications - that compromise the letter and spirit of the Sunshine Law. Disingenuously, the League of Municipalities constructed a generic resolution in opposition. The League’s pattern is to lessen citizens’ rights and increase government control. Because League membership fees are funded by taxpayers, we are actually paying for our own disenfranchisement! This must be addressed further.

Early participation is necessary to prevent corruption; here is a common ploy. Officials create an appearance of open mindedness. A façade of diverse residents are empaneled for research and advice. Unbeknownst to others, all panelists share the officials’ intended outcome. Biased research is presented and recommendations adopted, often at the same open meeting. Constituents could not know the committee was formed around a pre-determined agenda.

Shame on Raritan Township and other municipalities that vote to impede open, transparent, honest and forthcoming government. Municipalities that are genuinely open should voluntarily expand their transparency beyond the minimum required by law.

Remember when voting; these officials are not acting to represent their constituents - but to further empower themselves.

Please visit TheCitizensCampaign.org.

Janet Piszar, Chatham

 

The opinions expressed herein are the writer's alone, and do not reflect the opinions of TAPinto.net or anyone who works for TAPinto.net. TAPinto.net is not responsible for the accuracy of any of the information supplied by the writer. Click here to submit a Letter to the Editor.

TAP Into Another Town's News:

You May Also Be Interested In

Sign Up for E-News

Flemington/Raritan

Upcoming Events

Tue, January 23, 2:30 PM

Flemington Free Public Library, Flemington

Children's Movie

Arts & Entertainment

Sat, January 27, 10:00 AM

Hunterdon County Polytech, Flemington

Polytech Open House

Education

AtlantiCast

AtlantiCast: Episode 010

On this week’s AtlantiCast, we take you to the groundbreaking for an expansion to Morristown Medical Center, introduce you to the newest babies of 2018 at Atlantic Health System and share some must-see winter weather tips!

 

'Affordable' Housing Deal Signed Without Public Input

January 16, 2018

To the editor:

Across New Jersey the Fair Share Housing Center – a group of lawyers who make their money building and renting affordable housing – is threatening and suing towns in a blatant attempt to control local zoning. While all towns must fulfill an obligation to provide affordable housing, FSHC has now become the arbiter of “how much” and is ...

Brain Cancer Study Opens at Overlook Medical Center

January 16, 2018

Kurt Jaeckle, MD, co-director of the Gerald J. Glasser Brain Tumor Center at Overlook Medical Center, and medical director of the Atlantic Center for Research, is leading a phase III study of novel drug VAL-083, which has already shown promise in Glioblastoma and other cancers. The study is for patients whose glioblastoma multiforme or gliosarcoma has progressed during or after treatment with the ...