I am writing in support of Livingston Councilwoman Deborah Shapiro who is seeking re-election in the November 4th election. This would be her second term and she is running as an Independent. I would urge all Livingston residents to consider voting for her.
While I would not normally vote for an Independent candidate as they tend to be more of a spoiler, I believe Councilwoman Shapiro’s candidacy is an exception in both her chance of re-election and in terms of the things that really matter. I believe that despite which political party one belongs to, or how one labels oneself, or what promises one keeps or doesn’t keep – we are ultimately defined by our actions. As one who has been to numerous Council meetings and conferences, I can say firsthand that it is Councilwoman Shapiro who consistently scrutinizes all spending proposals by the Town Council and then measures the necessity of such proposals against the importance of not adding even more red ink to the mammoth black hole of a debt this town now carries. The debt is now somewhere near $100,000,000.00 for a town of less than 30,000 people. And, that debt, which still has to be paid, is in addition to the tax dollars and fees, etc. already collected from residents and businesses. I believe Councilwoman Shapiro has it right when she votes against such spending if its necessity is less important than the need to control our debt.
Prior to Debby and Oliver Shapiro putting the Republicans on the map in Livingston, the town had spent the previous twelve years under a unanimous Democratic Council. The overwhelming majority of the Town’s debt was accumulated during this period and is a consequence of an unchecked spending spree. Except for Livingston’s two first-term, Democratic Councilman, the remaining Democratic members both past and present own this debt. That being said, it is important to remember Councilwoman Shapiro is one vote out of five and one of only two Republicans on the Council. This has prevented meaningful change to the way Livingston’s tax dollars are spent. However, Deborah Shapiro ran for office as a fiscal conservative and to this day has kept that promise.
One interesting observation regarding Livingston’s previous outgoing Democratic Council members who, amidst the back slapping, handshakes, and photo ops, made speeches listing what they considered to be their accomplishments is that not a single one of them could ever state that they had a positive effect on the Town's debt. Nor do I recall any of them offering any explanation for the debt they left for Livingston’s residents. Councilwoman Shapiro, on the other hand, can hold her head high, look you in the eye, and say with all honesty that she fought tooth and nail against wasteful and unnecessary spending. For her tireless effort to serve the residents of Livingston, she has my gratitude.
I would say to my fellow Town residents who don’t like to think about politics that I understand. But, as you may not think about politics, politics thinks about you.
Robert J. Clark
16 Fieldstone Drive
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