It is perceived by many people these days that polarization in politics is the biggest threat to our democracy in our nation. It shocked me when I read the 10/28 Letter To The Editor by Ms. Priya Patel. Besides many assertions being non-existent or quotes taken out of context, the main theme is to draw a clear party line for our local Town Committee election by imposing the Trumpian view upon one of the candidates, Ms. Agnes Sym. As a first-generation immigrant myself, it hurts even further to see one second-generation immigrant pitting against another from different cultural background with lots of misunderstanding. This is exactly the abhorrent divisiveness that Trump causes to our country.
Here are a few mistakes from Ms. Patel. When the candidates talked about safety issues, all, including Ms. Sym, were referring to TRAFFIC safety, which had nothing to do with any sort of crimes on the national news. As a commuter, I see chaotic scenes at the Millburn and Short Hills train stations during peak hours every day. As a runner, I fear my own safety because some people are driving way too fast in town. In fact, all candidates agreed it should be a priority. As for the character of Millburn, even though Ms. Sym didn't elaborate, I am pretty sure exclusiveness is not her definition. Actually, on her closing statement at the debate, she advocates inclusion and diversity. Defining people by their party affiliations can only achieve the opposite of making people feel welcome.
In my mind, an ideal candidate for the Township Committee is someone who cares about our town and its residents, has the vision for long-term development, and possesses the professional capability to handle difficult challenges while knowing when to compromise. The ideal candidate should also be open-minded and analytical, fiscally responsible, and able to make decisions in a non-partisan way. Out of the four candidates on the ballot, Ms. Agnes Sym is the best fit. If you agree with me, please vote for Ms. Sym on November 5. I hope one day, our TC election will become non-partisan, just like our Board of Education election, and we will not need to have this kind of discussion again.