As it pertains to political parties, George Washington said it best “However [political parties] may now and then answer popular ends, they are likely in the course of time and things, to become potent engines, by which cunning, ambitious, and unprincipled men will be enabled to subvert the power of the people and to usurp for themselves the reins of government, destroying afterwards the very engines which have lifted them to unjust dominion.”
Municipal government is the system closest to the people and is responsible for the decisions that often have a direct and immediate impact on the community. The people we elect should be chosen based on our sense of their individual capabilities and should be devoid of the petty tribalism of party politics. It is not about the left, the right, or any other ideology. The candidates’ resumes should provide the basis for judgment for what they have done, and guide our decisions on whether or not they are the right person for the job.
Today, more than 80 percent of American cities have nonpartisan elections for local offices including Los Angeles, Chicago, Phoenix, El Paso, Boston, Memphis, & Scarsdale, NY and, in New Jersey, Verona, South Orange, Belleville, Irvington, Orange and Newark in Essex County; Ridgewood, Teaneck and Teterboro in Bergen; Paterson in Passaic; Newton in Sussex; Trenton in Mercer; Highlands, Keansburg and Long Branch in Monmouth; Medford Lakes in Burlington; Ocean City in Cape May; and Bayonne, Union City and Weehawken in Hudson County among many others. Why doesn’t Millburn/Short Hills?
Since 1911, Scardale, NY has selected its Board of Trustees (Township Committee) using a nonpartisan system. Candidates for office are privately interviewed by a diversely composed committee and then nominated for office. Scardale believes in "Performance, Not Politics” and so should Millburn Township. Partisanship is irrelevant to work of city government. As the New York City Mayor Fiorello La Guardia said, "There is no Democratic or Republican way to pick up the garbage.”
I am not endorsing one candidate or the other but feel that over the past few local elections, party has played a role in who has been elected and not the best person(s) for the job.
Let’s get party of out our local politics, don’t just vote party lines, learn about each candidate, and vote for individual(s) who will be the best for our community.
Melissa Goldberg, Short Hills