I have been on the Fanwood Democratic Committee for over 7 years now and have been on the Fanwood Borough Council for 3.5 years, so I have had to run for office twice against a member of another party.
But now -- thanks to the actions of Freeholder Al Mirabella and Senator Nick Scutari -- I and 13 other good Democrats, have to run against people in our own party to keep control of Fanwood in Fanwood. We are having to run against our own neighbors.
The people on the current Fanwood committee, who are ALL on Column B in June with the exception of Mr. Mirabella, are long time Fanwood residents, not politicians. They don't just support "one person", as Mr. Mirabella claims. They support the good work that is going on in Fanwood and the good people who have run for office here. They support Mayor Mahr because she has done an excellent job and is loyal to Fanwood!
And now Mr. Mirabella wants to put out a false narrative that suggests that all these people don't have good and diverse ideas? He knows these people. Many of them used to be his friends. Ask yourself really: Why is he running a campaign against Fanwood residents who have supported our community for years? What agenda is at play here?
Better question: If this is just about Mr. Mirabella reclaiming his seat on the Fanwood Democratic Committee, why is our state Senator NIck Scutari contesting 300 committee seats across Union County? It is not just Fanwood.
Mrs. Mirabella talks about having to unite as a Democratic party. This is obviously important to all Democrats now. However, we should unite with honesty and integrity, motivated by the desire to do good, not for personal or political gain. The current Fanwood Democratic Committee is and has been united with the goal of a better borough. It is disingenuous to suggest these people have another political agenda or do not have Fanwood's best interest at heart.
The truth of the matter is that Mr. Mirabella has not been actively involved in Fanwood Democratic Committee for several years -- long before he was the lone Democrat who turned his back on his own mayor for County political reasons. The other truth is that Mirabella didn't just want his own committee seat; he and the County want all of the committee seats. That is why they refused to give our committee the line and promptly presented a full slate of 14 committee candidates to run against us.
This behavior has played out across Union County. Is that diversity of opinion they are seeking or consolidation of power to one person? The REAL truth is, this primary fight is not about Fanwood at all. For Mirabella and Scutari, this is about Union County taking control of committees in EVERY town.
From my perspective, this is the opposite of good government, the opposite of what it means to me to be a real Democrat. Mr. Mirabella already turned his back on the Fanwood Democratic Organization a year ago when he did not support Colleen Mahr for County Chair, and actively campaigned against her. Now, he is trying to do it in Fanwood, and for what personal or political gain?
Colleen Mahr isn't seeking higher office. She is not trying to climb the political ladder. She is trying to do the right thing for Fanwood. Can Al Mirabella say that is what he has been doing? Is that what former politician Linda Stender is doing, who does not even live in Fanwood anymore, but is advising him during this campaign? If he was truly "Fanwood First," he would have worked with his mayor and his Democratic Committee for what is best for our town first. He has not done that in many years.
Please don't claim the moral high ground in this fight. The current Fanwood Democratic Committee members have always put Fanwood First without seeking personal or political gain. Please come out to support them and our Mayor and Council -- Column B -- in the June 4 Democratic Primary.
Erin McElroy Barker