In my quest to represent our City as its next At Large Council member, I have been so privileged to have the opportunity to knock on thousands of doors. My goal? To meet and greet every single voter and taxpayer, no small ambition in a city of over 20,000.
Despite living and working here for close to a quarter century, raising two children in our District’s schools, and meeting countless parents as President of the Board of Education, there are so many interesting people out there. It’s truly an education.
My purpose? To learn first-hand what our residents seek from our government. This is better than a survey. Only a few actually respond to a survey. A survey can never be interactive like a conversation. The insights gleaned are current and relevant.
Lesson number one? Our residents love Summit. Many have lived here for years, decades, even generations. Keep Summit strong is their message; no fundamental changes are needed, no “new voices.” Congratulations to our current Council.
If pressed the number one concern is infrastructure, safety and security. The Morris Avenue bridge outage surpasses all, but most realize that it’s not a Summit project, and work cannot occur during train operation hours.
Road quality is critical. Why is Blackburn, right out in front of a District school, such a bone jarring ride?
Traffic control and safety are right up there. While I continue to hear great praise for our police department, couldn’t we cut taxes if we just started ticketing those who text or phone while driving?
Personal safety is of concern, too. Most concede the recent incident at the River Road Shell was out of character, but our citizens demand we stay ever vigilant.
Many have told me the municipal portion of taxes is not the number one issue. Common Council has done a nice job holding down increases, despite an ever spiraling levy from Union County. But, in exchange for those taxes, our residents demand a high level of service and responsiveness.
There’s no talk about Trenton or Washington. Our citizens say they want city government focused on city issues: “Don’t get distracted. Focus on how those very large tax dollars are being spent.”
Bottom line, I pledge to stay 100% focused on Summit issues. I will bring my experience to Council. That includes as a nationally recognized financial planner, a lawyer, a three time member of the Board of School Estimate, a two time Operations Chair for our schools’ $70 million a year budget, as former finance chair for the Summit Area Y and the Overlook Hospital Foundation.
Founding, growing, and managing a business responsible for hundreds of millions of dollars of clients’ money has taught me the nuts and bolts of executing successfully. There is always room for visionaries and dreamers, but at the end of day success comes from flawless execution.
Bottom line, if elected your next At Large Council member, I pledge to stay 100% focused on Summit.
David Dietze is the Republican candidate for Summit Common Council, At-Large.