I would like to urge residents of Summit to view the candidates for this Fall's elections through a bi-focal lens. New elected members of Summit's governing body will need to be able to focus on issues that affect Summit both near and far. Coming out of three years of multi-sector turmoil leads to what I now call a "fact". If at any point in history this can be called true, the time is now. The basis of the emerging "new normal" is "economic value", and the essence of effective decision-making will be defined by disciplined economic valuation. Such understanding can be used as a basis to discern the role and impact of municipal governance relative to the wants, needs and behaviors of the citizenry. The candidates will need to understand the fundamental principles of using economic value to synthesize opportunities and challenges preceding their decision-making, and involve the citizenry at key strategic junctures to inform the impact of a decision to be taken by any one councilperson or council as a whole.
 
The 2% cap has thrust us into a series of pendulum swings for assessing wants and needs and weighing trade-offs to find an equilibrium of value to the beholder. The essence of municipal governance is about policy and fiduciary oversight over matters that effect the citizenry. Being able to convey the options, trade-offs and then finding the total net economic benefit will be a key skill for the next Council and Mayor. Right now as a citizenry, we are discerning ideas in a vacuum and reacting to decisions without fully understanding the analytical path that led us there. The consequence to us is the jolt of large pendulum swings, a loss of feeling of security and a resulting tendency for paralysis. This is no way to build a position of strength for the future.
 
 
There is an intense need for us to create non-property tax municipal revenue opportunities; to invest in innovation and invention to meet the needs of the future infrastructure; to create micro-markets and jobs for the future...for our youth and our residents to maintain or enhance income levels for quality of life which includes basic needs of food, shelter, clothing, healthcare and sustainability. The time is now to stop waving safety and security as a flag of compromise and change. It is an underpinning of strength on which to build the rest of our quality of life. We must continually work with our public school system to maintain its quality and build on it in the face of economic constraints. Innovation and invention are seeded by our ability to nurture and harness intelligence of all kinds.
 
It is imperative for us to weigh the candidates' understanding of the role of municipal governance and additionally their experience and/or expertise to govern our community through the risks it faces over the next several years. Decisions and ideas implemented in 2012 and thereafter could have lasting effects on Summit's ability to preserve its quality life, be "competitive" as a municipality among peers, and to fortify itself for the "new normal" of the future.
 

While everyone running for office deserves the honor of their candidacy, the few that get elected need to be matched to serve the needs of the community now and into the future. The burden is on us to learn more about them and to assess their ability to perform the governance role for Summit.
 
I thereby build my case for support for Sandy Bloom for Councilwoman in Ward I. I have known Sandy since the beginning of my community involvement in the late 1990's, and she has served this community well. Her service record "speaks" strength in the role of governance, experience and leadership.
 
Her experiences on the Board of Education and the Zoning Board (two very important governance bodies hinged to economic value and quality of life) are a CRITICAL pre-requisite for the times we are living in and for some of the very important topics that will unfold in the next couple of years. For years I have admired her commitment to this community, and she gives me the feeling of "groundedness" for the challenges that lie ahead.
 
Sandy has been actively involved in the Mayor's Forum on Diversity and she was one of the early members of the "Valuing Diversity" initiative percolating in the late 80's/early '90s. Sandy has also been an advocate of closing the achievement gap and making sure that Summit Public Schools are GREAT for all! Sandy was one of the early forward thinkers weighing in on quality of life for all. That will continue into the future if she is elected.
 
For a number of years, I've watched Sandy. I've listened to her. Her views and deeds stand tall. I put my confidence around proven leadership and effectiveness. Sandy has been a pillar in the community well before the political aura of "office holder" was even "in the wind".
 
The time is now for her to hold office because her skills and experience in Summit are critical to the path ahead.
 
Please get to know Sandy in the coming weeks and months as you consider the qualifications of the array of candidates and make your decision. This is the two-way street part. Members of Common Council cannot act in your best interests if they do not know what your concerns are. Take a moment and give them your voice. Sandy Bloom can be contacted at sandyforsummit@gmail.com.
 
We cannot "shrug our shoulders" in this election and let other people make the choice. We really need to understand the breadth and depth of the candidates to help Summit meet the challenges of today and into the future.
 
Annette Dwyer
Resident and community volunteer