I am troubled by the sense of entitlement when I think of the Democratic candidate for mayor of Westfield. Admittedly, I admire Mrs. Brindle’s accomplishment, working her way into the executive suite. Some time ago, a young professional caught that bug and played their game of choice well enough and over time earned themself an opportunity to compete in the private sector at a very high level. I am sure it took many-many years of education, skills training and relationship building to succeed and finally get to the summit. This is what parents dream for their children; the passion and opportunity to succeed over time, at whatever they choose to do.

Yet, I am certain Mrs. Brindle didn’t start her career at the top when she chose to work in media. The first I knew of Shelley was back in February of this year, while reading the coverage of the Jan. 24th town council meeting for Westfield. Mrs. Brindle was there with her friend Marci Bandelli to complain that the town should have done something about Panera Bread leaving town. Both had a “Kasko” tone to their rhetoric. I wrote in the following week to remind Mrs. Bendelli that we do “community and public matters very well, here in Westfield,” and that “bullying of local government will only bring negative attention to our community.” By golly, the next I hear is that Marci is heading up a political activist group, and Shelley wants to start her community and public service at the very top, as our mayor.

What a sense of entitlement, without so much as picking up a rake for our community, without spending even a moment of her time to contribute her vote these past 12 years. Mrs. Brindle now wants to breeze back into town, dismiss the hard work of the many people, volunteers and servants busting their a-- to keep Westfield thriving, to claim she knows better.

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Mrs. Brindle’s first service to the public was to offer a complaint, and she continues to complain. In fact, Shelley Brindle complains so much about “her” town, one would never know about how well “our” town is really doing. Thank God for the culture of transparency Andy’s leadership instilled over these past years. All of the facts that tell Westfield’s great story are right there on our town website, in the full view of the public, available to anyone who chooses to inquire. No complaints, no rhetoric or back room politics. No digital glitz. No paywall sourcing additional revenue. Just facts that are easy to find.

I am amazed by this platform of entitlement Mrs. Brindle casts her shiny lure from. It’s this party where those who are still disgruntled and upset about a media executive winning a federal election, package their very own media executive to rescue Westfield from those darn “Surplus Builders.”

What would make any of us in Westfield believe we need another media executive telling us what to do, never mind one that has not voted locally in 12 years? Mrs. Brindle wants us all to bite down hard on that shiny lure, yet offers no details to how she is going to solve any of the issues, or for how she is going to bring everyone into this new transformative conversation. The public’s boardroom is not the protected environment executives use to keep employees and shareholders in line. A mayor can’t just have their assistant call a complaint line to inform a supervisor that their adversary on an issue voted for Donald Trump as the means for settling matters of disagreement.

It takes years of service to build the reputation and brand equity of a leader. It is nice to finally have Mrs. Brindle join the effort of helping our community. We could always use ideas, just not disingenuous complaints. For 20 plus years, Mrs. Brindle has been welcome to the effort. However, no one is entitled to start their service at the top, before they have contributed their first local vote, and certainly not while they’re still complaining about Westfield’s progress or surplus.

Edward T. Stellingwerf
Westfield, NJ