I love living in Westfield. I am grateful for the supportive community that makes so many opportunities possible. My three children were enriched by growing up here. Because I ran my law firm in town, I know Westfield is conducive to business.
But I also know that we must face some important challenges. And I have a passion to tackle them.
One key commitment I make is to advocate, unwaveringly, for new rail tunnels, rail infrastructure and peak hour one-seat rides to Manhattan. In undertaking this effort, Westfield’s leaders must interact with (and at times disagree with) others in the region and state. Quality rail service is central to Westfield’s and the region’s economy and cannot be compromised.
In contrast, the town council declined to support the ARC tunnel when Governor Christie threatened to kill the project. The one seat rides we do have are only possible because the combined electric/diesel locomotives from the cancelled ARC tunnel project had proceeded too far to cancel when the project was cancelled. The previous all diesel locomotives cannot go through the tunnels to Manhattan.
Along with running mates, Kim Palmeiri-Mouded and Dan Ortolani, I attended meetings of the Raritan Valley Rail Coalition and the Regional Plan Association on rail service just this past week. My running mates and I started and ran an online petition to the Governor this summer to support funding for the new proposed Gateway Tunnel Project. Thus, as a team we are already working on this critical issue.
We need new approaches to pedestrian and bicycle safety. There have been too many fatalities and injuries to be satisfied that we’ve done all that we can.
Comprehensive tree policies are needed, beyond the recently passed ordinance pertaining to trees cut down on private property in anticipation of or connected to construction projects. We need to use available county funds and free programs. When the town itself engages in a project, it should conserve trees. That has not always been the case, as when the town felled several mature trees in September on South Avenue by the traffic circle.
Financial matters should be discussed in the open, contrary to the council’s finance Ccmmittee’s practice. Operating behind closed doors, it failed to explore in public whether to use part of the town’s growing $6.5 million surplus to avoid tax increases. Their budget raised taxes by half million dollars – without public discussion and press coverage about avoiding tax increases by using some surplus, which grew by $2 million last year.
Westfield must use more 21st Century technology to promote the town and improve communication between residents and town government.
My background equips me to tackle these challenges. As an attorney, I focus on utility law. I ran a law firm, served on the board and as president of my congregation, served as a volunteer in countless children’s programs, worked on billion dollar utility infrastructure projects, and raised funds for the dispossessed both locally and internationally.
I’m ready to work on Westfield’s challenges and move Westfield forward. I ask for the opportunity to serve you and for your vote on Tuesday, Nov. 3.