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Candidate Statements

Wishing Everyone a Happy and Safe 4th of July Weekend

July 2, 2015

I would like to wish everyone a happy and safe 4th of July weekend. Following is a speech I gave when I was first elected to the Westfield Town Council: It is a real honor and privilege for me to ...

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Today's Events

Police Blotter

In Westfield, Car Damaged, Bikes Reported Stolen

July 1, 2015

July 1, 2015 1:31 a.m. Officers McCarthy and Martinez arrested Zenasia Bowers, age 20, of Elizabeth subsequent to a motor vehicle stop in the area of Mountain Avenue and Kimball Avenue on an ...

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Columns

In the Schools

Westfield Grad Earns Gold Medal in National Latin Exam

Westfield High School recent graduate Jameson Maher earned a gold medal on the National Latin Exam for four consecutive years, it was announced by the University of Mary Washington, which administers ...

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Lost in Suburbia®

Getting Under My Skin

“What do you think this is?” my husband asked me, pointing to his elbow. “That is your elbow,” I stated matter-of-factly. “No, these red spots,” he ...

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JCC NEWS

Camp Yachad is in Full Swing

Summer 2015 is here, and Camp Yachad is in full swing. We had an exciting first day.  Our brand new zero-entry pool is open and our youngest campers had a great time splashing around in ...

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The Floor Plan

Indoor Comfort, Outdoor Living

It's that time of year. The time when we get to expand our living spaces and spend more time outdoors. When you're looking to decorate an outdoor space, you want to have all the comforts of ...

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ViaNutrition

What is the Difference Between Infrared and Traditional Saunas?

I love, love, love the infrared sauna. It is so peaceful and makes you feel shut off for a half an hour. The benefits of that alone are brilliant. The benefits are far-reaching for your well-being ...

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Experts of H.O.M.E.

Tips for Backyard Entertaining

Summer is in full swing. Is your home ready for entertaining? It’s time to enjoy your home, inside and out. Here are some of our favorite hacks for backyard fun this summer. To chill ...

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Monday with Millicent

Westfield Art Association (WAA) Members Exhibit Artwork at Mulberry House in Westfield

Come View the Exhibit and Stay for Lunch or Dinner Westfield, New Jersey, is buzzing about the first in a series of exhibitions that will be presented by Members of the Westfield Art Association ...

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Personal Fitness: In the Studio

What is Personal Training? First in a 4-Part Series

After the brutal winter we had this year - which was almost immediately followed by mid-summer-esque temperatures - we weren't left with much spring time to gradually shed off our heavy winter ...

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Lindabury Legal Corner

Shareholder and COO of Lindabury, McCormick, Estabrook & Cooper Named Chairman of LEGUS Law Advisory Board

Lindabury, McCormick, Estabrook & Cooper is proud to announce that shareholder William R. Watkins has been named Chairman of the Advisory Board of LEGUS. To read about it, click here.   ...

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Westfield Area Y

Westfield Area Y's Summer Enrichment Class Makes Camouflage Hats for Wild Animal Day

The Westfield Area Y’s Summer Enrichment Class at the Robert & Virginia Bauer Branch located at 422 East Broad Street in Westfield recently made a special project for Wild Animal Day. The ...

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Point View WealthPoints

Take Advantage of the Greek Tragedy

Concerns of a Greece banking failure and an exit from the European Union have dominated the news headlines once again, and have helped take the global financial markets on a roller coaster ride.

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The Academic Coach

The Summer Plan

The 2014-2015 Academic year is done! Now families can take a deep breath, celebrate successes, and enjoy some free time. But there is one last thing to do and we can help. Chyten Millburn ...

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Westfield's Mayoral Candidates Face Off at Forum

By JACKIE LIEBERMAN

October 24, 2013 at 11:27 PM

WESTFIELD, NJ — Westfield candidates for mayor and ward council seats sounded off Thursday night at a forum sponsored by The Westfield Leader in conjunction with TV36. Lauren Barr of The Leader moderated.

The event culminated in a debate between the mayoral candidates; Republican Mayor Andy Skibitsky, who is running for a third term, and current Councilman Dave Haas, a Democrat.

Candidates were asked about the increase in tax appeals—Haas said he would like to ask the county to do a tax evaluation of homes in all of the towns, so that Westfield’s taxes were not increased unfairly.

Asked if he thought budget hearings and other committee meetings should return to public forum, Haas answered an emphatic, “Yes.” He also said that he would like liaisons to report to town committees, and publicly.

Skibitsky countered, “If you look at my record, I’m probably the most transparent mayor we’ve ever had.” He pointed out that he gives a yearly Power Point budget presentation and said that few residents come to it because “They trust us.”

Asked if he would officiate at weddings for gay couples, Skibitsky answered, “Today I performed Westfield’s first gay marriage."

Haas told the crowd he looked forward, if elected, to performing same-sex wedding ceremonies.

Both Haas and Skibitsky said they would not like to see red-light cameras installed in Westfield.

They spoke about Westfield’s preparedness for storms like Hurricane Sandy and the purchase of the mobile command center:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HIJFIi3l3pc

Asked about term limits, Haas said he favored the tradition of two terms for mayor. “We need people who bring new energy, new ideas.” He spoke about the toll that the job takes, and said that Skibitsky missed 25 percent of town council meetings this year.

Skibitsky answered, “I’m opposed to limiting their choices in any way.” He said that Haas had missed10 percent of meetings, and that he sometimes missed meetings because he was attending to town business.

On the cost of the town’s legal fees, Skibitsky said that the town pays a competitive rate. Haas countered, “We don’t know if we get a good price because we’ve never requested proposals.”

Asked if the town should fight to lower county taxes and possibly secede from Union County, Haas said that town should try to get more back from the county by applying for more grants and appoint a liaison to the county freeholder board who would report back to the council.

“I am the liaison to Union County,” said Skibitsky. He said the town’s relationship with the county has improved under his leadership and added that, since he was elected mayor, “we’ve received $3.3 million in grants.”

In his closing statement, Has said there should be a clearly stated need for any capital purchases, that he will work for a one-seat ride on the Raritan Valley train line during peak hours, that he will join Mayors Against Illegal Guns and that he will make sure that firefighters have what they need.

Haas added that he was opposed to the mid-block HAWK light and crosswalk on Central Avenue. He concluded by saying that he would change the time set aside for "residents’ comments" during town council meetings to “residents’ questions and answers.”

Skibitsky told the room, “I volunteer because I love this town.”

 “It takes a proven leader to ensure the town continues in the right direction,” said Skibitsky. He listed accomplishments since he became mayor including, recently, securing a commitment to a one-seat ride during “shoulder-peak” hours. He added that, though Haas argued with him now, his opponent had voted with him 99 percent of the time.

The entire debate will be available for viewing on TV36 and on The Westfield Leader’s website, www.goleader.com.

To learn more about the candidates, visit our Candidates Statements section by clicking here.

To read about the first ward candidate’s remarks, click here. To read about the third ward candidates' debate, click here. To read about the fourth ward candidates' debate, click here. Republican Vicki Kimmins, running unopposed for re-election in the second ward, was absent from the forum.

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