Elections

Letters to the Editor

The Time for ‘Business as Usual’ is Past

aa32d83f7347c44bb117_editor.jpg
aa32d83f7347c44bb117_editor.jpg

I’m no stranger to the business end of life in Westfield and was part of the system for decades. Years ago, as a registered Republican, I was actually offered the position of first ward councilman, which the party gets to appoint when a councilperson retires early. I was a founding member of Westfield MainStreet, and the first chairman of the Downtown Westfield Corporation. I served in that position for multiple years, and was on of the committee when we received the 2004 award recognizing Westfield as one of America’s finest downtowns. That plaque, awarded by the National Historic Trust and the National MainStreet program, still hangs on the wall at the corner of East Broad & Elm today.

A lot has changed since then. Our community and, specifically, our downtown shopping district, have fallen on hard times — but not to hear Mayor Andy tell it. Under his decade and a half reign, this is business as usual.

I’m sorry, but that simply isn’t good enough.

Sign Up for E-News

The proof of this is clearly visible in your municipal tax bill, which has increased 67 percent since Andy was appointed in 2005. You see it in the decline in services provided by the town, and the empty storefronts that have been collecting dust downtown for months and, in some cases, years. Perhaps you’ve dealt with the expense, difficulty and adversarial nature of trying to get simple projects approved through our town’s Planning Board and Board of Adjustment. Our town’s master plan lacks a clear, productive vision for the community’s future and has not been significantly revised despite the challenging economic landscape.

And yet our current mayor (inexplicably labeling himself the “choice for change” in his latest mail piece) wants four more years to do the job. The Choice for Change? Are we expected to forget who has been in charge for the last 12?

The current administration’s failure to provide unified, hands-on management, or place timelines on projects and budget items has, at best, stalled Westfield’s growth and, at worst, initiated a backward slide. We need a leader who will partner with us to make our town more attractive to businesses and, at the same time, more resident friendly.

Mayor Andy has refused on multiple occasions an offer by the Downtown Westfield Corporation to host and help manage an initiative to develop and implement recommendations to improve our downtown. He has his own Downtown Task Force, created because he felt the heat and had to cover his re-election run. Andy’s task force has delivered only small, piecemeal recommendations that neither set a path, nor offer a solution for downtown’s backslide.

Likewise, Mayor Andy has put off and refused to allow either discussion or professional input regarding parking and its management over the last 12 years. The subject has been completely off limits. Even his Task Force puts off the parking issue to be addressed at some undefined “future date.” Four more years of not talking about our problems? No thank you. We deserve a leader that hears our voice. Andy’s not listening.

So, who does he listen to? Well, he’s received funding from Republican State government officials (as personal donations), corporate donations and large sums from the Westfield Republican party chair. State Senator Tom Kean’s committee transferred $8,200 to Andy’s campaign in a single deposit. According to public records, over $85,000 has been placed into the coffers of the Mayor’s re-election campaign. Why does the three term incumbent Mayor of a town the size of Westfield need such a war chest to keep his job? Because smoke and mirrors PR is expensive. It costs a lot of money to try and re-brand the status quo as change. But we know the truth. The status quo is insufficient, and the time for “business as usual” is past. We would be naïve indeed to expect change from the incumbent in this election.

Candidates Shelley Brindle for mayor and Habgood, Contract, Mackey and Dardia for council seats offer this important needed change that our community sorely requires. 

Joseph Spector

The opinions expressed herein are the writer's alone, and do not reflect the opinions of TAPinto.net or anyone who works for TAPinto.net. TAPinto.net is not responsible for the accuracy of any of the information supplied by the writer. Click here to submit a Letter to the Editor.

TAP Into Another Town's News:

You May Also Be Interested In

Sign Up for E-News

Westfield

22nd Annual Union County St. Patrick’s Day Parade Steps Off March 10

February 23, 2018

UNION, NJ — Twenty-one years after the first Union County St. Patrick’s Day Parade stepped off on Morris Avenue the tradition continues on Saturday, March 10 at 1 p.m. sharp with thousands of marchers and spectators gathering to celebrate the patron saint of Ireland.

This year’s Grand Marshal, John McPartlan of Scotch Plains, will lead the march of bagpipe ...

Mayor Brindle’s Update

February 15, 2018

The following are highlights from the update that Mayor Shelley Brindle gave at Tuesday night’s town council meeting.

I first want to congratulate Nick Calello and David Went for their promotions to patrol officers in the Westfield Police Department. I’d also like to welcome and congratulate new Patrol Officer Fortunato Riga, who joins the police department this week upon his ...

Upcoming Events

Carousel_image_248cea245b872fb9c722_resolve_house

Fri, February 23, 12:00 PM

Resolve, Scotch Plains

Free Teen Anxiety Group (Ages 14-17) at Resolve

Carousel_image_cb76d129f430419a337a_sjhsfishfry

Fri, February 23, 5:00 PM

Catanzaro Dining Hall at Saint Joseph High School, Metuchen

Friday Night Lenten Fish Fry

Food & Drink

Westfield Police Blotter: Man Steals 60 Pairs of Pants from Downtown Store & More

February 21, 2018

February 14, 2018 10:53 p.m.

Officers Gill and Weiss arrested Luis Murillo, age 30, of Rahway, NJ, for two outstanding warrants out of Westfield Municipal Court ($500) and Woodbridge Municipal Court ($500) pursuant to a motor vehicle stop in Scotch Plans Township. Subject was transported to headquarters, processed and released after posting requisite bail.

 

February 15, 2018 5:24 ...

Superhero Purim at the Union County Torah Center-Chabad

February 23, 2018

On Wednesday afternoon, February 28th, the Torah Center will host a family Superhero Purim Bash at the center, 111 Laurel Place, in Westfield at 5:30 PM. There will be face painting, a superhero masquerade contest with all children dressed in costume receiving a prize, and a grand prize awarded for the best costume & a Pizza Dinner. A multi-media Megillah reading will follow at 6:30 ...

The Missing Moses

A seemingly dubious distinction belongs to this week’s Parshah, Tetzaveh (Exodus 27:20–30:10). It is the only reading in the Torah — from the first Parshah of the book of Exodus (in which he is born) until the end of the book of Numbers — where the name of Moses is not mentioned. Tetzaveh’s opening words are V’atah ...

‘Month of Hope’ at Wilson School

Inspired by the HOPE Week Initiative introduced in 2009 by the New York Yankees, Mr. Joseph Malanga, principal of Wilson School and a fan of the American League professional ballclub, declared January the “Month of Hope” at Wilson.

Malanga called on the school’s faculty Acts of Kindness Committee to choose the charitable organizations to be recipients of the weekly donation ...

AtlantiCast

AtlantiCast: Episode 12

On this week’s episode of AtlantiCast, decade of excellence makes headlines, as Atlantic Health’s place on Fortune Magazine’s 100 Best Companies to Work For List leads off the newest episode of AtlantiCast. Also on this week’s show, check out the newest “hybrid” operating room at Morristown Medical Center and find out how Atlantic Health is helping local ...

Would the Stock Market Affect Your Home Purchase?

"Fasten your seatbelts; it's going to be a bumpy night." ("All About Eve.") While most people misquote this as "It's going to be a bumpy ride," the actual quote works better for the movie. Bette Davis delivers this with the classic style that made her one of the most loved actresses of her generation.

Well for the stock market it’s been a wild bumpy ...

Good News in NJ for Veterans

Beginning in the 2017 tax year, New Jersey will give an additional $3,000 exemption for military veterans. You are eligible to claim this exemption NJ state income tax return if you are a military veteran who was honorably discharged or released under honorable circumstances from active duty in the Armed Forces of the United States on or before the last day of the tax year.

 

The ...

How to Talk with Kids About the Florida Shooting

February 13, 2018

The tragedy of the Florida school shooting is devastating, leaving 17 killed and 15 injured. Our children can easily identify with what occurred yesterday. It will be the topic of conversation today in schools everywhere. School administrators are doing all they can to provide support and guidance. The shootings affect children, teachers, and school personnel. The school shooting ...

Love Craft Beer But Hate the Tour? State Assembly Moves to Make it Easier for You to Belly Up to the Bar

Good news is a brew for New Jersey craft beer advocates. In February 2018, the New Jersey Assembly’s Agriculture and Natural Resources Committee paved the way for the introduction of Bill A2196, which would remove a current licensing rule requiring breweries and distilleries to provide a tour of their facilities before serving alcoholic beverages to consumers. Currently, breweries holding a ...

'What Stays' exposes family secrets and lies

‘What Stays’ exposes family secrets, resentment and lies

By Liz Keill

SUMMIT, NJ – In an original play by Laura Ekstrand and Jason Szamreta, the Dreamcatcher Repertory Theatre has provided an enlightening, funny and heart-felt view of family foibles.

Ekstrand has said that the germ of the play came from conversations with the ensemble members of the troupe, based on ...

Is FAANG Long in the Tooth?

Investors love to rally around a stock story. Today it’s all about the FAANG stocks. Facebook (FB), Amazon (AMZN), Apple (AAPL), Netflix (NFLX) and Google (GOOG) are a major reason why the S&P 500 rallied so much in 2017. Mr. Market is convinced the FAANGs are impervious to a sell-off. “Its different this time” is ringing loud and clear, but will the outcome really be that ...

Imagine a Chatham Toboggan Ride from the Top of Fairmount Avenue to Main Street

Did you know….
there was a time when Chatham kids could ice skate from downtown Chatham all the way to Florham Park? And that a toboggan ride could last from the top of Fairmount Avenue down to Main Street and beyond?

Those were the days!

This was back in the early to mid-1900s. The Passaic River meandered through grassy meadows and woods on the north side of Chatham. The marshy ...

Obituaries

Kathleen Marie Christian (nee Helmstetter), age 73 of Surf City, NJ, passed away peacefully at home ...
Read more

NBA Star Dennis Rodman Enjoys Life in Livingston

February 23, 2018

LIVINGSTON, NJ — Former National Basketball Association (NBA) star Dennis Rodman’s friends say he is “living like a Livingston kid” while he is in town doing an outpatient program for Turning Point Rehab Center.

Livingston native Chris “Vo” Volo, an agent for Prince Marketing Group, has been representing Rodman for seven years and the two quickly became ...