Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Making the Right Choice

Election Selection

Just last night, when I mentioned the Debra Johnson write-in campaign, someone said to me, “Oh, I was going to write her in anyway.”

Interesting comment, and a partial explanation why Ms. Johnson accepted the draft as a candidate for the South Brunswick Mayor’s office.

Many of us who have been following local politics and local government, see no viable choices on the ballot. With all due respect to the Republicans, their candidates do not have the experience or knowledge to be effective on the Council. Their voices have not been heard at meetings and public forums, and some of the campaign statements they have made show they do not have a good understanding of some local issues.

To residents of the Eastern Villages of South Brunswick, the campaign has made some things painfully clear. We have successfully made our own voices heard and have accomplished a great deal with the present Mayor and Council. For that we are grateful, but why should the battle have been so difficult and bitter? The monstrous CNJ warehouse blots the landscape for what seems miles, and the last remaining lots of farmland to the east of the NJ Turnpike will fall to more warehouses in due course.

While we are forced to accept the development, we have gained little relief from its impact. Truck traffic still rumbles past our homes, roads become clogged during rush hour, and we still wait on promises of truck routes or new roads to ease the congestion.

We listen to developers being granted all kinds of variances on their projects so they can build what they want even if it doesn’t meet the standards of South Brunswick zoning codes, while residents have to fight to meet the letter of the law for adding a deck to their back yards.

Our city water runs brown because—well, no one quite knows why, unless it’s a warehouse up the street purging its fire system—and we still battle to figure out just why our State Parkland and its Category 1 waters can be flooded by Turnpike and warehouse runoff.

Progress has been made on saving the Van Dyke Farm, but that too demanded nearly two years of struggle. The Township has a historic preservation ordinance, but doesn’t seem to want to extend it beyond Kingston, so we watch as historic homes are bulldozed to oblivion.

Debra Johnson has committed herself to putting South Brunswick’s residents first. She wants developers to take a back seat in our Township. She left the organized Democratic Party because of its powerbrokers and their money. Today, we know she had the foresight to make the right move. John Lynch’s conviction of corruption involved a South Brunswick company and its efforts to destroy, for profit, some of the very parkland we are commited to protect.

Unfortunately the Democratic candidates on the ballot have chosen not to distance themselves from the powerbrokers. So, in the end, as the ballot is printed, there is no choice.

But, there is a Personal Choice—the write-in. And, I, for one, will be filling in Debra Johnson’s name for Mayor.


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