It seemed like a valid challenge

Promoted by Rosi

It’s December – correct?   Peace and goodwill is supposed to reign the day.  Apparently not so in politics.  Last week at an agenda meeting, I had to call out a councilman (John Cesaro) for his ideological grandstanding against COAH as “Social Engineering at its finest” in the midst of a discussion about granting a veterans organization trust fund money to establish a group home for vets.   His response?  …I’m merely being political – and it’s obvious I’m kicking off my 2013 run.

It’s kind of a disturbing scenario to observe elected officials developing a complex whereby they feel entitled to a level of status beyond reproach.  Every critic is merely a “political” enemy.

Shortly after his retort it dawned on me how to draw clear definitions between the need to criticize in the face of being accused of political opportunism,  the entire meaning of running for office, the role of political civility in light of incumbent “status” and reputation, and bundling it all up in the context of a Christmas wish.  This was my response last Tuesday.  Hope it hits the mark…

George Will once said “Some people run for office to be somebody – while others run for office to do something.”

I’ve always considered myself one of the latter despite what some people think.   And given that Mr. Cesaro has offhandedly drafted me for the Council Race in 2013,  I want to be clear on exactly why I run for office.  So I’m going to propose an interesting challenge to prove that.

So here’s the deal – I will not run for municipal office in 2013 provided the following…

1st – You reverse your ordinance change to the Transparency Committee which was obviously nothing but a blatant backhanded way of ousting myself and Ms. Catanzaro.  Membership will revert back to the lengths specified in the originally passed ordinance so that truly committed members can serve for the length of time it actually takes to fulfill the spirit of the ordinance.   Furthermore – re-appoint myself and Ms. Catanzaro so we can actually get something done.

2nd –    As soon as practical – we initiate an RFP for web site and general online services for the town, so that Alpha Dog Solutions can compete for our continued business, rather than continue on the no-bid, void-of-consultation basis that started this relationship.

3rd –   Our former Mayors Luther and Letts  made a point of selecting folks of all political stripes for committees (I’ll cite Michael Clark – another “lame duck” appointment by Mayor Luther – as an example).  Since I’ve lost faith that will happen going forward –  as a gesture of bipartisanship – I’d like an ordinance, if legally possible (or resolution failing that) that ensures or endorses that no less than 20% of the membership of any committee in town be populated by someone bearing a written endorsement by the party chair of either major party at the time of appointment.  Just 20% to achieve balance regardless of who’s in power.

   Lastly – Any elected official that sits on this dais intending to run or serve through 2013 and who was also responsible for the December 2008 decision to award the highest bid insurance policy to Morris County Joint Insurance Fund, which wasted hundreds of thousands of taxpayer dollars – I would like you to issue a simple public apology to the taxpayers of the town.

You see none of these things address anything you might do in the next two years – which is a great risk I’m taking.    But the offer still stands.   I will not run in 2013 if these things happen – which is a mere fraction of what I’d like to accomplish.

Lastly – I want to wish you all a good Holiday – as one human being to another.   I know a few of you don’t like me personally –  and it doesn’t help that I’m not as good as exchanging pleasantries as some of your other vocal critics are – but there’s a reason for that.   I stand before you as I’ve done many times … and it is a humbling experience … I can see why the ordinary person finds it hard to step up here to express a grievance  –  alone at the mike – but we will be heard regardless …. I simply stand before you as someone that wants to leave the community a better place by the time God calls my number.   And after all I’ve been through at the hands of this council in that simple pursuit – and all the obstacles you’ve thrown out, and the personal sacrifice I’ve made to overcome them – it’s tough to exchange pleasantries sometimes.

I know you generally think I come here to embarrass you, but I suspect there would barely be any hard feelings at all – if you really had nothing to be embarrassed about.  I can’t embarrass you without your assistance.

But…. am I supposed to overlook insensitive comments and bad decisions, Mr. Cesaro, because we were friends once, and we attend the same church on Sunday?   Am I supposed to accept that I’m not allowed on a committee because of my party registration – even regardless of that friendship?

Am I supposed to stand in deference, Mr. dePierro, to your many years of service, when I see you inexplicably side with disingenuous votes to exclude me from community service (and even exclude others who, in the past, you have seemingly appreciated their character and work ethic).   Or excuse even more egregious decisions done in concert, or at the behest of folks who appear to have much less integrity than yourself?    (And believe me out of respect for everyone I know that respects you – I still cling to the faith that you are better than that, despite the many times as you decide to demonstrate otherwise.)

Am I supposed to excuse all the same Mayor Barberio – because we used to be able to manage a hearty handshake between us and we discovered we’re both die-hard faithful Giants fans – who I’m glad to say are playing back to their potential as of the other night!

Can’t I just let it all slide so we can all be friends?   But where does that leave our community?    In a word – “No” I can’t…  There’s way too many examples all around us of bad things that happen when folks look the other way.

Again – question my motivations all you want folks.  I’ll let my actions, words, and deeds speak for themselves.   Merry Christmas – and a Happy New Year to you and all your families.  

Comments (2)

  1. Nick Lento

    Not only should you run…..but perhaps you should also consider recruiting and heading a full slate to run against all of those incumbents who need to be replaced!!!

  2. Jay Lassiter

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *