Tag Archive: Cranford

ex-mayor blasts Ferguson

Former Cranford Mayor Dan Aschenbach is steamed.  Aschenbach, a Democrat who has been involved in town government for at least 15 years, decided to take a break from politics this year.  But he still knows an incompetent US Rep when he sees one.  Rep. Mike Ferguson (NJ-7)has been dragging his feet for years about trying to get federal funds for Cranford’s multi-million dollar flood control project.

I am concerned about the announcement by Congressman Mike Ferguson that the federal Army Corps of Engineers will be doing a study on the Rahway River and flooding. In particular, as I understand it based on what I have read and my conversations with local officials, Cranford would still have to pay for the improvements.  …

…I am worried that we plan to trust another politician who has appeared because he is concerned about re-election. His new moderate stances seem more designed to get people to forget his continued role in the surge in Iraq…

What I still do not understand is where has he been? Why has it taken him six years to find Cranford? Six years he has had to recognize this problem. This is not a new problem. Instead of being engaged, he has resorted to telling residents last week that this is the first time the key decision-makers have sat down together to discuss this issue…In 2003 and again in 2006, Congressman Ferguson was provided a detailed explanation of the problem, and he was invited to come to Cranford last year several times. …

Ferguson has visited Cranford a couple times recently, to tour flood-damaged areas, chat with a few homeowners, and pose for photos with the new Republican mayor.  But as Dan Aschenbach asked, where has Mike been for six years?

Cranford GOP slams Union Co. Dems

Cranford’s Republican-led (3-2) Committee decided to analyze how the Democrat-dominated County freeholders are spending Cranford’s tax contributions to the coffers in Elizabeth:

In a vote split along party lines, the Township Committee this week authorized a study to account for how much local residents pay in taxes to Union County, and how much Cranford receives in return for those taxes. …

[Robinson -R] added that having the study delivered in July, after the budget season but before the fall election campaign, would help keep politics out of the issue. …

“It’s a political exercise,” McDonough [D] said before casting his dissenting vote. Jorn [D] joined him in the objection. With the county looking at a budget increase of less than 5 percent while the township is facing nearly a 12 percent increase, “It looks like they’re doing a better job (with) the budget process then we are right now,” Jorn said. …

“This is a fact-finding effort. It is not a partisan witch hunt,” responded Robinson [R].

It’s funny how the Republicans on the Town Committee desperately try to portray the study as non-partisan, while the Dems recognize it as obvious grandstanding and posturing.  Besides, how do you place an accurate dollar figure on all the services and benefits provided by the County to the Town?  There is some small irony in the fact that Cranford Republicans want to waste the Town’s taxpayer dollars on a pointless study of…taxes.

Ferguson and Cranford – an update

After years of pestering by town officials regarding flooding near the Rahway River, Mike Ferguson has finally agreed to tour the flood-prone area and will consider seeking federal assistance for the town.  From the Cranford Chronicle:

As local officials continue to fight for county and state funding for the Northeast Quadrant Stormwater Management Project, the township has now gained attention at the federal level. Congressman Mike Ferguson’s office this week confirmed his plans to bring representatives from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to the area…

After meeting with members of the Cranford Township Committee in January, Ferguson pledged to initiate federal consideration of the township’s flooding issues…

“We must continue to champion and advocate for funding beyond the local taxpayer,” [Mayor] Puhak said this week. “We have a responsibility to lobby (Ferguson’s) office as strongly as we can to get Cranford’s fair share of funding and support.” …

“We have a responsibility to pursue the options (for funding) as fervently as we can right now without unfairly burdening the local taxpayers,” he added.

While this is an ecouraging development for residents of Cranford, the true test of Ferguson’s mojo in the House will be results.  Discussion and site tours are easy, but the ultimate measure of Ferguson’s success will be federal funding for the flood control project.

Ferguson still stiffing Cranford

Cranford’s (NJ-7, Union County) northwestern section experiences chronic flooding problems associated with the Rahway River corridor.  Overbank flooding of river water is very rare here; the real problem is poor internal drainage.  Runoff from Kenilworth and Cranford, pooling in a low area, simply cannot get into the river during big rainfall events.  Former Township engineer Gregory Sgroi has compared the situation to a sort of mini-New Orleans.  Cranford’s flood control plan includes express storm sewers and pumping stations.  While Rep. Ferguson talks up his funding for the Green Brook project, he has not been very helpful in Cranford.  From the Cranford Chronicle:

That is why the township is proceeding with its flood control effort, seeking federal, state and county dollars to fund a project that could ultimately cost as much as $20 million. Plick said he will renew Cranford’s plea for federal funds to Congressman Mike Ferguson at a meeting this month of mayors in Ferguson’s district. A bill appropriating $5 million for the project has also been introduced in the state Legislature, though it remains stalled in committee.  …

Cranford is not readily identifiable as a democratic or republican town; the vote tends to split close to 50-50 in most elections.  Could Ferguson be turning his back on a town which does not offer him much net support?  Or is Ferguson just an ineffective weakling in Congress?