At this point it shouldn’t be a secret that I am running for Plainfield City Council – Second Ward. However, I think it is important that I make it clear why I am running and what I believe the role of a City Council member is intended to be.
Plainfield is an amazing city, of course with it challenges, but it is a city that pulls you in. The first time I came to Plainfield to look at houses I was hooked – without a clue why. The city is inviting, the citizens are friendly and outgoing – it reminded me a great deal of the town in Iowa where I grew up.
Since my arrival, after living in Newark for 10 years, I have been involved locally – as a member of the board of directors of the Plainfield YMCA, Planning Board member since 2014, Chairman of the Plainfield Promise Committee and as a volunteer on numerous local campaigns – spending weekends walking throughout the city knocking on doors and talking to residents. As a member of the Plainfield Vision 2025 committee I participated in 13 public roundtables to hear from the citizens about their vision for the city, an experience that is still one of my favorites.
My reasons for running comes from all of these experiences and from the realization that our elected officials don’t know what their roles are. Municipal government is like a complicated homeowners association – representatives are elected to carry-out the business of the shareholders (Citizens) who have busy lives and depend on others to look out for their best interests – it is really that simple. They are elected to make sure that their Wards are getting the attention they deserve (and pay for) and that citywide programs are well managed and use taxpayer money effectively. They are there to make that potholes get attention, streetlights are working, cops are patrolling and kids are able to participate in a variety of activities to help them grow and stay active. They are there when a storm hits to make sure that the necessary resources are in place to serve the citizens when they need it – the resources that they pay for with their hard earned tax dollars. They are there to ask the tough questions and make sure that citizens are not only informed but also heard.
When elected public servants make decisions based on what is right for them – to get the party ballot position or to achieve higher office then they are letting down the people that elected them. When they don’t ask questions prior to a budget vote that increases the burden on taxpayers, they are letting their citizens down. When a storm hits and they are nowhere to be seen, they are letting their citizens down. When a citizen emails or calls them and they ignore the call or e-mail or simply forward the e-mail without follow-up – they are letting their citizens down.
Here is why I am running for City Council Ward 2:
- I want open and transparent government – government that works to serve the people that pay their salaries
- I want to ask the tough questions to make sure that we are spending money wisely on programs that achieve measureable results
- I want to make sure that the services taxpayers pay for are carried out without added costs – we just sent a great deal of taxpayer money on a street sweeper and I have no idea what it even looks like!
- I want to work to make sure that our garbage and recycling pick-up is easy for citizens to participate in for the betterment of our environment and that there isn’t added burden on rate payers considering the high cost of service that we already deal with
- I want to make sure that quality of life issues are taken seriously so that home values increase and people benefit from the single biggest investment they will make in their lives
- And, I want to make sure that revenue from new development is used to offset the burden that taxpayers have had to shoulder for so many years
My opponent, who is finishing his 16th year on the city council, recently wrote a blog post (Link Here And Again Here) that after 16 years he has come to the realization that property taxes are too high. I have knocked on doors for many candidates over the years and property taxes have been an issue every single year. I am glad that Cory has realized this, but dismayed that it took him 16 years and 16 city budget votes (the majority of which raised your taxes) to come to that conclusion.
Our politics are too ego driven, our thinking is too self-centered and our focus on pleasing the wishes of the party machine are a distraction that serves others and hurts Plainfield.
That is why I am running for City Council Ward 2 – I welcome the opportunity to speak to anyone that has questions or suggestions. You can contact me on this blog or at firstname.lastname@example.org
Vote Column B on June 4th!