A new point of view on the upcoming election

Dear Editor:

On moving to Weehawken four years ago, I learned about how Mayor Turner pulled Weehawken out of receivership years before. I was later impressed with his personal touch at the sight of him cruising the streets during last year’s brown outs reassuring people.

Yet I have my concerns about the upcoming election. As a civic-minded person in a community relatively new to me, I attended several meetings regarding waterfront development. I made two observations about the proceedings:

Reasonable requests for information and discussion about the best way to develop the waterfront were not well received by Mayor Turner and his followers, who often responded either derisively or with hostility. One particular cutting thrust rather amused me. Dissenters to the mayor’s point of view were referred to as “latte-drinking newcomers.” Just who did they think was going to move into the new waterfront townhouses? Why would they suggest that “newcomers” would have any less legitimate concern for the town in which they live than the “old timers?’

At the meetings I attended, the council members all spoke with exactly the same voice. How could each person have identical thoughts about such complex issues? There was clearly no independent thinking here!

My dilemma is this: I can vote for an experienced mayor, who has proven himself adept at running the town, but who apparently tolerates no dissent from his point of view from either other council members or residents, and who may have become beholden to interests whose goals are not compatible with those of Weehawken.

It is of concern to me that over the past three years Mayor Turner has raised a campaign war chest of some $270,000, 90 percent from outside of Weehawken, and even outside of New Jersey, including nearly 25 percent from legal, architectural and engineering firms. I have to wonder why such interests are contributing to the candidacy of a council member in a small town like Weehawken. (See www.elec.state.nj.us for details.)

Or I can vote for civic-minded Weehawken residents, who are not career politicians, but who bring a lot of experience about public policy and some innovative ideas about sharing power, keeping the community informed, curbing the excesses of developers so that their projects benefit the town as well as their pockets, while monitoring the day-to-day concerns of the town.

To make my choice, I’d like Mayor Turner to answer the following questions:

As town administrator of West New York, you saw the municipal portion of the town’s taxes go up following the development of waterfront property there. Why do you think you can maintain the tax level in Weehawken when the same type of increases in infrastructure will be required in Weehawken to support the new development?

Why should it be difficult to obtain public records regarding current town debt and municipal bonds through Weehawken Town Hall?

Why did you agree to the minimum allowed level of protection against toxic waste where a new playground is being planned on the waterfront instead of pushing developers towards a more thorough and permanent clean up?

Why have I heard nothing about a public debate where all of the candidates can share their vision for the town, enabling voters to make informed decisions in the upcoming election?

Without getting answers to these questions, I still have a choice:

I can split my vote. I can vote for council member Turner on the Weehawken and You team, in spite of the monetary support he has gotten from interests who goals may not be in the best interest of the town of Weehawken, because he has proven himself in the past and has experience. But, at the same time, I can also vote for candidates from the WIN team, who are prepared to think and act independently of the mayor when they believe it is in the best interests of Weehawken.

A new voter in Weehawken,
Diana Katz


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