Where’s the debate?

Dear Editor:

Receiving almost $275,000 for the Weehawken and You campaign, mostly from people who don’t live here, you would think they could come up with a better strategy than accusing W.I.N. opponents of lying and scare tactics. After running unopposed for 12 years, Mayor Turner’s team now find themselves in a battle for their jobs, but their opening shot has a whiff of fear. You can be sure the W.I. N. opposition is hitting on some uncomfortable truths when the Weehawken and You strategy is to immediately smear their opponents while offering their own “truth.”

The incumbents list some highly questionable claims for their record. One is no building on the cliffs. Are they taking the credit for obeying a local law initiated under extreme duress by citizens’ activism and not dynamiting the Palisades to lay foundation for development? Another is 100 percent waterfront open to the public. If you can find a way down to the waterfront, stand on the strip of sidewalk and enjoy the view. Then turn around and wave to any one of the multimillionaires standing in their living rooms scowling at you. The townhomes had been advertised for unobstructed views and you’re in the way. What you see in West New York will not happen here, the incumbents claim. Traveling south along Boulevard East, what was once a glorious view of the Hudson River now has what looks like the villa of Darth Vader standing sentry over a honeycomb of homes whose only distinguishing characteristic is a different number on the door. The fact that it’s in West New York where Mayor Turner is town manager and must share in the responsibility for its development doesn’t make a lost view any less sad or shameful. The Palisades and the accompanying river views are, like the Grand Canyon, a national treasure. How can the incumbents claim they will maintain Weehawken’s small town ambience when thousands of residential units and millions of square feet of office space are being planned? Is the 20-acre park going to be surrounded by shadows of high rises?

The incumbents’ record is misleading and opaque at best. The W.I.N. candidates want a more open, responsive government and were willing to participate in a public debate but the Weehawken and You team refused. One can only assume that answering questions clearly and honestly is too much of a challenge for Mayor Turner’s team.

Heather S. Harris


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