Thinks council is “out of balance”

| 28 Sep 2011 | 03:01

    To the editor: Two years ago, our town council had stopped listening to residents, did not fight high density development, “fired” town volunteers, voted on nearly every issue in lockstep with the mayor, etc. The need for a fair and balanced council was clear. In the last election, the incumbent and his running mate were defeated by over 1000 votes each. Things have not changed much. The council majority still has • done little to help stop Eagle Ridge • eliminated the Open Space Committee • seeks to spend Open Space tax money on playground repairs instead of open space • hired unqualified, overpriced town lawyers • spent close to $100K in legal fees, or about $100 per household, in a failed attempt to violate public records laws • increased the fees of getting documents from town hall • failed to properly supervise a commercial garbage collection test... thereby allowing taxpayer costs to skyrocket • blocked a local Pay-to-Play ordnance The council remains out of balance. Two highly regarded residents, former councilman Andrew Gargano, and Paul Marino, are running for council. I have known and respected them for many years. Indeed, I liked Andrew even when he was a Republican — he voted his conscience despite being sued in court by the pro-development “wing” of his own party. Today, unable to defend their own “tax and spend” actions (isn’t that a twist?) or able to find fault with the two Democrats currently on the council, the local political machine criticizes county officials instead, hoping to confuse local voters into painting Gargano and Marino with the same broad brush. They have even set up a web site full of false and misleading claims, hidden behind an internet “privacy service” to avoid public scrutiny. You may say “that’s politics”, but people who believe in open, accessible government don’t hide their identity. West Milford is too small a community to be run by a single political block. If you are an independent thinking person, you benefit from having a council in which each person votes their conscience, and not as a group, as is done now. Even if you normally vote Republican on the state or national level, I strongly encourage you to vote for Gargano and Marino — to assure yourself a truly balanced and open local government. Gary Oppenheimer Newfoundland