“Vote for the B.E.S.T. candidates”

| 28 Sep 2011 | 03:01

    To the editor: There are many reasons why Democratic Council candidates Andy Gargano and Paul Marino are the BEST to get your vote at the Nov. 8 election, in terms of their personal attributes and their platform. Andy Gargano has a distinguished record as West Milford Councilman (2001- 2003). During that time he led the initiative to secure NJ Green Acres’ commitment to lease 80 acres of Jungle Habitat to West Milford for recreation. His other recreational support activities included resurrecting the West Milford bike path project, the Bubbling Springs gazebo and the Westbrook Teen Center (“Coffee House”). His non-Council recreational support activities include 30 years of coaching youth teams in baseball, soccer, and basketball; being Safety Director for Little League baseball; being Executive VP for PAL, developing the conceptual design for the PAL building, and managing its construction. Andy’s Council efforts for an open, ethical and cost-effective West Milford government include sponsoring the ordinance for free public records (which Republican candidate Scangarello and the Republican Council majority replaced with a 75 cent per page copy fee), supporting the West Milford attorney ethics ordinance (under which Scangarello’s attorney-choice Timins, the Republican Club Treasurer, was fired), and volunteering on the West Milford Insurance Committee, which he helped establish in 1993, to get the best prices available. Paul Marino is also a strong recreation supporter, playing for several years on the West Milford Men’s Softball League, enjoying hobbies of skiing, cycling, fishing and motorcycling, and, encouraging his daughter’s involvement in West Milford Girl’s Softball, varsity gymnastics and ski racing. Paul supported education and health in West Milford by his service on the West Milford Parent-Teachers Association and on the West Milford Ambulance Squad, where he has helped to save West Milford lives. In that context, he was awarded the Purple Merit Star for saving a man’s life in 2004, as a member of the National Ski Patrol at the Sterling Forest Ski Resort. Paul stands strong for ethical government in West Milford. He and his wife Diana proposed our current attorney ethics ordinance to our non-partisan council (before the 2004 changed-form of government) and he recently proposed to our current council a “pay to play” ordinance that would prevent West Milford from hiring township employees and contractors in return for their political donations (Scangarello and his Republican majority vetoed that ordinance). Marino and Gargano’s B.E.S.T. platform includes four parts: Balanced open government, Effective leadership, Sports and recreation, and Tax stabilization. To support balanced open government, they would return to the residents a public input period at both the beginning and end of Council meetings; push a marked increase of posting West Milford documents on the town web site (including minutes of all town boards and committees); re-establish free copies of West Milford public records for residents that are not otherwise posted on the town web site; and open town offices from 7-9 p.m. one night/week so that residents don’t have to take off from work to do town related business. Their effective leadership has already been shown, as indicated above in their background information. In addition, they have been active in the fight against Hovnanian’s Eagle Ridge development of 280 townhouses on Ridge Rd. where the ground water yield is poor (note that Scangarello voted against residents’ request to have hydro-geologist M-Squared, Inc. represent them at the DEP hearing on Eagle Ridge’s water permit). They would increase the town’s role in providing senior citizens’ services. They would interact with Democratic Sheriff Speziale to increase safety and security for our Township, especially that for Greenwood lake, and with Democratic Freeholders on paving our roads and on matching our Open Space funds with County funds on land purchases. They would work with Trenton officials, likely to be led by Democratic Governor Corzine, to increase State money coming into our town. Sports and recreation for our children and adults are high on the Marino/Gargano platform, as stated above. They would request an audit of the Parks and Recreation Department (and all other departments) to show how our taxes and fees are spent, so that an appropriate budget would target the money where it would do the most good for the most people. If needed, they would support a ballot vote for a $13/home recreation fund. They are against ballot question #1 to raid the Open Space Fund for recreation. That is an insult to the overwhelming majority of residents, who voted for the Open Space fund in 2000 to be used to buy tracts like Eagle Ridge, to preserve the land in order to conserve our ground water. Tax stabilization is high on Gargano and Marino’s priority list. As indicated above, a careful audit of all departments would show how our taxes are now spent. They would openly solicit residents’ suggestions on where budget cuts and increases should be made. However, their main goal would be to lobby the state, county and league of municipalities to support a water use surcharge to be paid to West Milford by towns or individuals outside of West Milford who use water from our reservoirs and watersheds. Such a water tax on outsiders would reduce our local taxes. Democrats first introduced this idea in 2003. I do hope West Milford residents will join me in supporting West Milford’s B.E.S.T. Council candidates, and vote for Paul Marino and Andy Gargano on Nov. 8. For more information on these candidates, go to www.WestMilfordBest.Com. Doris Aaronson West Milford