Easy Choice in Readington
To the Editor:
Once again, letters related to the upcoming primary election in Readington are beginning to appear like spring blossoms in the newspaper. But the contest this year is different from previous years for several reasons.
First, there are no incumbents running, as in the last election when long-time Committee members Allen and Gatti were defeated. Although, Liz Duffy currently holds a seat on the governing body, she was not elected. Instead, she was appointed to fill the seat of Beatrice Muir who, rather than logically serving through the end of 2014, conveniently retired near the end of December 2014 allowing lame ducks Allen & Gatti to bless Ms. Duffy as her replacement before they left office.
Secondly, the longest-running and most contentious issue in the history of the town, has finally been decided by the courts. Judge Paul Armstrong, a well respected jurist, was directed by a prior Appellate Court decision to determine whether Readington’s taking of the Solberg Airport property using eminent domain was legitimate.
His opinion not only dismissed the 2006 Julia Allen-led condemnation ordinance and returned the land to the Solberg family, it found that Readington’s action was a “manifest abuse” of the law, which offended the “conscience of the court.” Had the late Howard Cosell been reporting this, he might have said that, Readington’s officials were not defeated…..they were humiliated.
Thirdly, the NJ Supreme Court dealt another legal blow to Readington regarding it’s sewage allocation policies. This, like many other missteps by Readington officials, may also prove costly to taxpayers as more litigation is sure to follow.
Before you say this is all beginning to sound like Julie-gate and she isn’t even running this time, you should know that former Mayor Allen remains in key positions, on several critical boards, including the Planning Board thanks to her friends, Duffy, Auriemma and Fort, who are on the current Committee. But here’s the rub: Candidates Duffy and Smith have also served on various boards and consistently supported the same failed policies perpetuated by Allen, Gatti, Auriemma, and Muir.
Some voters may think all these issues make the choice for our Township Committee seats very difficult. I disagree.
If you think that having the highest debt in Hunterdon county is ok, or that the best way to deal with repeated legal losses is to add to those loses, then vote for Duffy and Smith. Personally, I don’t think we can spend millions more dollars trying to defend past mistakes.
It’s time for us to put Julie-gate and those who steadfastly helped perpetuate it, behind us. That’s why I am supporting Larry Lelah and Deb Lyons for Readington Township Committee. They are the well-qualified, truly fresh faces we desperately need, because we can no longer afford business as usual in Readington.