Guest blog post: ‘Change’ that works?

Note: This is a guest blog post submitted by a reader under the pseudonym, Silence DoGood. While I may frown on anonymous comments on blog posts, this is not anonymous; I know who the writer is, however, they hope the merits of their arguments (not their identity) will carry the day when it comes to passing judgment on what they present. And in case you’re wondering: no, the writer is not me, nor is it anyone running for office. Both major party candidates for mayor have been invited to submit a guest column in the coming weeks.


Dear Neighbor,

Perhaps you had the benefit of receiving a letter from our fine City Council At-large members and our county freeholder, Rick Proctor, seeking support in the Democratic primaries in June. I don’t normally take to commenting on things but it seems like with all things in life, there is a time and a place. This time it came to my mailbox and while I realize that the challengers lost, I think this will be a similar argument against the Republicans or any other challengers to the established Democratic Party candidates.
A great many things have occurred to me recently but I will get to those in due time. For now, two items catch my notice. First, the letter described what can only be conflicting if not altogether hypocritical stances. “We are proud of the accomplishments and represent ‘Change that Works for Rahway,'” and yet just a few lines down, they note “now is not the time for on the job training.” So what type of change do we need here? Or is this similar to — and I hate to use this as a reference — Fox News (9:10 of video), which slams polls when they support Obama and then touts those same polls when they serve their interests, like stopping universal health care.
Secondly, “Change that works”… yes, we do have a hulking new hotel downtown, and certainly there are other projects that were built over the past eight to 10 years or so, like the parking deck across from the refurbished train station. But are they all working for Rahway? The mailing mentioned three items/issues that Democrats appear to have a handle on: stable property taxes, economic growth, and preservation of quality of life.
Stable property taxes
Does anyone remember the sewer fees that were separated from our property tax bills that were supposed to save us tax hikes — but left us with quarterly bills for water and sewer charges that, according to my math, are actually a hike? Check your old property tax bills against your last year’s worth of sewer bills if you don’t believe me.
Economic growth
What about the heap of dirt that sat across from the unfinished construction on Main Street, which at one time eventually became covered with grass and weeds because it sat so long. I hear we have a great new piano for loan but hardly a pedestrian on the street to listen to it, even if it was played. And do you recall the lawsuit with overzealous developers just across from the library that leaves the city and us taxpayers holding the tab for street improvements?
Quality of life
I know it is subjective but could an uglier building (the new hotel) have been built, any more out of scale with the downtown? One that I hope won’t become public housing considering lawsuits, lack of residents and possible foreclosure. I believe it took three years for sidewalks to go back on Main Street in front of the rusted steel fingers pointing to the sky, as if asking when they will be covered with walls and a roof.
Perhaps less subjective is the lack of attention to the repair of the steps at the NJ Transit train station. Why aren’t our city representatives being more proactive on our behalf to have this fixed?
A pocket park on the corner of Monroe and Essex? Maybe I’m not as progressive as some, or don’t quite think we have the same feel as say Brooklyn, or am I just not impressed with the other pocket park across the street from the arts center — which cost taxpayers a pretty penny. Smells more like a favor to a political supporter…
Or is this the change that all incumbents say you shouldn’t offer their opponents? To be honest, I can’t remember a time in the recent past when times weren’t a little difficult for the average citizen in this country. I’m not sure their opponents can do a better job and, to be fair, there have been accomplishments to the town that I have overlooked. But is it really fair to claim that change that works for Rahway means not giving someone else a chance to serve our community? Have they cornered the market on good change?
I have other thoughts, but I will save them for another day and another letter.

Silence DoGood