Letter to the Editor: Trick or Treat

To the Editor:

We learned only on the day of the Hopewell Township meeting that the Mayor has cancelled it.  The regular meeting has been moved to October 31, Halloween, a Wednesday.  The web site does not yet specify the actual time of the rescheduled meeting, making it even harder for the public to attend or watch on television. The new meeting is now just in time to pay the October bills, but one day too late for residents to meet the deadline for Letters to the Editor to comment before the election.

Why the delay?  The Mayor cannot claim that there is no business.  Yet again, Kuchinski and Blake are going to extremes to prevent the public from playing a role, a new low after having repeatedly delayed the public section, and repeatedly stationing police in the room to intimidate the public.

What do the Mayor and Deputy Mayor have to fear?  Is this what listening, transparency, and good governance look like?

They know that many of us were going to ask who authorized the Town Crier, the remarkably timed, brand-new Township publication, whose first number, which contained numerous mis-truths, was printed and mailed throughout the township at public expense just 10 days before the coming election.  When was this new newsletter discussed and approved? It is electioneering at the public’s expense, with the Deputy Mayor authoring a prominent editorial on page two.  This first issue, both in its timing and content, are an invitation to an ethics violation.  Shame on them!

The new township publication, apart from its highly suspicious timing, conspicuously lacks content about affordable housing, about Pennytown, and about the $100 million tax break PILOT that the developers required them to pass. If they are proud of the story they have to tell, why not tell it?

Good governance requires an honest commitment to transparency and open communication.  These actions are further proof that our local government is more interested in retaining power than they are in governing effectively.

Each election district in the township is represented by a male and female member, duly elected in even numbered years.  You know many of them because they are the ones writing the slew of recent letters to the editor, all without identifying their elected or appointed positions.

I have been writing regularly to the editor for several reasons.  I am not an elected or appointed official, just a well-informed citizen who is concerned about recent Committee actions.

The township committee struck a private deal with developers that sold a $5 million parcel for $10K, gave them a $100 million tax break that most townships go out-of-their-way to avoid, and the right to build 2,881 market rate units.  All- together, it’s a great deal for the developers.  If you think that a 50% population increase within a decade is a bad deal for the township, or even that the deal ought to have been more transparently communicated, then I ask that you join me in voting for a change.

Cheryl Edwards,

Hopewell Township


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