To the Editor:
Fairness and integrity matter. The willingness to dive deeply into issues and determine the best path forward matters. That’s why we need wise, informed decision-making both by residents at the polls and by committee members working on your behalf, to move our Township forward.
The problem is there’s one person who seems determined to sow doubt about what’s going on in local government. Worse, the seeds he’s sowing are hurting you, the resident, by telling you things that are patently and verifiably false.
Sadly, this is a person who should know better. Let’s examine why this might be.
After cutting a 2014 deal with Republicans to switch parties so that he could become Mayor, Harvey Lester was dumped from office by angry voters less than a year later.
Whether it was his ineffectual leadership, dismal financial management or unprincipled actions, the people of Hopewell Valley had ample reason to fire him, and so they did.
Fast forward to 2018.
Unable to accept losing his job and now seeing a conspiracy behind every rock, Lester has embarked on a disjointed series of diatribes and misleading letters over the past few months. Repeatedly, his statements have failed to hold up under the light of day or in the face of verifiable facts.
For example, two weeks ago, Lester made accusations based on a misprint in the Hopewell Express about the 2017 Woolsey Park dedication. He’s made dozens of verifiably false statements about Township finances at meetings and in the media. And just this past week, he unfairly attacked Julie Blake.
It’s sad really.
I wanted to address Lester’s latest falsehoods with more facts:
- Hopewell Township finances have never been stronger, thanks to Deputy Mayor Blake’s leadership. The average annual municipal tax change from 2015-18 is just 1.6%, below NJ’s 2% cap and far better than the 6.3% average increase from 2013-15.
- Julie led the charge to cut wasteful spending, 2018 Township operating expenses are below 2015 and we continue to steadily reduce debt.
- Julie championed increased communication with residents, holding extensive public hearings on a range of topics, building a new website and launching a community engagement site. She’s not afraid to listen to people with dissenting points of view nor to confront allies. Witness what she’s done to address the poor Comcast service, and how she’s challenged Trenton Water Works.
- Then there’s affordable housing. Many elements of today’s plan were locked-in in 2015 when the preliminary plan was submitted to the courts by Lester’s administration. Julie has worked tirelessly to improve things. She reduced the proposed density on the Zaitz tract by 25%; she held outreach meetings and fought for over 30 concrete improvements to the original plan.
I could go on, but I hope I’ve made my point.
It’s time to stand up for the truth and for re-electing effective, principled leaders, who will fight on behalf of all Hopewell Township residents. Please join me in voting for Julie Blake for Hopewell Township Committee on November 6.
Kevin D. Kuchinski,
Note: I am writing this as an individual and not in any official capacity.