In a recent letter, Republican candidate for Middletown Township Committee Tony Fiore said that we should look at a candidate’s record to judge his or her qualifications for office. I couldn’t agree more, so let’s look at the record of this year’s Republican candidates.
Although Mr. Fiore is running for the Committee and is currently a member of the Middletown’s Planning Board, he rarely shows up for Committee meetings and has failed to distinguish himself as a leader or innovator on the Planning Board.
Mr. Fiore’s biggest campaign issue is school taxes, yet Middletown’s excellent school system is the reason Money Magazine listed our town in their Top 100 Places to Live. If Mr. Fiore was more in touch with Middletown residents, he would recognize that Middletown should not decrease revenue for its schools; it should decrease spending on frivolous expenses, such as the multi-million dollar renovation of the Middletown Cultural Art’s Center that Republicans have championed in the past.
Moreover, while Mr. Fiore is attacking taxes that benefit our schools, his running mate, Pamela Brightbill, is responsible for keeping our municipal taxes high. As a current member of the Committee, Ms. Brightbill voted to approve tax increases of 5.7 percent in 2006, 3.1 percent in 2007, and 7.1 percent in 2008; a total of 15.9 percent over the past 3 years! Middletown cannot afford to elect these individuals to our Committee.
Yet, what is most disconcerting is that Ms. Brightbill promised in her last campaign to keep taxes low if elected. She also promised to preserve open space, yet she approved transforming the Conifer tract of land into a huge development, even though it was purchased with open space funds. Ms. Brightbill’s silence on the soil contamination issue at the Cultural Arts Center and Town Hall has also misled the public. The cleanup could cost taxpayers millions, yet she kept the contamination a secret instead of taking the lead to get rid of this public health concern.
How can voters trust the Republicans to follow through on what they promise? Ms. Brightbill’s actions have already proven that Middletown cannot trust her to follow through. Mr. Fiore has already lied to voters about his resume, what else will be next?
I believe Middletown residents are looking for candidates who are honest and ready to act in residents’ best interest. I know that Pat Walsh and Jim Grenafege have the honesty, integrity, and leadership to transform our Township Committee into the responsive and dedicated body we need in these tough times we all face.