In Your Opinion: Handling Of Monument Park By Council Anything But Transparent

By Bill Connell, Somerset.

Apart from Assemblyman Joe Danielson’s professional presentation on medical marijuana, Tuesday’s (Aug. 16) Township Council meeting was an absolute train wreck. As a Democratic committeeman I was beside myself. So much so, I had to wait to write this to process my thoughts.

I was there as a member of the Open Space Advisory Committee, a Democratic Committee member, and as I always do, step back, listen, and try to find a different point of view. I personally don’t see the need for statues. I look at the people around me for inspiration. I always have.

I definitely understand the value of leadership. Looking at statues makes you look behind, not forward, though. I found it ironic that a local gadfly who constantly reminds council of kids and jobs, is supporting throwing a lot of money at stationary objects that could be used for positive growth in living people. Now let’s gets down to business.

Skip Schaefer is not wrong but taking risks is part of any good council. This council has taken some risks. I would rather that than do nothing. It is all not bad but I have lost faith in this council to self-modulate in the glow of a 100 percent majority.

Rajiv Prasad’s first or second council comment ever was to request statues. As nice as the narrative of him making this about gun violence, it is not a completely true narrative. It is taking advantage a situation to accomplish a goal

To this day people bring up Mr. Prasad and the FBI. The telling part of the story is he did it without letting the Mayor, a Republican, know. If it weren’t about leverage and about justice the Republican mayor would have been involved. Regardless, the request of the FBI was a gross abuse of power. He should have been removed from power then, but party cowardice and voter apathy brought him back. George Carlin was right.

All this sheds light on Mr. Prasad ordering statues before the plan was presented to council,even when township council knew this they made a concerted effort to cover it up. Only after blow-back to the plan did major private funding appear. The first attempt was to get council to agree to put the donated pieces in place.

The last straw was Tuesday. Councilman Prasad did in fact present a more organized concept as requested, but fell far short of transparency. He “astroturfed” the meeting audience with supporters and then rammed the item on to the agenda via Jim Vassanella in real-time. If the people in the audience know before council, that should raise alarm bells. It should also be noted the adhoc committee was man-handled and no serious consideration to OSAC recommendations was given.

Might I suggest this Democratic Council stop worrying about national topics and handle the issue they have in this issue.


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