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Former Democratic Councilman Strauss Endorses DePaola for Mayor

Strauss believes doing what is right for the community comes before party affiliation.


The following information was provided by the Scotch Plains Republican Committee.

Jeffrey Strauss, who served on the Scotch Plains Township Council from 2007 to 2010 has endorsed the reelection of Republican Mayoral candidate Mary DePaola.  

 

Strauss, a Democrat, was elected in 2006 on a ticket with Kevin Glover, DePaola’s opponent in this year’s mayoral election.

Strauss stated, “While I have been a Democrat and will continue as a Democrat, I have always felt that party affiliation is not as important at the local level of government.  What is important is competent leadership and doing what is right on behalf of the community and its residents.  I have served on the Scotch Plains Township Council with both mayoral candidates and have seen them both in action.  I give my strongest endorsement to Mary DePaola.”

 

He continued, “During my 4 years on the Township Council I always attempted to put politics aside and work with the Municipal Manager and my Republican colleagues on the Council to provide good government for our citizens.  In my final two years on the Council I was able to work with Mary DePaola during challenging times and now work with her on the Scotch Plains Planning Board.  I admire her leadership and communication skills, and respect the fact that she also can work with both Republicans and Democrats for the best interests of the community we love.”

 

Mayor DePaola responded. “It is truly an honor to have such a respected member of the community support my candidacy for mayor.   It was a pleasure serving with Jeff for those two years. When I joined the Council, I was able to look to Councilman Strauss as a role model as I learned the ropes of local government.  Scotch Plains was truly fortunate to have him on the governing body and when he left the Township Council, I heartily endorsed his appointment to our Planning Board where we now serve together.  It is my hope that Jeffrey Strauss stays involved in our municipal government. He is an asset for Scotch Plains.”

 

Strauss concluded by saying, “Challenging times still exist in municipal government.  We are constantly being asked to do more with fewer resources.  Particular to Scotch Plains, our Township Council is now grappling with issues such as hiring and working with a new Municipal Manager, potentially consolidating police departments with Fanwood, and maintaining the services our residents expect and deserve at a reasonable cost.  I am confident that Mary DePaola is the right choice to be our mayor, and I call on my friends, neighbors, and those that bestowed their confidence in me to support Mayor DePaola.”

w October 02, 2012 at 11:23 PM
bo un have been collecting taxes for ever u still need a learning curve? maybe that is the explanation of our taxes
Holden MaGroin October 04, 2012 at 04:03 AM
I'm Holden MaGroin and this is for councilman Vastine. I don't want to sound accusatory but I'm seeing a pattern that has started a couple of weeks ago when I increased my posts on depaola and included links to her past record. There has been an increase in new users signing in to debate me. We've had the denying Edward saridai, Bret hart, Amy g and now you. The interesting part is, as each new one starts, the prior one stops. That brings me to the local republican party committee and the statement you made above on the candidate selection process by the local committee. I would like to ask you a question or 2. Is it still your turn or is someone else next in line to engage me? I only ask because if your time is up, I will wait to ask the next person on the list. Please let me know and then I can ask my questions. Thanks
Bo Vastine October 04, 2012 at 12:18 PM
"W"...you are correct, the Township has been collecting property taxes for many years. However, the sewer fee has only been around for a few. In the first year of its inception, the amount of gross fees collected was dramatically lower due mostly to people not familiar with paying it separately. As a result, the fee amount was increased to make up for the deficit. Once everyone, whom had not paid yet, started getting delinquent notices, the amount collected went up substantially. Which ultimately led to a surplus. As I mentioned previously, we are working down the surplus and the rate which is collected to arrive at a stable rate which affords for a fund balance and buffers increases from the RVSA. I hope this helps clarify...
becks October 04, 2012 at 12:28 PM
So Bo what you are saying is those of us that paid had to pay more because some didn't? Is that really what you mean?
Bo Vastine October 04, 2012 at 12:36 PM
Holden, I am worried about your increased sense of conspiracy. Perhaps you believe that we have figured out who you really are? In any case...the fact that you have seen an increase to responses based on an increase in posts...can be fairly easily explained in a simple cause and affect analysis. You submit 1 comment, you get one response...you submit two comments...you get two responses and so forth. On your other comments above...I am not sure who the others are, but speaking for myself...I would suggest that this is not a debate. Rather, this is a discussion in an online forum...with some people revealing their identity...and others not. If you would like to debate all of these issues in a public forum, and believe that this would be beneficial to our community, I would look forward to that opportunity and welcome the chance to have two differing perspectives addressing the issues that face our community. Lastly, if you expect to have serious people respond seriously to your questions, comments and/or insights...you have to drop the clown act. That is not to say that it isn't amusing and funny...a lot of it is. But, it will not illicit a serious engagement. I for one, do not want to spend my time attempting to have a meaningful discussion with someone who is only interested in being funny and making cracks at other people's expense.
Bo Vastine October 04, 2012 at 12:47 PM
Not exactly...let me put some numbers to this to help illustrate my point. Keep in mind, that these numbers do not reflect actual percentages, rather they are for illustration only. Let's say that the total bill from RVSA is $100. The Township has to pay that $100 no matter what. However, if in the first year we only have a collection rate of 75% from residents...in the next year we have to raise the fee rates per household to make up the difference. Subsequently, if the 25% that did not pay in the first year due to confusion or forgetting, ultimately do pay...we now have higher fee rates and a higher collection rate. This creates the surplus. Once we became aware of the surplus, we adjusted the fee rates to reflect a more stable collection rate...and we began to work through a strategy to work down the surplus while maintaining stable rates even with increased fees from RVSA. I hope this helps clarify it a bit...The further out in years that we have with this, the more predictable the fees and collection rates will be.
becks October 04, 2012 at 12:52 PM
I think I get it. I run a business and some people pay my bill and some do not then the following year I can charge more to those that pay to make up for those that do not. Is that what you are saying?
Bo Vastine October 04, 2012 at 01:01 PM
Yes, you have that option as the owner of your business. Or, you can right off the loss...or you can take them to court or turn them over to a collection firm. In government, you place a lien on their property, and ultimately foreclose if they do not pay. In this case...when it went to the lien stage...most, if not all, came forward and paid. Unlike a private business (and the Federal Government), however, State and local governments can not run a deficit...therefore, we have to make up the difference until we are able to either collect or foreclose.
becks October 04, 2012 at 01:38 PM
You did not answer my question though. I want to make sure I understand what happened. Sounds to me like those that paid were screwed in the end. Seems to be the same issue over and over again in this country. And sadly it's not that easy to collect in the private sector. The laws in the country do not protect businesses enough. It's too easy for people to walk away from debt but that is a whole other debate. No we can't run a deficit if we want to stay in business. See the difference between the govt and the rest of us is we can't just increase our cost of services or products to our customers when we overspend. The govt can always come to us for more money. Which they are getting very good at lately.
Bo Vastine October 04, 2012 at 02:02 PM
Becks...your statement is even more correct than you think regarding those who paid and those who didn't. You see, with the upcoming election...Councilman Glover led the charge to send your sewer surplus money back to property tax payers...some of which might have been a part of the group that didn't pay into it in the first place. As far as your other comments...I agree with you. That is why the majority on this council including Mayor DePaola, Councilman Marcus, Councilman Saridaki and myself are working diligently to find solutions to controlling costs...such as the Police merger and subsequent DPW merger. We might not be running around chasing camera crews and photographers...but we are working hard to get costs under control. Don't forget...we pay the same rates you do in both property tax and sewer fees.
becks October 04, 2012 at 02:21 PM
I have to believe Mr Glover's heart is in the right place and I think he truly does care about the town and it's residents. I don't agree with a lot of what he says or does. I'm not impressed with our current mayor nor have I have been with the last few. Our town needs change and we need to be able to compete with surrounding towns. We can't do that if we remain the same year after year. As a council there is not much you all can do to put more money back in our pocket. The bulk goes to the schools. Sure you can fire a few town employees and maybe turn off some lights but in the end it won't translate into much for the residents. What can help is getting more of a business base in the town. And that can be accomplished by working with the business community and residents and fix up the downtown. I don't know the last time you walked around but it's far from inviting. The only council member that seemed to care was Mr Strauss. Bo when was the last time you or any other council member walked the businesses in town and talked to them? I have been here a very long time and I have never had a mayor walk into my shop to talk to me. You are all out of touch with the community.
Holden MaGroin October 04, 2012 at 02:45 PM
I'm Holden MaGroin and this is for councilman Vastine. Let me try to be more clear. I wasn't saying that more comments won't bring more responses, I was saying that it's interesting that the comments are bringing replies from more new posters. What I was also saying is that there seems to be a "hand off" almost like those WWF tag teams. Especially because I think that it's more of a coordinated effort instead of just a randon coinsidence. But that's ok, I welcome the discourse. No, I do not believe that people know who I am, nor do I believe that most people care. Because even if they did, as I've stated previously, I'm not someone most people would know other than my few friends and neighbors. I think the obsessing of who the person is, and calling me an un-American coward with no cajones (candidate saridaki) and now a clown with an act (you, sitting councilman) does you no service. I would hope the words would be more important than the names. To me, and it sounds like others, we should be discussing the questions and answers (along with the links) that are brought up. The name Bo Vastine can be construed as a funny name. Should I not take your words seriously because of all the material your name would provide me? And yes, I do try to bring humor in my observations, partly because many of us would be crying over some of the positions and decisions our leaders hold and make. Now, as I asked earlier, can we discuss the commitee selection process?
Bo Vastine October 04, 2012 at 02:57 PM
Becks, For the most part I agree with your sentiments...however, I have attended the past two SPMC Board meetings and believe that they are working towards the solution. I was listening. We are not there yet, but "A journey of a thousand miles...begins with a single step". The real key to success with the Business District will be giving the business owners more control over their own destiny...and some additional tools and resources to get there. The creation of the SPMC is one tool created for moving forward with our Business District. Getting out of the way is another. The previous Mayor should be applauded for the SPMC's creation...but then she set it back by micro managing the process. Mayor DePaola is completely committed to giving business owners the room they need to improve things as they envision it...and as they know how.
Bo Vastine October 04, 2012 at 02:58 PM
In addition, we negotiated...as part of the settlement with the new owners of Shackamaxon...monies which are specifically earmarked for the Business District. The monies will be used to improve and enhance the district as the business owners decide, along with some input from the governing body. Having said the above...we have some work ahead of us...but the real question related to this and other issues facing us is: Do we want someone more interested in grabbing the headline? Or, do we want someone like Mary with the project management experience and practical approach to lead us forward? I am supporting Mary, as I have said, because I believe she is the best choice to move Scotch Plains forward.
becks October 04, 2012 at 03:07 PM
Bo I know it's probably part of the job to attack the other guy but it's no different than calling someone a jerk face on the playground. It's immature and tiring. We need solutions not finger pointing. Sitting on the board of a SID and going to meetings is not making things happen. The SID has done zero except line a management companies pockets. If I recall that is what the original SID board was afraid of. Both parties where there when this happen and neither did anything productive. To sum up I see a lot of talk and not a lot of action. We need action Bo. We need solutions. We need someone to take control and be accountable. Show me that person and they will get my vote.
becks October 04, 2012 at 03:10 PM
please excuse my typos (it's hard to type in that little box).
Bo Vastine October 04, 2012 at 03:11 PM
Holden...for someone who jokes so easily at other people's expense...you sure do have thin skin. If it is your intent to add humor to your discourse...wouldn't it be a compliment to be compared with a "clown act"? Are not clowns intended to bring fun and laughter? If you have serious questions...I will give you serious answers. If you prefer to be sarcastic and condescending...I would rather my time be focused on other things. But ask away...
Holden MaGroin October 04, 2012 at 05:04 PM
I'm Holden MaGroin and this is for councilman Vastine. I will ask my questions, but would first like to address something that keeps coming across in your replies. You earlier say you want to have an informative "debate", but then you say it's not a debate but a discussion. We can have whatever you prefer to call it. You say there shouldn't be name calling and we shouldn't belittle others but each of your replies to me has some form of them. You're "concerned about my increased sense of conspiracy", you want me to "drop my clown act", you think I have "thin skin" (not sure what in my reply you saw that would cause that), and you call me "sarcastic and condescending". Those were just the ones addressed to me. I see too that you refer to glover as one who just seeks headlines, but I'm not here to defend him But don't worry, I'm ok with you using those terms because I guess most people won't find them as name-calling or belittling. And if they do, maybe Nicole can call you and you can deny that it's really you. (sorry about that, but the coward-calling saridaki still has not made any public mention of that). Nor has your party leader who will make a public statement on the sky being blue. Anyway, concerning the repub party decision on who gets on the ticket. How many people are on this selection committee? Are we allowed to know who they are? What is the criteria to be on the selection committee? I will ask more after your answers
becks October 04, 2012 at 05:08 PM
Holden why don't you just go to a council meeting if you have questions?
Bo Vastine October 04, 2012 at 05:31 PM
Holden, The Republican and Democratic Parties here in town are comprised of committee members elected by their neighbors. They appear on the ballot every other year during the primary (Democrats one year Republicans the next). There are now 23 districts in town with a male and female member representing each district. So, ideally, you have 46 committee members who vote on which candidate(s) get the official line for office. So yes, you know who they are...they are on the ballot when you vote in the primary...if it is your affiliated party's year. This year was Republican, next year will be Democrat. Getting on the ballot requires signatures on a petition. Which means if you want to be on the committee you must solicit enough signatures to be placed on the ballot just like any other office seeker.
Holden MaGroin October 04, 2012 at 05:45 PM
I'm Holden MaGroin and this is for councilman Vastine. Thank you for the information. It's helpful and enlightening. So, you're saying that 46 people voted and ms depaola got the majority of the votes over mayor malool to be on the republican ticket?
Bo Vastine October 04, 2012 at 06:03 PM
I am not sure we had 46...but it was full room and we had a quorum...but yes, the results were as you stated...Mary won the majority of votes.
becks October 04, 2012 at 06:04 PM
Jeff Strauss should be mayor
Holden MaGroin October 04, 2012 at 08:12 PM
I'm Holden MaGroin and this is for councilman Vastine. Thanks for your answer. I just want to fully understand. The people that we vote in are the ones who vote for the ticket? Is that the way it is for the Dems?
Bo Vastine October 04, 2012 at 08:14 PM
It might or might not be that way for them. I guess their chairman has the power to pick the line...like they do in Plainfield, but we vote.
becks October 04, 2012 at 08:16 PM
It's obvious that Holden has a reason for these questions
Holden MaGroin October 04, 2012 at 10:36 PM
I'm Holden MaGroin and this is for becks. I don't like to go to the public meetings because I'm often mocked in public due to appearence issues. I do have reasons for these questions on the selection of the ticket and I think it's important and here's why. I'm struggling with how the people we elect, in the committee structure, would so quickly change their opinion on the sitting mayor to switch their support. And this was after the majority seemed to have had an epithany on Bratti, another sitting councilman a year earlier. Councilman Vastine in comments above makes it sound that each year anyone interested makes their case and the majority rules after a vote. He says: "It is really that simple...It is the way the process works." "Not really a great conspiracy here...members of the committee voted their conscious...just as they did when Bratti was seeking the line." He goes on to say: "However, to be fair...Martin Marks is not running for any office this year. I know that it is fun and maybe even strategic to state that we are all under his puppet master thumb...but to be honest, we are not." What I'm saying, and once again trying to support it with quotes is that the behavior and actual results forces one to make many leaps of faith to believe this just happens without the "old guard" influence, led by Marks. I will repeat again that those who buck Marks get booted. Put any fragrance you want on the pig,.... it still squeels.
Lance October 05, 2012 at 12:57 AM
Well done Holden!!! Once again showing it like it really is. Using their owns quotes to prove your point. Please take Bo's advice and run for council!!
w October 05, 2012 at 02:40 AM
we forgot about our sewer windfall truck purchase. maybe we should have contracted with fanwoood sewer truck. looks nice and new to me.
ParkMom October 06, 2012 at 01:22 PM
For all of you that say our downtown isn't nice? I love the downtown, its beautiful will the little park like setting next to the Cityhall. We have the Tavern which is always crowded and we all love the outside courtyard. A new restraunt is opened in town and another place is opening soon (a sushi place). To me, the town is starting to get more places to eat or just to have a drink. The downtown is clean and friendly. It will never be a Westfield ~ or Cranford, but it still is a pretty town. I love living in Scotch Plains. I've worked with Mary during our daughters recital in town and she was wonderful. I hope she gets in. She seems very understanding of the town issues and I think she needs time to take care of some of them. She hasn't been the mayor for that long. Give her a chance, go see her, talk to her. I wish her luck!!! As for Glover being at the water main break, yes he was there.. but don't you think its political.. and thats why he was there? He seemed to be in everyones face that day... Making sure we all knew who he was.

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