The following is a letter in reply to Holden Magroin's Letter to the Editor. Part Two. Part Three.
To the Editor of the Scotch Plains Fanwood Patch:
Scotch Plains Fanwood Patch policy has been to accept anonymous postings from its readership commenting on news items and opinion pieces. This is a relatively new phenomenon in media and certainly not without controversy. It is a phenomenon evidently here to stay in the age of electronic media. However, recently The Scotch Plains Fanwood Patch has allowed a frequent anonymous poster a more than prominent spot in its opinion pages to write scathing diatribes against the Scotch Plains Republican Party. I believe that it is beneath the integrity of any respected media outlet to give an anonymous poster hiding behind the veil of an arguably vulgar pseudonym such a prominent platform to spew his political rhetoric.
I have asked the Patch for equal time and thank them for granting me the opportunity. In the interest of full disclosure I have no problem revealing my name and the fact that I served eight years as a Republican member of the Scotch Plains Township Council from 2001 to 2008. I have been intimately involved in and aware of Township government issues for a number of years and present to you:
A History of Kevin Glover and the Scotch Plains Democrats Part One
As I have followed and served in Scotch Plains government and politics for many years, I am familiar with not only members of my own party but also those who have been involved in the Scotch Plains Democratic Party. For the most part, I believe these are decent people who, while having differing political views than I, participate in the political process for the right reasons. I have respect for former Mayor Geri Samuel, the late Councilman Tarquin Bromley, Former Councilwoman Sharynn Porter, and former Councilman Jeffrey Strauss with whom I now serve on the Scotch Plains Planning Board. Unlike the anonymous poster who paints with a broad brush and condemns just about anyone associated with local Republicans, I am going to focus on the history of Democratic Councilman and candidate for Mayor Kevin Glover, who unfortunately does not have my respect.
Having served on the same Township Council with Mr. Glover and followed his antics since I left office, I firmly believe he is not involved in our local government for the right reasons. I have seen him alienate both fellow Council members of both parties and the professional staff at the Municipal Building. I have witnessed him take marching orders from political bosses for purely partisan reasons. And most disturbingly, I watched him stake out positions that would be detrimental to the community that we love. The following chronicles his history since he arrived on the scene six years ago.
Councilman Glover Sworn Into Office
The campaign of 2006 saw the Election of two Democrats, Kevin Glover and Jeffrey Strauss. In January of 2007 when Mr. Glover was sworn into office, the partisanship began. He demanded that former Democratic Party Chairman Ken Lipstein or soon to be Democratic Party Chairman Dick Samuel be hired as the Assistant Township Attorney. He also requested that now Democratic Party Chairman Lou Beckerman be hired as the Township’s Insurance Broker.
High School Parking
For the longest time, Scotch Plains and neighboring Fanwood experienced terrible parking congestion around our High School. After working with our police department, the Board of Education, and most importantly student representatives, a student parking permit plan was devised and parking opportunities were expanded on the school campus. Some contentious public hearings were held, a 4-1 vote was taken, and a bi-partisan agreement was enacted that ultimately improved the parking situation. Mr. Glover was the lone dissenter in that vote and we witnessed him actually taking hand signals former a Democratic Party Chairman in the audience that night as they both saw an opportunity to be partisan and divisive.
Scotch Plains Recreation
Over the last ten years, Scotch Plains has made tremendous strides creating new and renovating existing parks and ball fields for our residents. There has been an admirable level of leadership and cooperation between various government agencies such as the Scotch Plains and Fanwood Councils, the Board of Education, and the Union County Board of Freeholders in order to bring these success stories to the finish line. Additionally, volunteers on our Recreation Commission and leaders in the various sports organizations were instrumental in these successes. Unfortunately, Councilman Glover and his party boss were less than cooperative in this process.
Shockingly, the Democratic Party Boss wrote a letter to the editor highly critical of our volunteers on the Recreation Commission questioning their motives as we planned the much needed and now popular Southside artificial turf Soccer/Lacrosse field.
He was called out on this unfortunate attack on volunteers by community members at a Council meeting and it was Councilman Glover who rushed to his defense.
When the vote on funding the Southside Park project was held, we needed to relocate the Council Meeting to the High School auditorium because the Recreation Community of all ages was out in large numbers to support the popular project. Four bi-partisan votes were heard to approve moving forward. Councilman Glover was the only Council member who would not support the vote.
Special Improvement District
Early in his tenure on the Scotch Plains Township Council, Mr. Glover wrote a letter to the editor critical of Mayor Marks and the Township Council for their previous decision not to move forward to create a Special Improvement District (SID) in the central business district.
The issue was revisited in 2008 and thoroughly discussed and debated. As had happened on the initial vote a few years previously, the public debate was divided, yet this time the sentiment was much more favorable. Seeing an opportunity to grandstand in a mayoral election year, Councilman Glover now flip-flopped and was the lone dissenter in a bi-partisan vote to move ahead with the S.I.D.
No doubt the fledgling SID had a rough start which could be understood with any new organization. The intent of any Special Improvement District is for the local governing body to enact a mechanism for self funding and self-governance for business district property owners and merchants so that they could chart their own direction for success. Unfortunately that spirit did not last long as, Councilman Glover and others on the governing body meddled and attempted to micromanage the SID’s direction which led to heated and at times ugly public confrontations.
Scotch Plains Times Critical of Behavior
It is rare for a local publication to take a position critical of the boorish behavior of those involved in local government. I sat in amazement and at times disgust in our non-televised Council meetings on the second floor of the Municipal Building watching the Chairman of the Democratic Party position himself directly behind Councilman Glover’s seat and then insinuate himself into Council discussions and deliberations. After several months of antics from Mr. Glover and his political party chairman, it evidently got to our local paper too. The following is a Scotch Plains Fanwood Times Editorial critical of those antics
Part Two of the History of Kevin Glover and the Democrats to follow with a look at his Township Budget Votes, Shackamaxon Country Club, and the Sewer Utility.
Paulette Coronato, Scotch Plains Councilwoman