Still no official NJWSA statement about future of Route 629 over Round Valley

future of route 629Yesterday morning the N.J. Water Supply Authority reopened Route 629 over Round Valley Reservoir following months of public outcry. A caravan of 20 vehicles took a drive over the road late in the afternoon, celebrating the success of local activists intent on reopening the road.

Following a series of exposes published here over the summer, it was those activists that forced the hand of the NJWSA.

However, the NJWSA has issued no official statement that Route 629 will remain open. In fact, the only relevant official statement the agency has made is that it continues to work on “updating” a secret report that will justify permanent closure of the road for “security reasons.”

(Video courtesy of Jonathan Kinkel)

No statement from NJWSA

The Hunterdon County Commissioners recently announced the reopening of 629 and asserted that the NJWSA would not close the road again. However, NJWSA — owner and operator of the Round Valley Reservoir dams and dikes — has not issued any official statement that it has abandoned its ongoing efforts to close 629 permanently. There is no announcement on the NJWSA’s website or in its Round Valley Updates page.

Wise bureaucrats go silent during times of public uproar… but keep working like busy bees “in the back room” while the public stops paying attention.

NJWSA works on “update” to study that will support permanent closure of Route 629

In July NJWSA claimed its decision to close the road permanently was “based on recommendations identified in a [2012] report prepared by U.S. Department of Homeland Security and U.S. Army Corp of Engineers in coordination with N.J. Department of Environmental Protection’s Bureau of Dam Safety.”

But the NJWSA continues to refuse to release the 10 year old report to the public. It has reportedly provided a copy of the outdated report to Clinton Township Mayor Brian Mullay, instructing him that the report was to be kept secret.

NJWSA said it already had the official support of NJDEP.

Homeland Security denies involvement

The NJWSA stated during the summer that they were working with federal agencies to “update” the old dam security report, which they expect will justify plans to permanently close 629.

There is no indication that the study update is not proceeding.

But was the federal government actually in support of the permanent road closure “for security reasons?”

Congressman Tom Malinowski made a surprise visit to the NJWSA in early August. That visit seems to have confirmed what was revealed in internal documents obtained under the Sunshine Law: U.S. Homeland Security had no involvement in the decision to close 629 permanently for “security reasons” as NJWSA Executive Director Marc Brooks repeatedly claimed.

Internal e-mails obtained by seem to confirm it.

Reprinted from Documents reveal scramble for last-minute justification of route 629 closing

July 6-7
DEP’s John Kale asks Department of Homeland Security whether it knows “of any document that says roads should not be placed on high hazard dams in particular ones that are on the critical dam list?”

DHS responds “No, it is up to the owner/operator to determine what are acceptable risk to them and what protective measures if any they want to implement to protect their facilities. All of our documents are voluntary guidelines and best practices for suggested risk mitigation, protective measures, etc.”

In other words, despite the 2012 report, DHS will not comment on a specific site or road. Nonetheless, WSA claims on its website that the old DHS “report” is the basis for closing the road. View doc

More simply, it seems the NJWSA had been lying to the public. While Malinowski’s office made no statement about what transpired in the meeting, an aide confirmed that his office is routinely advised in advance by Homeland Security prior to any activity in his district. There was no record of any such notice of Homeland Security’s involvement in the planning of the road closure.

It does not seem unlikely that Malinowski, who is on the Congressional Homeland Security Committee, cautioned the NJWSA about misrepresenting the Department of Homeland Security’s involvement in its plans.

Planning for permanent road closure appears to continue

Just a few days after Malinowski’s visit, the NJWSA put everything on hold.

On August 8, MyCentralJersey reported that “The New Jersey Water Supply Authority has paused a request for Hunterdon County to close Route 629 around Round Valley Reservoir until an updated study is completed on possible security concerns.”

Reporter Mike Deak’s article went on to say: “the authority’s Capital Projects Committee has recommended an update to that study. The authority has begun discussions with the state Department of Environmental Protection, the New Jersey State Police and Homeland Security about updating the study. Until that study is completed, the authority will hold off asking the Hunterdon County commissioners to close the road.”

The NJWSA has never officially stated that its original plans have changed, only that it is holding off.

Playing the public relations game

Read the reports about Commissioner Lanza’s meeting with NJWSA Executive Director Marc Brooks:

Lanza said that Marc Brooks, the Authority’s executive director, agreed to study long-term security enhancements that do not involve the road’s closure.

Studies. Not promises. Not a commitment. It may seem “clear” that NJWSA has committed to not closing Route 629, but that’s not what Lanza said to the press, and the NJWSA has continued to play the public relations game it has played throughout this debacle.

Again and again, the NJWSA’s “positions” and “statements” about 629 have appeared  unofficially and second-hand on online news outlets, on the Clinton Township website, and now in second-party reports from a county commissioner. The NJWSA has studiously avoided publishing official statements of its own, so it always has plausible deniability.

It’s an old PR trick: Don’t say anything yourself; let others say what you want the public to hear, then go about your business. The NJWSA has not officially stated that it will not permanently close Route 629 over Round Valley Reservoir.

Will there be another roadblock on Route 629? Drive carefully.

: :

Posted in Route 629 | Comments Off on Still no official NJWSA statement about future of Route 629 over Round Valley

Exxon Warehouse: Clinton Township zoning says NO

exxon warehouse

Prologis warehouse, Chambersburg, PA

How do you stop an Exxon warehouse? It’s simple: Clinton Township citizens and  neighbors who would be affected show up at the next council meeting, Wednesday, October 26 at 7:00 P.M. and tell their elected representatives on the council:

“Uphold our zoning! No amendments to permit warehouses!”

It seems that fast on the heels of our report on Thursday, Oct. 20, Exxon to bomb Clinton Township with 4 million SF warehouse, Exxon Mobil quickly decided to disclose what it has been quietly discussing for some time with Clinton Township officials. Exxon was reportedly going to announce this at a future council session: Letter from Exxon.

It’s now clear that Exxon is proposing a huge warehouse to be operated on Exxon’s long-time property by Prologis, which has massive warehouses strewn across New Jersey and other states.

Warehouses not permitted

It’s not clear why the township would even entertain this proposal. The township’s ROM-1 zoning does not permit warehouses.

Here’s what Exxon wants, from its letter:

exxon request for zoning change

Exxon’s entire site is within the ROM-1 zone, or the Research, Office and Manufacturing district. This defines what a property owner may and may not do within a zone.


All Clinton Township has to do is say NO

In other words, the Clinton Township council can simply and politely tell Exxon NO, and do so on solid legal ground.

But Exxon is making a special request. Exxon is…

“…requesting that the Township Council consider amending the Property’s prevailing zoning to permit such a use.”

Why do we have zoning?

Zoning is the set of rules a community develops, under New Jersey’s Municipal Land Use Law (MLUL), to ensure the wishes of its residents are enforced. A town cannot implement arbitrary zoning — that would be illegal.

If the council agreed to “amend” the ROM-1 zoning to appease Exxon, what happens when other ROM-1 property owners ask for the same? Does the council upend the will of its residents on a case-by-case basis? Or, what is the law for? Will residents have to show up at public hearings in every single case after they’ve already enshrined a law that does not permit warehouses?”

Prologis would love that.

Without turning this into a detailed lesson in land use, a town’s governing body (often with advice from its planning board) legislates, or frames in its laws, what may and may not be built within its borders. Of course, these land-use rules must be consistent with State of New Jersey laws. Before zoning can be enacted through legislation by a town’s governing body, public notices are issued and the public (including developers and Exxon) are welcome to comment before a vote is taken by the council to enshrine the zoning into law.

Clinton Township’s restrictions on what can be built in the ROM-1 zone are defined by its community for the good of its community. These land-use laws are published and readily available to anyone considering building anything anywhere in the township.

Exxon wants to “make a deal”

This is how Exxon cues up a “friendly negotiation” with elected officials and with the planning board — when Clinton Township doesn’t need to negotiate anything.

Such imprudent “negotiations” are how Prologis builds fantastical structures that:

  • introduce acres of impervious ground cover (rooftops and asphalt driveways and parking lots) that:
  • impede groundwater recharge (that ‘s how aquifers refill residents’ wells)
  • create storm water run-off (that pollutes streams and the water supply)
  • generate thousands of diesel truck trips per day
  • destroy air quality, and
  • introduce massive amounts of traffic congestion and noise.

That’s why Exxon wants to cue up meetings — so it can make a deal.

Given that existing law already does not permit warehouses, it would be imprudent for Clinton Township to even consider wading into the murky legal swamp of “a negotiation.”

So why is the township even considering warehouses?

A developer has the right to appear before the township council and planning board and request a variance to legally depart in specific ways from the zoning. The planning board may approve a variance request if the applicant meets certain criteria, but it does not have to.

That’s why the township is even considering this, barring any inappropriate influence.

But in this case, Exxon does not even seem to be asking for a variance. Exxon is asking Clinton Township to consider entirely changing the zoning for the Exxon site.

“…amending the Property’s prevailing zoning to permit [warehouses].”

Exxon wants Clinton Township to change the law to suit Exxon, not the residents.

Why do we have zoning?

Towns have zoning to protect their residents. Residents elect officials to make the laws and to enforce them for the benefit and safety of the residents. These laws are made through an often cumbersome process: it takes a lot of work for a community to decide what’s best for all.

Clinton Township’s zoning is legal, it is clear, and it is what the residents decided they want for their community.

Warehouses are not permitted. In fairness and out of respect for a significant corporate resident, the council might nonetheless entertain Exxon’s presentation at a public meeting.

But the township’s position is already clear and enshrined in its laws.

How to Say It: “Warehouses are not permitted.”

That is all the township council and/or planning board needs to say to Exxon. The planning board isn’t even required to hear an application for a warehouse. (Why would busy, unpaid planning board volunteers waste their time, when they’ve already invested their time to make the township’s position on warehouses into law?)

The township’s only justification for NO needs to be nothing more than the very existence of its ROM-1 zoning.

Reprise: Exxon is looking for “a deal”

Could the council and planning board allow Exxon to build a warehouse anyway?

Yes, they could. They could “make a deal.”

For example, if Exxon can’t build a warehouse, it might threaten to build some extreme version of what the zoning does permit, and use the threat to get a deal whereby the township agrees to change its zoning to permit a warehouse.

Or, Exxon could point out (as it did in its letter) that a new warehouse could provide “a significant increase in real estate tax revenue.” But taxes on a warehouse are calculated not on what’s in the building, but on what the building is: a tin shell with relatively little value. The taxes would never compensate for the pains the warehouse would inflict on the township. This kind of deal is called “chasing ratables.”

making-sausageOr, Exxon could offer to improve “prevailing traffic problems,” as it did in its letter. But the clever letter makes no mention of dealing with the future traffic problems that potentially thousands of truck trips per day would be generated by a 4 million square foot warehouse. (See ‘Warehouses in their backyards’: when Amazon expands, these communities pay the price.)

In politics, these kinds of negotiations are referred to as “how sausage is made.” If you look, you’d never swallow what you see.

What will the council do?

It might seem clear what the township’s council should do — after all, it’s in the law!

But the council’s recent behavior with the New Jersey Water Supply Authority suggests council members are easily intimidated and overly impressed by seemingly powerful external forces. In the Route 629 case, council quickly bowed to a state agency that in fact has no power over the township or the county. Rather than say NO to permanent closing of a critical roadway, the council punted and said it wasn’t up to them to decide the fate of Route 629.

The council in fact had the power to say NO. When it failed to do so, the public rose up and had to do it for themselves.

What will the council do about enforcing and defending its zoning? It can work for and with its constituents, or it can replay Exxon’s song about why it’s a good idea to make a deal and allow a 4 million square foot warehouse.

Reprise: How do citizens of Clinton Township stop an Exxon  warehouse?

Clinton Township residents and their mayor and council need to be clear, firm and resolute. Council can support the law and the community:

“Build under our zoning, or don’t build. Please go read our law. We’re under no obligation to defend our land-use laws or to negotiate warehouses. NO.”

no warehousesAn elected official’s obligation to their citizens is to apply the law. Not to make deals — or sausage.

The public’s prerogative is to expect and insist that its government use existing laws to protect the community.

What can citizens do? It’s simple: citizens show up at the next council meeting, Wednesday, October 26 at 7:00 P.M. and tell their elected representatives on the council: “Uphold our zoning! No sausage! No deals! No amendments to permit warehouses!”

CORRECTION: Exxon is zoned ROM-1, which does not permit warehouses. This article incorrectly referenced C-ROM zoning, which expressly prohibits warehouses. The article has been corrected.

HOWEVER: General Provision 165-93 provides that “Where a use is not specifically permitted in a zone district, it is prohibited.” So a warehouse in this case is both not permitted, and prohibited by exclusion.

: :

Posted in Exxon, Municipal, Sprawl, Taxes | Tagged , | Comments Off on Exxon Warehouse: Clinton Township zoning says NO

Exxon to bomb Clinton Township with 4 million SF warehouse


Nike warehouse, TN, 2.8 million SF

Exxon Mobil Corporation has notified Mayor Brian Mullay that it plans to sell off hundreds of its 800 acres on Route 22 & 31. Sources familiar with the matter said  that a 4 million square-foot warehouse is reportedly planned for for an unknown tenant.

That’s approximately 92 acres of facility alone and, in addition, paved driveways and parking areas that will dramatically reduce groundwater recharge and increase storm water run-off.

4 million square feet of warehouse would qualify the project as one of the top 10 largest facilities of its kind in North America.

Will mayor and council “refer” it to the planning board?

Exxon will need approvals from the township’s planning board and possibly the zoning board. But first, the council will likely need to vote to refer any application to the board.

This is a common way for mayors and council members to “bless” a project while also “washing their hands of it” — and thus leave the planning board to “hold the bag.” What residents are likely to hear from their elected officials is:

“Oh, don’t worry, folks! This still has to go through the planning board! Nothing is approved yet! You’ll have loads of opportunities to comment on this and make your feelings known! It’s up to the planning board!”

(This is how Mayor John Higgins and his council — some of whom are still in office — ran and hid after approving over 800 affordable housing units in the dark of night in 2017.)

The fact is, the mayor and council have enormous influence over whether a “big box” like this even gets to the loading dock.

Public knows less than Exxon employees

For months Exxon reportedly has been having confidential back-room meetings with Mullay, former mayor John Higgins (a retired Merck land development executive with ties to Exxon), township planners and other officials. If Exxon brings formal plans to the Planning Board, board members that have been involved — including Mullay and Higgins — may have to recuse themselves from the review and approval process.

While mayor and council have kept the negotiations strictly under cover, Exxon has already issued an Exxon Employee Bulletin (file dated October 12) outlining a plan to sell “surplus land adjacent to our Clinton [Township], New Jersey research facility.”

Thousands of diesel truck trips per day possible

The plan reportedly includes a new traffic lane on Route 31 to accommodate thousands of truck trips per day, connecting not to I-78 but to Route 22, further exacerbating congestion on local highways. The Route 31 access road to the site is near the township’s #1 highway deathtrap, the intersection of Route 31 and Country Club Drive.

For the benefit of getting toilet paper, books and other necessities from Amazon in mere hours, residents will have to deal with the estimated thousands of trucks that will be spewing out of the site each day into the most congested intersection in Hunterdon County: the Route 22/31/78 “mixing bowl” at the Petticoat Road intersection.

As a reference point, an Amazon warehouse of just 680,000 square feet in Fontana, CA, generates nearly 6,000 vehicle trips per day, including more than 2,300 diesel truck trips. Such massive warehouses are known to create equally massive amounts of air, water and noise pollution in addition to highway congestion.

N.J. residents mobilize against massive warehouses

11 warehouses each the size of 18 football fields have been built in 2020 alone along Pennsylvania’s I-78/I-81 corridor.

In N.J., angry residents of West Windsor have organized to fight a 5.5 million square foot warehouse. In Salem and Cumberland Counties residents are opposing similar invasive projects. The battle has been engaged in White Township, Warren County for several years against two Jaindl warehouses proposed at 2.6 million square feet.

Clinton Township officials are already familiar with local activism against powerful state agencies and big developers alike. Over 3,500 residents organized to fight and stop the 1,100 housing-unit Windy Acres development. Over 2,500 have petitioned to force the New Jersey Water Supply Authority to re0pen County Route 629. The question is, will mayor and council go along with this Exxon deal and face the wrath of their constituents again?

Why is Exxon doing this to Clinton Township?

Exxon is telling its employees not to worry about their jobs. Jobs will not be affected. The purpose of the project is to raise money for the company:

“This is simply an opportunity to realize the value of our global property portfolio and capture additional operating efficiencies.”

Exxon says it

“has engaged with parties interested in potentially purchasing and developing the surplus land. We anticipate approaching the Clinton Township Council regarding the potential development at a future Council meeting.”

Exxon is holding a meeting for its employees about the matter on November 7. The next township council meeting is Wednesday, October 27. The mayor and council have made no announcements to township residents. Rather, they reportedly have taken measures to keep this information from the public to date.

Exxon has been cultivating support

Exxon is apparently sweetening the deal by offering to donate 120 acres of its 800 to the township for open space and recreation, and to help rebuild township hiking trails. If the donation includes areas that lie over massive limestone deposits, known as karst, on the Exxon property, the land is probably undevelopable anyway. Karst is known for collapsible underground caves that leave massive sinkholes behind.

In 2019 township councilwoman Amy Switlyk announced that Exxon awarded a $45,500 “grant” to the Environmental Commission to support “environmental education.” As council liaison to the EC, Switlyk has made herself responsible for all things environmental. How susceptible is she to Exxon’s offers in a quid pro quo? Since she is running for re-election, along with councilman Bill Glaser, it will be interesting to see how the two vote about referring the big-box warehouse plan to the planning board, knowing the water, air and noise pollution such a project will bring.

In fact, it will be interesting to see how candid the entire council is about the matter, and whether they once again play their game of “We have no control when special interests and big money attack Clinton Township! It’s up to the planning board now! Land-use law ties our hands! Let’s just make the best of it!”

Then there’s this classic, if overused and disingenuous political foil: “A warehouse will generate lots of tax revenue for us!” Remember where you read that while you research towns that have used such deal-with-the-devil windfalls to actually decrease taxes.

Do Clinton Township’s elected officials have what it takes to do the right thing — for the residents? Or do they have to be publicly shamed into it once again?

It probably depends on how many residents show up at upcoming council meetings.

: :



Posted in Exxon, Municipal | Tagged , , , , | Comments Off on Exxon to bomb Clinton Township with 4 million SF warehouse

Malinowski meets with NJWSA, 629 closure on hold

[An earlier version of this article suggested the proposal to permanently close 629 is “dead in the water.” The title has been edited to reflect that it’s merely “on hold.” -Ed.]

On August 4, 2022 U.S. Congressman Tom Malinowski (D) met with officials of the New Jersey Water Supply Authority on behalf of constituents to raise questions about the proposed permanent closure of Hunterdon County Route 629.

Malinowski was recently asked for help by area residents that oppose the proposed permanent closure of the road that goes over a Round Valley Reservoir dam.

This morning a Malinowski spokesperson acknowledged the congressman’s meeting last Thursday with the NWSA.

Will 629 re-open?

Route 629Today reported that the NJWSA’s plan to permanently close 629 has been “put on hold,” following a recommendation of the Authority’s Capital Projects Committee.

The Hunterdon Review has also reported on the hold.

MyCentralJersey reported the road closure will be on pause “until an updated study is completed on possible security concerns.”

There is no indication whether or when 629 will be re-opened, although work related to the road appears near complete. (See photo, courtesy of Robert Quinlan.) But the “informal proposal” — on which the NJWSA based its requests for formal resolutions of support by Clinton Township and Lebanon Borough — seems to be on hold, at least for now, apparently due to the Malinowski meeting.

Proposal to close 629 appears dead in the water, for now

The article goes on to say the proposed road closure was “prompted by a confidential study by the Department of Homeland Security and the Army Corps of Engineers.”

However, “the authority’s Capital Projects Committee has recommended an update to that study. The authority has begun discussions with the state Department of Environmental Protection, the New Jersey State Police and Homeland Security about updating the study. Until that study is completed, the authority will hold off asking the Hunterdon County commissioners to close the road.”

Coming just days after the U.S. Congressman met with WSA officials about the matter, it seems concerned residents have an advocate in Tom Malinowski.

Flurry of activity

Internal NJWSA e-mails obtained by, dated June and July, reveal a flurry of attempts by Water Authority officials to come up with last-minute justifications to close 629 — after unyielding protests from area residents.

Water Authority e-mails to and from U.S. Homeland Security and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers appear, from these documents, to have been fruitless and embarrassing.

: :

Posted in Hunterdon County, Municipal, Route 629 | Tagged , , , | Comments Off on Malinowski meets with NJWSA, 629 closure on hold

Documents reveal scramble for last-minute justification of route 629 closing has obtained official records from the New Jersey Water Supply Authority  under the NJ Sunshine Law that reveal the Authority scrambling to find after-the-fact justification to support its proposal to close county route 629.

Records were requested from the beginning of 2022 — but it took the Authority until July to seek support, well after it floated the road closure.

One e-mail, for example, asks Department of Homeland Security whether it knows “of any document that says roads should not be placed on high hazard dams in particular ones that are on the critical dam list?”

This request came weeks after the NJWSA asked Clinton Township and Lebanon Borough for formal resolutions of support to close the roadway.

E-mails to and from U.S. Homeland Security and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers appear, from these documents, to have been fruitless and embarrassing.

Water Authority documents and e-mails

Click “View doc” link after each summary to view the source document.

July 6
Route 629Shaffer (WSA) and Kale (DEP) debate whether internal docs “call out this road as a target” and speculate about whether “Justification for closing road could be tied to the “active and passive vehicle barrier guide””. These efforts to create justification for closing 629 are made weeks after WSA asks Clinton Township to support the proposal.

In the meantime, Mayor Brian Mullay keeps repeating that NJWSA instructed him to keep the justification for the closing “secret,” but that he finds “the reasons compelling.” This leads his council to vote unanimously on June 22 to go along. View doc

July 6-7
DEP’s John Kale asks Department of Homeland Security whether it knows “of any document that says roads should not be placed on high hazard dams in particular ones that are on the critical dam list?”

DHS responds “No, it is up to the owner/operator to determine what are acceptable risk to them and what protective measures if any they want to implement to protect their facilities. All of our documents are voluntary guidelines and best practices for suggested risk mitigation, protective measures, etc.”

In other words, despite the 2012 report, DHS will not comment on a specific site or road. Nonetheless, WSA claims on its website that the old DHS “report” is the basis for closing the road. View doc

July  8
WSA asks NJ DEP to support permanent closing of 629, “based on recommendations identified in a report prepared by US Department of Homeland Security and US Army Corp of Engineers in coordination with NJDEP Bureau of Dam Safety. The report analyzed various potential threats at all three Round Valley dams and offered recommendations to mitigate those threats.”

The referenced report was produced in 2012, 10 years before WSA asked towns for resolutions of support. Today’s announcement suggests report is out of date and insufficient. View doc

July 22
WSA e-mail response to earlier DHS e-mail: “the Water Supply Authority finds ourselves in a bit of a local uproar.”

WSA has “requested input from NJSP [NJ State Police] about whether “the report provides a legitimate basis for our request.”

These requests to justify closure of 629 come over a month after WSA told Clinton Township and Lebanon Borough that the action was necessary. View doc

: :

Posted in Hunterdon County, Municipal, Route 629, Sunshine Law | Tagged , | Comments Off on Documents reveal scramble for last-minute justification of route 629 closing

Official source documents: Route 629 closing

These documents were obtained under the New Jersey Open Public Records Act from Clinton Township. They include communications/e-mails between the township, Lebanon Boro, the NJ  Water Supply Authority and Hunterdon County. Chronology is oldest at the bottom of each file, newest at the top.

Pages from 2022 06 30 OPRA 629 closing

E-mails between Mayor Mullay, township administrator Vita Mekovetz and NJWSA Executive Director Marc Brooks, establishing that Mullay knew about the proposed permanent closing of Route 629 as early as April 7, 2022. He had over 2 months to properly notify the public about the proposal before the council voted on it June 22 with no one present to comment.

Also establishes that on April 7 Mullay knew “many” residents would be interested in commenting on the matter because — in his own words — “Many will be disappointed if it is closed as people frequently ask when it will reopen.”

The empty council chamber on June 22 suggests Mullay had no intention of widely notifying the public.

Pages from 2022 06 30 OPRA 629 closing-3

In which Brooks, on June 10, outlines the informal proposal he made to the County Engineer, and the Engineer’s request for a formal proposal and supporting resolutions/letters from Clinton Township and Lebanon Boro before the Engineer would consider a formal proposal. The Engineer also requires that the public be given an opportunity to comment “to minimize potential for complaints in the future if the closure becomes permanent.”

More to come.

: :

Posted in Hunterdon County, Municipal, Route 629 | Comments Off on Official source documents: Route 629 closing

Letter to the Hunterdon County Engineer

Council meeting, June 22, 2022

Without any public comment, and without once wondering aloud what the public might want, this is how the council rationalized taking no position on permanently closing route 629 when it had the chance to communicate the wishes of residents of the township to the county.

“It is a county decision, not ours… it may actually be the county in conjunction with the Water Supply Authority… My suggestion would be that the council authorize me to send a letter to the county saying, not necesarily that we support it [permanently closing the road] but that we understand it, and while it would be an inconvenience it’s ultimately the county’s decision.” – Mayor Brian Mullay

“So just to reiterate, we have no choice in the long run… I’ll support it because we don’t have a choice…” – Councilwoman Amy Switlyk

Who needs elected representatives to communicate the will of the people?


July 7, 2021

An open letter to Mr. Thomas Mathews, Director, County Engineer, Hunterdon County

Dear Mr. Mathews,

I’m a former mayor of Clinton Township, where a controversy is brewing over our council’s letter to the NJWSA (and to you, for all I know – I cannot confirm it) about the Water Authority’s “informal” proposal to permanently close county route 629 after Round Valley dam and dike reconstruction is completed.

In a June 10, 2022 e-mail from Marc Brooks to Mayor Brian Mullay, obtained under OPRA, I learned of some important requests and suggestions you apparently made to the NJWSA “to minimize potential for complaints in the future if the closure becomes permanent.”

Mr. Brooks wrote:

“Hunterdon County’s Engineering Division is prepared to make the recommendation to the County Commissioners but has asked that the Authority provide a formal request. With that request, they have asked that we include resolutions, or letters of support from the mayors of both Clinton Township and Lebanon Borough. The County has suggested that the municipalities publicly discuss this matter on the record to minimize potential for complaints in the future if the closure becomes permanent.

[Emphasis added]

I appreciate that you asked the NJWSA, prior to submitting a formal proposal to you, to ensure that this matter be aired in a public forum where residents of both towns have a full opportunity to give their views, and I expect you meant before their respective governing bodies take action.

But Clinton Township did nothing more than the minimum-required “public notice” on a matter of enormous interest to the residents of the township. Two people were in the audience at the June 22 council meeting. No one commented. Certainly, we expect more of our elected officials, especially after COVID emptied our council chambers of public participation for two years.

Now, Clinton Township’s failure to provide a well-advertised public forum has resulted in an enormous number of strident complaints – protests against the proposed road closure, questions about the lack of accountability regarding security issues, ire at the clearly needless rush to act and, perhaps more important, outrage over the complete lack of transparency with which this has been handled by Clinton Township and the NJWSA. If you have access, you need only check the Facebook Groups and Nextdoor forums associated with Clinton Township and Lebanon. I’ve been witness to public controversies in Hunterdon, but I cannot recall one as wild as this in 15 years.

Certainly the public bodies involved in this can do a better job of respecting the public’s right to know what’s going on and to ensure the public’s right to participate in their government. Based on the information I have, it seems your office did the right thing. For that, thank you.

My response to all this is in an open letter I wrote to Mr. Brooks. Since the county has been cited again and again as the decision maker on this matter (“We have no choice – it’s a county decision” was the refrain by Clinton Township council before they voted to not oppose the closure), and since your office has been cited as the advisor to the county commissioners, I wanted to share my response with you.

My hope is that Clinton Township and Lebanon will hold widely advertised public comment opportunities on the proposed permanent closure of Route 629 before your office needs to make a recommendation to the commissioners, so that you may be afforded a complete picture of public sentiment – not just the wishes of our politicians.

In addition, I expect that the NJWSA will appear at these forums to answer questions and provide substantive justification for closing 629. My hope is that everyone, including your office and the commissioners, will have the information they need so all will support one choice based on sound information and judgment.

In the interest of transparency, I will post this communication online as I have my letter to Mr. Brooks.

Thank you for your kind attention.


Nick Corcodilos
ExMayor, Clinton Township

: :

Posted in Hunterdon County, Municipal, Route 629 | Tagged | Comments Off on Letter to the Hunterdon County Engineer

The Lame Pitch to Close Route 629: This dog don’t hunt

July 7, 2022

Open Letter to Marc Brooks, Executive Director, NJ Water Supply Authority

Dear Mr. Brooks:

On June 22 the mayor and council of Clinton Township voted unanimously not to oppose the permanent closing of county route 629 over Round Valley Reservoir — without one public comment at the meeting. This is telling, because almost 2 weeks after that furtive action, an article about the matter on was viewed over 3,600 times in less than 6 days. Many Clinton Township and Lebanon Borough residents who knew nothing about the proposed road closing have expressed outrage and opposition.

close route 629Based on what I now know about the 629 proposal, I am presently 100% against it. Everything surrounding this pitch can only be called lame and embarrassing.

I am a former mayor of Clinton Township and live on Old Mountain Road, along with over 100 other households. We’ve been patiently waiting for the road to reopen after over 4 years of dam reconstruction. Open for over 60 years, the road was closed briefly after 9/11 then reopened. The road is our best, fastest and most economical route to points south and to the Hunterdon Medical Center Emergency Room.

The closure has been proposed “informally” by the New Jersey Water Supply Authority to the County Engineer. The Engineer must decide whether to recommend to the County Commissioners whether to close this important county road.

According to official documents obtained from Clinton Township under OPRA, the County Engineer requires from the NJWSA:

  • a formal proposal for the closing
  • formal resolutions of support from Clinton Township and Lebanon Borough
  • that the public have an opportunity to comment on the matter prior to any formal proposal made to the county “to minimize potential for complaints in the future if the closure becomes permanent.”

Nowhere is there any indication of any rush or even a deadline for the towns to take formal action, or to receive public comment.

Lebanon has not yet decided how to proceed, citing the need for more information, to consider all the ramifications to the public and to its businesses, and to get input from its residents. Lebanon will discuss the matter in public later in July and seems in no rush.

Clinton Township, however, acted immediately and precipitously on June 22 to not oppose the road closing and to pass the buck to the county without any public comment, and with only the minimum required “legal notice” to the public and to affected residents. Certainly, the people we have elected can do better than that.

There are many notices posted at the huge fence that blocks entrance to 629 at the intersection of Old Mountain Road and Cherry Street. But Clinton Township couldn’t be bothered to post a notice there to affected residents, or to use its “Email Alert” system, inviting their input and concerns. Nor did the township publish any notice in its monthly newsletter, even though Mayor Brian Mullay knew about the proposal as early as April 7 and acknowledged then that it would be controversial.

The County Engineer should be aware that there are already loads of public objections to the proposal as well as complaints about the failure to ensure adequate opportunity for public comments. One need only check the Clinton Township and Lebanon Facebook groups and Nextdoor.

The NJWSA has provided the skimpiest justification for the closure: vague references to “security reasons” that local officials were told “not to discuss publicly.”

On June 22 Mayor Mullay told the council that:

“There are security concerns which in my opinion are major, but which we can’t get into the details of… but I very much understand the rationale behind their desire to close it.”

  • What security expertise and qualifications does Mayor Mullay possess to warrant offering his opinion to justify closing a road? What rationale is he referring to?

Asked by a council member, “Why?” Mullay answered:

“We can’t have that discussion in public, but it satisfied me, that’s all I’m going to say.”

  • By what legal authority does Mayor Mullay limit public council deliberation about a public road funded by taxpayers? Does the rest of the council have this information? Was this discussed in closed session?

Responding to a concerned resident via e-mail, Mullay said this:

“I understand your concern of a lack of transparency. I believe I mentioned that I wish I could go into more detail during the Council meeting. All that I am able to say is that the security concern that the Authority has is related to dam safety. I toured all the project sites with the Authority, during which time we discussed in detail the dam security issue that is leading them to make the request for closure to the County. It is unfortunate, but the sensitive nature of that information cannot be discussed publicly (in fact, I was asked not to discuss it publicly). Suffice it to say, I found the information compelling.”

  • What secret clearance does the mayor possess? What warranted the NJWSA’s disclosure of sensitive security information to him, and under what legal authority did it then instruct him to withhold the information from the public? This cloak-and-dagger stuff must be, suggested one resident, from watching too much “24” on tv.

The NJWSA reportedly told Lebanon only verbally that heavy trucks could undermine the road’s stability. Yet it has provided the towns with nothing substantive from any relevant authority to support its proposal.

The County Engineer was wise to wave away the NJWSA’s “informal” proposal. Mayor Mullay and his council were foolish and irresponsible to take formal action without due diligence and without formal documentation to defend their rushed vote. Mullay could not even offer anything substantive to the council. Not even the township engineer was present.

After contacting relevant officials and reviewing available documents, based on what I now know about the 629 permanent closure proposal, I am presently 100% against it. I see no justification or evidence that it would be prudent to permanently close a major Hunterdon County through road that so many residents from Clinton Township and Lebanon rely on. Moreover, while the county is spending tax dollars on an “Eco-Tourism” initiative, does it make any sense to close the most stunning, gorgeous drive through nature in Hunterdon County?

To change my position, first the NJWSA would have to provide a formal assessment and position statement from US Homeland Security, or other relevant authority, about new security risks at this specific dam and road. The document might be redacted for security reasons, but I need to see that a proper authority did the proper analysis and recommends the closure. Mayor Mullay’s opinion and whatever the NJWSA did or did not tell him is not sufficient. Violation of the NJ OPRA is not acceptable.

Second, you’d have to provide an assessment and recommendations from the US Army Corps of Engineers about the risk of damage to the dam from truck traffic on this specific dam and road. Did the State of NJ really put out a bid for dam work that would not withstand the kind of traffic that has been going over that road for over 60 years? The NJWSA noted to me that the NJ DEP has expressed only “verbal support of this proposal.”

It seems everyone is “passing the buck” on approval to permanently close the road, and the only backstop is public outrage — and the only solution is public comment.

I am stunned that Clinton Township Council voted unanimously to not oppose the closure by stating that “it’s the county’s decision, not ours” and “we have no choice,” without a shred of documentary evidence that the road closure is necessary, for any reason, whether engineering/structural or related to homeland security.

Where have we heard “we have no choice” before? For over 10 years residents of Old Mountain Road led the successful war to stop Pulte Homes from putting over 1,000 housing units on Windy Acres, even to the point of having to sue the township. If we had listened to “We have no choice” from then-mayor Tom Borkowski, the planning board and he council, there would be no Windy Acres Park today.

Do we have to sue someone again, this time to protect a road we rely on?

I’m even more stunned that the NJWSA would ask Hunterdon County to close the road and transfer it to the NJWSA without supporting documentary evidence. I’m shocked that NJWSA and the county would put the cart before the horse and, in a seemingly deft political ploy to pass the buck, first ask the towns for formal support when the NJWSA itself has offered the towns nothing formal upon which to base a decision the towns can defend to the public.

If there are legitimate “security reasons” that are documented and verified (even if some of this is “secret”), then our local and county governing bodies should have all the evidence they require to make an informed decision about closing the road. But they must be able to document and defend their decision.

This entire enterprise seems less than half-baked and steeped in bureaucratic and political manipulation of our naïve elected officials. I do not support the present shenanigans because this dog don’t hunt.

I’m still waiting to see the information Mayor Mullay and the council used to support their premature action, which in any event is unforgivable for lack of any effort to first obtain public comment, especially from residents affected most.

I ask the NJWSA to kindly:

  1. Provide the public with evidence of independent assessments of this road and this dam/dike, as well as formal recommendations regarding road closure, from US Homeland Security and the US Army Corps of Engineers.
  2. Recommend to Clinton Township that the council repeal its premature, unsupported June 22 resolution — which was devoid of any documented basis or public input — because it’s the right thing to do.
  3. Provide to Clinton Township and Lebanon Borough a complete, formal proposal that has the full, formal support of the NJ DEP and the county, prior to expecting the towns to provide formal resolutions of support. I’m sure you recognize the importance of due diligence when elected officials must make important decisions that affect taxpayers.
  4. Ensure that NJWSA and the towns have taken necessary and meaningful measures to inform residents about this proposal and to provide ample opportunity for public comment “to minimize potential for complaints in the future if the closure becomes permanent.”

While I respect the NJWSA’s desire to ensure the safety and security of our towns, that is meaningless without protecting and ensuring the sacred right of the public to know what’s going on and to participate fully in our own government.


Nick Corcodilos
ExMayor, Clinton Township

: :

Posted in Hunterdon County, Municipal, Route 629, State, Sunshine Law | Tagged | Comments Off on The Lame Pitch to Close Route 629: This dog don’t hunt

Council votes to close major road without public comment

Without any meaningful effort to obtain public comment from affected residents, on June 22 Mayor Brian Mullay and the Clinton Township Council voted to endorse the permanent closure of a major township thoroughfare — the section of County Road 629 that goes over Round Valley Reservoir. The proposal for the closure was made by the New Jersey Water Supply Authority to the Hunterdon County Engineer.

None of the council members live in the vicinity of the road they voted to close.

Road closure without notice

public commentThe road is an important connector between Cherry Street, Old Mountain Road and County Route 629 to points south including the nearest hospital emergency room.

Its closure will impact thousands of county residents , and in particular over 100 households on Old Mountain Road and hundreds of residents of The Lebanon Commons and Lebanon Heights.

Clinton Township has three paid announcements in the current edition of the Clinton Township Newsletter, promoting a “Green Fair,” a “Food Truck Festival” reminding residents to “Sign up for Email Alerts!”

But there was no notice or explanation in the newsletter to affected residents about the impending decision to close the road — no letter in the mail or any “Email Alert.” However, township e-mail records show Mayor Mullay was aware of the impact of a permanent closure months ago.

On April 7, 2022 he e-mailed township administrator Vita Mekovetz:

“Many will be disappointed if it is closed as people frequently ask when it will reopen.”

Mullay had two months to adequately notify affected residents.

Mayor gets the facts wrong

The mayor noted that the road “has been closed for 2 years.” In fact, the road has been closed for over 4 years.

The closure has posed a significant hardship for affected residents that rely on the route to Flemington. They say they have been waiting patiently for it to re-open upon completion of massive work on the north dam.

Councilman Bill Glaser, running for reelection in November, thinks the reservoir “was opened in the Fifties.” In fact, it was opened in the next decade.

The NJWSA made a point of telling Clinton Township to get public input on the proposed closure above and beyond normal “public notices” in the newspaper.

The mayor said that “while it would be an inconvenience, it’s ultimately the county’s decision.”

A public comment: “Security by Obscurity”

Mayor Mullay wrote this to Lebanon Borough Mayor  Jim Pittinger in a June 17 e-mail:

“It would be nice if we could talk a bit more about the actual security concerns to help folks understand, but I understand why we can’t…”

A concerned Old Mountain Road resident who had heard nothing about the proposal to close the road had this response:

“I don’t understand ‘why we can’t talk about it,’ and I mistrust anyone who uses that kind of statement to hide their work. This doesn’t seem to be an area where Security by Obscurity would be effective. What’s obscure about driving a shit-ton of explosives on top of a dam?”

The NJWSA has said the road would be kept open to pedestrians and bicycles, suggesting such recreational use would not pose risks to the dam. However, none of the other dams on Round Valley have ever been open to such uses.

The NJWSA implies there are Homeland Security issues, but has provided no risk assessment or statement from that federal agency. In fact, the Authority admits it doesn’t even have the formal support of its own parent agency, the NJDEP.

In a July 1 e-mail, an official of the NJWSA stated (emphasis added):

“Please note that the Authority has received verbal support of this proposal from New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection’s Bureau of Dam Safety.”

The council has no supporting evidence

After a brief discussion, the council voted unanimously on the closure without presenting any documentation or supporting evidence to the public. No one from the NJWSA or the County Engineer’s office appeared to speak or take questions, nor was any township engineer present.

An OPRA request (NJ Open Public Records Act, or sunshine law) to the township confirmed the council has no reports or documentation to support the need for the road closure from the NJWSA, the county or any other relevant body — such as Homeland Security.

Everything is “informal” except for the council’s vote.

Two questions keep arising:

  • Does anyone have anything in writing from pertinent agencies like the DEP, Homeland Security or the US Army Corps of Engineers about this specific road and this specific dam?
  • Why did the Clinton Township council vote without supporting documentation?

“Give us back our road!”

One affected resident said she had heard nothing about the closure even after the council voted. She said she was part of the group of Old Mountain Road residents that for 10 years fought to save Windy Acres from development with over 1,100 housing units.

“We gave them Windy Acres for hiking and recreation for all township residents, after they called us NIMBYs and worse. Now they advertise the recreation that we made possible, but they make a decision to close our major access road to the rest of the township without taking a little extra trouble to let us have input on it? I guess we’re still NIMBYs if we don’t want the road in our backyard closed!”

Prior to voting, Councilwoman Amy Switlyk said, “So, just to reiterate, we have no choice in the long run… I’ll support it [closing the road permanently] because we don’t have a choice.”

Switlyk seemed nervous that she had no choice but to vote to close the road. The same resident said:

“Ms. Switlyk should consider that if the residents of Old Mountain Road had accepted ‘We have no choice’ when Pulte Homes planned to build 1,100 housing units on Windy Acres, she’d have no place to build hiking trails and gazebos. Give us back our road!”

What we know

An official at the NJWSA said the Authority has asked Hunterdon County to consider closing the road since it is a county road. At the county’s suggestion, the Authority sent e-mails to Clinton Township and Lebanon Borough requesting input from the governing bodies and from the public before the Authority makes a formal proposal to the county.

The official said the rationale for the road closing is “dam safety and security concerns” but also expressed the Authority’s desire to learn whether closing the road might cause “significant hardship” to affected residents.

However, said the official, while the Authority heard back from Lebanon, Clinton Township has not responded about getting public input.

It seems a little late for that.

No effort made to obtain public input

Township records as of June 27 show that the NJWSA is under the impression that only three residents have spoken up — all asking for the facts, and one of them asking whether there would be a public forum to discuss the matter.

Certainly the NJWSA and the county know that the NJ Open Public Meetings Act requires all public meeting agendas to be published in advance so the public is afforded a chance to comment. So for these agencies to specifically request public input, the intended message was that the township should do more than the legally require minimum.

From an e-mail from the NJWSA to the towns, expressing the county’s concern about potential public outcry (emphasis added):

“The County has suggested that the municipalities publicly discuss this matter on the record to minimize potential for complaints in the future if the closure becomes  permanent.”

Township e-mail records show that the township for all intents and purposes ignored requests from the county and the water authority to make any special effort to obtain public input.

What we know has confirmed that, other than informal communications, neither Lebanon nor Clinton Township have any documentation of any justification for closure of the road, nor did Mayor Mullay present any verifiable facts or documentation.

In other words, the council voted blindly.

Mayor Mullay said at the June 22 meeting that there are reasons for the closure that he knew about but that could not be discussed in public, implying they were about security.

An OPRA request to Clinton Township for all communications about the matter between Clinton Township, Lebanon Borough, Hunterdon County and the NJWSA produced pages of documents but none related to security reasons for the proposed closing. There was one small redaction unrelated to the matter itself. Nothing was redacted that might suggest confidential information or any Homeland Security information was delivered to the township to aid the council’s decision making.

Lebanon Borough

At the June 22 meeting, Mayor Mullay was asked about Lebanon’s position on the matter.

“I suspect that they will probably adopt a similar act as I suggested,” he responded.

Lebanon officials, however, say they have serious reservations and concerns about the closure, and that the borough’s position has not yet been formulated or communicated to the NJWSA. The borough is seeking input from the public. Lebanon’s Facebook page has a lively public discussion going about the matter.

Neither the Clinton Township website or Facebook page have any information or notices about the road closure, no requests for public input as requested by the county and the NJWSA. There is no public discussion on social media.

Over a week after council voted, it appears residents know nothing about it.

“We want the road open again!”

Politicians routinely point out that they post required legal notices about council agenda items and that it is the public’s obligation to check the agendas.

Old Mountain Road residents asked by for their comments say they are upset that their tax dollars support the township’s advertising about social events and the township’s “Email Alerts” — but that no one thought that plans to close a major thoroughfare was worth “advertising.”

Another resident stated:

“We’ve been waiting patiently for 5 years for the dam reconstruction to end so we can use the road. We’ve been driving extra miles through  the borough, burning expensive gas, through four stop lights and at least one jug handle to get to Route 31. We’re not worth an e-mail? They want our votes? We want the road open again.”

Hunterdon Eco-Tourism?

There is a related fly in the ointment.

While the county is funding an aggressive “Eco-Tourism” initiative to bring visitors to Hunterdon, does it make any sense to close the most stunning, gorgeous drive through nature in Hunterdon County?

The council “discussion”

Watch and listen to the entire “discussion” of the council about the road closing. Note that no factual details to justify the action are presented and no documents from the county or NJWSA are referenced.

[Complete meeting audio is available on the township’s website.]

Mayor Brian Mullay, council members Marc Strauss, Tom Kochanowski, Amy Switlyk and Bill Glaser never make mention of the hundreds of households that their decision will affect. Nor do they wonder out loud what those residents might have to say about the matter. They come up with no questions or concerns to be directed at the NJWSA or the county before making a decision.

Switlyk and Glaser are running for reelection. Neither of them suggested making the extra effort to make sure their constituents actually know what council was about to vote on.

They repeatedly emphasized that It’s not our decision. It’s not our fault. We have no control.

Mayor Mullay asks if anyone in the council chamber has a comment. There are only two people and a reporter present. He gives no indication of surprise when no one has any concerns about this.

“Many will be disappointed if it is closed as people frequently ask when it will reopen.” — Mayor Mullay, over two months earlier

This does not seem to satisfy requests from the county and NJWSA that affected residents be given a chance to participate in a public forum.

“Don’t blame us! It’s somebody else’s decision!”

When Clinton Township bungled the “new turning lanes” at Blossom Hill Road and Route 22, Mayor Brian Mullay explained that it was a State project. He said the township was not involved.

When questioned at a public meeting, he admitted the township had not reviewed the plans for the project, had not sought to provide any input to the NJ Department of Transportation, and had no idea how the DOT was designing the project.

That new intersection is now a line of orange cones defying the entire intent of the project — to make it safer to make left turns at a deadly intersection. Now drivers cannot make left turns at all.,

Mullay and the council blamed it all on the State, while failing to exercise their own prerogative to protect the interests of their constituents in Blossom Hill.

Don’t blame us! It was the state’s decision, or the county’s!

Is it a done deal?

Is it a done deal?
Nothing is a done deal. Council can rescind its decision and take time for public input, then vote again.

You can insist on your right to state your opinions, wishes and questions. Attend the next council meeting and/or contact the mayor and council. Ask them to hold a well-publicized public forum on the road closure.

Suggestion: If you contact one, contact them all, and ask for a personal reply. Council contact list.

Please cc:

Remember that Switlyk and Glaser are up for reelection in November.

Now Mullay is once again taking no action to protect the township from another State decision. This time Mullay is blaming the county and the NJ Water Supply Authority for closing a major through road in Clinton Township and adversely affecting hundreds of households — without securing their input.

As if Clinton Township has no influence at all on what goes on within its borders.

What’s interesting is that the NJWSA keeps referring to its “informal proposal” to Hunterdon County to permanently close the road, yet insists the township and Lebanon deliver formal resolutions of municipal and public support — in the absence of any evidence to support the need to close the road permanently.

Without anything concrete on which to base its vote, and without anything to defend its action, the Clinton Township Council voted 5-0 to let Route 629 be closed without any public comment.

Happy 4th of July. Let the fireworks begin.

Video credit: Hunterdon Review, Michelle Lacamera (video incorrectly lists Maria Lacamera)

: :

Posted in Municipal, Route 629 | Tagged , , , , , | Comments Off on Council votes to close major road without public comment

Whose fault is it that there are no Democratic candidates on the Clinton Township ballot?

Look at your June Primary Election Ballot carefully.

Who needs elections?

Why should you care? The incumbent council (all GOP) has already:

  • Raised taxes 4% for 2022 (after increasing the tax rate 13% in 2019)
  • Donated $45,000 to lawyers who’ve been suing CT
  • Approved massive housing developments with no voter input
  • Approved a pedestrian walkway across 4 lanes of Rt. 31 at taxpayer cost for the benefit of a private developer
  • Billed taxpayers for a new frisbee golf course non-residents can use for free
  • And much, much more…

If you’re a Republican, you will see only 2 choices for 2 Clinton Township Council seats — the incumbents. In other words, you have no choices.

If you’re a Democrat in Clinton Township, you will see no candidates on your Primary ballot for council. You have no choices.

In fact, in the November election incumbent Councilwoman Amy Switlyk is guaranteed 12 years on the council and incumbent Councilman Bill Glaser is guaranteed 3 more  years — without having to campaign, with no opponents, with no problem. These 2 don’t have to answer for their record, knock on your door, or answer your questions about how they’re spending your money. As shoe-ins, they’re not accountable to anyone.

Who needs elections?

Democrats? What Democrats?

This is where corrupt local government starts. Representative government is an illusion. Your vote does not count in the council election.

Whose fault is it that there are no Democratic candidates on the Clinton Township ballot?

The Clinton Township Democratic Committee, which is elected every two years by registered Democrats, is responsible for putting Dem candidates on the Primary ballot. They choose the candidates. (Most people have no idea what their party Committee is or what it does.)

But the local Democratic Committee didn’t nominate anyone for the ballot — so, there will be no Democratic choice on the November ballot for township council seats.

This is the Democratic Committee’s #1 job. What are they doing? They’re guaranteeing that Republicans will keep running Clinton Township.

Why are there no Democrats on the ballot?

Each township voting district has 2 Democratic Committee members. Voters in each district elect them every 2 years. Look up your Committee member here (scroll to page 6 to find your voting district. Their names and addresses are public information.) Or, contact Vicki Fresolone and Kira Lawrence — they chair the Committee responsible for giving you candidates to vote for. Ask them why they’re not doing the job they were elected to do — put Democratic candidates on the ballot!

This is where corrupt politics start, because council incumbents are “elected for life.” They can do whatever they want without fear of ever losing their seats.

Local party Committees are the lowest elected positions in every town. When they don’t do their job, voters suffer. Worse, without candidates on the Democratic ballot in June, the Dems fail to build a “bench” for higher level office.

In case you’re wondering why there have been no Dem freeholders in Hunterdon, it’s because the local Dem Committees in Hunterdon have no “bench.”

In case you’re wondering why you don’t have anyone to vote for in the Democratic Primary in June, it’s because your voting district’s Democratic Committee member (you elected them!) didn’t do their job — and don’t seem to care.

CT Dem Committee Members

: :

Posted in Election 2022 | Tagged , , , | Comments Off on Whose fault is it that there are no Democratic candidates on the Clinton Township ballot?